If driving from Port Douglas to Cairns a good stop-off is Palm Cove. The upmarket, more intimate destination has a jetty great for fishing, boutiques, cafes and palm tree lined paths for cycling, jogging or walking. We stopped off here at Coffee Haven for a cold drink and was enticed by some sweet potato chips with a “secret sauce” ... the best I have ever had!
One of Cairns most popular day trips is to the Kuranda rainforest. Take a ride on Australia’s longest Skyrail cableway soaring over treetops to reach the Kuranda village. A chance to really experience the aboriginal culture with the locals playing their didgeridoos, and venture into an arty, alternative hippie world. Kuranda Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Australian Butterfly Santuary are all located in the market. I loved the souvenir shops and local produce available here!
At 2pm and 3.30pm every day the Kuranda Scenic Railway then makes the descent out of the rainforest over bridges, through tunnels back to Cairns. I would allow a full day for this whole adventure, as the cableway and railway both take 1½ hours each way.
Back along the main esplanade in Cairns its great to cool down in the lagoon. The 4800sqm salt water swimming facility is open all year round for you to enjoy without stingers or crocodiles! Come evening there are a huge range of restaurants, many offering fresh seafood - The Prawn Star being one of the most popular! A boat restaurant lit with beautiful fairy lights in the marina. Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse overlooking the Marlin marina was one of my favourite dinners. Succulent meat, a buzzing atmosphere and professional service - I would recommend making a booking!