Believe the hype. Far North Queensland is a natural paradise with lush rainforests, crystal-clear waters and blue skies where unique opportunities to experience Australia’s most beautiful coastline abound.
A nature lover’s dream, its options are endless—spend your days discovering deserted islands, swimming in azure seas and frolicking on golden sand.
As the largest city in Australia’s northeast coast, right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, Cairns enjoys enviable proximity to the country’s unspoilt natural treasures. A nature lover’s dream, its options are endless—spend your days discovering deserted islands, swimming in azure seas and frolicking on golden sand.
As the literal gateway to the reef, Cairns Marina on Trinity Inlet is within easy reach of tour boats, charter helicopters and world-class restaurants. And, as the only hotel on the Marina, Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns is the ideal place to begin your Great Barrier Reef adventure. Start the day with a sumptuous buffet breakfast at North Food and Wine and let the day’s exploring unfold.
Bird’s Eye View
Nothing on earth is more breathtaking than the Great Barrier Reef from above. One of the seven wonders of the natural world and the only living thing visible from space, these majestic coral gardens are just as incredible to see from the sky as they are from under the water. To experience the reef and its magnificent vistas as only the sea birds do, charter a helicopter or seaplane for unparalleled access to secluded locations and idyllic private beaches. While those with a window seat during an airline flight may be lucky enough to see the reef briefly, enjoying it at your own pace is nothing short of magical.
For the romantic at heart, treat yourself and someone special to a luxurious sunrise balloon tour complete with champagne, limousine pick up and gourmet beach breakfast. Hot air balloon flights depart daily from Cairns and travel over the nearby world heritage listed rainforest and Atherton Tablelands. Float gently over the trees while enjoying spectacular 360-degree views of the lush rainforest below. Look out for local wildlife, including kangaroos, on their early morning forage or simply enjoy the tranquillity and fresh morning air.
Having seen the reef from above, dipping your toes into the beautiful waters will be your next priority. For a relaxing first dip, say goodbye to the mainland and take a catamaran, yacht or charter boat to Green Island, where you can enjoy the 1,500 species of tropical fish and 400 types of coral that call the reef home. Green Island is 45 minutes from the coast, and its patrolled family friendly beach is a fantastic place for novices to try snorkelling for the first time under the watchful gaze of lifeguards.
Never worn goggles or attempted to walk in flippers before? The ladies and gents in red and yellow have plenty of tips to get your underwater adventure started safely. For the more experienced swimmer, the reefs surrounding the jetty are simply stunning and teeming with tropical fish. You may find yourself never wanting to leave. Non-swimmers can witness the beauty of the coral from glass-bottomed boats without even getting their feet wet or simply bask on the beach, enjoying the gentle waves lapping at their toes.
Alternatively, scuba tours to the outer reef (diving from an outer reef pontoon or directly off the boat) provide the more athletic among us the chance to get up close and personal with the local marine life. First-timers can gain diving tickets under the supervision of PADI-accredited dive staff, and experienced divers will be delighted at the diversity of the world-class sites. The camaraderie among divers is legendary, so don’t be surprised if you make friends and memories to last a lifetime.
The choices are endless. Snorkel or dive in the world’s largest protected marine reserve. Skim the treetops in a balloon or hover over coral in a chopper. Cairns is a day-tripper’s veritable paradise.
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Great blue waters.. my boyfriend loves the beach. He also loves fish.
My brother used to take care of small turtles, I think they are babies because the turtles are placed in a small aquarium :P I remember playing with these baby turtles, but they didn' t grow big because they died. I only saw a big turtle in zoos here in Manila.
I like fish too-gold fishes. I want to have some but I don' t have the capability of taking care of them since I have my hands tied with household work, love life, spiritual life & family estates. I also like to eat seafoods. My boyfriend and I are allergic to shrimps but we like eating them anyways :P
I ate Poached Pink Salmon at SAGE last April 2014th, great meat & it does taste expensive :) I plan to eat more seafood dishes at SAGE in the future: August 15th, booked a lunch luxury eat and I am having Heart of Palm Salad with Prawns as my first course meal, YUM!!
Here in Manila, there people who eats Turtle soup.. I won' t try that one because I think they are cute as a pet :D
I love Australia: my boyfriend got Australian blood.. thank you for the feature. I enjoy learning stuff from the place :D
Thank God for the money.. I am eating seafood at SAGE soon, YEHEYY!!