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Day Trips from Cairns

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Cairns day drive and weekenders

We've put together 5 weekenders and 4 day drives from Cairns. If you do them all you could easily spend two busy weeks in Cairns.

4 Cairns Day Drives

These day drives will have you back in Cairns by evening so you can base yourself there if you wish. But having a campervan gives you the flexibility to stay wherever you like, so we include some great camping spots where we can, in case you'd like to linger in these beautiful places for a while longer.

  • Atherton Tablelands
    Swim beneath picture perfect waterfalls, walk amidst giant curtain figs, drive through rolling green hills, encounter wildlife, and cool off in crystal clear crater lakes. The fertile hill country behind Cairns offers a cornucopia of local produce such as organic coffee and tea, biodynamic dairy, chocolate and exotic fruit. This can be done in a day, but if you want to do everything on our list, give yourself two days.

    Millaa Millaa falls
    Millaa Millaa Falls, Atheron Tablelands. Photo: mycolourfulworld via IG
  • Kuranda and Baron Falls
    The artsy rainforest town behind Cairns is a great place to hike, enjoy buskers, encounter wildlife and butterflies, sample local food, buy gifts, and visit many attractions that celebrate the local wildlife and Aboriginal culture. 
  • Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, Palm Cove and the beaches
    Palm fringed beaches, day trips to the Low Isles, swimming in clear emerald waters amidst granite boulders, and browsing the shops of Port Douglas. 
  • Wooroonooran National Park and Paronella Park
    Magical forest swimming holes and waterfalls, palm-fringed beaches, verdant sugar cane fields, jungle ruins of a Spanish Castle, and a string of coastal villages make up this tropical road trip.

    Paronella Park
    Paronella Park. Photo: NO.EL via Instagram.

5 Cairns Weekenders

No more than two nights in durations, these getaways start and end in Cairns. We list the best campervan camping options for the two nights you'll be on the road.

  • Undara Lava Tubes
    Explore what remains of one of the world's longest flows of lava at Undara Volcanic National Park. The wildlife is friendly and there are lots of hiking trails to explore on.

    undara
    Undara Lava tubes. Photo: phlipvids via Instagram
  • Atherton Tablelands
    Waterfalls, crater lakes, lush forests, lookouts, giant curtain figs, devonshire tea, friendly cows, and local produce is all within easy tootling distance on the Tablelands. If you do everything listed in our article, you'll need a weekend.
  • Wooroonooran | Paronella Park | Mission Beach | Hinchinbrook Island
    Magical forest swimming holes and waterfalls, palm-fringed beaches, verdant sugar cane fields, jungle ruins of a Spanish Castle, and a string of coastal villages make up this tropical road trip.

    hinchinbrook
    Hinchinbrook Island. Photo: steven_nowakowski via IG
  • Cooktown 
    Travel inland through dry grasslands and sweeping plains before rejoining the lush coastline at the historic frontier town of Cooktown. The museum here is first class.
  • The Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation
    Walk among the giant palm trees and long empty beaches of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest. Cruises will take you along winding rivers looking for crocodiles and you can zipline through the forest canopy.

    daintree rainforest
    Daintree Rainforest

Top Things To Do in Cairns

  • Snorkel or dive the reef
  • Sail to Green Island or Fitzroy Island
  • Catch a fish for dinner
  • Kayak, or laze on one of the northern beaches – Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach, Palm Cove or Ellis Beach.

360: Vlasoff Cay, Great Barrier Reef

Fitzroy Island

Get a list of all top tours and activities in Cairns from Trip Advisor

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