Enter Your Email To Receive Our Awesome Newsletter
and stand a chance to win great prizes!

Here Image: David Bowden: Train Crossing Stoney Creek Falls and Bridge

COVID-19 may have changed the way we travel but not the way we all dream of taking holidays. David Bowden sows the seeds for future vacations with his tales, ‘Wish You Were Here’.

 

Tropical North Queensland – Australia’s Adventure Capital

Ellis Beach north of Cairns

Ellis Beach north of Cairns

Its isolation in Tropical North Queensland (1,800km from the capital Brisbane) ensures Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef remain an adventurous destination. While isolated, Cairns and resort towns further north like Palm Cove and Port Douglas, are sophisticated with excellent resorts, endless adventures and a cool scene enriched by young international travellers who start their Australian travels here.   

Video Credit : Brisbanian

Cairns is a haven for sun-seekers out to discover the world and themselves. Tropical North Queensland is a rite of passage for global travellers with the star attraction being the Great Barrier Reef.

The UNESCO World Heritage reef is supported by attractions on the land with Mossman, Port Douglas, Palm Cove, Daintree, Cape Tribulation and the Atherton Tablelands essential stops on a weeklong adventure.

 

Reef Fleet

Aerial Quicksilver platform Agincourt Reef off Port Douglas

Aerial Quicksilver platform Agincourt Reef off Port Douglas

Boats depart Cairns and Port Douglas daily to the outer reef. Comprising tens of millions of coral polyps, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth. This natural wonder is on every visitors bucket list especially for snorkelling and diving.

Agincourt Reef (70km from Port Douglas) is a popular site to which leading operators like Quicksilver Cruises head. They use a huge catamaran that minimises movement and moors beside a platform on the Coral Sea. Passengers snorkel, dive and use a semi-submersible to explore waters teeming with marine life. Morning tea, buffet lunch and afternoon tea are served on the day’s outing.

Similar vessels depart from Cairns with my boat of choice being Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel that offers similar activities plus an introduction to the indigenous people of Cairns. What amazed me on both cruises was just how well preserved the reef is despite numerous tourists descending upon it daily.  

 

Train, River and Duck

Queensland David Bowden

The village of Kuranda above Cairns is an essential destination with the ideal round trip being, travelling up on the heritage railway and back on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The Kuranda Scenic Rail inches its way up the escarpment and stops at Barron Falls. Meanwhile, the Skyrail travels over the canopy but with stops to explore the rainforest. 

Kuranda has two quirky markets offering local products with a leaning towards alternate, New Age and hippy. After lunch, I visited Rainforestation for a rainforest encounter including a trail and lagoon journey in an amphibious army duck.

On another day, I ventured down the Barron River for a whitewater rafting adventure through the Barron Gorge with Foaming Fury. While the river wasn’t fully flowing, it was an afternoon of thrills as we negotiated rapids within the deep gorge. Being a hot day, there was lots of splashing of crewmembers between the rafts as we journeyed downstream and in one deep section, we all jumped in the river.

 

Rainforest Reserve

Horse riding in surf Cape Tribulation

Horse riding in the surf at Cape Tribulation

My research suggested that the tropical north is the only location where two UNESCO World Heritage Areas adjoin each other – the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland Wet Tropics.           

The Daintree is part of this extensive and ancient rainforest that meets the sea north of Port Douglas.

It offers majestic rainforest features plus the sea and reef as well as palm-fringed beaches where the ecosystems meet. I appreciated both the forest and the sea on a horse riding adventure with Cape Trib Horse Rides.

Cairns is an amazing place to visit with so much to offer on the land and on the reef. The word paradise is often associated with Cairns and its surrounds and it is easy to see why. From here, travellers can head south to explore the rest of Queensland by train with the Spirit of Queensland train travelling to Brisbane.

          

Travel File

Silk Air

Getting There

SilkAir (www.singaporeair.com) has direct flights from Singapore to Cairns.

Getting About

If you intend to discover the region, and you should, renting a car is the best option with places like Port Douglas, the Daintree and the Atherton Tablelands, some distance from Cairns.

Where to Stay

In Cairns, stay in the Shangri-La Hotel (www.shangri-la.com) and in Port Douglas, the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort (www.marriott.com) with prime beach frontage.

Contacts

For all information on travel to Queensland, log onto www.queensland.com

 

ABOUT DAVID BOWDEN

David Bowden is a freelance journalist based in Malaysia, specializing in travel and the environment. While Australian, he’s been living in Asia longer than he can remember, and returns to his home country as a tourist. When not travelling the world, he enjoys relaxing with his equally adventurous wife Maria and daughter Zoe. He’s the author of Enchanting BorneoEnchanting Malaysia and Enchanting Singapore. Also in this series, you will find Enchanting VietnamEnchanting PenangEnchanting Indonesia, and Enchanting Langkaw

Comments

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
1124 comments
18 May 2020
Its isolation in Tropical North Queensland (1,800km from the capital Brisbane) ensures Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef remain an adventurous destination. While isolated, Cairns and resort towns further north like Palm Cove and Port Douglas, are sophisticated with excellent resorts, endless adventures and a cool scene enriched by young international travellers who start their Australian travels here.
1  
0  
1  

Replies

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
1124 comments
16 April 2020
Its isolation in Tropical North Queensland (1,800km from the capital Brisbane) ensures Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef remain an adventurous destination. While isolated, Cairns and resort towns further north like Palm Cove and Port Douglas, are sophisticated with excellent resorts, endless adventures and a cool scene enriched by young international travellers who start their Australian travels here.
1  
0  
1  

Replies

x
x