Explore Cairns & North Queensland

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North Queensland

Queensland’s northern region is a tropical paradise and a superb holiday destination. Along its coastline, stunning, sheltered beaches of pristine white sand fringe a verdant interior of ancient rainforest.

Running the length of North Queensland’s coast is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living coral reef in the world and a protected World Heritage Area.

The holiday town of Cairns is gateway to North Queensland, and the Reef, and is a great place to stay. Just north of the town are the quieter beach resorts of Trinity Beach and Palm Cove and the fashionable resort town of Port Douglas.

Plan your holiday

Discover Cairns & North Queensland

Reef or rainforest? Road or rail? You’ll never be short of things to do in North Queensland.

Things to do around Cairns

Cairns is the hub of many North Queensland activities, as well as a great place to stay in its own right. Most of the tours and Great Barrier Reef excursions go out from here, although there are pickups from nearby beach resorts as well.

  • Cruise, snorkel and swim over the Great Barrier Reef
  • Discover the lakes and waterfalls of the Atherton Tablelands
  • Learn about Aboriginal traditions at Tjapukai Cultural Park
  • Browse the boutiques and galleries of fashionable Port Douglas
  • Explore the ancient rainforest of the Mossman Gorge
  • Enjoy a good Aussie breakfast at a Cairns Esplanade eatery
  • Cast yourself adrift on an Island Resort
  • Cross the Daintree River to historic Cooktown
  • Learn to dive beside the Great Barrier Reef
  • Spot wildlife and more from a helicopter or hot air balloon
  • Dine under the star at Palm Cove waterfront
  • Head to Kuranda village on the Skyrail rainforest cableway

There are day tours to nearly all the must-see attractions, which you can pre-book before you go but, for longer stays in North Queensland, consider a hire car.

Getting There

By Road – Cairns is 400 miles from the Whitsunday Islands and 1050 miles from the capital of Brisbane.

By Rail – aboard the Spirit of Queensland from Brisbane.

By Air – Some direct flights from the UK and regional flights from most major cities.

Hotels & Experiences

Our diverse selection of hotels and apartments in Cairns and North Queensland are all chosen for their location and incredible value for money.
Add on a day tour or longer excursion to make your Australia holiday unforgettable.

Around North Queensland

Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef coastline boasts many hidden beaches and some of the most beautiful islands in the world.

These reef islands are often covered in lush tropical rainforest that gives way to fine, white sand beaches and the crystal clear waters of the Coral Sea. Many offer romantic resorts accommodation where you can relax and refresh during your Australia holiday.

Down the coast from Cairns and further inland, amongst the sugar cane fields and fruit plantations, are North Queensland’s quiet country towns, where you can linger for a while on a leisurely driving holiday. The larger coastal centres of Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay and Rockhampton are gateways to the region’s stunning beaches and islands.

Northern Reef Islands

  • Green Island – luxury Eco lodges 45 minutes from Cairns
  • Fitzroy Island – snorkelling, diving and kayaking close to Cairns
  • Orpheus Island – intimate, all-inclusive luxury resort right on the reef
  • Magnetic Island – popular island resort a ferry ride from Townsville

Whitsunday Islands

  • Hamilton Island – superb facilities and a choice of accommodation
  • Daydream Island – fun and friendly island with plenty of activities

Island transfers can be by launch, ferry, plane or helicopter depending how far they are from the mainland. Your FREEDOM consultant will arrange island transfers for you.

Getting Around

By Road – The easiest way to get around North Queensland is by car or motorhome. The Great Barrier Reef coast is one of the most scenic touring routes in Australia and many visitors make the whole journey from Brisbane to Cairns.

By Rail – The Spirit of Queensland runs 5 days a week between Cairns and Brisbane with access on the way to Townsville, Fraser Island and the beautiful Whitsundays.

By Air – There are local flights between Cairn, Townsville and Hamilton Island, plus several smaller North Queensland towns.

More Australia Regions

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Australia - More Holiday Options

Whether you want to explore at your own pace on a self drive adventure or motorhome trip, or discover Australia on a guided tour, you can create your own Australia holiday or ask our experts to design one just for you.


Coronavirus – Notice for Customers

We are currently contacting all customers whose holiday may be affected by the current travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

For the latest Government advice regarding travel to any particular country please visit the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Great Prices for 2020 & 2021

Whether you’re looking to get away this year or next, hotels are now offering some great prices and airlines incredible deals for both 2020 and 2021.

Cancellation Guarantee

So you can enjoy these low rates without risk, we have introduced a Price & Cancellation Guarantee. On all new bookings from 14th March 2020 we are offering:

Full Refund or Free Re-Booking - if you have to cancel your holiday or part of it due to UK government recommendation not to travel.

Free Change of Date or Destination - if foreign government action prevents access to their country or region.*

Freedom Expertise

At Freedom Destinations you have expert help at the end of the phone, so you can book with confidence knowing you have great support and full financial protection whatever happens.

Call us today on 0333 003 8043 or enquire online.

* Changes must be booked with same airline if flights have been paid. All changes subject to availability and seasonal surcharges and standard terms and conditions apply.