New in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef
Tours and attractions
Following a 12-month hiatus, Raging Thunder Adventures has brought white water rafting back to the Tully River as part of the Cairns Adventure Group. Known for world-class white water rafting, the Tully River hosted the 2019 World Rafting Championships and is one of the iconic ways to experience the world’s oldest rainforest.
Join the Australian quoll conservation team collecting data on the endangered spotted-tailed quoll in the world’s oldest rainforest. The 10-day tour with No Limit Adventures also includes work at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre on Fitzroy Island and data collection on the Great Barrier Reef.
Get a taste of how the other half live on a YOTSPACE superyacht voyage offering the privilege of booking a cabin on a six-night snorkel adventure on the Great Barrier Reef to Lizard Island. Phoenix One has five-star cuisine and beverages and a range of water toys including a sea scooter and water skis for some fun before you wind down in the upper deck jacuzzi.
New accommodation paying tribute to historical local homesteads has opened at Undara Experience as part of a $3.2 million refurbishment including upgraded Wi-Fi, solar power, refurbished toilets and road upgrades. Home to the oldest standing lava tubes on Earth, Undara Experience offers Australian outback wildlife tours and country hospitality.
Experienced certified divers can join conservationists assessing reef health on the Great Barrier Reef with a new tour launched in Cairns by Passions of Paradise. Participants will monitor coral planting undertaken through the Coral Nurture Program. The experience is part of a full-day tour to two outer reef locations and includes two dives.
Can you see yourself in a Luxury Pack Kona Blue V8 Mustang Convertible? Built exclusively for Cairns Luxury Car Hire by Dick Johnson Racing General Manager Rob Herrod, the one-of-a-kind Mustang is sure to turn heads when you cruise the Great Barrier Reef Drive.
A prehistoric giant platypus is part of a new exhibition at the Cairns Aquarium giving visitors an insight into Tropical North Queensland’s little known third World Heritage-listed site, the Riversleigh Mammal Fossil site. The Aquarium by Twilight: Ancient Oceans tour explores 71 living displays and includes a three-course Jurassic-themed dinner.
The Aquarium has also launched a behind-the-scenes Marine Life Encounter including hand-feeding Cownose Stingrays and a visit to the Cairns Turtle Hospital.
The countdown is on for the Dwarf Minke Whales to arrive on the Ribbon Reefs north of Port Douglas in June and July. Day and overnight trips are available to swim with these inquisitive whales.
Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett has launched with new activities in addition to Australia’s only bungy jump and giant swing. Walk the Plank will allow guests to stand 140m above sea level for a view of the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest.
Try stand up paddle boarding on the crystal clear waters of Mossman Gorge. Your Windswell guide will talk about the local flora and fauna before you take a refreshing dip in the ‘healing’ river waters of the Kuku Yalanji country and tuck into a tropical fruit buffet.
KurCow Barnwell in Kuranda has opened for camping with sites for caravans as well. The pet-friendly property has bathrooms and a kitchen for guests to use.
Join a drag queen for the new Cairns Scrounge About Tour taking in the city’s op shops. The High Heeled Tours itinerary includes morning tea and lunch and up to four hours of shopping with door-to-door pick-up and drop-off in a luxury vehicle.
An attraction where tourists come face-to-face with barramundi has taken out the top gong at the Grey Nomad Awards. The Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre & Hatchery in Karumba has won the 2020 Best of the Best Award at the Grey Nomads Awards and is a Gold Winner in the Attraction or Tour Category. Paronella Park won Silver in the same category.
Food and beverage
Try tea paired with Gallo cheeses at Nerada Tea Plantation, the latest addition to the gourmet itinerary on Brett’s Outback Tasting Adventures. The plantation is home to tree kangaroos and is one of several tasting stops on the Atherton Tablelands including Mount Uncle Distillery, The Australian Platypus Park and Jaques Coffee Plantation.
Flynn’s Italian is the Crystalbrook Collection’s new signature Italian restaurant at Flynn. Opening on April 9, Flynn’s Italian celebrates the agricultural heritage of the region and its Italian immigrants with hearty pasta and classics like beef carpaccio.
Sunlover Reef Cruises has launched a new tropical banquet in partnership with Nu Nu restaurant on its daily trips to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Chef Nick Holloway sources local produce for the lunch which includes chilled prawns, Tolga beef with sweet tamarind and noodles and a shredded slaw using vegetables from Rusty’s Markets.
No Limit Adventures has launched a half-day guided brewery and distillery tour in Cairns visiting Macalister Brewery, Barrier Reef Brewing, Wolf Lane Distillery, FNQ Spirits and Sauce Brewing. The tour includes a pub lunch, tastings at each venue, a guide and transport to get you there and back again safely.
High Heeled Tours have added a Food and Wine Lovers Progressive Walking Tour to their range of bespoke offerings. The mystery tour visits three venues with menus unique to the tour and handpicked wines for lunch or dinner on Thursdays. The restaurants vary according to the group‘s interests.
If you fancy some laksa, pork bao buns or hoisin duck pancakes call in to Soy Kitchen Street Food. for flavours inspired by the best street food of several Asian cultures. It’s open for lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Sunday at The Reef Hotel Casino.
Third on the Left is a niche bar with an ever-changing carefully curated wine list and cocktails, and you can devise your own platter of speciality cheeses, charcuterie and marinated vegetables. As the name suggests, it’s the third premises on the left upstairs in the centre of Palm Cove.
Taste Australia’s highest altitude coffee, visit a micro-distillery, try native Australian fruits and organic wines on a small group No Limit Adventures tour of the Atherton Tablelands ending with a paddle of beer among the cane fields at the end of the day.