Media Releases

What’s New in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef (March 2023)


Fitzroy Island Resort guests will have the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and help care for the injured turtles as part of a new citizen science tour. The full-day Marine Conservation Program includes learning how to identify and remove the coral-eating Drupella snail before snorkelling over sites where the Reef Restoration Foundation has planted corals grown in Australia’s first offshore coral nursery. Snorkellers identify turtles for the Rehabilitation Centre and if they find a new one they can name it.

The spectacular coral cay in the Torres Strait where the TV show Remote Area Nurse was filmed is now easily accessible to visitors with Strait Experience launching a new 3-day/2-night tour to Masig Island in May 2023. Immerse yourself in island experiences including cultural activities, a beach-side feasting dinner and campfire. Return flights between Horn and Masig Islands are included, with an option for interconnecting flights from Cairns available.

If you’re looking to explore Tropical North Queensland’s many great drives in style, Cairns Luxury Car Hire has introduced a new addition to their fleet – the Porsche 718 Boxster 2022. Perfect for fun day drives or extending touring, you can cruise through the tropics with the top down and the wind in your hair.

Snorkellers and divers can see a coral nursery on a day trip with Sunlover Reef Cruises to Moore Reef from Cairns. Reef Restoration Foundation has worked with Sunlover to install a second coral nursery on the outer reef site. Broken fragments of coral are attached to frames and grown underwater until they are large enough to be planted back on to the reef. These frames can be adjusted so they sit just two metres below the surface making them visible to snorkellers.

Zipline through the world’s oldest rainforest with Treetops Adventure at Cape Tribulation in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest. You’ll experience a bird’s eye view from up to 15 metres above ground on a fully guided two-hour zipline tour which was launched on 12 October.

Plan a holiday with tour operators and accommodation providers who are working to reduce their carbon footprint and give back to the local community with the new Tropical North Queensland Sustainability Hub. The hub lists eco-certified operators, interactive conservation projects and immersive cultural experiences. It also includes videos to help the public understand our destination’s commitment to travel for the greater good.

A ferry service has resumed to Dunk Island off Mission Beach with the launch of QuickCoast by Myroo Adventures. The Cassowary Coast island has beautiful walking trails, palm-fringed beaches and camping in the National Park.

Moving around Cairns city is a breeze with Beam Mobility launching 150 purple e-scooters across more than 20 locations, including Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns, Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort and Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns.

Departure options for Fitzroy Island have increased with the new Fitzroy Island Sundancer providing three departure times a day from Cairns. Operated by Sunlover Reef Cruises, the new $1.5 million vessel leaves Cairns at 8:45am, 11:45am and 12:45pm. Guests are treated to light snacks onboard and can hire snorkel equipment.

People of all abilities will be able to research their Tropical North Queensland holiday more comfortably with the addition of accessibility widgets on the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef destination website and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway website. The artificial intelligence widgets allow the user to change the website’s display. For example, ADHD-friendly mode reduces distractions and visually impaired mode improves the website’s visuals. These initiatives follow the launch of the Tropical North Queensland Accessibility Hub to help visitors plan an accessible holiday.

Discover the Atherton Tablelands and the Daintree on two wheels with FNQ Motorcycle Tours. The adventure tours slowly explore some of Tropical North Queensland’s best drives taking in Queensland’s highest town, the world’s oldest rainforest, and historic Cooktown. From May you can head further north with a 7-day bucketlist trip to The Tip of Cape York Peninsula.

Newly launched Tropical Transfers is providing airport transfers between Cairns and Port Douglas as well as private tours and hire.


Guests at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas can now enjoy an Insta-worthy floating breakfast spread while relaxing in the hotel’s stunning saltwater lagoons. Breakfast starts with a continental spread, tea, coffee and orange juice, followed by classics such as acai bowls or smashed avocado. The floating breakfast is exclusive to guests enjoying the 3-night Float into Paradise package.

Cape York Peninsula Lodge has unveiled five upgraded Executive Cabins, each fitted with ensuite bathrooms and kitchen facilities. Situated among lush greenery and featuring private verandas, they offer privacy and convenience in Bamaga, the last town before travellers reach The Tip of Cape York.

Accor has welcomed the Mercure hotel brand back to Cairns with the opening of Mercure Cairns. The refurbished hotel emerges following a multi-million dollar upgrade and rebrand of ibis Styles Cairns. Inspired by nature, Mercure Cairns comprises 75 spacious guestrooms, a pool deck and a new modern Australian restaurant, serving the finest local produce.

An easy guide for more restful sleep has been curated for guests at The Reef House Boutique Hotel and Spa as part of the adults-only wellness resort’s 21 plus Signature Inclusions. Sleep Easy has a Sleep Support Guide and an online selection of blogs, videos and music to help achieve the perfect night’s sleep. The beachside Palm Cove resort also has wellness spa packages and free exercise classes to assist with relaxation.

One night’s free camping is included with your ticket to Paronella Park at the Park’s new camping ground, The Paddock, alongside the Spanish castle in the rainforest. The 60 van sites are all serviced with water, power and sullage, and there is a huge, modern amenities block with hot, spacious showers, a full laundry, and a BBQ/camp kitchen.


The only swim up bar in the Cairns CBD, Moku Beach Club in Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort has reopened following a major refurbishment. The update has refreshed the resort’s stunning white sand, lagoon style pool, and doubled the capacity of the bar. Guests can enjoy island-inspired cocktails and contemporary menu share plates without ever venturing far from the water.

A spirited collaboration between Devils Thumb Distillery and Far Northern Milling has resulted in the duo winning Best Cane Spirit at the inaugural 2023 Australian Rum Awards held in December 2022. The cane spirit is made by fermenting and distilling sugar cane juice which is then bottled and sold as unaged spirit or put into barrels for further ageing.

It wouldn’t be summer without watermelon and at Fiesta’s Cairns beneath the Mantra Esplanade it’s the drink of choice. Owner Chase Hansen serves watermelon-infused cocktails made with local spirits from Mt Uncle Distillery. The watermelon-themed bar was inspired by Chase’s French Bulldog Fiesta who loves the fruit. Chase also dishes up tapas-style food with seafood options including fresh oysters with watermelon and mint.

Crystalbrook Bailey has introduced Arte. By Crystalbrook, a new bespoke, sustainable wine bar in the heart of Cairns. This warm and inviting neighbourhood bar has ever-changing array of boutique bio-dynamic Australian and international wines. The artisan deli-style menu is designed to complement and celebrate fresh, local produce and is best enjoyed in good company.


Become a VIP at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) by joining the new two-tiered membership program, Friends of CIAF, which rewards loyal supporters with exclusive and discounted experiences throughout the annual event in July.

Calling all food lovers! Centred around Innisfail in the beautiful Cassowary Coast region, The Feast of the Senses showcases Tropical North Queensland’s vibrant variety of exotic fruit, local producer, and delicious seafoods and meats. Held on 26 March, you’ll find amazing food events, farm trails, cooking competitions, and a huge market day extravaganza.

Port Douglas Carnivale offers fun for the whole family over two great weeks and one huge weekend. From 19-21 May, eat your way through an abundance of events, including the FNQ Gin Fest and a seafood extravaganza. Adults can enjoy the legendary Wonderland Spiegeltent, while the whole family can get involved in the Tin Shed Family Beach Day and the street parade.

Crankworx, the world’s most watched mountain bike event, added Cairns to its World Tour last year and it was such a success that it is back. Head to the Smithfield Mountain Bike Park on 17-21 May to catch some of the world’s best and most daring athletes.

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