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What’s New in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

What’s New in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef

The beginning of 2022 in Tropical North Queensland brings a range of new tours and attractions, accommodation renovations and events, giving you plenty of reasons to visit the region this year.


Tours and attractions

At the end of November 2021, Cairns River Cruises launched new guided tours and charters along Trinity Inlet. Revealing a new sheltered pontoon-style vessel for up to 18 guests, Cairns River Cruises offers a daytime sightseeing safari or sunset cruise along the inlet in complete comfort with lounge-style seating and uninterrupted views.

Experience Co’s Reef Magic pontoon, set to open early 2022, will be the newest and largest activities platform on the Great Barrier Reef. Located off Cairns at popular Moore Reef, the new pontoon has 18 solar panels and three wind turbines for sustainable power. A dedicated scientific lab onboard will be home to GBR Biology Marine Biologists for reef research. The pontoon will boast a one-of-a-kind water entry point for swimmers and snorkellers featuring an easy step structure for guests with different abilities. It will have one of the largest helmet diving circuits on the Great Barrier Reef and Reef Magic will also offer intro and certified diving, and guided snorkel tours of the colourful coral gardens which are home to ‘Wally’, the world-famous Maori Wrasse. Reef Magic update #1 video and update #2 video.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland have released a brand-new Indigenous experiences brochure titled, Deeper into Dreamtime. As a part of a project for the Year of Indigenous Tourism, the brochure is designed as a one-stop shop for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences. Included are events such as Big Talk One Fire showcasing the best of TNQ Indigenous culture, and new experiences like Buluru Ban which is an Indigenous-infused dining experience onboard the Spirit of Cairns, and exclusive cultural tours in the Yarrabah Aboriginal Community with Paperbark Arts & Exclusive Cultural Tours.

Riverbend Tours offers its guests an intimate boutique-style sunset cruise on the Endeavour River in Cooktown. Limited to around 30 guests, customers are encouraged to bring along a bottle of wine to accompany the inclusive gourmet cheese platter featuring locally sourced produce. Exploring the harbour in the long afternoon light, the vessel weaves through the maze of creeks lining the Endeavour and returns after dark under spotlight. The vessel is a wide stable open sided safari style river boat with a shallow draft.

Passengers arriving at Cairns Airport will see their luggage emerge from the mouths of a clown anemonefish, grey reef shark, green sea turtle and humphead Maori wrasse reminding them they have arrived at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns Aquarium has installed the life-like sculptures of the iconic Great Barrier Reef species which are sure to feature in Instagram selfies before holidaymakers head to the Aquarium or the Reef trips to see the marine life in person.

Low Isles, located on the Great Barrier Reef near Port Douglas has made a global list of the best destination sustainability stories, the 2021 Top 100 Green Destinations Sustainability Stories. The unique tropical islands – Woody and Low Island – are part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and are surrounded by more than 150 different coral species.

Tropic Wings Cairns Tours & Charters has partnered with Reforest, an app that allows passengers to assist Tropic Wings to plant trees and reduce carbon emissions. The app supports projects that restore natural landscapes to their native condition. Tropic Wings has chosen to contribute to a project in the Atherton Tablelands so we can help improve local ecosystems.

Plastic Free Cairns and Douglas have implemented a BYO water bottle refill network to end single-use in the Far North. The ‘Water Map’ has been created showing where local water refill stations for BYO reusable water bottles are located and includes participating local businesses and Council refill points.



Fitzroy Island Resort have revealed they are in the midst of a million-dollar makeover in preparation for an anticipated boom as confidence returns to the interstate and international travel sectors. A $500,000 remodelling of the Resort’s bathrooms is underway with six already completed in a modern light colour scheme reflecting the sand and sea. The first of the three walkways between the Studios and Suites have been rebuilt using recycled plastic flooring and a custom-made $200,000 lift. Work has started on refurbishing the Beach Cabins on the edge of Welcome Bay which will be enhanced by remodelled bathrooms, extended balconies, new furniture and fittings. The $270,000 redevelopment of the pool and pool bar scheduled for May which will be a highlight of the new facilities.

Bloomfield Beach Camp is situated at the northern end of the famous Bloomfield track, just one hour south of Cooktown, offering visitors cabin accommodation, camping grounds and a large well equipped camp kitchen. The beach camp is more than four hectares with half of that a spectacular rainforest paradise for birds both large and small, and a variety of local wildlife. Onsite are 10 powered and 10 unpowered camp sites, three cabins with beds and air conditioning, three safari tents with fridge and fan, and a two-bedroom self-contained cottage with air conditioning.



Live entertainment is back in 2022 and Cairns Summer Sounds is returning with Ocean Alley, Vera Blue and RocKwiz live in February 2022.

Sounds Bout Right is a new music festival by the event organisers of Grass is Greener, Handpicked Group. The festival is set to hit the Cairns Showgrounds on 30 April, bringing headliners What So Not, Boy & Bear and Hooligan Hefs alongside international and local acts. Tickets on sale now.

The iconic Great Barrier Reef Drive, between two World Heritage areas, will open exclusively to cyclists participating in the inaugural Port Douglas Gran Fondo Festival on September 9-11, 2022. The major cycling festival features timed 136km and 100km return Gran Fondo rides from Port Douglas to Palm Cove and a 48km one-way leisurely Medio Fondo ride from Palm Cove to Port Douglas with registrations now open for just 3000 riders.

Reef to Reef is a mountain biking stage race taking place over four days from 18-21 August 2022 in the heart of Tropical North Queensland. Starting on the reef fringed Coral Sea coast it quickly heads inland across a network of trails through tablelands, hinterland, farm lands, mountain biking parks, and tropical rainforest before finishing back at the coast four days and 190 kms later.

With events around Australia including the premier golf courses in Port Douglas, Survivor Golf makes amateur golfers feel like professionals. The grand finale in November 2022 will be held at the Mirage Country Club Pack so golfers can explore the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest.

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