Media Releases

What’s New in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef – May 2023


Kuku Yalanji Elder CJ welcomes guests to his country in a remote part of the Daintree rainforest on the new Back Country Bliss Unseen Daintree Heli-Experience for just five guests. The 30-minute helicopter flight over World Heritage rainforest lands at Yindilli Campsite where CJ shares his life story and rainforest knowledge on a guided walk followed by a fresh barramundi lunch. Guests return to the coast for a River Drift Snorkelling Tour floating beneath the rainforest canopy.

Snorkel and dive from the newest pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Magic. The pontoon uses the wind and sun for power and has a dedicated laboratory for marine scientists. Reef Magic worked closely with local Traditional Owner groups to incorporate their culture and knowledge of the reef into their site stewardship.

Wunyami Cultural Walking Tour offers a guided journey around Wunyami, Green Island, an ancient coral cay with an equally fascinating cultural history.  Indigenous guides explain the island’s connection to the journey of two ancestorial story-time beings and learn about the cultural ceremonies of the GuruGulu Gungganji and Gimuy Yidinji tribes.

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.

Eyeball a 4.5 metre saltwater crocodile at Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas when you dive into the Swim with the Salties experience. Big Al and Ton take it in turns to show just how powerful their jaws are during feeding time while you snorkel safely behind a see-through panel in the CrocArena.

Dive into the eco-certified excitement of Fitzroy Island with Sunlover Reef Cruises. Get ready to make a splash with paddleboarding, kayaking, glass bottom boat tours, and guided snorkel tours. Explore the breathtaking crystal-clear waters and meet mesmerizing marine life in a sun-soaked adventure that’s sure to leave you hooked.

Discover the unique culture of the Torres Strait islands and the Kaurareg Aboriginal Nation on a weekend away with Strait Experience, the Torres Strait’s own travel company. The three-day Strait Escape for just 10 people visits Waiben (Thursday Island) and Ngurupai (Horn Island) to see local performance art and discover the history of the region.

Play in nature’s theme park with Cairns Adventure Group’s half-day River Tubing adventure on the Mulgrave River. This fun and exciting tour is suitable for the whole family with calm water drifting, small rapids and some beautiful scenery.

Snorkellers can join conservationists assessing reef health on the Great Barrier Reef with Passions of Paradise. Passions has expanded their Marine Biologist for a Day program to offer an option for snorkellers to participate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring, while divers can observe the crew working in the underwater coral nursery.

Indigenous rangers showcase their 50,000-year-old supermarket, hardware store and pharmacy on the 100% Indigenous owned and operated Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours. Travellers  take a short boat ride from Cairns CBD to Mandingalbay Yidinji Country to meet the descendants of lead warrior Jabulum Mandingalpai, who was born around 1858 and survived the occupation and settlement of his country.

Join the yarning circle around the campfire at Talaroo Hot Springs as part of the hospitality of the Ewamian people on the Savannah Way who lead guests on a guided tour before they soak in the hot springs. The campground and caravan park has glamping tents, more than 30 landscaped sites, a modern camp kitchen, amenities block, reception, gift shop and café.

Fitzroy Island Resort guests 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!

Try the excitement of catch and release fishing on the Great Barrier Reef with East Coast Angling. Recognised as a Reef Guardian Fisher through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Port Douglas-based sports fishing specialist assists with research and practises sustainable fishing.

Cairns River Cruises has launched guided tours and charters along Trinity Inlet on a sheltered pontoon-style vessel for up to 18 guests. Join a daytime sightseeing safari or sunset cruise from the Cairns CBD with lounge-style seating and uninterrupted views.

Only 12 guests can explore the Great Barrier Reef with ABC Snorkel Charters which visits low-use reef sites where numbers are capped to 15 people. The Port Douglas-owned family business has an onboard marine biologist who guides the snorkelling activities and makes sure passengers see extraordinary marine life.

Have fun on a natural rock slide at stunning Josephine Falls and see the famous Babinda Boulders on the Waterfall Wanderers Splash & Slide tour with Cairns Adventure Group. Timed for those who like to sleep in and be back in time for happy hour, this guided tour includes free time for swimming and a tropical picnic lunch.

Walk the Plank at Skypark Cairns by AJ Hackett where guests can stand 140m above sea level for a view of the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest. Skypark is home to Australia’s only bungy jump and giant swing.

Explore the rainforest and water pools of Crystal Cascades with Cairns Canyoning. This adventurous tour takes guests on a 2km hike where they jump from rocks into the water, abseil, and swim to see stunning waterfalls and swimming holes.

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.


Guests at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas can 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.

Northern Escape Collection has launched glamping at Mt. Mulligan Lodge with three luxury Outback Tents on the remote Tropical North Queensland property. Nestled among the property’s Australian eucalyptus woodlands, the Outback Tents fit seamlessly into the surrounding environment and showcase the majestic Mount Mulligan/Ngarrabullgan escarpment from their spacious outdoor decks.

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.

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.

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 venturing far from the water.

Three new hotels have opened in Cairns city under the new brand Crystalbrook. Crystalbrook Riley, Crystalbrook Bailey and Crystalbrook Flynn are known for their sustainable luxury from cashless sales through to climate calories where their menus detail if the food was sourced sustainably. Between them they have an array of unique food and beverage offerings including a rooftop bar, fine dining featuring local beef aged on the premises, and casual eateries.

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