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24 hours in Cairns

For many, arriving into Cairns marks will mark either the start of  big adventure or the end of a long journey, though every visitor you encounter will agree it is quite possibly the perfect city. Surrounded by rainforest with beaches at its border, it’s a laidback and stylish place to be and we’ve got a day to experience just some of its highlights.

24 hours in Cairns

What first?

Our flight got into Cairns at around 5am and we were able to get out and enjoy the city straight away so we went for breakfast at this brilliant little place called CAFFIEND . It’s fairly tricky to find, tucked away down a queit alley, but you’ll be well rewarded if you chose to seek it out – it’s one of the best places to get a coffee in Cairns. They also do an amazing chilli eggs, a great way to start the day and prepare for what we had planned next.

Cairns is know as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and we were so excited to be heading off to meet the boat for our dive. The reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, as well as the largest coral system in the world. With so many tours to choose from we settled on a trip that would visit three different sites and fit in as much of the reed as possible. 

24 hours in Cairns

We spent the comfortable cruise to the reef sunbathing on the deck of the boat, before having some lunch and then getting out for our introductory dives. We were given a health questionnaire and all of the safety information was given by our instructor, so we really did feel pretty safe before we got to Flynn Reef and into the water. The colours of the reefs were magnificent, we were lucky enough to see a couple of turtles too, which is apparently quite rare.  Our second dive at Pellowe reef was equally incredible, and we managed to get a bit deeper than we dared on our first dive, both reaching a depth of around 10 metres, which was amazing. After our incredible reef experiences, we cruised back to Cairns on the Silverswift boat, let the sun dry us off and started looking forward to the rest of the day ahead. 

24 hours in Cairns

How to top the Great Barrier Reef?

Once we got back to Cairns, we quickly got dressed at our hotel and then headed out for a drink. Cairns is a city which is absolutely crammed with pubs, bars and nightclubs, but we decided to head to The Jack, which had eben recommended to us by one of the guides on the boat trip. There was a live band on, and it was a great place to have a drink and a chat with some backpackers whilst we prepared for our next adventure.

We’d read about the The Night Zoo, a night out where we could have some authentic Aussie food, as well as getting a taste of the culture and seeing some crazy animals, including kangaroos which were hopping about all over the place. We were fully entertained for the full three hours that we were there, and the buffet food was amazing. After we were finished and suitably stuffed with traditional Australian foods, we were given torches and began our voyage into the unknown. We saw an incredible (& terrifying) combination of crocs, snakes and reptiles, and we’re so glad we made time for it.

24 hours in Cairns 

Once we’d finished our tour the music began, so we enjoyed a couple of beers as we listened to the upbeat banjo music and reflected on our incredible day. To top it all off, we had a photo with the zoo’s resident wombat (as you do) and then got a taxi back to the hotel. It’s hard to imagine how our 24 hours in Cairns could have possibly gone any better!

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