Ten Must-Do Activities for Adventure Seekers in Tropical North Queensland
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If, like us, you’ve spent most of 2021 ordering take-out and excessively staring Ted lasso in your underwear, there’s a good chance your adrenal glands need a good workout. And, with summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to line up an adventurous vacation to end the year on a high.
One place that is full of truly amazing activities for the thrill seekers among us is Tropical North Queensland. From hiking in the World Heritage-listed rainforest to rappelling waterfalls and camping on tropical islands, there is something for all levels of adventure seekers in this spectacular natural playground.
So, if you’re looking for an adventure-filled vacation and want to support operators who engage in sustainable tourism practices, check out this list of must-do activities in the area to make sure your summer is a slam dunk.
WATERFALL REMINDER WITH CAIRNS CANYONING
Yes Cairns Canyoning existed in 1994, we are convinced that TLC would have indeed performed: “to do go chasing the waterfalls. âWith the help of expert guides, here you will have the truly exciting opportunity to abseil waterfalls, throw yourself from towering boulders into soft, crystal-clear water and zip line through the river. World Heritage listed rainforest in one trip.
You can choose between half-day adventures through Behana Gorge or Crystal Cascades or, if you’re feeling a little more hardcore, sign up for the Spillway Canyon day trip.
GET WET AND WILD ON A SNOWWATER RAFTING TRIP
Imagine sitting on the edge of an inflatable raft as you descend a river through a spectacular gorge surrounded by a World Heritage-listed rainforest. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Now imagine the same boat coming down steep ravines and raging rapids and you have the wet and wild adventure of white water rafting.
In tropical north Queensland, you can choose to conquer a number of courses on the region’s world-class rafting rivers. For a full day of thrill-filled adventure and spills on 45 rapids, book a Tully River tour with an eco-certified rafting company Unleashed thunder. Or, if you’d rather, literally, test the waters on a shorter course, try the Barron River Half-Day Tour.
JUMP OF FAITH IN AUSTRALIA’S ONLY Bungy JUMP
If you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie then visit SkyPark is a must-see on your trip to tropical north Queensland. Not only is this the only place in Australia where you can actually bungee jumping, but you will be able to do so while being cradled by the lush rainforest.
Located 15 kilometers north of Cairns, here you can jump off the 50-meter bungee that wobbles above a beautiful natural lagoon. Or, buckle up on the giant swing to hit speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour in just three seconds with two companions side by side. If you’re not quite ready to bungee jumping, try the 140-meter-high plank obstacle instead. Whether you’re a seasoned jumper or ready to take your very first jump, the 16 different styles on the jump menu will suit all thrill levels and ensure you experience a rush like never before.
NAVIGATE OVER TREES IN AN OPEN-AIR Gondola
If you want to get up close and personal with the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, which has continued to survive, explore the Skyrail Rainforest Cable Car located 15 minutes north of Cairns.
Aboard the cable car, you’ll soar over the canopies of the pristine jungle between Smithfield and Kuranda, soaking up panoramic views of the rainforest and beyond before ending your ride near the banks of the River Barron. You can also opt for the Outdoor Canopy Glider to navigate up and down above the treetops with expert guidance from a Skyrail Ranger or upgrade to the Diamond View experience to ride a gondola with a floor glass.
To maximize your rainforest walk, combine your tree-top adventure with the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway to see the sites from a different perspective on your round trip. Additionally, if you would like to help maintain the tropical rainforest, you can donate to the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation which distributes funds to research and education projects that help protect and conserve this natural wonder.
PUT YOUR STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING SKILLS TO THE TEST ON THE MOSSMAN RIVER
Do you feel like you’re already familiar with stand-up paddleboarding? Well, if you’ve managed to tackle the task atop the local lakes and seas, maybe it’s time to upgrade your balancing act with a paddle board trip on the Mossman River.
The team at The swell of wind will take you on a three-hour trip upstream to soak up the sights and sounds of the buzzing rainforest. Along the way, learn about the local habitat, have the chance to try paddleboard yoga, taste the exotic flavors of local tropical fruits, and cool off in the freshwater swimming hole before returning at the base. And, if that isn’t enough adventure, discover the company’s other circuits in wing surfing, kite surfing, wakeboarding and more.
Go KAYAKING WITH TURTLES IN PALM COVE
Have you always dreamed of kayaking from the gentle tropical beaches lined with palm trees? Well, in Palm Cove, about a 25 minute drive north of Cairns, you can.
The turtle tour in a kayak, executed by Pacific water sports, is a must see half-day ocean adventure in tropical north Queensland. Departing at 7am, you’ll cross the Coral Sea by kayak to Double Island and nearby Haycock Island to spot green and hawksbill turtles basking in the coral reefs below. Then you paddle further to spot stingrays and flat-nosed guitars (sometimes referred to as flat-nosed sharks) before returning to the shore of Palm Cove.
Float over the hills in a hot air balloon
To live a truly exceptional adventure, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little sleep to make it happen. And, on returning from a trip with Hot air balloon, you will be more than happy to have risen before the sun to see it rise over the magical Atherton plateaus.
Departing from the northern beaches of Cairns and Port Douglas, this excursion will take you approximately an hour west to Mareeba for your hot air balloon take-off. Once afloat, you will experience the soft colors of dawn as you fly over the Atherton plateaus, while enjoying panoramic views of the region. You will arrive in Cairns between 9am and 9:30 am, just in time for breakfast at one of the city’s excellent cafes.
SEE A SMILE OF A CROCODILE AT HARTLEY’S CROCODILE ADVENTURES
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have a close encounter with a real dinosaur, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is about as close as it gets. Located between Cairns and Port Douglas in Wangetti, this eco-certified tour operator offers plenty of thrilling crocodile activities that will make your heart beat faster.
For $ 43, your park pass includes an on-site crocs cruise in the lagoon, access to daily wildlife presentations such as crocodile feeding, snake shows, and the attack show biting crocodiles. Additionally, if a dinosaur-like creature isn’t enough, you can also check out the cassowary feed. Or, if you want to keep things cuddly, be sure to stop by the koala talk.
GET OFF THE CONTINENT WITH CAMPING AT DUNK ISLAND
Camping on a tropical island can seem like only movies and fantasies. But, in tropical north Queensland, you can make it your reality at Dunk Island in the Family Islands National Park. Drive two hours south of Cairns to the idyllic coastal town of Mission Beach. Then take a ten-minute walk through the sparkling coral sea in the Gondola to Dunk Island where you can pitch a tent at one of the island’s eight sites.
The campsite comes with all the essentials – picnic tables, barbecue, hot showers, drinking water and toilets – but you’ll need to take everything else with you. Pack snorkeling gear to see the marine life in action at Muggy Muggy Beach, a good pair of walking shoes to complete the Island Circuit’s 11-kilometer hike, and plenty of food to refuel and enjoy on the sands of this tropical paradise.
HIKING THROUGH THE TROPICAL FOREST TO THE SPECTACULAR FALLS OF NANDROYA
If you consider yourself a backpacking fanatic, take the 6.6 kilometer hike through spectacular Wooroonooran National Park for Nandroya Falls is essential in tropical north Queensland. Not only will you be able to walk through the incredible tropical rainforest of the Tropics which is a World Heritage Site, but you will also be able to bathe under a flourishing waterfall.
Start at Henrietta Creek Campground where you will venture 700 meters through the rainforest to the start of the trail fork. Take the right trail to admire smaller waterfalls, rock pools and swift streams before reaching the massive Nandroya Falls. Cool off with a swim and enjoy a picnic by the falls before completing the tour and returning to camp.
Ready to book your tropical getaway? For more information and to find out more about summer vacations in tropical north Queensland, visit the site.
Image: Nandroya Falls, Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Posted on 03 November 2021 by