Offbeat Places in Cairns


Cairns, located in the tropical far north of Queensland, Australia, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and tourist attractions. While the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest are the main draws for visitors, Cairns also offers a treasure trove of offbeat places that provide unique and unforgettable experiences. In this guide, we’ll take you off the beaten path to explore some lesser-known but equally captivating destinations in Cairns.

Offbeat Beaches

Holloways Beach: Just a short drive from the city center, Holloways Beach is a tranquil haven away from the bustling tourist crowds. This beach offers peaceful walks along the shoreline, water sports, and is a great spot for watching the sunset.

Ellis Beach: Known for its natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere, Ellis Beach is perfect for those seeking a quieter beach experience. Surrounded by lush rainforest, it’s an ideal spot for a picnic and a swim.

Machans Beach: This charming beachside suburb has a unique character with its local seafood restaurants and an authentic, laid-back vibe. It’s a great place to savor some of the region’s best seafood while enjoying the ocean view.

Hidden Natural Wonders

Behana Gorge: Tucked away in the Wooroonooran National Park, Behana Gorge is a hidden gem for hikers and nature lovers. The trail leads you through dense rainforest to a pristine swimming hole and a stunning waterfall.

Mossman Gorge: While not entirely off the radar, Mossman Gorge offers a more intimate experience compared to some of the busier rainforest spots. Explore the lush rainforest, take a dip in the crystal-clear river, and learn about the indigenous culture.

Babinda Boulders: These unique rock formations are surrounded by lush rainforest, making it a picturesque place to relax and take in the natural beauty. The boulders are also of cultural significance to the local Indigenous people.

Quirky Attractions

Paronella Park: Located south of Cairns, this park features the ruins of a Spanish castle set amidst lush gardens. It’s a place that combines history, romance, and nature into a truly unique experience.

The Crystal Caves: Venture into a world of sparkling crystals in the heart of Atherton. The underground caves house one of the world’s most extensive private crystal collections, making it a mesmerizing and educational visit.

Australian Armour and Artillery Museum: History buffs will be fascinated by this museum’s impressive collection of military artifacts, including tanks, artillery, and memorabilia. It’s a lesser-known gem for those interested in military history.

Offbeat Dining and Cafe Mungalli Creek Dairy: Located on the Atherton Tablelands, this organic dairy offers farm tours and a chance to sample some of the freshest dairy products. It’s a delightful culinary experience for foodies.

Coffee Works: Coffee enthusiasts will love exploring this museum and café in Mareeba. You can learn about coffee’s history, sample a wide range of coffee blends, and even buy some unique coffee-related souvenirs.

The Chambers Restaurant: Dine in a historic courthouse building in Cairns. The Chambers offers a unique atmosphere and a diverse menu, making it a memorable culinary experience.

Hidden Cultural Gems

Tanks Arts Centre: This vibrant cultural hub hosts art exhibitions, live music, and theater performances in a converted World War II naval oil tank. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the local arts scene.

Nganyaji Interpretive Centre: Learn about Aboriginal art, culture, and history in this small but informative center. Gain a deeper appreciation for the rich Indigenous heritage of the region.

Cairns Botanic Gardens: While not entirely offbeat, the Cairns Botanic Gardens are often overlooked. Explore a diverse collection of tropical plants and take a leisurely walk through the lush gardens.

Offbeat Adventures

Skydiving in Innisfail: For adrenaline junkies, Innisfail offers thrilling skydiving experiences with stunning views of the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding rainforest.

Hot Air Ballooning in Mareeba: Take to the skies in a hot air balloon for a breathtaking sunrise experience over the Atherton Tablelands. It’s a serene and picturesque way to see the landscape from above.

ATV Rainforest Tours: Explore the rainforest in a different way by embarking on an ATV adventure. These tours take you off the beaten path and into the heart of the lush wilderness.

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