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Cairns area without a car...is it possible?

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Jul 8th, 2011, 03:27 PM
  #1
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Cairns area without a car...is it possible?

DH will be in Australia for most of December. We want to dive and snorkel on an outer reef island (Lizard, Dunk, Fitzroy??) for 3-4 nights and then go to Cairns for 3-4 nights. Is it is possible to see Kuranda, Daintree or Atherton Tablelands without a car? We will be driving in NSW, but thought it might be nice to ditch the rental car for a few days while in the Cairns area.

Thanks for your help!
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Jul 8th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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It is indeed, in fact most US tourists I meet don't rent a car here.

But, Dunk is not an outer reef island, its very close to coast off Mission Beach, is a couple of hours drive south of Cairns, ditto with Fitzroy Island which is only about 45 mins from Cairns, for both islands you would need to take a further trip to outer barrier reef.

Lizard Island (expensive resort around 130 nautical miles north of Cairns)has a mid-shelf reef with good snorkelling off island, outer reef is still some distance, transfers are available. Or you can take a day trip with Daintree Air out of Cairns. www.daintreeair.com.au

There are many day reef trips out of Cairns to outer reef to choose from, they all leave from Marlin Marina in Cairns city. Transfers also available from Cairns northern beaches, ie, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, etc. Also some liveaboards, ranging from one night upwards.

Also day trips available out of Cairns to Daintree/Cape Tribulation, Billy Tea Safaris, www.billytea.com is a good one, and Northern Experience for Atherton Tablelands and rainforest south of Cairns. www.northernexperience.com.au Both pick up and drop off in Cairns area, including northern beaches, at accommodation at no extra charge.

Kuranda Scenic Train and Skyrail is easily reached from Cairns city or its northern beaches, although a transfer fees apply with Skyrail's shuttle from or near accommodation. www.skyrail.com.au

Hope this helps.
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Jul 8th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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Whoops, I just gave you the website for Billy Tea, a brand of tea sold here, the tour's website is www.billytea.com.au
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Jul 9th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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Thanks pat_woolford. Your information is invaluable. What do you think of Tjapukai Aboriginal Park? It looks a little touristy, but we would like to learn more about the Aboriginal people and are not going to the Red Centre this trip.
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Jul 9th, 2011, 03:05 PM
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Hi Sista , I have travelled extensively throughout Australia and would suggest having a car at your fingertips is essential in regional destinations.

Public transport is lacking in most areas.

Many attractions and activities are far apart. Having a car or knowing some one with a car as we did gives one much more freedom to visit wonderful places. The Cairns area offers fantastic beaches , waterfalls , rainforests , Botanical Gardens , Esplanade walks , Markets Fabulous Restaurants etc, all of which you can visit at your leisure with your own mode of transport.

You made the right choice driving in N.S.W , make time for the Hunter Wine growing areas , Port Macquarie ( wall to wall Dolphins most mornings in the Port in the middle of Town ) and Byron Bay is fantastic for those Famous Australian Beaches. If you have time Jenolan Caves is a must Do. Not as well advertised as the blue mountains but you must drive through the mountains to find the Caves in any case.

Jack.
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Jul 9th, 2011, 05:07 PM
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Hi steamboat, yes, Tjapukai is touristy, but its still interesting, you get some insight into the history of the local Djabugay Aboriginal tribe. Easy to get too as well from Cairns city or beaches, right next door to the bottom Skyrail station, so can be incorporated with the Skyrail/Scenic Kuranda rail trip. If you do, do make sure you take the earliest train or Skyrail (depending which way you want to do trip) to allow at least 2 hours for Tjapukai. Can be booked through the Skyrail website mentioned above.

54fun, steamboat asked it it was possible to see Kuranda, Daintree or Atherton Tablelands without a car. It is.

I agree for a longer stay a rental car would be handy, but for a short stay its not necessary. Car would be sitting idle for day on reef, and the Kuranda trip by Scenic Rail or Skyrail or both, virtually all tours pick up at Cairns/Northern Beaches accommodation, either at door or nearby at designated pickup points.
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Jul 11th, 2011, 01:21 AM
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Of Course Tjapukai is touristy, what do you expect at a tourist attraction! It is also world class interpretation of a culture using modern and ancient story telling media.

You cannot get meaningful personal in-depth connections to a culture by walking up to a stranger and saying Hi. Of course that does not mean one shouldn't but I'm not going to tell just anyone my totem or post it on line.
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