One free day in Cairns: what to do?

Mar 23rd, 2014, 02:54 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,809
One free day in Cairns: what to do?

I will be on a Monograms tour of Australia in October. This is the first tour I have not planned exclusively but there were several (not important) reasons for our choice.

It is a jam-packed itinerary, but we will have three completely free days: Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns. I have Sydney and Melbourne planned , but at a loss for the other.

The tour includes a half-day trip to the Reef, with option of extending to a full day. We will not have a car.

Any suggestions of competent tour operators, places to visit, etc. We are seniors but still working and in good health.
rncheryl is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 05:23 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
What are your interests? Is the reef tour the only activity in Cairns included in the group tour?
Femi is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 05:41 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,809
These are the tour notes:


DAY
4
Sydney–Cairns

Fly to Cairns, “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef,” one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The balance of the day is at your leisure. (Breakfast)
DAY
5
Cairns. Excursion to the Great Barrier Reef

Today, board a fast catamaran and CRUISE to Green Island, one of the many tropical islands on Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef. Here you can choose to SNORKEL, take a GLASS-BOTTOM BOAT tour, or walk through the island’s cool rainforest. You may choose to upgrade to a full-day excursion to the Outer Barrier Reef or return to Cairns and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. (Breakfast)
DAY
6
Cairns

A full day at leisure to explore tropical Cairns. Perhaps select an optional excursion to visit a zoo to see crocodiles, kangaroos, and koalas, or to the quiet mountain village of Kuranda via the Kuranda Scenic Railway. (Breakfast)
DAY
7
Cairns–Uluru (Ayers Rock)

Fly to Uluru. The rest of the day is at your leisure. (Breakfast)


We live in Ft. Lauderdale, so lots of sea sights are familiar. Want some recommendations for sightseeing of the rainforest type are for us. Mainly looking for recommendations for reputable tour guides for Draintree type sights.
rncheryl is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2014, 09:58 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,124
I'd suggest booking a tour which includes the train to Kuranda and return on Skyrail. The Skyrail is quite spectacular, with great views both from the vintage train and the Skyrail. Kuranda is a quaint little places, lots of places to eat, and market stalls. There is also a butterfly farm if you have time to visit.
Another option is taking a tour to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree.
marg is online now  
Mar 24th, 2014, 01:58 PM
  #5  
tt7
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 367
I would second marg's suggestion - go to Kuranda. Take the train up and the skyrail back. The train only runs a couple of times a day whereas the skyrail is continuous - so better to have a 'fixed' starting time in the morning (by taking the train) and then just get the skyrail back when you've had enough.

It's been a while since I've done it but, when you get off the train, there used to be a (free) shuttle bus that would you run you up to the top of the (Kuranda) village and drop you off by Birdworld/Butterfly World and the Markets (all of which are worth a visit). There's also now a Koala World. You should be able to get a combined ticket covering Birdworld/Butterfly/Koala.

http://www.kuranda.org
http://www.kuranda.org/things-to-do-...ns-activities/
http://www.ksr.com.au
http://www.skyrail.com.au

Your hotel should be able to book a train/skyrail ticket for you, including hotel pickup/drop off.

You don't say where you are staying - I assume in Cairns? Palm Cove (25 minutes up the road) and Port Douglas (an hour) are far, far, far nicer. Cairns itself doesn't have much to recommend it and you certainly don't want to be trying to figure out what to do for the day in Cairns itself.
tt7 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2014, 02:12 PM
  #6  
tt7
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 367
I guess I should ask - where are you staying and what do you have planned for your time in Melbourne?
tt7 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2014, 01:33 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,809
In Cairns, we are staying at Pacific International. No other choices available on this excursion.

In Melbourne, staying at Mercure Treasury Gardens. The tour we scheduled was with Outback Billy to see the Great Ocean Road. This is a private tour that will stop where we choose and the price is reasonable.

By the way, in Sydney, we are going to do the early morning behind the scenes tour of the Opera House, then probably the zoo or gardens. That evening we will try to get tix to The King and I at the opera house (not available as yet)

Appreciate the recommendations for Cairns.
rncheryl is online now  
Mar 25th, 2014, 03:26 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,793
lovely Port Douglas is only about an hour's drive from Cairns, and Mossman with its gorge about 30 mins beyond that. The gorge is fun and you could give yourselves a treat and go to Mojo's for lunch - it's worth the trip.

http://www.mossmangorge.com.au/

http://www.mojosbarandgrill.com.au/
annhig is offline  
Mar 26th, 2014, 12:52 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,809
Annhig, love your posts, but we will not have a car. Is there another alternative?
rncheryl is online now  
Mar 26th, 2014, 09:10 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,124
If you want a slow start, very relaxing day you could take the public bus from Cairns to Palm Cove and have a leisurely lunch overlooking the lovely beach. It's about 20 minutes from Cairns.
marg is online now  
Mar 26th, 2014, 11:08 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,793
hi cheryl,

my last night's post didn't get posted for some reason - i said that I thought there might be a shuttle bus from cairns to PD that might suit you, and sure enough, there is:

http://www.portdouglasbus.com/timetable/mossman-gorge/

The website is not brilliant so you might want to drop them an e-mail, but so far as I can see, their route can take you from Cairns to Karunda, PD, and Mossman, even the Daintree Forest.

if this [or other organised tours] don't offer what you want, you could always rent a car for the day. we found driving in the area very easy. alternatively you could opt for Marg's suggestion -
we didn't get to Palm cove but friends of ours who live in Sydney love it.

Given the chance, though, I would want to go and look at the rainforest.
annhig is offline  
Mar 28th, 2014, 11:19 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,108
Take the full day tour to the outer reef - it's much, much better than Green Island.

I was not impressed with Kuranda, although the Skyrail was interesting. My choice would be a tour to Daintree and/or Cape Tribulation.
margo_oz is offline  
Apr 4th, 2014, 05:20 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 3
Agree about going to the Outer reef rather than Green Island. We had a great full day Daintree/Tribulation trip with Billy Tea tours - they have a website with details and you can book. Small group trip - bumpy bus though- mad guide, really got off the beaten track, swam in rainforest stream, looked for crocs on Daintree river, cruise included. Tour was a highlight of our month long trip. If we'd had more time in Cairns we'd have gone to the croc farm and the botanical gardens which we were told were both very good and a short bus/taxi ride from Cairns towards Port Douglas.
JaneyO is offline  
Apr 5th, 2014, 08:18 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 438
hi, Cheryl.

I would also recommend upgrading to the full day Outer Reef experience, especially if you snorkel or dive. Maybe even a day trip to Michelmas Quay if you could.
We have been on the Billy Tea Tour to Cape Trib and really enjoyed it, bumpy vehicle and all. "Met" a beautiful lace monitor when we were having lunch! Saw a couple of crocs (one very small!) on Daintree cruise.
dottyp is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Roadster
Australia & the Pacific
5
Mar 24th, 2010 10:07 AM
grouchywoman
Australia & the Pacific
5
May 2nd, 2008 09:03 AM
blsgirl
Australia & the Pacific
8
Apr 10th, 2007 01:45 PM
kairous1
Australia & the Pacific
5
May 30th, 2004 06:00 PM
dknudsen
Australia & the Pacific
5
Jun 1st, 2003 08:59 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:33 PM.