Tropical North Queensland

Tropical North Queensland (a.k.a. TNQ) is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced. It fits more untouched beauty, culture and adventure within its borders than some entire countries manage to do. 

TNQ includes the cities of Townsville and Cairns, and the Australian islands of the Torres Strait. It also includes several world heritage-listed areas, such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics.

Map of Queensland

Cairns

Cairns has grown from ramshackle port town to stylish, modern city – the main hub of Tropical North Queensland, with a year-round outdoor lifestyle. You'll always feel like you're on holiday here with the warm air, palm trees and ocean breeze.

Don't let the small-town vibe fool you. Cairns buzzes with eateries, on-trend bars, stylish boutiques and galleries. Visit laneway bar Three Wolves to taste one of the 50 types of whiskey on the menu, or check out Prawn Star, a prawn trawler turned floating restaurant that serves up some of the freshest local prawns and seafood in the city – with a cold brew, of course! No need to worry about driving, it’s also easy to get around and everything in the CBD is within walking distance.

There’s so much to do in Cairns. Check out the bustling markets and vibrant nightlife, or use the city as a jumping-off point to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics Rainforest or the Atherton Tablelands.

Trawler in the harbour at Cairns
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The Reef

The 2300km Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. You can swim, snorkel, dive and sail this living masterpiece. Home to diverse marine life of the most vivid colours, the Great Barrier Reef offers the opportunity for great adventure, whether you do it in luxury or on a budget.

There are many ways to get to the Barrier Reef. You can either fly into mainland airports Cairns, Townsville, or Proserpine (on the Whitsunday Coast) or fly onto Hamilton Island. 

Top experiences on the Great Barrier Reef not to be missed are ...

  • Seaplane over Heart Reef - create the perfect romantic surprise for a loved one by flying over the world-famous natural wonder, Heart Reef.
  • Sleep on the reef - choose from either Cairns or Cruise Whitsundays to experience a night like no other. 
  • Snorkel or Dive - either way, you need to experience the reef up close! 
Heart Reef
Tropical North Queensland

Port Douglas & the Daintree

Kick off your shoes, grab your swimsuit and relax in Port Douglas. Where the rainforest meets the reef, mountains scrape the sky and life moves more slowly. Port Douglas is the perfect base to head out for the day and explore the Daintree Rainforest.

Port Douglas must see and do experiences ...

  • The famous Four Mile Beach runs along the edge of Port Douglas - this pretty stretch of golden sand has remained largely undeveloped
  • Macrossan Street is the town’s main artery, with more than 60 restaurants and cafes within walking distance
  • At the newly redeveloped Reef Marina you’ll find some of Port Douglas’ top eateries, including Hemingway’s Brewery, where locally brewed beer (made with water from Mossman Gorge) is paired with a delicious casual menu
  • Take a drive inland to the picturesque town of Mossman, set among the cane fields at the foot of the mountains. It’s famous for its Saturday morning markets, held in the shade of towering trees, and selling locally grown fruit and vegetables, clothing, arts and crafts, cakes and excellent coffee
  • Three exceptional 18-hole courses close to town. Choose between the Palmer Sea Reef Golf Course and Country Club, the Mirage Country Club and the Mossman Golf Club.

Despite its rugged, untouched nature, the Daintree is easily accessible on a day-trip. Explore the forest on hiking trails and wooden boardwalks, climb high above the canopy on ziplines, take a dip in the Emmagen Creek swimming hole or paddleboard along the still waters of the Mossman River. Huge cassowary birds peck their way through the undergrowth, and one of the best places in Tropical North Queensland to spot crocodiles is along the Daintree River. Make sure you pay attention to crocodile warning signs posted around rivers, swimming holes and the ocean. While crocodile attacks are unlikely, you need to be sensible and respect the advice of park rangers.

Daintree zipline
Destination Daintree

The Islands

There are so many different day trips to take in Tropical North Queensland, and the most magical often involve a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. However, that's not for everyone, and sometimes you might want a slightly different sort of day. If that sounds like you, then perhaps taking a boat out to one of the local islands could be perfect. 

Choose from ...

  • Green Island - probably the most popular day trip from Cairns, taking the ferry is both fun and inexpensive. Try snorkelling from the beach, a fun semi-submersible trip or even just relax. Whatever you choose to do it's guaranteed to be a lovely day.
  • Fitzroy Island - a beach covered in white coral. For the adventurous you can take a kayak tour, hire stand up paddle boards or search for turtles on the surrounding reef. If relaxing is your thing then there is a resort and bar, and the beach is gorgeous.
  • Magnetic Island - only 25 minutes on a ferry from Townsville. Magnetic Island's relaxed tropical lifestyle, quiet, secluded beaches, rugged nature, abundant wildlife and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef make it a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
Green Island
Great Adventures

The Infinity Experience

Did you know?
At 125 million years old, the Daintree Rainforest is the oldest tropical lowland rainforest in the world.