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Cruising Article –06/03/2011

Dive into the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests of Cairns

Australian cruise destinations

Located on the coast of the state of Queensland, the city of Cairns is a top destination for travelers looking to experience Australia's wild side. Whether you go snorkeling, explore the rainforest or learn about aboriginal culture, you are sure to have a blast here during a shore excursion on an Australian cruise.

Without a doubt, the biggest attraction for those who visit Cairns is the nearby Great Barrier Reef. This massive coral ecosystem is truly one of the world's most spectacular natural features, as it is home to countless creatures and an astounding level of biodiversity. Stretching more than 1,600 miles and filled with 900 individual islands, the reef gives you a myriad of opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, swimming or even just lying out on a sparkling white sand beach.

Although the Great Barrier Reef is Cairns' best-known attraction, you will find plenty of exciting things to do if you look inland as well. The rainforests of Queensland are a lush tropical habitat for a bevy of plants and animals. As the oldest rainforest on earth, this attraction has a long and storied natural history that you can witness firsthand.

One unique way to experience this vibrant woodlands is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This attraction suspends you in a comfortable cable car high above the forest floor, letting you see the wildlife of the canopy from a cozy shaded seat. Another interesting way to see the forest is the Kuranda Scenic Rainway, a feat of civil engineering that takes you through winding mountain passes in a traditional train.

In addition to its natural beauty, Cairns is also a great destination for those who want to learn about indigenous culture. At the Tjapukai Aboriginal Park, you will be able to see a showcase of the native traditions of the attraction's namesake tribe.

Once you've had your fill of exploring the amazing terrain surrounding Cairns, you can dive into the city itself. The biggest tourist hub in the Queensland town is the Esplanade, a boardwalk surrounding a gorgeous seaside lagoon. Overlooking the Great Barrier Reef and Trinity Inlet, this attraction draws locals and travelers alike with its mix of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, providing you with a place to grab a delicious bite to eat before picking up a memento of your time in Australia.