Cairns is the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north and the Great
Barrier Reef. Here you are close to islands, coral reefs and the world’s
oldest surviving tropical rainforest. A provincial city, with a linear layout
that runs south from Edmonton to Ellis Beach in the north, the city has recently
experienced rapid growth, with suburbs taking over land previously used for
sugar cane farming.
An easy tropical lifestyle typifies Cairns, and shorts and T-shirts are normal attire. Buildings in Cairns are rarely taller than one or two levels.
A series of beaches extend north along the coast, including Machans, Holloways and Trinity beaches, Yorkeys Knob, Palm Cove, and Ellis Beach. Inland from the Northern Beaches along the Barron River flood plain is Freshwater Valley. Mount Whitfield, the Whitfield Range, Crystal Cascades and Kuranda are close by. Several other small towns and communities are sparsely located along the Bruce Highway.
Framed by mountain ranges and the Coral Sea, there are many opportunities to go walking in the rainforest or four-wheel driving in the Great Dividing Range.