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How long in Cairns

Toronto, Canada
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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How long in Cairns

I am visiting my son in Sydney, so he can keep his sanity I am taking a trip to Cairns to 3-7 days. I LOVE to snorkel, hiking. and just mellowing. I am solo, so any suggestions. Do day boats go to different parts of the reef so i could do several days, do i need to reserve ahead or do i just walk around at the port. any problem being solo. any hikes nearby, should i rent a car for a few days (I usually drive on the other side of the road) or can i just do an excursion to places? Best to stay in Cairns and use as a base or go to another town. I am a 57 year old male Canadian coming in July, have never been to Australia before.

South Pole
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1. Re: How long in Cairns

i would stay in port douglas, more of a holiday town than a city like cairns.

rent a car then u have some flexibility.

u can then travel to the waterfall area south, the atherton tableland and a taste of the outback west, as well as the daintree/cape trib north.

yes boats go to different parts of the reef but really unless u r a marine biologist it's hard to tell the difference in what ur seeing.

i wouldn't reserve ahead. wait to see what the weather is like. july is in the trade wind months and it can get blowy and rough on the way out to the reef.

i would be taking seasick tabs in any case.

can recommend 'wavelength' out of PD.

if u r into fishing there are some great experiences to be had on the reef.

Toronto, Canada
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for Algonquin Provincial Park
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2. Re: How long in Cairns

if i am flying in, best to drive to port douglas or bus or boat?

South Pole
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3. Re: How long in Cairns

i would rent a car at cairns airport and drive to PD.

(keep left!) ;-)

or if u r a bit nervous about driving and want to get orientated in a less busy traffic environment, get a bus transfer to PD and rent the car there.

no boat transfers.

Edited: 02 June 2012, 00:07
Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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4. Re: How long in Cairns

Hi,

Another vote for staying in PD. There are numerous tours available from there if you don't want to drive. However; its very easy driving in the Cairns / PD region as there is limited traffic & its all well sign posted.

www.wavelength.com.au for tour to the GBR.

Gales Ferry...
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5. Re: How long in Cairns

There's a lot to see and do in North Queensland so I would definitely use all 7 days if you can. Renting a car will give you the most flexibility.

Port Douglas is nice and in a beautiful location, but has unfortunately become a tourist town and lost much of its original charm. I'd suggest touring around - maybe a couple of nights in PD or Cape Tribulation, a couple of nights on the Atherton Tablelands, and maybe a couple of nights at Undara, a great place for wildlife and walks. Cooktown is an interesting place to visit, although it is relatively far away. And there are some great places south of Cairns as well such as Mission Beach, Dunk Island, Wallaman Falls, and the Boulders. I could go on and on! Obviously you wont be able to see it all. Maybe now you can see that 3 days will not be enough!

The only thing I would book in advance is the trip out to the reef.

Daintree, Australia
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6. Re: How long in Cairns

My vote too would be Port Douglas - for a short stay it's very handy for a lot of activities.

Sorry Ralph but I would suggest not booking the reef until he's here so he can pick the best day weather-wise. A single person should not have a problem getting on a cruise - there are so many to choose from! - even during the busiest months (June-Sept).

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: How long in Cairns

OntarioCanuck, you should not have any trouble filling your time with things to do in the Cairns Region. We spent a week there in January and I have another list started for all the OTHER things we still need to do! Lots to keep you busy!

If you are going to rent a car, you may as well get it at the airport. There are no buses to get you to anywhere... taxi or shuttle. And yes, keep LEFT! We were fortunate that my friend from Sydney came with us to Cairns, and she did the driving! Be aware that as you drive north towards Palm Cove and PD, there are at least half a dozen traffic circles. Not sure if you have those in your hometown, but it is something to get used to, regardless of what side of the road you drive on.

All the snorkeling trips leave from PD or Cairns, so choosing one of those places is great. PD is a tourist town, but hey... you are a tourist! They have a fantastic market on Sundays, and Four Mile Beach really is nice.

And if you want to break up the trip a bit, a night or two up in the Daintree is a great idea. Check out Daintree Valley Haven. I haven't stayed there, but it looks great from the website, and if we ever get back to Cairns and area, I am determined to spend more time in that area, and staying up there just makes sense! Rent the car and have a great time!

STAY LEFT!!!!!

Edited: 03 June 2012, 03:46
Daintree, Australia
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8. Re: How long in Cairns

Another vote for spending a while in the Daintree if you are staying longer than 3 days in the region - if only 3 days then staying in Port D is really your best bet as it is not very far to visit our beautiful Daintree from there.

There are many day tours from Port but having your own car makes exploring so much easier.

(Re JOan123's post you might like to check my Profile - grin!)

Nanaimo, Canada
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9. Re: How long in Cairns

Sunbird, I sure wish I had that information BEFORE we booked our whole week in Palm Cove! Hopefully we will be back in another two or three years... have that list to finish... And will get to do that river cruise too!

Brisbane, Australia
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10. Re: How long in Cairns

If you’re confident or not about hiring/driving a car I’d suggest using Cairns as your base. SUNBUS is the local council bus running from Cairns that will take you to the Northern Beaches right up to Palm Cove, as well as neighbouring points of interest around Cairns; a bus ticket lasts you 24 hours. If you decide on Port Douglas as your base, your best option would be to have a car as buses are not available to my experience. Plus it’s an hour from Cairns/Airport along a single lane Highway in most parts.

If you’re thinking of driving up as far as Daintree Cape Tribulation and Cooktown for example; most if not all car hire companies do have travel kilometre restrictions and boundaries. Apart from that, you’re free to drive within a zoned area. I could recommend a Car Rental company that does a pick up, drop of service (minimum 3 day hire) which will be way cheaper than Airport prices if you wish to economise somewhat and not have restrictive kilometres to worry about? But I’ll have to check if they have GPS… and enquire about International Licences.

Reef access; snorkelling and certificate required diving tours abound in both areas to make your head spin… You will not be disappointed with whom you choose to sail with. Just walk to Trinity Wharf – along the Esplanade in Cairns, book through an agent or at your accommodation. Tours can equip you with a wetsuit or stinger protective suits etc. and provide lunch where you can gorge yourself on prawns/shrimp and refreshments are available on board the vessel.

In the first half of July (23 June-8 July) there are Queensland school holidays so keep this in mind if you wish to mellow out and drive safely!? Temperatures around this time of year will not faze you coming from Canada, 25 – 15 degrees C. As for being SOLO how tall and good looking are you?

On a personal level about Snorkelling and or mellowing out; I loved Fitzroy Island off Cairns. It’s not as spectacular as the Great Barrier Reef, but it’s a day away from the excessive tourist mayhem. Just wait till you walk from Welcome Bay towards Nudey Beach!

If you need anymore details please message me

Cheers ANGIE 4124