Desperate for an escape from stressful, busy city life? Take a well-deserved break and feel grounded the moment you touch down in Cairns; the gateway to Tropical North Queensland.
A diverse destination easily explored over multiple visits, this two-night itinerary is perfect for those tight on time or looking for a weekend getaway to relax, rejuvenate and recharge.
Arrival into Cairns
Cairns is labelled the gateway to the tropics for a reason; from the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef to the ancient Wet Tropics rainforest, this regional city is literally sandwiched between two World Heritage listed sites. Knock off early from work on Friday or visit mid-week to experience the natural beauty of Tropical North Queensland on this short-stay itinerary.
Responsible luxury at Riley
Indulge in luxury with a clean conscious at Cairns’ first five-star hotel in over 20 years at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort. From the paperless check-in, recycled wooden room key and absence of plastic drinking bottles and straws at the resort’s three on-site restaurants, the subtle touch points of sustainability woven through the property is refreshing.
Spend the afternoon lounging in a cabana by the pool, sip on one of their signature cocktails overlooking the ocean at rooftop bar, Rocco, or book in for some me-time at Eléme Spa.
Sunset at Prawn Star
They say good things come in threes and Prawn Star has the winning combo; incredible fresh seafood, a priceless location at the Marina and a laid-back atmosphere encapsulating the region’s charming tropical vibes.
Dangle your feet over the side of the docked fishing trawler as you wash down fresh prawns and oysters with a cold glass of wine or beer at only $5 a pop.
Allow yourself to slowly unwind as the boat gently sways with the ocean and watch the golden sun dip behind the grand mountains.
Dine at Salt House
You may have heard that Cairns comes to life after dark, which is definitely the case, but that doesn’t mean you need to be out until the early hours of the morning to experience its magic.
Next door to Prawn Star is what’s considered an institution in the region. No trip to Cairns is complete without truly tasting the tropics at the Salt House.
With one good-looking menu, dominated by local and seasonal product, expect a dining experience to treat your taste buds before you move to the bar or back to your luxe hotel room.
Heli-picnic at Vlasoff Cay
Take to the sky this morning on a scenic helicopter ride to remember. Soar over the world’s largest coral reef before descending onto your own private sand cay for a couple of blissful hours.
Let GBR Helicopters take you to Vlasoff Cay to graze on a gourmet picnic, lounge on deck chairs, swim in azure blue waters and stroll across the white powder sand.
Champagne breakfast anyone?
After you’ve returned to the mainland, enjoy a late checkout and freshen up before heading to the Reef Fleet Terminal for a 1:30pm departure to Fitzroy Island. This trip is short; just 45 minutes and you’re officially on island time.
Drop your bags at the resort and spend the afternoon exploring the unique and undeniably quintessential tropical parts of this national park island.
Swim at the famous Nudey Beach, meet rescued turtles at the Rehabilitation Centre, quench your thirst at Foxy’s Bar or tackle the Summit Track through the rainforest for sweeping views over the reef.
Eye Spy Sunset Sail
Capped at just 20 guests, the resort’s new Eye Spy Catamaran offers a bespoke and personal sunset sail, without the crowd.
If you love the tranquillity of sailing at twilight, with a drink in one hand and creamy locally made cheese in the other, prepare to drift off into a relaxed state watching the sunset over the glistening ocean and mountains on the mainland.
Return to the island and shake off any sea legs before dining alfresco style at Zephyr Restaurant overlooking Welcome Bay. Retreat to your Ocean View Island Suite for a relaxing night being lulled to sleep by the gentle lapping of the sea on the coral beach.
Waterfalls and unwind
If you didn’t get the chance to see the whole island, take time this morning to walk along the beach, keeping an eye out for turtles as their heads pop out of the water, before returning to Cairns on the ferry at 9:30am.
Pick up a hire car and travel one hour south, past the iconic cane fields, to the popular rainforest haven of Josephine Falls; a tiered waterfall tumbling from the foothills of Queensland’s highest mountain, Mt Bartle Frere.
Dip your toes in the crystal-clear refreshing water or channel your inner wild child and slide down the natural waterslide.
Stomach rumbling? Enjoy a casual lunch on return from your waterfall adventure at the heritage listed Hemingway’s Brewery Cairns Wharf, soaking in the ocean views from the old Cruise Liner Terminal and sampling locally brewed beers and ciders.
Unwind at Vie Spa
End your getaway on a high note, drifting over the clouds with a dreamy spa treatment that is out of this world at Vie Spa at the Pullman Cairns International.
After a calming relaxing massage or revitalising facial, tuck into a refreshment plate including a cup of tea, icy water and scoop of sweet sorbet.
Leave Tropical North Queensland feeling revived, grounded with your belt a notch looser, before returning home and planning your next trip to the tropics.
Dreaming of more time?
Plan your next trip and learn more about incredible Tropical North Queensland
Vlasoff Cay: the most incredible place to picnic
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