Private jet charter and flights to Cairns
Wonderfully laid-back Cairns is a great place to spend a few relaxing days in its own right thanks to its café culture, sun-kissed waterfront esplanade and lagoon, and tropical resorts. Add to this a natural wonder of the world and a UNESCO-listed heritage site right on the doorstep, and you have an unmissable stop on your east-coast Australia itinerary. Experience it all, charter a private jet today.
Like all the cities and towns along Australia’s east coast, life is all about being by the sea. In the absence of a beach and safe sea water to swim in, the waterside focus in Cairns is on The Esplanade. On sunny days, this part of town is buzzing with families playing, backpackers sunbathing and groups cooking up a feast on the public barbecues. It’s a great place to sit and watch the world go by or swim in the shallow and safe lagoon between rainforest and reef adventures. From here, the shops, cafes and restaurants of downtown Cairns – most of which cater for the city’s many international visitors – are just a short walk away.
You can hardly talk really about Cairns without mentioning the Great Barrier Reef; this Wonder of the Natural World is the attraction that draws the majority of the city's 2.8 million annual visitors. Stretching for over 1400 miles and covering an area of approximately 133,000 square miles and consisting of almost 3000 individual coral reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on earth and can be seen from space. Cairns is close to some of the prime diving and snorkelling sites so within an hour you can be in the water and witnessing the kaleidoscopic colours of the coral, swimming alongside inquisitive turtles and spotting more types of fish than you could probably imagine.
There are plenty of half- and full-day reef tours departing from Cairns’ port every day, but one of the best ways to experience the wonders of the reef is to spend a few days out on the water. This will give you the chance to get your sea legs and visit more of the individual coral reefs. This is also a great way to get your diving qualifications if you haven’t already. What better place is there to learn how to explore the underwater world than the Great Barrier Reef?
Instead of just heading out to the reef and back, you can visit a couple of the nearby islands or coral cays. A high-speed catamaran whisks you across the 16 miles between Cairns and Green Island, a desert island-style spot on the western edge of the reef. The island is circled by a bright-white coral beach and is covered in dense rainforest making the only cay of its kind throughout the whole reef. Under the water around the island there are seagrass beds and the steadily sloping reef. To the south west of Green Island is the breathtaking Fitzroy Island. Larger and much more hilly than its neighbour, this is a great place to be if you like to hike as well as explore the reef; the views from the summit lookout are well worth the 45-minute ferry ride over from the city alone.
A trip to Cairns is not all about the underwater world and paradise islands. The city is also the gateway to the northern part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland. This UNESCO World Heritage Site runs parallel to its briny counterpart and consists of a network of incredibly biodiverse rainforests that stretches for over 720 miles. Much of the Wet Tropics, which are home to over a thousand species of plants and trees, is protected with national park status.
A couple of the closest parks to Cairns include Barron Gorge to the north west and Wooroonooran to the south. Thanks to a tourist rail link – the Kuranda Scenic Railway – Barron Gorge National Park is easily accessible from the heart of Cairns. This winding route passes through the rainforest and takes you past thundering waterfalls and over the jaw-dropping gorge itself. The train terminates in Kuranda, a village in the mountains that’s surrounded by the jungle. From here you can take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway which is suspended just a few metres above the canopy, or follow some of the walking trails to lookout points and creeks around the village. Wooroonooran National Park is a little further afield but well worth the trip out of town. There are swimming holes, waterfalls, incredible rock formations and a whole range of rainforest trails and summit hikes.