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Things to do in Cairns when it rains

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Cairns, known for its tropical weather, is usually on every backpacker’s to do list when travelling the East Coast of Australia. Most of the year we have high temperatures and sunshine but during the wet season it can be a different story. Although when it rains it really, really rains the temperature never drops lower than 15 – 20 degrees. Very lucky aren’t we? Known as the ‘adventure capital of Australia,’ there are many things to do in Cairns all year round, but here are some great activities that you can also enjoy in the Wet Season!

1. Go White Water Rafting

Throughout the wet season the rivers get fuller and fuller and create awesome conditions for rafting. The rapids get bigger and faster and ensure that you have one hell of a good time. Rafting also have half and full day options. I would highly recommend rafting – I had the best time. Take a day trip to Tully River Rafting, it’s a long day (leave at 6.30am return at 6pm) but so good.

2. Visit Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

Situated on top of the Cairns Casino why not spend the day among some of Australia’s most amazing wildlife. Zipline above a crocodile, have a photo with a reptile or cuddle a Koala (something everyone must do in Australia). Cairns Wildlife Dome is a great way to spend the whole day, especially if it’s raining.

3. Go shopping at the Cairns Markets

Visit the Cairns markets or go shopping – the markets are great for souvenirs, picking up some cheap clothes, or even getting a massage.  The Cairns Night Market and the weekend Esplanade Market are well worth a visit!

cairns markets - free things to do in cairns

4. Get on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway or Scenic Railway

Combine two fantastic experiences and head up to Kuranda. There are spectacular views on both the cableway and the scenic railway and when it’s raining the waterfalls are more impressive. Stop at Barron Falls Station for even better views of Barron Gorge National Park at the 3 different lookouts. If it’s pouring with rain you may not get the views of the Great Barrier Reef but the rainforest is stunning!

5. Spend time in Kuranda

Once you’ve arrived in Kuranda there’s loads to do whether it’s sunny or raining. Visit the Kuranda Koala Gardens or the Butterfly Sanctuary. The Kuranda markets are also worth a visit as are the shops. You could also take a cruise down the Barron River or just enjoy walking around this beautiful village.

6. Visit the Art Galleries for some culture

If it’s pouring with rain and you fancy spending a bit of time inside then visit the galleries in town. The Cairns Art Gallery is open from 9-5pm during the week and from 10am at the weekend. It’s also free entry. Doongal Aboriginal Art & Artefacts is so good with the walls filled with amazing Aboriginal paintings.

cairns art gallery - things to do in carisn

7. Visit Tjapukai Cultural Park

For a bit more culture visit Tjapuki Cultural Park. Learn about the world’s oldest culture by day or by night. The rain is going to make no difference to the amazing time you’re going to have here. This is a must visit attraction whilst in Cairns for performance, dance, food and arts.

8. Do an Atherton Tablelands and Waterfalls Tour

Waterfalls are always better when it’s been raining, and because you’re in Tropical North Queensland the water isn’t going to be that cold so you can still enjoy a swim in the waterfalls. The Atherton Tablelands are really beautiful so this is another must do activity in Cairns.

millaa millaa falls atherton tablelands
By Rob and Stephanie Levy from Townsville, Australia (Milaa Milaa falls) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

9. Have a go at Quad Biking

There is nothing more exciting than racing around on Quad Bikes with a group of mates. During the wet season the conditions are perfect for a day out in the mud (make sure you take a change of clothes though because you will get covered head to toe). There are both half and full day options so there is always time to fit it in.

10. Go Bungy Jumping

Unlike some activities you can bungy jump whether it is rain or shine. Nestled in the World Heritage Rainforest, the site overlooks the amazing Great Barrier Reef and from the top of the jumping tower you can see for miles, because it’s also the highest viewing platform in Cairns. The site in Cairns is the only bungy tower in Australia and the only place in the world to offer 16 different jump styles. So no matter what the weather get up there (even if it is just to cheer your mate on).

cairns bungy - things to do in cairns

So next time you are in Cairns or worried about visiting because of the weather – DO NOT WORRY – There are endless things to do. And believe me the wet season is great. Usually when it rains it only lasts for a few hours and then you can spend the rest of the day enjoying the sunshine.

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