So everyone knows that a visit to the Great Barrier Reef is essential but there are so many other must do activities that you might wonder just what to do in Cairns when you’re here. Apart from a huge number of ‘free and cheap Cairns attractions’, perfect for all you backpackers on a strict budget, (click here to read more), here are 10 Cairns must do’s…

1. Visit one of the many swimming holes around the area – Crystal Cascades is only a 10 minute drive from Nomads Cairns – ask reception for directions.

2. Enjoy breakfast at Lilypad cafe – the most amazing food in town.

3. Do the Red Arrow or Blue Arrow walk through our local rainforest – you can reach the entrance by foot from the hostel and the views over Cairns are spectacular.

4. Take a drive and stay overnight up in Cape Tribulation and enjoy the Daintree National Park and spot crocodiles on the river (try the locally made ice cream when there too).

crystal cascades cairns

5. Come to Cairns in Aug / Sep for the Cairns festival – Cairns comes alive over 4 weeks of shows, arts, culture, history, special events and concerts culminating with the annual Carnival on Collins in early September.

6. Take part in some free events on the Esplanade – free Zumba, boot camp, water aerobics and even bouldering. Different events every day of the week, or just use some of the free fitness equipment you can find along the Esplanade.

7. Visit Cairns in July for the brilliant Cairns Show – a proper local show bringing the Aussie bush to the city – see wood chopping, sheep shearing, motorbikes, livestock and even pumpkin competitions! Enjoy the fairground and grab yourself a showbag.

cairns rainforest - cheap things to do in cairns

8. Visit one of our islands – Green Island for an up close encounter with some massive crocs and great snorkelling off the beach or Fitzroy Island for the Frog and Toad monthly island party and sea kayaking and snorkelling.

9. Go wakeboarding at Cable Ski Cairns – so much fun and hilarious to watch your mates face planting the water every 5 mins! Free BBQ on a Thurs night.

10. Hire a car and do a gourmet trail around the area – Mango Wine, locally made coffee and chocolate, cheese and fresh mangos – spoil yourself!

For more info on the above and loads of other must do Cairns activities, check out our Cairns Guide or just come and see any of the lovely staff at Nomads Cairns and we’ll tell you more about our must do things in Cairns.

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