Babinda Boulders. Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Babinda Boulders. Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

7 Ways to Explore Tropical Queensland in Style

Tropical North Queensland is one of those destinations that can be whatever you want it to be. And that why we love it. It’s an ancient, natural wonderland and a foodie paradise with farm-to-plate dining, a backpackers delight and a glamorous high-end escape with so many resorts it can be hard to settle on just one – all wrapped up in a balmy, tropical bow.

If you’ve spent lockdown dreaming of diving amid a spectacular rainbow of fish and coral, tucking into fruity cocktails by the pool or perhaps chasing waterfalls amid the UNESCO listed Daintree Rainforest, here’s how to experience those things and more – in style.

Explore the Reef with Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel

There are so many fantastic options for day trips and overnight tours to the Great Barrier Reef, but eco-certified Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel is truly one-of-a-kind. More than just dive tours to stunning locations like Flynn and Thetford Reefs, they also offer fascinating insights into the Indigenous heritage of the Tropical North – sharing their stories, demonstrating their customs, and offering a deeper cultural understanding of the precious ecosystem.

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel

Join a Waterfall Tour with Uncle Brian

You can’t visit the Tropical North without taking time to discover its inland gems. Uncle Brian’s Tours are a fun and carefree way to tick off all the best bits. Their full day waterfall and rainforest tour from Cairns does just that, taking you for a dip at beautiful Babinda Boulders, the three-stage Josephine Falls, picturesque Milla Milla Falls, and more.

Josephine Falls. Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland
Josephine Falls. Credit: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Taste your way through the Daintree Food Trail

Although the reef and rainforest tend to dominate the headlines, North Queensland is a knockout in the foodie stakes too. There are hundreds of farms in the region, growing everything from tea to avocados, not to mention seriously amazing restaurants, cafes, breweries, and distilleries. The best way find them? The stellar Daintree Food Trail.

Taste your way through the North. Credit: Daintree Food Trail
Taste your way through the North. Credit: Daintree Food Trail

Cruise the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Expeditions

Small ship cruising is so hot right now – especially Coral Expeditions. More than just ferrying you one port to the next, the Australian-owned cruise line makes you feel connected to each destination visited. Their expedition team is on hand to reveal the hidden stories of the wildlife and culture along the way too, giving you a greater understanding and appreciation of the Great Barrier Reef. A recent Citizen Science expedition timed to align with the dwarf minke whale migration allowed guests to get hands on with marine conservation activities too, giving passengers a chance to help preserve the UNESCO listed wonder.

Coral Discoverer exploring remote coral reefs. Credit: Coral Expeditions
Coral Discoverer exploring remote coral reefs. Credit: Coral Expeditions

Stay at eco-accredited and luxurious Crystalbrook Flynn

The luxury hotel scene in and around Cairns has boomed in the last few years, with Crystalbrook Collection leading the way. We were fortunate enough to stay at the new Flynn property last year (read about our stay here) and it sums up everything that’s great about life in the Tropical North. The rooms are stunning, restaurants and bars designed to maximise your time outdoors, and the pools a perfect way to cool things down.

Flynn, a Crystalbrook Collection property
Flynn, a Crystalbrook Collection property. Supplied.

Experience a taste of luxury on a superyacht with YOTSPACE

Two words: super yacht. Sound like your kind of holiday? YOTSPACE offers a taste of how the other half live with ‘book by the cabin’ superyacht voyage to the Great Barrier Reef and beyond. You can book a cabin on an all-inclusive six-night snorkel adventure onboard the Phoenix One and enjoy five-star cuisine and beverages, play with water toys including a sea scooter and water skis, and let your imagination run wild that you’re some international mogul while relaxing in the jacuzzi on the top deck.

Phoenix One. Credit: YOTSPACE
Phoenix One. Credit: YOTSPACE

Experience the outback at Kinrara Expeditions

Looking for something completely different? This all-inclusive tour has your name on it. Swapping the reef and rainforest for scenic wetlands and rustling grasslands, Kinrara Expeditions takes you into the wild heart of Queensland. Kayaking, swimming, four wheel driving, fishing, visits to an 80-year-old homestead, a 100ft waterfall, conversations around the campfire as stars dance across the sky… it’s what dreams are made of.  

Enjoying the view. Credit: Kinrara Expeditions
Enjoying the view. Credit: Kinrara Expeditions

Keen to explore further? Check out tropicalnorthqueensland.org.au for more.

Written by
Chris Ashton

We're Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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Written by Chris Ashton