Explore Tropical North Queensland Australia


North Queensland is the northernmost part of the state of Queensland, Australia. Centered on the city of Cairns, the region stretches north to the Torres Strait, and west to the Gulf Country. Its offshore Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, hosts thousands of marine species.

The region is home to three World Heritage Sites, the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics of Queensland and Riversleigh, Australia’s largest fossil mammal site.  Cape Tribulation, Mission Beach, and Atherton Tablelands brings even more activities for adventure travelers with their own unique character.

The main population and administrative center of the region is the city of Cairns. Cairns is the heart of Tropical North Queensland, where you can enjoy the morning markets, have a drink in a small local bar, go for a swim in the sparkling Esplanade Lagoon or hike in one of the city’s shady parks and gardens. Cairns is close to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, offering you a new adventure every day.

The first amber fossils were found in North Queensland, Australia – four-million-year-old fossils on a beach in the Cape York Peninsula.

North Queensland is home to the increasingly popular in the recent years known for its Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and Cairns Festival held annually. Other arts activities include the Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns Civic Theatre, and Cairns Art Gallery.

Tropical North Queensland
Photo credit: Joshua Blinco / Flickr

The region supports a large tourism industry and is considered a premier tourist destination in Australia.

Tropical North Queensland | Things to do

Mountain biking

This is the only place in the world where you can ride alongside two World Heritage areas – the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the highest-profile rainforest trail system in the world.
Here you’ll find Australia’s oldest operating downhill trail, the Kuranda DH.

There is a 131-kilometer ride from Cairns to Port Douglas along the Captain Cook Highway in Far North Queensland. More than 30km of World Heritage scenery flanked both sides of the road with rolling hills covered in rainforests and turquoise seas.

Hiking Trails North Queensland
Photo credit: Tatters / Flickr

Hiking & Walking Trails

The terrain in Tropical North Queensland covers an entire geographical and botanical spectrum, from coastal lowland to mountains. You can explore places like Mt Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain, the forests of Walsh’s Pyramid, the wet forest of Kahlpahlim Rock and Lambs Head or the savannahs of the Undara National Park.

Geological Wonders

Explore Tropical North Queensland’s geological wonders including dramatic gorges scoured from ancient rock to the world’s largest lava tube system and world-heritage listed fossil fields.

Reef Dive Site
Photo credit: David Denicolò / Flickr

Explore Beaver Reef Dive Site.

Explore the abundant corals and spot some turtles at Beaver Reef Dive Site. Located in the protected Beaver Cay Marine Sanctuary off Mission Beach, Beaver Reef is an unspoiled fringing reef. Beaver Reef is one of the most popular dive sites off Mission Beach with coral gardens. The most popular dive site off the northern side of Beaver Reef is Beaver Cay.

Abundant soft corals and large gorgonian sea fans, lots of giant clams, Green and Hawksbill turtles, helmet shells and bailer shells, large cod, big schools of spangled emperors, fusiliers, Whitetip reef sharks, barracuda are just a small part of the species you can see.

Gulflander train
Photo credit: Joshua Blinco / wikipedia

Explore North Queensland Australia aboard the Gulflander train

The Gulflander takes five hours to run 150 kilometers from tiny Normanton to even tinier Croydon. Enjoy a self-guided walk around the station precinct and museum. Built in 1889, the Heritage-listed Normanton Railway Station is a treasure trove of history and architecture.

Paluma Range National Park
Photo credit: David Cook / Flickr

Paluma Range National Park

Paluma Range is a national park located between Ingham and Townsville, in north Queensland, Australia. It is also known as the ‘southern gateway’ for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
There are quite a few different places to camp in Paluma Range National Park. A very popular is lake Paluma, an attractive man-made lake surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest. You have a handfull of options for accommodation in Paluma including the award-winning eco-resort at Hidden Valley Cabins.

Mossman Gorge
Photo credit: r reeve / Flickr

Visit the historic wilderness of Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge is part of the Daintree National Park in Tropical Queensland, Australia. The Mossman Gorge Centre is an Indigenous eco-tourism development and the gateway to Mossman Gorge. Nestled in the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest, Mossman Gorge contains the oldest, continuously surviving rainforest on earth.

You can experience the wonders of the Daintree Rainforest National Park and discover Mossman Gorge walking through and swimming is a beautiful unforgettable experience.

Wallaman Falls
Photo credit: r reeve / Flickr

Wallaman Falls

The Wallaman Falls, a cascade and horsetail waterfall on the Stony Creek, is located in the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Wet Tropics in the locality of Wallaman, Shire of Hinchinbrook in the northern region of Queensland, Australia. Australia’s highest permanent single drop waterfall, in Girringun National Park, west of Ingham.

Explore the rainforest and enjoy spectacular gorge views on one of the short walking tracks near the falls. You can visit for a day to view the falls and relax or stay longer with an overnight camp beside Stony Creek.

Queensland beaches
Photo credit: Steve Austin / Flickr

Queensland beaches

Beaches are one of the most loved and visited places in Queensland. Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays and Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island in Tropical North Queensland are just some of the stunning and pretty beaches that take out ‘most beautiful beach’ awards by Trip Advisor. Enjoy the luxury beach-side resorts, panoramic ocean views and family-friendly activities on the Sunshine Coast.

Main photo credit: Joshua Blinco / Flickr

Want to learn more about other sustainable destination? Check out section sustainable travel destinations.

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