Cairns is situated in the far northern part of Queensland Australia. It covers approximately 1670 km square of land and is also the home of the State's highest mountain, Mt. Bartle Frere. This region has many beaches, freshwater lakes, mountains and rainforests that attract both domestic and international tourists. In the past, however, this region was considered unsuitable for living because of its harsh weather and impenetrable forests and vegetation areas.
History of Cairns
Captain James Cook is considered as the first person who discovered the region. His journey on board the HM Bark Endeavour took him to the North Queensland coast where the Great Barrier Reef is located. But the discovery came with a price - the ship had a difficult time navigating the reef's waterways.
A century later, white settlers began to live in the region. Despite the harsh conditions, dangerous animals and impenetrable vegetation, the uncovering of gold paved the way for the region's development. Then, it was transformed as a town to aid the gold rush and was named after the State Governor of that time, Sir William Cairns.
Before its development, Cairns was a bank filled with dense mangroves and rainforest. It seemed as if Cairns will be left uncivilized until a railway line leading to the southern ports was built for the transportation of Atherton Tableland's timbers and tins.
The gold rush eventually dwindled so the people of North Queensland looked for other means of living. Flat lands were transformed into sugar cane plantations while fishing and pearl hunting industries began to boom.
During World War II, the region also served as an allied forces station and a supply center for the Pacific Fleet. After the war, North Queensland continued to develop. Appreciation of the Great Barrier Reef sparked tourism both domestically and internationally. Fortunately, an international airport was built in 1984 and tourism flourished since then.
Things to do
Today, Cairns is known as a mecca for various adventure activities and as a gateway to The Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest – two of the world's greatest natural attractions.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world. It is a part of the World Heritage Area because of its diverse and rich habitat. There are an estimated 1,500 species of fish, over 300 species of hard, reef-building corals, more than 4000 mollusk species and over 400 species of sponges identified in this reef.
Australia's Wet Tropics, on the other hand, is a chain of lush rainforests that covers the north-east coast of Queensland from Townsville to Cooktown. It is also considered as a World Heritage Area because of its spectacular beauty and diverse habitat.
Being the access point to the two greatest natural attractions, Cairns has a lot of sights and adventurous activities up its sleeve. You can swim and snorkel as you explore the wonderful Great Barrier Reef. You can also rent a yatch and cruise around the region. Other adventurous activities include bungee jumping, horse back riding, hot air balloon rides, go-kart racing, white-water rafting, kayaking and skydiving. Or if you want a quieter holiday, you can visit different parks and rainforest in the region. You can bushwalk in the rainforests, camp or go fishing on the numerous lakes and creeks in Cairns. You can also check the abundant diversity of flowers and animals in the rainforest areas.
If you want to visit scenic places, see rare and endangered animals, and engage in various adventurous activities then Cairns is the best places to visit.