What to expect in Cairns

Want to take your Gap Year in a chill town by the sea that still offers plenty to do? Then Cairns might be the place worth checking out next. It’s no metropolitan hubbub but it’s certainly not quiet either, thanks to having the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep.

 A gap year can be one of the most exciting post school options, and with Letz Live, it’s all about finding the place that lets you play hard after you work hard. Here are a few things that will most definitely keep you busy on your stay in Cairns.

See the Great Barrier Reef

This natural wonder of the world is easily one of the reasons that Cairns is as popular as it is with tourists, and it doesn’t cost that much at all to check it out for yourself. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park offers an excellent view of this sprawling underwater ecosystem for only $6.50. If you bring some pocket money with you, you can also shell out for scuba tours or hang out in the underwater observatory. Just be certain to treat the reef with respect to help the team preserve it. 

Hit the beaches

Cairns is postcard perfect, with a whole slew of the kinds of beaches that tropical northern Australia is famous for. Palm Cove is maybe the most idyllic of the lot if you don’t mind a 40-minute trip to reach it. Closer still is Trinity Beach, which certainly isn’t far behind when it comes to sun, sea, sand, and plenty of room to relax and soak in the sun. 

Go exploring the rainforest

If you want a walk that feels like truly exploring uncharted territories, then the lush, verdant rainforest neighbouring the city most definitely demands your attention. You can find walking and hiking trails a-plenty from the Cairns Botanical Garden, whether it’s the easy-going 30-minute Red Arrow trail that takes you a peak offering an excellent view over the forest of the tougher Blue Arrow climb. 

Hang out at the Esplanade

A swimming lagoon with the perfect view of the gorgeous Trinity Inlet and the mountains surrounding the city, the Esplanade is also an excellent place to simply chill. Grab a coffee, enjoy a BBQ, and chillax with all the backpackers, tourists, and other gappers that gather around this hangout hub. If you want to make sure all that good Aussie food isn’t leaving too much of an impact, then you can easily find at least one free fitness class or group a week to join.

Become pharaoh of the Pyramid

Looking for something a little more challenging? Walsh’s Pyramid might offer just the thing. The world’s tallest natural pyramid is a short enough drive away from the city, but it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours to climb. Your reward is a phenomenal 360 view of the city, islets, beaches, and rainforest all around you. Just do be aware that is a very tough climb, not for those who aren’t certain they can handle it.

Raft the Tully River

Site of the annual IRF World Rafting Championships, the white waters of the world-renowned Tully River are definitely worth a splash in. There are a lot of raft operators in the area, so enjoying this thrill doesn’t have to be all too expensive.

Have a magical time as the Crystal Cascades

A freshwater swimming location tucked away in the rainforest, the Crystal Cascades is a popular hangout spot, offering an absolutely gorgeous sight of several small emerald waterfalls pouring into large, relaxing pools. Organise a BBQ with the other gappers joining you and have yourself a unique lunch thanks to the area’s picnic facilities.

Get a little culture at the galleries

With so much natural beauty around and as many people to socialise with as you can shake a stick at, art and culture might not be the first thing you think about when looking at Cairns. However, the truth is that there are tons of free galleries, with the Cairns Regional Gallery being the most popular amongst them.

Explore the markets

Looking for the perfect souvenir? Cairns has an excellent little market worth checking out, with plenty of locally made goods and tons of cheap, fresh fruit and veg for your own Aussie homemade meal. Worth checking out for the oysters alone!

With a host of different spaces to relax, a bustling market scene to enjoy haggling in, and tons of adventures through gorgeous natural spots, Cairns might not be the first place you think about taking your Gap Year, but it definitely deserves your attention.


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