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Cairns for taking it easy and taking the plunge
Cairns is blessed with some beautiful beaches, and Trinity Beach is a prime example. Its spotless golden sands and splendid esplanade confer a relaxed sea-side village feel on this Queensland city. Just 16 miles up the coast, Palm Cove has one of Australia's most serene beaches, lined with palm trees and dotted with chic al fresco restaurants.
In keeping with its tropical climate, Cairns has its own Botanic Gardens with an array of plants hailing from Southeast Asia and Australia's own rainforests. The Gardens are a riot of colour and as you walk among them, admire the diverse plants species grown here. And next to the Gardens is parkland consisting of tropical rainforest and mangroves, culminating in a freshwater lake around which there is a lovely grassy park - the perfect spot for a picnic.
There's more than enough to do on the mainland but since you're here, why not visit the nearby islands of Fitzroy Island, Michaelmas Cay and Green Island? You'll find even more glorious beaches and perfect opportunities for snorkelling and kayaking. Fitzroy Island is a family-friendly National Park. Migratory birds flock to Michaelmas Cay where sea turtles are an everyday sight. And the coral cay that is Green Island is populated with rainforests circled by flawless sandy beaches, and spectacular coral reefs which attract a host of marine life.
Cairns is ideal for both relaxation and exploration. It's also perfect for those times when you feel the need for speed. You could be racing in a raft on the foaming waters of Russell River, as the breathtaking scenery rushes by, or plummeting - safely! - from a great height. Just nine miles from the city, make your way to the top of a bungee jump tower, surrounded by rainforest. Here you'll have spectacular views of Cairns' mountains and the Coral Sea before you start your exhilarating descent!
Eating, drinking and nightlife
Palm Cove's award-winning beachfront restaurant, Vivo Bar and Grill brings delicious Northern Italian-inflected cuisine to Cairns. And it tastes even better as you sit outside in the fresh sea air and enjoy the gorgeous coastal vistas.
Tropical conditions often require urgent remedies, and what better medicine than an ice cream? Head to Gelocchio where you can administer yourself gelatos and ice popsicles that come in a variety of flavours, including Baileys.
And for modern Asian seafood, from chilli crab and crispy whole fish to tropical lobster and Bali fish, Beach Almond Beach House is the place to go. This popular eatery's food will delight your taste buds.
The nightlife in Cairns is diverse, fun and friendly. Check out renowned DJs at Velvet Underground or have a wild old night at The Woolshed bar, restaurant and nightclub. Just fancy a beer or two? Then Cairns has great pubs such as Pier Bar or The Jack.