Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger Airways fly to Cairns from most capital cities. Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar also fly to Townsville from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
It's best to book early to get cheaper airfares especially if you plan to travel in the school holidays.
Booking accommodation online is now the norm, with most resorts offering an online booking facility. There are also numerous online travel companies
where you can check resort facilities and accommodation types, check for availability and price, and book your holiday using a credit card.
Mantra offer a
number of family friendly properties in North Queensland.
There is an efficient transport system in Tropical North Queensland, catering for locals and the many tourists to the region. Public and private buses and coaches, trains (including some historic and scenic
train rides), and ferry services to the islands form part of this network.
Hiring a car is a great way to get to some of the more remote parts of Far North Queensland. There are plenty of car hire companies available, but best to stick to the
better known ones and shop around for the best deal. Some offer special discounts through motoring associations, travel agencies, credit card
companies, airlines, discount books, licensed clubs and other sources.
Budget is renowned for meticulously maintained vehicles and the absolute best in service; Budget
offers a wide range of cars, 4WDs, and minibuses, as well as Australia's largest fleet of trucks and commercial vehicles.
There are a variety of shopping options in North Queensland, probably the highlight being local markets. Markets are great places to purchase local produce and arts and crafts. Markets are
held in Port Douglas, Kuranda, Cairns, Mission Beach, and Townsville. Many of the smaller towns also hold a market day during the month.
The Cairns Night Market is on every night and you can also find something to eat here.
There are a number of large shopping centres in Cairns and Townsville as well as many trendy surf and fashion shops.
Things To Do
There are numerous activities and attractions for families to do and see in North Queensland. Here is a list of the most popular ones:
Great Barrier Reef
One of the most amazing experiences you can have is diving or snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. A helicopter flight is another great way to see the reef. Many tour companies run tours to the reef from Cairns and Port Douglas.
Located 20km north of Port Douglas, in Daintree National Park. Experience the rainforest, waterfalls and streams while learning about the indigenous culture. The Mossman Gorge Centre offers information on getting around the Gorge and has a cafe, shop and art gallery. Many tour operators offer great tours of this beautiful area. There is a shuttle bus service from the Mossman Gorge Centre to the Gorge.
Located in Port Douglas, the highlight of this wildlife park is 'Breakfast with the Birds'. Enjoy the abundant wildlife and a tropical buffet breakfast. Open from 8am.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Located 15km north of Cairns. See the rainforest from above in a cablecar that spans 7.5km of rainforest. You can also enjoy walks through the rainforests and views of spectacular waterfalls. Open from 9am.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
This is a must-do if visiting Cairns - the scenic railway is world-famous and gives you an insight into Australia's pioneering history. Ride through rainforests and past waterfalls. Lots to see and do in Kuranda, including markets and wildlife parks. First departure time is 8:30am from Cairns Railway Station.
Cairns Tropical Zoo
Located 20 minutes north of Cairns at Palm Cove. Set on 6 hectares, there are daily wildlife shows and you can get to cuddle a koala. See reptiles, birds and mammals. There are cafes and a gift shop. Open daily from 8:30am.
Great for young kids, Muddy's Playground is located on the Cairns esplanade. A great playground with water features. Best of all, it's free. There is an on-site cafe.
There are many spectacular waterfalls to see in North Queensland. Located south of Cairns, some of the most popular falls are Mungalli Falls, Josephine Falls, and Millaa Millaa Falls. Great places to have a picnic and a swim.
Located 120km south of Cairns at Mena Creek, Paronella Park is a unique, award-winning tourist destination. See North Queensland's 1st hydro-electric system while enjoying the plants and animals on a guided tour. There is a cafe or you can bring a picnic.
Located in Townsville, this wildlife park lets you get up-close to Australian native animals. Set in a picturesque 11 hectares of bushland. There is a cafe and bbq's are available. Open from 9am.
Located in Townsville, Reef HQ is a large coral reef aquarium. A great introduction to the reef. You can visit the turtle hospital and watch the shark and fish feeding. There are school holiday programs and a shop and cafe. Open from 9:30am.