What’s new in the region
- Hot on the heels of introducing the first waterslide on the Great Barrier Reef, Sunlover has added the outer reef’s first new pontoon in almost two decades to spectacular Arlington Reef.
- Explore one of UNESCO’s top 10 rock art sites in the world with a Traditional Owner. Kuku Yalanji guides tell the story of the ancient Quinkan rock art at Laura on a Jarramali Rock Art Tour.
- Outback Tasting Adventures drives you through farms on the Atherton Tablelands to sip local coffee, sample handcrafted chocolates and cheese, taste tropical wines and discover Indigenous flavours.
- Watch the sunset over the mountains of the Daintree rainforest as you sail around Port Douglas on Aquarius. BYO drinks and enjoy the onboard canapes as the end of a glorious day in the tropics.
- Experience Aboriginal culture on a Cultural Connect tour in the Wet Tropics rainforest. Learn how to use a spear to hunt, collect medicines, join a traditional art workshop and explore Mossman Gorge.
- See the Wet Tropics rainforest the fun way in a Hummer or on an ATV. The GTS Hummer Safari and ATV Quad Bikes tour takes you off-road and through creeks to see rainforest animals and birds.
- Snorkel around a secluded island at the best time of the day – early morning or afternoon – with Calypso Reef Cruises. This half-day trip for just 23 people explores Low Isles off Port Douglas.
- Critically endangered sawfish are among the 15,000 animals on display at the Cairns Aquarium which connects visitors with the Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics rainforest, Gulf Savannah and Cape York.
- Tales of sweat, Aboriginal heritage, hippies and cyclones are among the extraordinary stories of life in the tropics at the Cairns Museum. The collection documents the history of Tropical North Queensland.
- Step from the Wet Tropics rainforest on to Sailaway Cape Tribulation for a snorkelling tour of the outer Great Barrier Reef with a marine biologist. This eco-tour visits a unique tropical coral cay.
- The action-packed Tropical North Queensland events calendar is hotting up in 2018 with the Commonwealth Games basketball heats in Cairns on April 5-10. The line-up of new events includes the Reef to Reef Mountain Bike Race on August 9-12 and Targa Great Barrier Reef from August 31 to September 2.
Opening in 2018
- Learn to dive on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef at the Quicksilver Port Douglas Dive Centre. Opening in July, the centre has a four-metre-deep diving pool with a glass viewing wall.
- Brewery tours, craft beer tastings, cider and great pub food, can be enjoyed on the waterfront mid-2018 when Hemingway’s Brewery expands from Port Douglas to a Cairns heritage-listed wharf shed.
- The Cairns Performing Arts Centre is set to open mid-2018 as part of The Precinct in Cairns which incorporates the spectacular new Munro Martin Parklands outdoor performance space.
- City Centre Alive is transforming the city heart into a landscaped pedestrian-friendly area with public art and feature lighting setting the scene for an evening promenade through the Cairns CBD.
- Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina Cairns will redefine luxury in the city with the transformation of 184 guest rooms in two phases during 2018. The décor will embrace comfort and the local environment.
- Riley, the first of The Crystalbrook Collection hotels in Cairns will open in August 2018. The five-star resort with 311 suites and rooms on the Cairns Esplanade has a lagoon pool with a private beach.
- Five-star hotel Bailey will open on Abbott Street mid-2019 adding another 217 rooms to Cairns city. Boasting five restaurants and bars, it is the second of the Crystalbrook Collection hotels.
- Also under construction in the city is the Crystalbrook Collection’s five-star hotel Flynn which will open early 2020. It will have 303 suites and rooms, six restaurants and bars and two glass swimming pools.
- The Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina at Port Douglas is undergoing a $100 million redevelopment including the addition of superyacht berths, a 100-room boutique hotel, 50 top-tier apartments, retail and dining areas.
- New exhibition space and meeting rooms are included in the refurbishment and expansion of the Cairns Convention Centre which is scheduled to begin mid-2018.
- Civil works have been undertaken for the $550 million Nova City, a luxurious residential and commercial development near the Cairns Convention Centre.