Holiday ideas for exploring north Queensland

Tropical North Queensland is not short on exciting holiday ideas, whether you are visiting from across the world or from other parts of Australia. A year-round outdoor playground with activities suitable for all ages, you could do visit World Heritage Daintree Rainforest, tackle a Green Island ocean swim, cruise through ancient outback Cobbold Gorge, take an Atherton Tablelands road trip through the food bowl of north Queensland or chill out in serene Paronellla Park with it’s romantic Spanish castle-style architecture.

Here’s some fun and fabulous planning suggestions and tropical holiday ideas in north Queensland that are easy to reach from Cairns and Port Douglas.

Don’t forget we have an Adventure Tour Desk at Thala and tours can be booked after you have checked in! Most tour operators will pick up guests from Thala’s lobby, or for those that are further afield (such as Cobbold Gorge or Paronella Park) we recommend hiring a car for self-drive adventures.

Mossman Gorge and Daintree Rainforest

Take a guided Indigenous walk through the lush rainforest of Mossman Gorge and experience the wonders of the World Heritage Wet Tropics Daintree Rainforest all the while getting lost in its enchanting stories shared by Kuku Yalanji people. Your journey into one of the planets oldest living rainforest starts at the Mossman Gorge Centre, approx 20 mins north of Thala. Dreamtime Walks depart daily.

Mossman Gorge

Quicksilver Reef Swim on Green Island (June each year)

Each June hundreds of ocean swimmers dive into the sparkling sea at Green Island (yes, we know it’s winter, but this is the tropics and the ocean is pleasingly warm!), a short boat ride from Cairns. The Green Island Reef Swim held every June offers competitors a chance to challenge themselves through a 1.5km or 3km spectacular ocean swim course on the Great Barrier Reef.

Taste of the Tablelands Food Trail

Take a food trail on your very Taste of the Tablelands self-drive tour into the rich, fertile food bowl in the high country of the Atherton Tablelands about one hour west of Cairns & Port Douglas.

Cobbold Gorge is nature’s geographical masterpiece

Carved by nature over millions of years ago, Cobbold Gorge is a dramatic piece of natural Outback Queensland. Take a boat ride through the mirror-like Cobbold Creek to appreciate the serenity of the gorge.

Paronella Park – a magical wonderland with a love story at its heart

Built by hand by Spanish immigrants Jose and Margarita Paronella in the 1920’s, who left their hand prints in the Spanish-style architecture on show, Paronella Park captures the beauty of north Queensland in a peaceful parkland.


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