Cairns Australia : Crystal Cascades
For foreign and interstate tourists who go to Queensland and don't make the trip up to the far north of the state, they are really missing out. Do yourself a favour and head to far north Queensland and make Cairns your base of operations. Only a few hours out of Cairns in each direction of the compass you will find some real hidden travel gems of Australia and most of them can be enjoyed with the minimum of expense
1. The Esplanade Lagoon
The first stop in Cairns for any tourist should be the relaxing lagoon on the esplanade. It was not that long ago that the beautiful lagoon was once mud flats and mangroves. The only thing it was good for was catching the odd mud crab at night. Now it has been transformed to a beautiful lagoon that people all ages can swim and relax at. There is no chance of being stung by deadly marine stingers so it makes a great family friendly place to enjoy the hot cairns sunshine.
2. Mossman Gorge
A mere 80km north of Cairns, you will find the beautiful and tranquil Mossman River Gorge located in the Daintree National Park. Crystal clear water cascades over large granite boulders in the Mossman River gorge. Lush rain-forests cloak steep mountainsides from the riverbanks up to the rugged ranges. You will think you are in paradise wading in the beautiful water. What makes this place so special for visitors on all budgets is that because it is in a National Park it is free to enter and enjoy its beauty. Kuku Yalanji, the Traditional Owners of Daintree National Park, welcome you and ask that you respect their special place. It is a beautiful place but there are some things that you should be careful of, avoid the stinging trees with heart shaped leaves. They can be quite painful if you touch there leaves. Flash flooding can also occur, and if visiting in the wet season be careful of being in the water because the currents can be quite strong and there are many cascades that you can washed down onto.
3. Millaa Millaa Falls
Just south of Cairns is where one of the most photographed of all waterfalls in Australia is located. Millaa Millaa Falls are magnificent waterfalls surrounded by lush rainforest located on the Waterfalls Circuit, along with Zillie and Ellinjaa Falls. The falls cascade perfectly to a pristine waterhole below where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool water. There's also a lovely grassy picnic area for you to relax. The surrounding area is full of wildlife and platypus are often sighted in the clear waters.
4. Crystal Cascades
This spot is my all time favourite place around Cairns. It is a really hidden gem and most people will only find it on the advice of a local or from word of mouth by other tourists. It is only about 15km out of Cairns. It is a secluded freshwater swimming hole, hidden in a tropical rainforest. A series of small waterfalls flow into large pools surrounded by boulders. Rainforest trees hang over the water, keeping it cool and refreshing. There are also picnic tables in the area, and a toilet block close-by. It is a very popular spot with the local to swim and very busy in summer. There are plenty of spots up the river to have a very private moment and take in the beautiful scenery.
5. Mission Beach
Just under two hours south of cairns is the beautiful Mission Beach. It would not be a list of things to do in Queensland if you did not include a beach to see. Apart from the fact that it is not a surf beach it would have to be one of the prettiest beaches in Far North Queensland. Its golden sand beaches and unbelievably blue waters make this are last stop on our five free things to do around Cairns.