Destination Guide: Cairns – RatPack Travel



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sydney to cairns backpacker tours

Where do we begin!

Our favourite Banter Town of the East Coast – this place is buzzing every single night of the week with BackPackers – I {Sammy} – spent half of my time here in the Woolshed – oooops}. You’ll have a huge choice of activities here, head to the Great Barrier Reef, check out the waterfalls in the tablelands, get your adrenaline pumping with a bungy jump, visit the oldest rainforest in the world or visit the lush surrounding islands. This is the perfect place to start or finish your east coast Roadie.

Where is it?

North Queensland

Get these ON your bucketlist...

  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Atherton Tablelands
  • Josephine Falls – natural waterslide yewwwww
  • Fitzroy Island
  • Green Island
  • Bungy Jump
  • Partyyyy
  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Cape Tribulation
  • Skydive

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Free things to do here:

  • Chill out at the Lagoon
  • Check out the markets
  • Walk along the boardwalk {but don’t dip in the sea!}
  • Explore the Botanic Gardens

Hostel recommendations:

  • Travellers Oasis
  • Mad Monkey Backpackers – netflix & ps3 area, awesome outdoor area for the evenings, good free brekkie, fun events, pizza restaurant connected where you get 50% off!
  • Gilligans – be warned, this is a party hostel!

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Foodie Spots...

  • Hit up the lilypad opposite gilligans for a beaut brekkie
  •  Salt House

Hit the town...

  • Gilligans and Woolshed do free champagne hours served by topless waiters on ladies night {your welcome}!
  • Kewarra beach Shack Bar
  • Pier Bar
  • The Jack
  • The Courtyard
  • Pj Obriens

Top tips for Cairns..

Cairns is the ultimate backpacker destination and a great place to start or finish your east coast adventure! Check out our tips below to make the most of the city:

  • Make the most of the backpacker drink and dinner deals
  • Use the free BBQ’s by the lagoon
  • Get your day tours booked around a week before you plan to go!
  • Book your greyhound bus in advance as Cairns is the last stop on the network

Our Top Tips


  • Mad Monkey
  • Travellers Oasis
  • Gilligans (to party)

Day Tours

  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Bungy Jump
  • Cape Tribulation


  • Woolshed
  • Gilligans
  • Pj O’Briends
  • The Pier Bar


  • Salt House
  • Rattle and Rum
  • Dundees

Hidden Gems

  • Atherton Tablelands
  • Lake Echam
  • Mossman Gorge


  • Babinda Boulders
  • Crystal Cascades
  • Walshes Pyramid

How long?

5 Days+

We recommend spending at least 5 days in Cairns, there is SO much to see and do here that your itinerary will be full! Allow plenty of time to party, a day to recover after all your activities and days to head out to the Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation, Daintree Rainforest and the Atherton Tablelands,

Where next?

  • Travelling down? Mission Beach
  • Travel onwards? New Zealand
sydney to cairns backpacker tours

Book your Cairns Experiences...

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We operate a 24/7 service across multiple time zones. Our RatPackers have all been there and done it! Get the ball rolling on your upcoming trip. Send over your rough travel plans (including your flight details / dates). If you are yet to book a flight and seeking advice – HIT US UP ↡

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