Region: North Queensland

To the locals, along with holidaymakers who regularly visit here, Far North Queensland is the perfect picture of a tropical paradise - palm trees wafting in a balmy breeze above endless clean white beaches.

Why go overseas when paradise is right here on your doorstep, they say, and after spending some time exploring the region, you can't help agreeing with them. After all, Cairns & The Great Barrier Reef Region is the only place on earth where rainforests meet the reef.

Providing an inspiring visual backdrop to this magical tropical coastline are majestic mountains and tablelands containing tropical rainforests, waterfalls, crater lakes and ancient lava tubes, the remnants of long extinct volcanoes. For visitors, the Tablelands and the Outback beyond present opportunities for bush walking, bird watching, limestone cave tours, a wildlife cruise, wildlife spotting, hot air ballooning and water sports as diverse as fishing, water skiing and white water rafting.

How To Get There

The twice weekly Spirit of Queensland passes through all the well known Queensland coastal destinations between Brisbane and Rockhampton, and between Brisbane and Cairns. It's a long drive (1,682 km/23 hours) but travelling the length of Bruce Highway (Brisbane to Cairns) takes you to just about every coastal Queensland location worth seeing north of Brisbane. If you don't have the time or inclination to make the drive, Cairns has an international airport that is connected by air to all of Australia's capital cities. Townsville is also has a major domestic airport.

Best Time To Go

North Queensland is a tropical region, so there are two very distinct seasons - Wet and Dry. The Wet season (January to April) brings steaming hot temperatures, high rainfall and high levels of humidity. The up-side of the wet season is that the rainforest is amazing, everything is so Green. The bird life is spectacular and the waterfalls are stunning - more often than not they are raging torrents.

The dry season, which is at its mildest from July to September, sees little or no rain, low humidity, pleasant days with equally comfortable, balmy nights. April to September offers the clearest skies, while November and December are the hottest time of the year.

July to September is the peak tourist season; if you are planning to visit then, you are advised to book your travel arrangements in advance, especially during school holidays when the best accommodation gets booked up anything up to six months in advance.

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