Cairns: Thrills & Spills (I)

There is more to Queensland, Australia than just sun, sand and sea. I had the privilege of finding this out while on a press junket to Cairns last year, on behalf of a local newspaper.

Mention Cairns and most people think that the only thing you can do there is snorkel or dive at the Great Barrier Reef. This could not be further from the truth. From zip-lining through the trees in a World Heritage Site rainforest, to shooting the rapids in the middle of a national park, or hunting like an aborigine on a coastal reef, there are a great many other activities in Cairns that would bring out the adventure seeker in anyone.

Here is how you can go from cubicle rat in whichever country you are in to thrill-seeker in Cairns.

Brace yourself for the river wild

raging-thunder-640x425                                  White-water rafting in Barron River (Credit: Raging Thunder)

For an adrenaline-charged activity, consider white-water rafting. Located 20 minutes from the city, Barron River features rapids of grade two and three. While that means a fair bit of raft manoeuvring is required, it is still suitable for first-timers. Be prepared for a vigorous yet fun, wet ride, and hold on tight. You will need to dress right (covered shoes, no jewellery or mobile devices, etc) for safety — your own and your belongings.

Our raft was manned by a qualified instructor from Raging Thunder ( who ensured everyone got through the relatively strong rapids safely, with time to enjoy the beautiful rainforest surroundings as well as indulging in friendly water fights with people in other rafts. Even a brief heavy shower could not dampen our spirits.

Crown yourself lord of the jungle
         Jungle surfing in Daintree Rainforest (Credit: Blog author’s own)

At Cape Tribulation, about a three-hour drive north of Cairns, lies the World Heritage Site Daintree Rainforest Reserve, which is the gateway to the thrill-filled adventure that is jungle-surfing.

Led by professional rangers from Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours (, you will be harnessed and taken to the heart of the verdant rainforest, where after a short, steep climb, you will get to zip-line across six tree canopy platforms spanning over 350m amid majestic trees and dense foliage. My favourite bit was when we were dangled above a gushing river for what seemed like forever. It was a heart-stopping moment, but one that allowed me to take in the natural beauty of what is a small part of the largest tropical rainforest in Australia.

To be continued…

My article on Cairns was originally published in TODAY newspaper on December 15, 2016.



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