When in Cairns: There’s more to do than just diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. Check out other fun activities like the following:
Claim the hunting ground
Mangrove walk at Cooya Beach (Credit: Marguerita Tan)
Cairns is filled with lovely beaches. At Cooya Beach, an hour’s drive north of the city, you can embark on the Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tour (www.kycht.com.au), an educational walk through the beach, mangroves and mud flats, where you learn more about the land and how to hunt like the natives.
Led by an indigenous guide of aboriginal heritage, we were first taught how to spear, before trekking barefoot gingerly through a muddy mangrove swamp. Upon reaching a sandy coastal reef, we looked high and low for crabs, clams and the occasional snail, while making time to embrace the clear blue skies and fresh air. The tour ended at the guide’s home where our catch of the day became our yummy lunch.
Check into Zootopia
About 80 per cent of Australia’s plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to the country, and hence the wildlife attractions in Queensland are really worth visiting both for adults and children.
Located 40 minutes from Cairns, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures (www.crocodileadventures.com) is the best place on the continent to see crocodiles as it has some 4,500 crocs, complete with a remarkable man-made lagoon. It also has an open-concept zoo where you can handfeed a kangaroo or wallaby.
Cute little girl gets up close and personal with a resting kangaroo
at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures zoo. (Credit: Marguerita Tan)
If you want to see more animals, go to Kuranda Village (www.kuranda.com.au), located 1,000 feet (305m) above Cairns. Its Rainforest Nature Park has a koala garden, a butterfly sanctuary, a bird park and even a “venom zoo”, offering opportunities to see exotic creatures such as Australian tarantulas and cone snails you would rarely encounter up close.
To be continued…
My article on Cairns was originally published in TODAY newspaper on December 15, 2016.