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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for A List of Budget-friendly Exciting Things to Do in Cairns - 5 Places to visit on a budget!
Joanna James Joanna James
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A List of Budget-friendly Exciting Things to Do in Cairns - 5 Places to visit on a budget!

Cairns may be situated between two of Australia's most popular attractions – the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. But you don't need a large budget to enjoy the country's adventure capital. Here are some inexpensive and free things you can indulge in when in Cairns.


Trekking between the highest peaks

Explore Queensland's two tallest peaks, the Bartle Frere and the Bellenden Ker, in the pathways taken by pioneering gold explorers. The Goldfield Trail is ideal for people who enjoy a good climb but aren't quite fit to tackle a high mountain slope. The path begins at the Babinda Boulders, about an hour south of Cairns, and winds through 19 kilometres of Wet Tropics rainforest right into Wooroonooran National Park. If you'd like to complete the entire return walk, you will need camping gear, but for a day excursion, you can hike to the halfway mark – around 4.5km in, you will discover a huge creek bordered with king ferns! Besides, if you're looking for Cairns hotel offers at properties around this region, you can check out the ones offered by Oaks Cairns Hotel for a good experience!


Swimming in a renowned volcanic crater

You will have to bring your inflatables as well as paddleboards since you will want to spend the entire day relaxing on Lake Eacham. This place came to being when groundwater and magma came in contact just around 10,000 years ago. The deep blue maar (as it's officially known) is a nice respite from the heat and humidity of the tropics and makes for a picturesque ride through the Cairns Highlands.


Visiting the biggest sanctuary for butterflies in the southern hemisphere

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda invites you to step into nature's very own kaleidoscope. Discover beautiful rainforest landscapes as bright blue Ulysses or grand green and yellow Birdwings flutter by. This sanctuary is home to almost 1,500 tropical butterflies plus moths. Before visiting the breeding lab, which contains up to four thousand caterpillars, don't miss the free escorted aviary tour to understand the butterfly's life cycle and behaviours. Also, wear bright colours to entice butterflies to settle on you. You can consider wearing hot pink, red or even white. Adults will have to pay $20 to enter.


Pitching a tent between two wonders

Are you looking for a new challenge? Load your tent and head out where you won't have to spend a fortune to sleep next to five-star vistas. Noah Beach at Cape Tribulation is one of Queensland's best beach camping places, hidden beneath a thick forest canopy only 50 metres from the beach here. You should definitely take advantage of the central location and visit the national walking trails or surrounding communities once you've had your fill of tropical solitude. Tent sites start at around $15 per night.


Learn some military history

The Australian Armour and Artillery Museum, the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, is a must-see for military aficionados. It's devoted to conserving and repairing military vehicles as well as artillery from the 1800s, with tank destroyers, tanks, howitzers mortars, and World War I and II vehicles on display.