No visit to Australia is complete without a visit to the world famous and world heritage site of The Great Barrier Reef and Cairns is an excellent place to be to get on a boat and see it for yourself. But how on earth can a visit to The Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns be considered a free or cheap thing to do in Cairns?
The first option depends on what your definition of cheap is, but you can book yourself on a day trip to The Great Barrier Reef from as little as $99AUD. However it is also possible to visit the spectacular Coral Reef for absolutely nothing. To do this requires a bit of cunning and / or a bit of luck but it is possible.
Cairns, Australias backpackers Capital, has lots of bars catering to the backpacker market; this means heaps of nightly activities where for a temporary loss of your dignity you could find yourself the proud winner of a trip to The Great Barrier Reef on one of the many boats that departs Cairns on a daily basis. Alternatively you could become a "hostie" on one of those boats meaning that in exchange for a bit of work you could be out on the reef for free. Get a fun job on your working holiday (read more for further details on a job as a hostie).
The heat in Cairns can sometimes become unbearable so what better way to cool off than in a huge, well-maintained outdoor swimming pool? Located on The Esplanade in central Cairns is The Lagoon and it really is a nice place to relax and while away the day and at the same time you can also indulge in Free or Cheap things to do in Cairns numbers 3 and 4.
Get a bunch of friends together and hire a car for the day! We're really lucky that there are some beautiful waterfalls very close to us. For example Barron Falls and the Crystal Cascades (don't forget to bring towels) are both very nearby. If you don't fancy hiring a car then get the bus to Palm Cove, which is 45 minutes away, the bus costs around $9.40 return and Palm Cove is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cairns.
Cairns has a surprising number of art galleries. Well, I was surprised because when you're thinking of Cairns it's not the towns culture that first pops into your mind. The Art Galleries are free to get in because they want you to buy something and you'll see some spectacular images of Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef and also images of some of the places you'll have visited during your time in Australia. Because there are quite a few art galleries, ranging from indigenous art to contemporary art there's pretty much something to suit everyones tastes. Cairns is a great place to invest in a good coffee table book for your Mum so that she can see what a wonderful country you're visiting.
If you want to check out our beautiful rainforest there are some excellent options. You can visit the Botanical Gardens and near to the Botanical Gardens is the entry to the 'Red Arrow', a small nature walk. This walk will takes about 30 minutes return and will take you through the gorgeous rainforest to a spectacular lookout at the top. A good thing to know; the entry is free.
Well now I've pretty much run out of free or cheap things to do in Cairns to tell you about, this doesn't mean that this is the end of the list though because there are many more activities to do in this tropical Australian city. For up to date information on special offers, discounts and loads of other things, you'll find that the staff at your backpacker hostel will have a comprehensive list of everything you need to know. Your hostel is also a good place to find free things to do.