Cairns in

Two Days

Start with a bang-up breakfast at Candy or Perrotta's. If Rusty's Markets are on, pop in and sample exotic fruits, then carry on to the Cairns Art Gallery for an hour or so of culture vulturing. Hop on Translink bus 131 to the Botanic Gardens and Tanks Arts Centre. Back in town, have a dip at the Lagoon. Hop aboard the Prawn Star trawler for a seafood supper, then grab an ice cream and a bargain at the Night Markets. On day two hop aboard the fast catamran to Fitzroy Island. If you're more of a land-lubber, ride the Skyrail up to Kuranda, and return on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. In the evening fill up on noodles at Ganbaranba or see a show at the JUTE Theatre.

One Week

If you're a diver, join a liveaboard or a day-trip top the reef; if you're keen to learn, most dive centres offer PADI courses. Learn more about the reef at Reef Teach and with a visit to the Cairns Aquarium. Cycle out to Crystal Cascades for a refreshing swim. The rest of the days can be filled with tours; take on the Tully River with Raging Thunder, trip up the Tablelands with Barefoot Tours and explore the rugged far north with Active Tropics Explorer.