Top things to do

Top Choice Waterfront in Cairns

Cairns Esplanade, Boardwalk & Lagoon

Sunseekers and fun-lovers flock to Cairns Esplanade's spectacular swimming lagoon on the city’s reclaimed foreshore. The artificial, sandy-edged, 4800-sq-metre saltwater pool is lifeguard patrolled and illuminated n…
Top Choice Gardens in Cairns

Flecker Botanic Gardens

These gorgeous gardens are an explosion of greenery and rainforest plants. Highlights include a section devoted to Aboriginal plant use, the Gondwana Heritage Garden, and an excellent conservatory filled with butter…
Top Choice Indian in Cairns

Spicy Bite

Cairns has plenty of good Indian restaurants, but none are quite as innovative as this unassuming place, where fusion food has been turned into a write-home-about-it experience: where else on earth could you try cro…
Top Choice Balinese in Cairns

Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant

One of Cairns' best restaurants isn't along the waterfront or in the lobby of a flash hotel, but rather, attached to a midrange apartment complex. Completely unexceptional from the outside, the Balinese food that is…
Top Choice Bar in Cairns

Three Wolves

Intimate, understated and bang-on-trend (think Edison bulbs, copper mugs and mixologists in old-timey barkeep aprons), this new laneway bar has delivered a very welcome dash of Melbourne. It's got an excellent selec…
Top Choice Bar in Cairns

Green Ant Cantina

Behind the railway station, this grungy, rockin' Tex-Mex bar is an ace and arty alternative hang-out. Smothered in bright murals and peopled by friendly folks, the Green Ant brews its own beers and hosts regular mus…
Top Choice Seafood in Cairns

Prawn Star

Trawler restaurant Prawn Star is tropical dining perfection: clamber aboard and fill yourself with prawns, mud crabs, oysters and whatever else was caught that day, while taking in equally delicious harbour views. I…
Top Choice Mediterranean in Cairns

Perrotta's at the Gallery

This unmissable eatery, connected to the Cairns Regional Gallery, tempts you onto its covered deck with splendid gourmet breakfasts – until 3pm! – fresh juices, barista coffees and an inventive Mediterranean-inspire…
Top Choice Japanese in Cairns

Ganbaranba

You'll recognise this tiny place by the queues outside, and the beatific faces of the customers inside. This is a cult joint, and without a doubt the best place for ramen in Cairns. Slurpers can watch the chefs maki…
Top Choice Modern Australian in Cairns

Ochre

The menu at this innovative waterfront restaurant utilises native Aussie fauna (such as croc with native pepper, or roo with quandong-chilli glaze) and flora (try wattle-seed damper loaf or Davidson plum mousse). It…