The city of Cairns is sitting right in the centre of one of the planet's greatest and most diverse natural wonderlands, and thankfully, much of this awesome nature has been protected as National Park. Rainforest National Parks practically envelope the city, the offshore National Parks of Green Island and Fitzroy Island are just a short boat ride away, and just over the ridge, you will find National Parks of dry, open woodland. Within a few hours drive of Cairns, you'll find almost every type of National park, except a volcano. Hey, hold the boat... you'll even find one of them!
YOU CAN 'DRAG' THE MAP, AND ZOOM IN TO A PARTICULAR LOCATION. WHERE MANY NATIONAL PARKS ARE CLOSE TOGETHER, YOU WILL NEED TO ZOOM IN TO 'SEPARATE' THE MARKERS. ROLL YOUR MOUSE OVER THE MAP TO SEE THE ZOOM CONTROLS.
DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK
The rainforest of the Daintree area is the oldest in the world, having existed here for up to 135 million years. The Daintree National Park is a huge park, consisting of two sections, with a settled area between the two, where you will find the towns of Mossman and Daintree Village. Cape Tribulation also lies within the boundaries of the park. It is a diverse region with wonderful opportunities for hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and a wide range of wildlife... including crocodiles (although you can swim safely at Mossman Gorge) Please visit our DESTINATIONS pages for more details about MOSSMAN, DAINTREE, and CAPE TRIBULATION. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
MOWBRAY NATIONAL PARK
Mowbray National Park is entirely within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The pyramid-shaped Black Mountain is the prominent feature of park. There are a number of walking tracks, and in some areas of the park, mountain bike riding, trail riding and horse riding are allowed. Camping is not permitted. Permits may be necessary to traverse some roads in the area. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
KURANDA STATE FORESTS
There are a number of walking tracks in Kuranda State Forest and Kuranda Forest Reserve, and in some areas of the park, mountain bike riding, trail riding and horse riding are allowed. Camping is not permitted. Permits may be necessary to traverse some roads in the area. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
GREEN ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Green Island is one of the most accessible and popular islands on the Great Barrier Reef, a small rainforest clad coral cay, just 45 minutes cruising time from Cairns. The surrounding reefs are fantastic for diving and snorkelling. The island also features a low-rise resort, an underwater observatory and a marineland. Camping is not allowed. To read more about Green Island, and the other islands close to Cairns, please visit our CAIRNS ISLANDS page. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
FITZROY ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Fitzroy Island is rugged and diverse with granite outcrops, open woodlands, rainforest, mangroves and coral beaches. It's a large island with a range of popular walking tracks, and also excellent snorkelling and diving just off the shore. There is a campground on the island, as well as a resort which offers activities such as scuba diving, sea kayaking, fishing, aqua scooters, catamarans, outriggers, paddle skis and glass-bottomed boat tours. There is a daily ferry service from Cairns. To read more about Fitzroy Island, and the other islands close to Cairns, please visit our CAIRNS ISLANDS page. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
BARRON GORGE NATIONAL PARK
Barron Gorge is the traditional home of the Djabaguy people, and two of the more popular walking tracks in the park - the Douglas and Smiths tracks - were traditional pathways for the Djabaguy for thousands of years. At Barron Gorge, the visitor has an opportunity to experience the rainforest in a number of ways; canoeing on the lake, white water rafting on the Barron River, gazing from the window of the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway, or from from above in a gondola on the Skyrail rainforest cableway. Barron Gorge National Park is just near Kuranda. To read more about Kuranda, the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail Rainforest Experience, and the Djabaguy Tkapukai) Aboriginal Cultural Park, please visit our KURANDA page. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
MOUNT WHITFIELD CONSERVATION PARK
Just behind the Flecker Botanic Gardens, 5 kilometres from the Cairns City centre, the 300 hectare Mt Whitfield Conservation Park is a great spot for hiking and birdwatching. The forested mountains of the park reach 365 metres above sea level, providing wonderful views There are two major walking tracks - the Red and Blue Arrow circuits. The 1.3 km Red Arrow circuit takes approximately 40 minutes to one hour to complete, and is suitable for everyone, regardless of fitness level. The Blue Arrow walk, on the other hand, is a steep 5.4 kilometre climb to the highest point in the park. Take drinking water with you if you attempt the Blue Arrow walk. Both walks offer spectacular views of Trinity Inlet, the Coral Sea and Cairns city. There is also a short but very interesting Gondwana Evolutionary trail, leading from the car park to MacDonnell Street. Mosquitos and other tropical insects love these parklands as much as we do, so wear insect repellant. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
DINDEN FOREST RESERVE
Dinden Forest Reserve on the Atherton Tablelands contains tropical rainforest, tall eucalypt forest with flooded gum and turpentine, dry open forest and casuarina forest remnants. There are magnificent views from Kahlpahlim Rock, the highest point on the Lamb Range, but this is a steep climb, slippery when wet, and should only be tackled by experienced walkers. The alternative return route along the Ridge trail is less steep and less diverse. Bush camping is possible near Davies Creek. There are Aboriginal rock art paintings along the Bare Hill track. To get permission to visit this cultural site, contact the Kuranda Mantaka Kowrowa Mona Mona Aboriginal Corporation (07) 4093 9296. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
DINDEN STATE FOREST
Picnic tables, wood-fired barbecues and toilets are provided in the day use area near the carpark, set among tall gum trees beside Emerald Creek. From the carpark, there is an easy 2 kilometre walking track, ending at a lookout which provides views, not only of Emerald Creek falls, but also back along the valley and across the northern Atherton tableland. You can enjoy a refreshing paddle in the creek, but camping is not permitted. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
DAVIES CREEK NATIONAL PARK
Endangered northern bettongs are found in Davies Creek National Park. These rat-kangaroos, smaller than a rabbit, are found only in very limited areas of north Queensland and nowhere else in the world. Researchers also recently discovered southern brown bandicoots residing in the park — a long way from the nearest known population on the Cape York Peninsula. The Djabugay Aboriginal people traditionally used this area for ceremonies, painting, and tool making. There are a number of campgrounds and walking tracks in Davies Creek National park and the adjoining parks. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
DANBULLA STATE FOREST
Danbulla State Forest surrounds picturesque Lake Tinaroo on the Barron River, and features tropical rainforest and open forest, a crater lake and historic sites. The forest is home to a wonderful variety of animals including the northern bettong, green-eyed treefrog, Lumholtz tree-kangaroo, Herbert River ringtail possum, red goshawk, and many rare plants. This is also where you will find the magnificent Cathedral Fig. Around the lake there are five camping areas, with varying level of facilities. Walking tracks range froma few hundred metres to 5 kilometres in length. Canoeing is popular. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.
FRANKLAND GROUP NATIONAL PARK
These five continental islands - High, Normanby, Mabel, Round and Russell - feature rocky outcrops, dense rainforest, mangroves and coastal vegetation, making them a haven for a variety of wildlife. they are surrounded by extensive fringing reefs, the traditional sea country of the Mandingalby Yindinji and Gungandji Aboriginal peoples. These days the islands are popular with day trippers, enjoying the snorkelling and diving. Camping is allowed by permit on Russell and High islands only. To read more about the Frankland Islands, and the other islands close to Cairns, please visit our CAIRNS ISLANDS page. For more information about this park, please CLICK HERE.