About Queensland: North-East Australia around Cairns
Here is a journey into the far north of Queensland, where it can be stiflingly hot in summer – with tropical heat and tropical rain; the best time to come is winter. The best places to visit on this stretch of coast are the islands and the Great Barrier Reef, both of which have superb diving. Many of the beaches along the coast are spectacularly beautiful: white sands, palm trees and blue, blue sea. But the swimming can be restricted when there are box jellyfish in the region, which is usually during the hot steamy summer (October to May).
Cairns is the main resort town with access to the northern part of the reef, which is closer to the shore up here. Its main competitor to the south is Townsville, which has its own popular island suburb: Magnetic Island. Further south, the Whitsunday Islands are justifiably amongst the most popular in Queensland. They offer both spectacular resorts and undeveloped, remote islands.
If you want to visit a few of the islands you should allow at least a week to cover this stretch.
The sheer scale of distances along this stretch of the coast mean that you’ll probably fly to Cairns or Townsville, there are several airlines that fly daily from Victoria and New South Wales for relatively cheaply, try www.tigerair.com.au. From here there are ferries to the islands. All the main towns along the coast are linked by railway and regular buses. If you want to explore further, you’ll definitely need a car.