3 must-visit scenic destinations outside of Cairns

Discover the natural beauty of Cairns.

There's more to Cairns than the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. The area is brimming with lush rainforests, mountainous landscapes and rugged coastal scenery that is just as (if not more) beautiful.

Explore these breath-taking locations at your own leisure by booking the perfect car hire with East Coast Car Rentals.

The Daintree Rainforest

The Daintree Rainforest is believed to be one of the world's three oldest rainforests, home to floral and fauna not found anywhere else on Earth. Explore the area's magnificent beaches and lush parks in the comfort of your rental car. 

Travel time

1 hour and 40 minutes

Area highlights

  • Port Douglas – Before arriving at The Daintree, be sure to stop off at the stunning coastal town of Port Douglas. Here, visitors can stroll the palm-lined sandy stretch of Four Mile Beach before exploring the area's shops and eateries.
  • Daintree River Cruise – As an area teaming with Aussie wildlife including the mighty croc, witness these powerful creatures from the safety of a boat when embarking on a river cruise. Find birds, snakes, crocodiles, butterflies and lizards along the way.
  • Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours – Strap yourself in and take to the treetops for this next Daintree adventure. See the rainforest from new heights when joining a canopy tour, and prepare for endless fun in stunning surroundings. 

How to get here

The Atherton Tablelands

From World-heritage listed rainforests to local wildlife hotspots, breathtaking natural wonders to incredible dining opportunities, no matter what you're into, there's something for everyone at the Atherton Tablelands.

Travel time

1 1/2 hours 

Area highlights

  • Granite Gorge – If you want to see one of Australia's cutest national creatures up close, Granite Gorge is a must-visit for any animal lover. The gorge is a natural playground for the many rock wallabies that reside here, made up of caves, boulders and swim holes for them to hop around in all day. Buy yourself a bag of feed at the entrance and watch as these gentle creatures suddenly become your best friend. 
  • Mt Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls – After a huge gas explosion Mt Hypipamee Crater was created, resulting in a hole stretching nearly 70 metres wide and 58 metres deep. After marvelling at this phenomenal space, take to one of the park's walking tracks to explore the nearby waterfalls.
  • Kundra – Known as the 'village in the rainforest', Kundra delights visitors with its thriving market, natural beauty and nearby attractions. 

How to get here


If your East Coast road trip is heading south, be sure to stop off at Townsville. The city itself offers a wide variety of things to do, as well as being the perfect base for nearby attractions!

Travel time

4 hours and 30 minutes

Area highlights

  • Paluma Range National Park – About 90 kilometres north of Townsville is the Paluma Range National Park. Here, visitors can enjoy the area's wildlife, walking tracks and waterfall.
  • Burdekin – Fishing enthusiasts will love Burdekin – a small seaside area an hour south of Townsville famed for its barramundi and mud crab fishing.
  • Castle Hill Lookout – Enjoy unbeatable views of Townsville from the top of the Castle Hill Lookout. The climb up may be slightly steep in parts, but boy, the birds-eye view is completely worth it. After your hike, head into the city for a feed at one of the area's sea-front eateries. 

How to get here

With so many incredible attractions and parks to visit, don't miss out on everything Cairns has to offer by not booking a hire car. Speak to the team at East Coast Car Rentals today about securing the perfect rental car for your Cairns adventures. 

About the Author

Chester is a foodie and loves to explore the great land of Australia. He is currently blogging for East Coast Car Rentals.

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