Do you crave a beach holiday? A tropical escape? it might be closer than you think to achieve a sense of calm, with beautiful Cairns just on our backdoor step.

If you’re planning on organising a rental car in Cairns, here are four must do locations to pop in your itinerary.

Kuranda

Not far from the city of Cairns itself, this gorgeous spot is centred in the World-Heritage listed Wet Tropics rainforest.

Prepare to be captivated by the Earth’s oldest surviving tropical rainforests, where you can paddle in crystal clear waters, travel to find volcanic lakes and spectacular waterfalls and see what kinds of beautiful wildlife you can spot.

Kuranda is also known for being the arts and crafts centre of Tropical North Queensland, so if you fancy seeing some colourful and quirky markets, you’re in luck. These take place daily. You could also check out some of the stunning artwork available in the shops and galleries lining the main street.

This village also puts you in the perfect spot to take advantage of all the Barron River has to offer – take a rainforest walk and see if you can spot any of the yellow fig birds and colourful parrots that usually hang out in the trees that line its banks.

Mission Beach

If you’d rather wander down a stunning unspoilt beach or spend some time relaxing on a white-water river, Mission Beach could be the perfect holiday destination.

This spot is also located within spitting distance of the world famous Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and it would be a travesty to miss out on this landmark when you’re so close.

You could leave on a boat,  join a kayaking tour or hire a dinghy across to this spot. You could even pack up a picnic basket and relax.

If you’re looking for a quiet spot, chances are you won’t need to search too hard – there are 14 kilometres of pristine sandy beaches to choose from. Lush rainforest lines these shores, and here you may even spot the elusive blue Ulysses butterfly, which is a local icon.

Alternatively, you may fancy some adrenalin pumping activity. There are a few options on the table, such as skydiving, jet skiing and white water rafting.

Palm Cove

Another spectacular spot for some relaxing activities is Palm Cove. This is one long sandy beach that features a stunning backdrop of rainforest-clad mountain. Here you can experience all the tropical serenity your heart could desire.

Titled Queensland’s Friendliest Beach, you are sure to be welcomed by the locals here as you wander along the tree-lined paths or stroll along the sand.

There are also plenty of restaurants to try out, and you can devour everything from refreshing tropical produce to fish and chips by the sea.

All of this is only a 30 minute drive from Cairns!

Port Douglas

While often referred to as a gateway to Tropical North Queensland, Port Douglas has lots of activities to make it worth the visit on the city’s merits alone.

You can enjoy one of the most scenic coastal roads Queensland has to offer as you take the hour-long journey from Cairns to Port Douglas – with the Great Barrier Reef on one side and the beautiful rainforest on the other.

You may also be able to do some celeb spotting here, as this location is favoured by many on the A-list.

Food, wine, arts and culture may make up a lot of your time here and if you’re after a food or drink recommendation, friendly locals are probably more than happy to assist.

This stunning location also offers plenty of outdoor activities also, with lazy days on the beach a great option as is an exploration of the nearby tropical wonders, like Daintree Forest and the Mossman Gorge.