It's only natural that you may have a trip to the Great Barrier Reef lined up when you organise a car hire in Cairns.

However, the city itself has more to offer than just its proximity to this natural wonder.

The area is the perfect holiday destination – whether you want to spend time on the beach soaking up the sun and relaxing or taking part in an activity that will boost your adrenaline levels, this region has it all.

Cairns is a naturally vibrant and tropical city that has been brought to life by the many festivals, events and experiences on offer.

Here are just some of the exciting things to take in when you visit this metropolis.

Cairns Regional Gallery

Too hot outside? Take a break and enjoy some culture at the only visual museum in Far North Queensland. Here you can view over a decade's worth of history, heritage and contemporary culture as well as plenty of visual arts, craft and design.

Even if you have been to this location before, there will still be something new to see as the exhibitions change every four to six weeks. This could include anything from paintings, photography and prints to sculptures and installations.

Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome

Located in a wildlife immersion exhibit, this challenge ropes course is made up of 65 different elements, such as  crossings and ziplines.

The mid-ZOOm is suitable for beginners over the height of 120 cm and under the weight of 120 kgs. So if you have yet to undertake one of these courses or are not particularly confident, this could be the best place to start.

However, if you have some experience, the hi-ZOOm could be a better match for your skill level. It features more complex crossings and ziplines, including one in which you will dangle over Goliath the crocodile – this is not for the faint-hearted. In order to partake in this course, you must be over 140 cm tall and weigh less than 120 kgs.

If neither of these activities appeal, the power jump allows you to freefall off a 13-metre-high tower with a fan ensuring a gentle and smooth landing. Or the Dome Climb might be more up your alley. This allows you to walk along an internal walkway with a bird's-eye view of the dome, city and surrounding landscapes. In order to take part in either of these activities, you must be over 120 cm tall and weigh under 120 kgs.

Cobia Hole Dive Site

This is a pinnacle of rocks, covered with marine organisms. Here you can spot plenty of sponges, soft coral, feather stars, sea squirts, corallimorpharians, shrimps, gobies and crabs.

Sometimes bream can be seen as well as circling pelagic barracuda and trevally.

Hot air balloon

Cairns is one of the top places in the world to go in a hot air balloon. You can look over the side of the basket and spot beautiful scenery, from rolling hills to tropical landscapes.

This is the only and best way to experience a 360-degree panorama of the city sights. These flights depart daily from Cairns as well as Palm Cove and Cairns Beaches, so there is no reason to miss out.

Food trail tours

Embark on an organised tour and experience all the culinary delights Cairns has to offer. This will allow you to explore the Atherton Tablelands World Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforest and see what local wine and food producers have to offer. 

Don't expect to stay within the city for this tour, however, as you are likely to head off the beaten track with adventures onto farms where you can hear what goes on behind the scenes as well as enjoy some local treats such as tropical fruit wines, chocolate, coffee, cheeses and macadamia nuts.