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Cairns, Australia

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Cairns Esplanade - Nearby Lagoonl Cairns Esplanade - Nearby Lagoonl Donaldytong

Founded in 1876 as the port for inland goldfields, Cairns has matured from a small frontier town to friendly international gateway and has become the most welcoming of all Queensland cities. Cairns is the heart of the Tropical North, and as such provides an ideal base for exploring and enjoying the rich, varied pleasures of this region.

The airport is only a short drive from the city and visiting cruise liners and yachts moor at a marina and wharves only a block from the main centre. The Esplanade is a major focal point of the city, and invites you to stroll, fly a kite, relax on the grass under a shady tree or share a barbeque or picnic with friends.

The Great Barrier Reef, now a national marine park, provides superb recreational activities such as snorkeling, diving, swimming, semi-submersibles, coral viewing and fishing and offers a unique environment for scientific research. The scope of the reef is magnificent, encompassing some 21,900 individual reefs and an area of 348,000 square kilometers.

The rainforests of the Wet Tropics, a 'living museum' of flora and fauna, were placed on the World Heritage List in 1988 and cover an area of nearly 900,000 hectares of rainforest and tropical vegetation. Here, pockets of primitive plants have remained undisturbed for millions of years, and rare, even previously unidentified species of birds, insects and mammals have emerged to delight nature lovers.

There are so many unique attractions and activities to see when you visit. You can cruise to the reef or islands, take a 4WD to the outback, trek into the rainforest or see it from the rainforest cableway above on your way to or from Kuranda.

Excellent swimming beaches begin to the north and south of the city. Each day, over 600 sea, air and land tours depart from Cairns to nearly every part of the Tropical North, with most including pick-up and return to holiday accommodation.

City shops and duty free stores are well stocked with souvenirs and luxury goods from top Australian and overseas designers. There are large shopping centers in the suburbs, and buyers will find much to choose from amidst the city's many arcades, plazas and malls.

The cosmopolitan local restaurants, cafes and eateries offer an eclectic fare of Australian and international cuisine and are open from early morning to late evening,

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