The world-class tropical destination you can visit from $125
Escaping the winter chill to be lulled to sleep by tropical birdsong has never been easier for Sunshine Coast residents thanks to a new flight service.
Those looking to take advantage of eased restrictions in the healthy Sunshine State can now step out of the office on a Friday and check onto a flight to Cairns in minutes.
Alliance Airlines' new three-per-week return service, launched on July 17 from Sunshine Coast Airport, has made it convenient for locals to discover Cairns and Australia's very own natural wonder the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns City is the perfect launching pad for hundreds of activities whether the goal is thrillseeking adventures, being romanced by the region's food, or amusing energetic rug rats.
Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation in the city.
Dynamic hostels and up-market hotels alike have taken service and amenities to the next level.
For those really wishing to embrace the tropical feel, Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort fits the bill.
The six-level resort on Lake St is at the centre of the action with the $54 million Cairns Aquarium, the Esplanade, Reef Casino, a performing arts centre and the Reef Fleet Terminal all within a short stroll.
Guests could just as easily laze the day away by soaking up the year-round warm weather with cocktails by the resort's lagoon pool, complete with a white sand beach and swaying palms.
Onsite, MOKU Bar & Grill provides all-day dining with breakfast from 6.30am - meaning guests can nab a feed before heading out on the reef.
Tourism providers of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef aim to inspire visitors to leave as custodians of the region.
And no team does it better than Dreamtime Snorkel and Dive.
Indigenous sea rangers take the helm of a guided day tour which explores the most vibrant spots on the reef.
Throughout the day, rangers tell Dreamtime stories relating to the boat's destinations.
Donning a mask and wetsuit during a guided snorkel, they'll even point out sea life and explain its significance in Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander cultures.
No diving experience is required for passengers who wish to get a little cosier with the turtles, anemones and parrotfish in an introductory dive.
Assuring instructors give novice divers a run-down of all they need to know before leading them around a coral lagoon, teaming with fish life, reaching up to 10m deep.
Providing a presentation of what to look out for in the water, a marine biologist completes the team of ocean lovers who are passionate about conservation.
Those wishing to stay dry can still experience a snorkeller's point of view in a glass bottom boat tour.
Dreamtime makes the day on the reef even more special with Didgeridoo performances and delicious food, catering to dietary requirements.
Once play time is over, passengers can sit back and soak up the rays on the third level with a cup of tea or a beer.
A big day out calls for a big feed at one of the city's many waterfront restaurants, followed by a long sleep.
Visitors may want to spend the next day finding their legs and fortunately there is an abundance to explore back on the land.
Motorbikes, four-wheel drives and scooters are available for hire so the curious can head inland to wind through breathtaking rainforests and take to the walking trails.
Alternatively, a scenic drive north along the Captain Cook Highway, which hugs the ocean, will lead you to The Gatz Balancing Rocks and up to Port Douglas.
Back in the city, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome can keep the kids, and kids at heart, entertained for hours.
The world's first challenge ropes course in a wildlife park allows visitors to cuddle a koala, admire the city skyline from an external 60cm wide platform and weave their way through zip line courses, one of which takes the brave directly over Goliath, the resident 4m crocodile.
Atop the Reef Casino, the centre's Pirate Climb and Commando Rope Climb are for those looking to flaunt their athletic prowess.
Suspended from a free fall platform, the activity requires stamina to climb 13m and ring a bell to signal victory.
When it's time for a breather, wildlife keepers deliver engaging presentations throughout the day aimed at ensuring the longevity of Australian species through education.
There's a photo opportunity at almost every experience in the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome to capture the memories.
A trip to Cairns wouldn't be complete without journeying through Rusty's Markets which boasts over 180 stalls in the heart of the city.
Market-goers can taste the freshest produce from the region's foodbowl and collect a keepsake to remember their trip.
The market is open from 5am, Friday to Sunday, and features great coffee, baked goods, and vegan and Asian cuisine.
Flights back to the Sunshine Coast are available on Fridays, Sundays and Mondays with Alliance Airlines.
Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef will give passengers one last reminder of its magic as they fly out over the teal ocean and its underwater ecosystems.