For backpackers, sometimes saving money can mean missing out. Luckily, hiking is free AND helps you burn off those travel calories! Cairns has a number of stellar hikes, all under an hour away by car. Grab your water and sunscreen and go explore some of these great Cairns walks!
Walsh’s Pyramid stands about 920 metres high and is generally easy to follow with plenty of trail markers. Although parts of the walk are steep with loose rock, the 360 degree view at the peak makes it all worth it. After making it back down, be sure to brag about hiking the “highest freestanding natural” pyramid in the world! Expect the hike to last at least 3 hours total.
Getting there from Travellers Oasis: 25 min by car, south along the Bruce Highway
Cairns Botanical Gardens
If you’re hoping to go for a walk and put in the least amount of effort possible, the botanical garden is for you. It’s only a ten minute drive away from the hostel, making it the most accessible of the Cairns walks. Not only is the admission free, but you can also take advantage of the free guided tours to learn about exotic plants within the lush rain forest. The walk leaves from the Friends House in Flecker Garden and occurs weekdays at 10am.
For those looking for more than a leisurely stroll, check out the 5.4km Blue Arrow walk inside the Mt Whitfield Conservation Park. Expect some steep parts, views of the city and about 4-5 hours to complete the walk.
Getting there from Travellers Oasis: Less than a 10 minute drive
Barron Gorge National Park
Barron Gorge National Park is a World Heritage site and the hub of a whole network of hiking trails used over history by the Djabugai People, miners, railway construction workers, farmers, and hikers. There’s a handful of trails winding through the eucalyptus and mango trees, including McDonald’s Track. Start with the Surprise Creek track that takes you past gushing rapids and tranquil pools. This continues on to Mcdonald’s Track for a total of 4.8km return through wooded areas and views of Barron Gorge.
Getting There from Travellers Oasis: 18 minutes drive along State Route 91
Mount Bartle Frere
Mount Bartle Frere is the highest peak in Queensland, and the most difficult of these Cairns walks. Requiring 6-8 hours of walking total, this is only for the fit and determined hikers. The trail falls within the World Heritage-listed Wooroonooran National Park and brings you through a variety of rainforest vegetation and a beautiful view sweeping from the coast to the Atherton Tablelands on clear days.
Getting there from Travellers Oasis: Access the trail from Josephine Falls, about an hour south from Cairns along the Bruce Highway.
Reminders for Cairns Walks:
- This is Australia. Australia is HOT. Bring your water and sun protection.
- Look up the weather conditions before you head out. Cairns experiences high periods of rain, which could ruin your hike if you don’t plan ahead!
- Bring snacks, you’ll thank yourself later.