BEST MONTH TO TRAVEL: Janurary
Start the new year with several bangs: Sydney throws possibly the best New Year’s Day parties in the world (how like Australians not to waste the day in bed with hangovers). Then head on up the Gold Coast to Byron Bay, or the Whitsundays, or the Great Barrier Reef, or indeed anywhere else along the east coast – the good times just keep rolling. January is the best month to go, after the crowds of December and when the weather’s hot but not too hot. Food, drink, beaches, private island. They do everything big and bold and in style. Kick off your year like this and zing off the endorphins right through winter.
- Cairns , Great Barrier Reef
Queensland’s beloved tropical city Cairns is known for its sunny weather and exceptional natural wonders. Cairns is the number one spot travellers base themselves when visiting the Great Barrier Reef, with hundreds of travellers setting off from the Marlin Marina every day. A perk for staying in this location is that guests can also enjoy other nearby attractions, including the city highlights or the neighbouring Daintree Rainforest.
The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds great scientific interest as the habitat of species such as the dugong (‘sea cow’) and the large green turtle, which are threatened with extinction.
PULLMAN REEF HOTEL CASINO (Junior King Suite)
Complex boasts one of Australia’s finest boutique casinos, a multitude of dining experiences and bars, extensive conference and banqueting facilities, free live entertainment in Vertigo Cocktail Bar & Lounge or the Casino Sports Arena and the luxurious five-star Pullman Reef Hotel Casino with 128 beautifully appointed rooms, some of the best hotel accommodation in Cairns.
Featuring elegant rooms with a spa bath and a balcony overlooking Cairns or Trinity Inlet, Pullman Reef Hotel is only 250 metres from Cairns Esplanade. It features a casino and 4 bars with live music.
CRYSTALBROOK RILEY (Suite)
Centrally located at the northern end of Cairns iconic waterfront Esplanade, Crystalbrook Riley features 311 stylish rooms and suites, three restaurants and bars including Cairns’ highest rooftop bar, Rocco, an expansive lagoon pool and private beach, the stunning Eléme Day Spa, functions and events spaces for up to 400 people and a 24-hour fitness centre.
This 5-star property is set a short distance from attractions such as the Centre of Contemporary Arts, the Cairns Performing Arts Centre, and Cairns Hospital. The property is a 10-minute walk from the Great Barrier Reef Departure Terminal and a 7-minute drive from Flecker Botanic Gardens. The nearest airport is Cairns Airport, 5 km from the property.
NIRAMAYA VILLAS & SPA – PORT DOUGLAS (1 BEDROOM VILLA)
Luxury Self Contained Accommodation nestled in lush tropical surrounds. Architecturally designed for all your senses, you will feel Niramaya’s subtle energy and swim in its natural beauty. The fragrance of frangipani floats on the light breeze – through soaring pavilions, into private courtyards and over the lilypad dotted lakes. Niramaya, is literally, a rejuvenation of the body through returning oneself to nature, a boutique sanctuary of exclusive villas set amongst 15 hectares of gardens in Australia’s tropical north.
ACTIVITIES / SITE SEEING
GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The colorful coral is stunning, as is the abundant marine life, making it perfect for swimmer, snorkelling and scuba.
If you prefer to keep dry, there’s still lots of activities to enjoy at the Reef, such as the underwater observatory and the semi-sub, and you can even send a postcard from the only Australia Post postbox on the Reef!
LAVA UP CLOSE
Lava Tubes at Undara Volcanic National Park
Usually, being able to see lava up close and personal would not be one’s ideas of entertainment, but don’t worry, this attraction is perfectly safe! At the Undara Volcanic National Park, guided tours will take you into an extinct volcano so that you can view the extraordinary Undara Lava Tubes.
There are only 23 countries with lava tubes, and the tubes at Undara are believed to be the longest in the world. There’s plenty of other fun to be had at Undara: you can stay overnight at a swag tent village or a pioneer hut, enjoy the Wildlife at Sunset tour, or check out exciting events such as Opera in the Outback.
NIGHT MARKETS OR RUSTY’S MARKET
The Cairns Night Markets are open 365 days per year, with the shops opening from 5pm to 11pm and the food court opening from 10am to 11pm. There’s a vast array of souvenirs, delicious food stalls, and the works of local artisans and designers.
Rusty’s Market opens at 5am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; this farmer’s market has been a hub of the Cairns foodie scene for generations, and it’s worth getting up early to enjoy the tastiest produce that Tropical North Queensland has to offer.
INDIE LABELS, VINTAGE AND GIFTS
Located in the heart of the Cairns shopping precinct, and just a short stroll from the marina, is a small but sweet collection of 10 retail stores. Oceana Walk Arcade is home to Tropical North Queensland’s most eclectic range of fashion, vintage, homewares, decor, eco-friendly toys, games and more.
GENUINE UGG BOOTS
Premium Brands also stock other well-known brands such as Nautica, The North Face, Speedo, Lee and Lactose, so have plenty of bags at the ready.
If you’re looking for footwear that’s like a blanket for your feet, head to Abbott Street in Cairns Square and grab yourself a pair of UGG boots. These iconic boots are the epitome of luxury and comfort and will see you through many cold winter nights.
Cairns is home to talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, sculptors and creators. These galleries in and around Cairns have their amazing creations on show, which you can purchase and adorn the walls of your own home.
COVID TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Australia’s borders are currently closed and entry to Australia remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Travel to Australia is only available if you are exempt or you have been granted an individual exemption.
The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force and decision makers may grant you an individual exemption if you are:
- A foreign national travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
- A foreign national whose entry into Australia would be in the national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority
- Providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
- A foreign national with critical skills or working in a critical sector in Australia
- A foreign national sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL)
- Military personnel, including those who form part of the Status of Forces Agreement, Commonwealth Armed Forces, Asia Pacific Forces and Status of Armed Forces Agreement
- A person who resides on a vessel that seeks safe port at the closest appointed port for reprovisioning or safety reasons for a limited duration, supported by the relevant State or Territory government where safe haven is sought
- A student who has been selected to take part in an International Student Arrivals Plan that has been approved by the relevant state or territory government, and endorsed by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment as satisfying the Protocols and Preconditions for International Student Arrivals.
- A student in your final three years of study of a medical university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice. The placement must commence within the next two months, and provide medical services to the Australian public.
- A student completing year 11 and 12, with endorsement from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), and support from the relevant state or territory government health and education authorities. Further information regarding this process can be found at the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.
- A student in your final two years of study of a dental, nursing or allied health profession university degree, where you have evidence of a confirmed placement in an Australian hospital or medical practice which begins within the next two months.
- Travelling for compassionate and compelling reasons.
- A Prospective Marriage (subclass 300) visa holder in the following circumstances:
You must hold a visa and an exemption to Australia’s travel restrictions before you travel. You can request an exemption online and must provide appropriate evidence to support your claims. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided. All documents need to be officially translated into English.