Cairns carries with pride the mantle of 'safest tropical city in the world'. Cairns is referred to as a 'gateway city' because of its ideal location at the entrance to two World Heritage listed areas; the Great Barrier Reef, and the Wet Tropics Rainforest region that stretches almost from Townsville to Cooktown. Indeed, this is the only region in the world where two World Heritage listed sites lie side by side, and in some places the 135 million year old rainforest spills right down to the sandy beach. Just a one hour hour drive up the Kuranda Range from Cairns and you're in the lush Atherton Tablelands, and a couple of hours further you're in the grasslands of the Gulf Savannah and the unique Northern Outback.
The Great Barrier Reef is composed of around 2600 individual reefs that range in size from one hectare to over 10,000 hectares in area, around 900 beautiful islands and cays, 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 types of mollusc, 175 bird species, six of the world's seven species of threatened marine turtles and much more. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park stretches for more than 300,000 square kilometres, larger than the entire area of the UK and Ireland combined.
Each year, more than two million people come to marvel at the amazing sightseeing opportunities unique to this area of Queensland. With the 'Wet Tropics' World Heritage listed rainforest on one side and the Great Barrier Reef on the other, no other place in the world offers such diversity. And because of its natural beauty, both below and above the water's surface, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.