One of the best ways to enjoy your car rental is to take a few awesome trips from Cairns and explore the local attractions. We have already shared lots of fabulous destinations with you in Parts 2 and Part 1 and now we have even more exciting destinations for you! So let’s take a look at what you can do on a day trip from Cairns that includes picnics, tours and a winery!
This heritage-listed and award-winning attraction is located on a lush 5 hectares of beautiful scenery about a 90 minute drive south from Cairns. Created by Jose Paronella in 1929, his mission was to create a magical environment for Australians. He has done this and much more, designing a spectacular natural environment that thrills the sense and pleases the heart. There’s a castle, picnic area near the glistening falls, tennis courts, bridges, museum, wildlife and more than 7500 topical plants and trees to explore. Enjoy a 45 minute guided tour or wander around the grounds yourself, exploring the abundance of orchids, palms, ferns, lilies and maple, pine, walnut and kauri trees.
You can also take a tour around the first hydro-electric generator in north Queensland that’s conveniently located on the property and provides the park with all its power. They also have night tours of the park, which are more spectacular than the day tours! When you need to take a break, there’s the Café on the Deck and the Mena Creek Hotel, both serving food all day long. Then at the end of the day, hop into your car rental and drive back to Cairns!
If you don’t want to stay for the night time tour at Paronella Park, then turn south and drive for another 20 minutes to arrive at Murdering Point Winery at Silkwood. You can also head straight to the winery from Cairns in your car hire, as it’s just a pleasant 90 minute drive south via Innisfail.
If you’re in the mood for exotic tropical wines, Murdering Point Winery is the place to be! It’s set amongst cane fields and lush tropical rainforests, offering high quality red and white wines, as well as ports and creams made from mulberries, mangoes, passionfruit, ginger, coffee, bananas, chocolate, lychees and much more! All sourced from their own farm and local suppliers. They even use the locally grown sugar cane!
You can spend an idle few hours at their cellar door, tasting some of their award-winning wines and checkout the working winery from a viewing platform. During the right season, you can also experience a working cane farm, watching cane being harvested and hauled away by the trains. At night, if you want to stay on for a few more hours, you can watch the sugar cane being burnt, which is a spectacular sight.
Check out their White Devil Pineapple Port, Banana Cream and their Panama Gold table wine matured in French oak barrels.
Rev up your Cairns car hire vehicle and head south to Innisfail and then west for 25 minutes along the Palmerston Highway to the Manu Tropical Skywalk. The total trip from Cairns is about 90 minutes, so it’s not too far to drive for a day trip. Located in Wooroonoon National Park, you are literally up in the clouds with spectacular views over the landscape. Enjoy the 350m long elevated walkway that rises to 15m above ground level, a 37m high observation tower and a 10m long cantilever and experience being at the very top of the rainforest canopy. Walk along the forest floor and then head to the canopy, enjoying close-up views of the tropical plants and birds. Take a picnic and spend a glorious few hours taking photos and getting close to nature. Since the Manu Skywalk is just 20 minutes south of Paronella Park, you can see both attractions on the same day.
If you’re in the mood to pack up your car rental with a picnic and your swimmers, then head south from Cairns for an hour. Then just before you hit Innisfail (at Mirriwinni) turn west towards Mt Bartle Frere and you will reach the beautiful Josephine Falls and swimming hole in just a few minutes. Ranked as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in north Queensland, you can spend as long as you want swimming in the crystal clear waters and then relaxing on the sandy beach – all nowhere near the ocean!
There’s plenty of parking, a beautiful rainforest walk to the waterfalls, lots of hiking trails and of course, viewing decks. You can even set up a BBQ for yourself in their purpose built facilities or just enjoy a picnic on the beach. On your drive back to Cairns in your car hire vehicle, you will pass through Babinda where you can stop for dinner at one of the excellent taverns or bistros in the area.