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A favourite destination amongst airline pilots because of its amazing ‘topography’, Cairns’ views are best appreciated from a high vantage point where you can enjoy views of the ocean, valleys, rainforest-clad hills, islands, rivers and tidal estuaries.

Cairns is a very scenic city to fly in to with the Great Barrier Reef on one side and the verdant rainforest-clad hills on the other. But unless you happen to be in the cockpit, your window view is quite limited.

So for those who want to take in the surrounding landscape, here are our favourite places to get a good view of Cairns:

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]1. scenic flights[/headline]

Scenic flights are probably one of the best ways to see Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. They are expensive but there’s no doubt it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will remember forever. Even a short five-minute ride is worth doing if your budget will stretch to it.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]2. aj hackett[/headline]

cairns bungy jumpingYou don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie to go to AJ Hackett. It is a fabulous venue, situated right in the rainforest with some of the best views of Cairns.

Even if you don’t like the idea of bungy jumping you can walk all the way up to the top of the platform and enjoy the views across Cairns as the crazy cabaret of bungy jumpers get their fix.

At the bottom there is also a bar if you want to stop for a while and enjoy the atmosphere.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]3. copperlode dam[/headline]

picture of copperlode dam, cairnsThe large water reservoir up behind Cairns requires a car to get there and many windy roads, but the views along the way are worth the drive.

And when you get to the top there are views in the other direction across the lake and national park. The views are not necessarily what you’d expect because the landscape is alpine looking rather than tropical.

There’s very little there at the top except a small café (which is sometimes open, sometimes not), toilets and a kid’s playground.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]4. the red track[/headline]

Behind the Botanic Gardens in Edge Hill, there are two walking tracks that go up to the top of a ridge and overlook the airport. The views of the city from here are fantastic but you also get the added bonus of being able to watch the planes as they come into land.

The short one (red track) is a very popular exercise route for people wanting to build up their thigh muscles. It takes about 30 minutes or so to walk, whereas the second Blue Track is a longer 2-3 hour bush walk (if you decide to do this walk, make sure you go with another person and take water).

If you like bushwalking, another option is to walk the Douglas Track from Stoney Creek. It’s a good walk and offers great views over the area from Glacier Rock.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]5. skyrail[/headline]

cairns skyrailThe Kuranda Range has some of the best views across Cairns. There are two ways you can take advantage of this – either by driving up to Kuranda and stopping at the look out on the way or by taking the Skyrail.

Skyrail lifts visitors up over the rainforest to Kuranda in gondola cable cars with 360 degree views. The views are incredible both across Cairns and also as you glide across the Barron River into Kuranda.

For an extra fee you can even travel in a glass-bottomed gondala or in open air ‘canopy gliders’ if you want to completely soak in the views.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]