Turtles, reef sharks, brain sponges, twisted corals, parrotfish and kraits – they all make an appearance in the underwater menagerie of the Great Barrier Reef. That UNESCO-attested wonder of the world sits just off the coast of Cairns, dashing the Coral Sea with its mind-boggling array of dive sites, snorkel spots, and deserted islets. Of course, that's often right at the top of the things to do list, but it's not all that's offered by this corner of Queensland. There are the pristine beaches of Palm Cove, fringed by lanky coconut trees. There are the rain-soaked forests of the Daintree National Park, where Oz does its best Borneo impression. And you've got a smorgasbord of exotic fruits and fish cuts to enjoy when its time to chow down. Cheap flights to Cairns from New Zealand take you on a diagonal line across the edge of the Tasman Sea. Most involve at least one stopover, with average travel times between eight and 16 hours.
Green Island pops up from the coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef. It's home to cotton-white sands and top-draw snorkeling spots.
The rainforests of Daintree draw nature lovers by the bucket load. Choose a tour here to hit trails lined with ancient woods and spot tree kangaroos in the boughs.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef on the planet. Come to scuba between its sponges and parrotfish just outside of Cairns.
At the moment, the cheapest months to fly to Cairns are August/2020 and November/2020. The most expensive time of year is February/2020.
Air New Zealand fly direct between New Zealand and Cairns.
Jetstar is the cheapest airline that flies to Cairns from New Zealand.
Singapore Airlines is the best airline to fly between New Zealand and Cairns. Air New Zealand is the best if you want non-stop flights. The best low-cost airline is Jetstar.