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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Feb 12

What To Do in Cairns When You Only Have Half Day? Cairns Half Day Tours Suggestions

Posted on February 12, 2018 by

Now we all know that the most convenient flight times are not always the most available or affordable.

Time and time again we find ourselves speaking to people who have just arrived or are leaving late and are looking for that last minute option to kill a few hours.

So rather than spending your first or last day looking desperately for something to do, why not read over the best of our Cairns and Far North Queensland half day tour options.

That way you can enjoy your time in Cairns from start to finish, cool as a cucumber.


Top 5 Tours for our guests arriving in the morning with an afternoon to spare


Paronella Park, Josephine Falls, Mamu Skywalk – Half Day Tour

Leave your bags with your hotel reception and be ready for your pick up between 12 and 12:30.  This tour gives you the perfect opportunity to see some of the lesser known rainforest areas of Far North Queensland and, as a bonus, takes care of dinner on night 1!

Paronella Park – Photo courtesy of GTS

Visiting the famous Josephine Falls with time for a swim, what a way to refresh after a long boring plane flight. Explore the Wooroonooran National Park and rainforest on the incredible Mamu Skywalk before continuing south to the amazing Paronella Park.

This Spanish ‘Castle’ was built by Jose Paronella in the 1930’s for his wife and is a place of romance and stunning gardens. Finish your day with dinner at the friendly Mena Creek hotel and spot some wallabies on your way back to Cairns.

Cairns Half Day Rainforest 4WD Adventure

Maybe you already have plans for dinner but would still like a rainforest adventure.  This tour is the way to go.

Picking up from most Cairns hotels from 12:00, travel with a maximum of 8 other guests and spend the afternoon venturing through creeks and up mountain tracks in your air-conditioned 4WD.

Half Day Rainforest Tour – Photo courtesy of Discovery Tours Australia

Visiting 2 lookouts, 2 waterfalls and 3 national parks, this tour has exclusive access permits to areas no one else can go.  Be back in time for dinner at 6 pm.

Green Island Half Day Tour – Cairns

Maybe you would prefer to squeeze in a bit of time on the reef?  With departures at 10:30 am and 1:00 pm, this half day experience is ideal.

Choose from snorkelling or a glass bottom boat tour or upgrade and do both!

Half Day Green Island Tour – Photo courtesy of Great Adventures

You will have full use of the day visitor facilities, including the Island pool, and time to explore the rainforest board walks.  Arrive back into Cairns by 5:30 pm.

Barron River White Water Rafting – Half Day

Maybe the rainforest and reef are days you would rather explore in full, or perhaps you want to hit the ground running.

Kicking off with pick ups from 1:30 pm, a Half Day Barron Rafting adventure will see you kitted up and ready to hit the Grade 2 and 3 rapids on the mighty Barron River.

Barron River Half Day White Water Rafting – Photo courtesy of Foaming Fury

Your experienced guide will make sure you are ready to go and you are guaranteed an afternoon of adventure.

Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome

Maybe after a morning of trains, planes and automobiles you’d just like to stroll through Cairns and spend some time with some of our ‘locals’.

The Cairns Dome is the place to be.

Photo courtesy of Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome

Great for families, let the kids go wild with the High Zoom, Dome Climb and more while you can chill with the friendly birds, marsupials, snakes and crocodiles and even have your photo taken with a koala.


Top 5 Tours for our guests departing in the afternoon with a morning to spare


You may think you have seen and done it all, but the best thing about Cairns is that there is always another experience to fill your day.

Cairns Canyoning Tour

Leave Cairns with a bang!  Starting bright and early with pick ups from 6:30 am, squeeze the very last drop of adrenaline out of your North Queensland holiday.

Adventure Packed Half Day Tour – Photo courtesy of Raging Thunder

Supplied with all gear and training, go past the boundaries of Crystal Cascades and whilst taking in the amazing beauty of the rainforest surrounds, you can go hard spending 2- 3 hours abseiling, zip lining, rock climbing and cliff jumping.

Back in Cairns by 1:15 pm, this is a sure fire way to help you sleep through the flight home!

Cairns Horse Riding

There is nothing better than a morning spent in the saddle – especially your last morning in Cairns.

With a pick up from 8:45 am, the team at blazing Saddles have a horse or pony for all abilities.

Half Day Horse Riding – Photo courtesy of Blazing Saddles

Take in the bush surrounds of the private property at a leisurely pace or get up to a canter through the cane fields.

You’ll be back in Cairns by 12:00 with a smile on your face ready to head home.

Cairns Aboriginal Cultural Park by Day

This award winning indigenous cultural experience is not to be missed and a great way to spend your last morning in Cairns.

Half Day Aboriginal Cultural Experience – Photo courtesy of Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Available with or without coach transfers, you can spend your morning enjoying the traditional aboriginal dances, trying your hand at throwing a spear or boomerang and even making your own boomerang to take home.

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight

Sure, you may be leaving on a jet plane, but before you go, take the chance to enjoy a 40 minute low level scenic flight over the reefs and islands off Cairns.

With a guaranteed window seat, you won’t even have to fight for the armrest.

Aerial Views of the Great Barrier Reef – Photo courtesy of GSL Aviation

Kick back and relax with the informative commentary and awesome views.

Great Barrier Reef Half Day Low Isles

For our guests staying in port Douglas, the Low Isles, just off the coast of Port Douglas is a wonderful way to spend your last morning.

Departing at 7:15 am and back at 11:30 am, get in a sneaky snorkel before you have to hit the road.

Half Day Low Isles – Photo courtesy of Calypso Snorkel & Dive

With a fresh morning tea, all snorkel gear, guided snorkel tours and glass bottom boat tour, we can just about guarantee you will see more than one sea turtle and definitely spy Nemo.


Whatever is going to make your time in Cairns the most memorable, specialists are on hand to help.

Give us a call on 1300 761 612 to chat about you flight times and just what we can do to help you plan your holiday to make the most out of your time here in our fantastic Cairns region.

Author: Tan Barrie – Tour Specialist

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