No matter where you look, Far North Queensland is just beautiful! However, get up a little higher and you’ll see the region from a whole new, equally beautiful angle. There are some lookouts you simply have to check out in Far North Queensland.
So, pack up a picnic and check out some of the best views around Cairns.
1. Copperlode Dam, Brinsmead
Once a local secret, the Copperlode Dam lookout is now a popular but beautiful spot, especially at night when the city lights light up the region. Get onto the Western Arterial Road and turn off onto the Lake Morris Road. Drive up the road for about five minutes until you find a parking spot (and likely, a few other locals enjoying the view).
Hot tip: Bring some takeaway and some friends. You don’t even need to leave your car to enjoy this awesome view.
2. Henry Ross Lookout, Kennedy Highway
Many locals will be familiar with this one, and for good reason – it’s stunning. Start heading up the Kennedy Highway on the way to Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands, and you’ll see a lookout overlooking much of Smithfield and the rest of Cairns. You can see the airport in the distance, as well as Green Island on a clear day.
3. Cairns ZOOM, Cairns City
Atop the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino, you’ll find a dome filled with all sorts of critters and an exciting zipline adventure park called Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome. What some locals don’t know is that before heading into the dome, there is a beautiful view of the Trinity Inlet. Simply head into the Reef Hotel Casino and take a lift up, and enjoy the views.
Hot tip: Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome offers a Dome Climb experience for an even better view (if you’re not afraid of heights).
4. Earl Hill, Trinity Beach
Get your hiking gear on and get ready for a workout. Earl Hill trail starts in the Bluewater Estate with a steep but doable ascent. Many people do it with their kids. It’ll take you around 25 minutes to get to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Trinity Beachfront and Yorkeys Knob Marina.
5. Wright’s Lookout, Kuranda
Just outside of the village of Kuranda along Wrights Lookout Rd, this gorgeous lookout looks right down the Barron Gorge towards Cairns and beyond.
6. Rex Lookout, Wangetti
You’ll find this gem on the way between Cairns and Port Douglas, offering an incredible view of the seemingly endless unspoiled coastline. You may even catch some brave people hang gliding from the lookout down to the beach.
7. Crawford’s Lookout, Wooroonooran
You’ll find this lookout along the Palmerston Highway, offering incredible views down the mountain of the Johnstone River below.
8. Alexandra Lookout, Daintree
If you’re heading up to the Daintree for the day, you can’t miss this awesome lookout. It sits on top of the Alexandra Range and looks down towards the mouth of the Daintree River. It’s a view straight from paradise (because it is)!
9. Gillies Range Lookout, Atherton Tablelands
This is a perfect one to stop at after a day of exploring the beautiful Atherton Tablelands. It offers views over the lush Mulgrave River Valley.
10. Barron Falls Lookout, Kuranda
Located a short distance from Kuranda, Barron Falls is a must-visit for both locals and tourists. It features a huge waterfall thundering down into the gorge, accessible by a raised walkway.
Hot tip: If it’s safe to drive, check out Barron Falls after a lot of rain. It’ll likely be a spectacular sight to see.
11. Red Arrow Lookout, Whitfield
The Red Arrow is one of the many trails on Mt Whitfield, accessible by a trail starting on Collins Street (near Tanks Arts Centre). This steep walk winds through the rainforest, ending up with open views over Cairns City and the Cairns Airport. You can sit back and watch the planes take off and land.
12. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island
Nudey Beach was crowned “Australia’s Best Beach” in 2018, and for good reason! Located on Fitzroy Island, 45 minutes from Cairns via ferry, it takes a 20 minute hike to get to the beach. Along the way you’ll find a lookout looking over the ocean back at the mainland and to Nudey Beach, making for a perfect photo opportunity.
13. AJ Hackett, Smithfield
While people go to AJ Hackett to bungy jump, not everyone knows that you can walk up the tower just to enjoy the stunning views. The bungy tower is situated in the middle of the rainforest, offering views over Smithfield, the northern beaches and Cairns. If you’re feeling brave, you can take a leap; or watch other adrenaline junkies jump.
14. Walsh’s Pyramid, Gordonvale
If you’re a fan of hiking, Walsh’s Pyramid makes for an awesome adventure. It’s a challenging 922m steep climb to the summit, but once you get there, you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of the rainforest and mountain ranges. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Hot tip: If you decide to take on the pyramid, be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. This hike may not be suitable for children.
15. Millaa Millaa Lookout, Atherton Tablelands
You’ll find this lookout just outside the village of Millaa Millaa on the Atherton Tablelands. It offers views of endless rolling green hills similar to the English countryside. It’s a few degrees cooler than Cairns, so you may want to bring a jumper.
16 & 17. Trinity Beach Lookouts
Trinity Beach has not one, but two impressive lookouts. On the southern side of the beach, you’ll find a short path leading to a lookout up on the rocks with a bench. It’s suitable for children, but some terrain is uneven so be sure to keep little ones under close supervision.
The second lookout can be found on the northern side of the beach. You’ll find a tall staircase heading up through the greenery adjacent to Trinity Beach Bar and Grill. Climb up the staircase and follow the path for a few minutes, and you’ll come across some beautiful views over the beach.
18. Palm Cove Jetty
Okay, this isn’t technically a lookout, but the views are amazing, so in my books it still counts. Head to the end of William’s Esplanade on Palm Cove and walk to the end of the jetty. You’ll have gorgeous views of the beach behind you and of Double Island and Scout’s Hat ahead of you.
19. Mount Hypipamee Crater, Atherton Tablelands
Mount Hypipamee is located south of Herberton and home to an impressive crater. The crater is almost 70m across, 70m deep and the lookout site 58m above it. It’s thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion many years ago, and is fringed by rainforest. It’s accessible by a 400m walk from the car park.
Hot tip: On your way back, take the other track (turn left when heading back from the lookout instead of right). This path is slightly longer but will take you to the picturesque Dinner Falls.
20. Lighthouse Lookout, Fitzroy Island
A 40 minute steep walk will take you up to Fitzroy Island’s lighthouse and offer awesome views of the greenery and beach down below.
Feature image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland. Photographer: Darren Jew.