I really recommend Cairns. Hire a car and whizz around the area.
We went up to Cape Tribulation and did a whole bunch of forest walks.
Port Douglas was our launching point for a whole day outer reef snorkling/scuba cruise and a half day turtle snorkling cruise.
A bunch of the beaches on the way to Port Douglas have stinger nets so you can loll in the warm murky water.
Kuranda has a surprisingly good Birdworld and a Butterfly Farm.
Driving on the road that passes through sugar cane fields ; winds it's way up rainforest hillside and out onto the Atherton Tablelands beyond is very pretty. Mareeba has a military museum nearby.
Further south thyere are crater lakes and dozens of water falls.
If I had to sum up the whole area I'd say; peaceful.
The peaceful crater lake, Lake Barrine, ironically formed by a volcanic explosion.
A saw-edged turtle tries to peacefully eat the foot of a peaceful duck.
A tree kangaroo, very peaceful on account of being dead.
Peaceful World War I kinetic munitions Mark1. Pretty much fin stabilised lead slingshot for tossing by the handful out of your plane when you pass over enemy trenches. Beck War Museum.
One the last day Mads, Lenny and I went to the Biodome on top of the Cairns Casino. It's a bit pricey ($25) but it does have some cool stuff including the only crocodile I saw the whole time. Birds fly round the whole thing and there are a half dozen fenced off areas for specific creatures. They also have short shows of various animals. We were in time for a mammal show where a bonny English woman let us stroke a bandicoot, a koala and a bettong. She explained that most of the mammals were nocturnal and described some of their habits.
I asked about her nocturnal habits.
I waggled my eyebrows.
I made suggestive hand movements.
The security guards were called Simon and Steve.
But I bumped into her later on and we laughed about the whole thing and made love for hours.