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21 Damn Good Reasons To Explore Far North Queensland

Your bucket list with a tropical twist.

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1. Swim in an ancient volcanic crater.

Instagram: @samlim1984

The stunning Lake Eacham is a 65-metre-deep volcanic crater filled with warm fresh water. Spend the day swimming and make sure you pay a visit to the turtles that hang out on the lake's edge.

2. Explore Cape York on a donkey.

Wilderness Expeditions / Via Flickr: 50425913@N07

Like the sherpas that help people conquer Machu Pichu, the donkeys with Wilderness Expeditions will help you carry supplies to rugged and remote areas of Cape York and the Atherton Tablelands where no 4WD can go.

3. Climb Queensland's tallest mountain.

Instagram: @portuguy

The view from the top is unbeatable on a clear day. Queensland's highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere, is a full day climb with steep, rocky terrane up the top. If you're lucky, the summit will be clear, if not you'll be inside the cloud, which is still pretty cool.

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4. Make friends with a potato cod.

Instagram: @ecofaxina

Just to clarify, a potato cod is a fish, not a vegetable. These massive 30 kilogram beasts can be found at a dive site off Lizard Island called Cod Hole. Take the 50 minute boat trip out there and meet these friendly giants.

5. Hire your own tropical island.

Instagram: @haggerstoneisland

If you've got the cash money, Queensland has the island for you. For a cool $6,800 you and up to 11 of your best mates can hire out Haggerstone Island. All activities and meals are included, and don't worry, there's WiFi available so you can Instagram the shit out of your stay.

6. Sip the finest mango wine.

Golden Drop Winery / Via Facebook: goldendropwinery

Queensland isn't known for its wine, but it is known for its mangos. So really, it's no surprise that someone decided to turn those tasty fruits into wine. Stop in at Golden Drop Winery in Mareeba and taste mango wine, port, and mangocello.

7. Visit a magical Spanish castle.

Instagram: @cara_hsu_

Back in 1913 a wild Spaniard, José Paronella, had a dream of building a castle alongside Mena Creek. By 1935 the magnificent Paronella Park was complete. The restored park follows his dream of sharing the pretty space with the public.

8. Look out over a volcanic crater.

Tourism Events Queensland / Via queensland.com

Mount Hypipamee National Park is home to this unique deep crater, which is thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion. The hole is massive and plunges down 58m to the 82m-deep lake. Walk the easy 400m trail to the lookout and finally conquer that fear of heights.

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9. Access the best fishing spots via helicopter.

Instagram: @nautilusaviation

Take the annual fishing trip to new heights. Literally. Departing Cairns, Nautilus run helicopter fishing tours that access hard-to-reach spots. All equipment and lunch is provided, just show up ready to fish.

10. Trek the mysterious Black Mountains, if you dare.

Instagram: @flostralia

The Indigenous name for these mountains, Kalkajaka, translates to place of the spear or "mountains of death". The range is made up of imposing granite boulders (some the size of houses) that are stacked up high with large gaps between. Plenty who have ventured in have never made it out alive, so you might well decide the best view of this national park is from the base.

11. Snorkel through the rainforest.

Back Country Bliss / Via backcountrybliss.com.au

The Great Barrier Reef isn't the only place to snorkel in FNQ. In fact, some of the best spots are inland. Back Country Bliss will take you up stream in a crystal clear creek. Discover fresh water flora and fauna on a three hour tour.

12. Live out your most romantic dreams and go horse riding along a beach.

Instagram: @capetribhorserides

Ride through the rainforest, over creek crossings, and along beaches where the Daintree rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef at Cape Tribulation. Finish the ride by cooling off with your horse in the ocean after a two hour Cape Trib Horse Rides tour.

13. Relax in a natural infinity pool.

Instagram: @mrjacksonmiller

Just outside Mareeba lies the incredible Emerald Creek Falls. The swimming hole under the falls is a 2km walk away and makes for the perfect spot to cool down in the never-ending summer weather.

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14. Visit Australia's tallest waterfall.

Instagram: @bertrandlanneau

With a plunge of nearly 300m, Wallaman Falls is Australia's highest permanent single drop waterfall. Often seen with a rainbow-fringed cloud of mist at its base, there are two prime spots to view it: The Wallaman lookout up top or at various points along the 3.2km Djyinda track.

17. Explore the country's largest lava tube system.

Instagram: @luxmore_

About 190,000 years ago a massive volcanic eruption caused lava to flow more than 90km north and over 160km north west. Its volume and speed could have filled Sydney Harbour in six days. The Undara tubes and caves formed when the lava rivers crusted over. Before becoming a national park, a station was built here by the Collins family in the 1800s. The same family now run the Undara Experience tours.

18. Explore the reef while it's still here.

Instagram: @khyorchard

The Great Barrier Reef is made up of more than 2,900 reefs and more than 1,000 islands. It's the largest World Heritage Area, covering an area of over 350,000 square km. Make it your mission to explore as much as possible.

20. Jump on a sea trampoline.

Instagram: @sgandb

Take a boat out from Cairns to nearby Fitzroy Island and be treated to snorkeling, a tropical paradise, and a giant ocean trampoline. Book with adventure tour company,Raging Thunder, to get unlimited use. Otherwise, a $5 fee applies per person.

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