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Best new hotels in Cairns and Far North Queensland

With direct flights to Cairns on the cards for Hong Kong, why not schedule a sunshine trip to Far North Queensland this winter? Here's our round-up of the best new resort openings in the region

Cairns and Far North Queensland

Tropical Queensland's stunning Whitsunday Islands (photo courtesy Unsplash)

Far North Queensland, or Tropical North Queensland, is a huge chunk of northern Australia that runs for around 1,200 kilometres from the Torres Strait Islands in the north to Townsville and the Whitsunday Islands in the south.

The area covers towns such as Cairns, Cooktown, Port Douglas and Townsville, as well as areas of outstanding natural beauty including the Daintree rainforest and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a popular destination at any time of the year, with temperatures hovering between 25 and 30 degrees.

And from December this year, Cathay Pacific will be flying directly into Cairns from Hong Kong.

From rainforest retreats to luxury beachside resorts on the Coral Sea coast, here's our pick of the best new openings.

Daintree Wilderness Lodge, Daintree National Park
Cairns and Far North Queensland

Enjoy one of the world's oldest rainforests at Daintree Wilderness Lodge

Located in the ancient Daintree Rainforest, the Daintree Wilderness Lodge was forced to close for almost six months due to storm damage caused by cyclone Jasper. The property reopened last month with a refreshed look and eco-certified cabins that offer nature-loving accommodation. 

The resort’s Cycad restaurant has also had a refresh; dine under southern hemisphere stars on local, seasonal ingredients.

The Elandra Mission Beach, Mission Beach
Cairns and Far North Queensland

This luxury resort at Mission Beach originally opened in 2008 but has now been reimagined by the team behind the award-winning Bedarra Island Resort.

The Elandra Mission Beach bills itself as a luxury barefoot boutique property, nestled within six hectares of private tropical rainforest.

The first stage of The Elandra opened with 20 villas and work is currently underway on a further 12, two-level apartments with private plunge pools. They are set to open later this year.

Further facilities include a pool, restaurant, bar, spa, gym and tennis court. A shuttle bus and e-bikes are available for guest use.

Rossville Retreat, Cape York
Cairns and Far North Queensland

Rossville Retreat is located in the remote Cape York region of Far North Queensland

Rossville Retreat invites guests to 'escape the chaos' and get back to nature. It's located over more than 200 acres at the gateway to the Cape York peninsula on the Bloomfield Track from Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation.

The property offers camping emplacements and now brand new private lodges with ensuite bathrooms for up to four guests. The luxury, eco-friendly lodges are located right in the bush (but alongside the retreat's private airstrip) - each lodge has a private garden area from where guests can enjoy local wildlife spotting by day and star-studded skies at night. 

Indigenous tours and activities introduced this year feature dreamtime story-telling, spear-making, didgeridoo lessons, guided bush walks and 'gorma' bush oven feasts.

Marine liveaboard experiences, Green Island
Cairns and Far North Queensland

Join an eco-marine tour on Green Island

Quicksilver Group’s Reef Biosearch team in Cairns has recently launched educational marine experiences for guests on liveaboard trips at Green Island Resort and Pro Dive Cairns. 

Guests can join the eco-tours which are led by marine biologists and cover wildlife, sustainability and conservation. 

The tours include an ‘eco-clean and green walk’ and a reef resilience glass bottom boat tour to help promote sustainability and teach guests about Green Island’s ecology. 

Cairns Harbourside Hotel, Cairns
Cairns and Far North Queensland

Stay on Cairns' impressive Esplanade

This town centre property has recently relaunched as Cairns Harbourside Hotel; it was previously Holiday Inn.

It’s located on Cairns Esplanade with water, mountain and garden views. All rooms have private balconies.

The hotel’s Harbourside Bar & Kitchen offers a farm-to-table dining experience and an organic wine list.

The Sundays, Whitsunday Islands
Cairns and Far North Queensland

The Sundays opens next year

Keep an eye out for Hamilton Island’s newest boutique hotel, The Sundays. The family-friendly property is set to open in autumn 2025 and is located at the northern end of palm-fringed Catseye Beach.

Enjoy views over the Coral Sea from rooms with balcony or terrace options. There will be interconnecting rooms available, ideal for larger family groups. 

Facilities will include a pool with shady private cabanas and a water's-edge restaurant and bar with views over Catseye Bay.

The Sundays hotel complements other properties on Hamilton Island, including luxury resort Qualia, beachfront hotel Beach Club and family-friendly Reef View Hotel and Palm Bungalows.

Hamilton Island is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest integrated island resort and is the only island in the Whitsundays with a commercial airport.

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