ABSOLUTELY AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDE & DIRECTORY

The Far Northern region covers most of Cape York Peninsula and stretches to the Torres Strait at the northernmost part of the State. The laid-back, tropical centres of Cairns and Port Douglas are major gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. Located on the sunny northern tip of Australia’s east coast, Cairns is a vibrant tropical city and the main gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda and Barron Falls.

The Great Barrier Reef and ancient rainforests are enough to lure adventurers and un-winders from near and far to experience one of the world’s last remaining patches of untouched wilderness. Heading north towards Port Douglas, you will find sleepy towns, palm-fringed, sandy beaches and crystal-clear water.

From the Daintree National Park you can step straight on to the beach at Cape Tribulation. From this extraordinarily stretch of beach you can board a fast boat and explore the Great Barrier Reef, or take a kayak to nearby islands.

The main population and administrative centre of the region is located in Cairns. Other key population centres include Cooktown, the Atherton Tableland, Weipa and the Torres Strait Islands. The region also consists of many Aboriginal and farming communities. In 2003 the region's population was 231,494 of which 117,531 lived in Cairns.

Significant industries include tourism, cattle grazing, agriculture (sugar cane and tropical fruits) and mining of both sand and bauxite.