Day 1: Fly into Cairns and drive to Port Douglas (an hour away) for QT Port Douglas, whose rooms are decorated with colour-pop styling.
Day 2: Whoosh across tropical rainforests on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which runs above the Barron Gorge National Park. Skyrail’s Smithfield Terminal is located at the corner of Cairns Western Arterial Road and Cook Highway, Smithfield, a 15-minute drive north of Cairns city; 50 minutes south of Port Douglas. Stay at QT Port Douglas.
Day 3: Keep things lofty by boarding the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which is nothing like your commute to work (we’re talking rugged mountains, crashing waterfalls and more Wet Tropics wildlife than you can jab a boomerang at). The train will take you from Cairns to Kuranda and back in a day.
Day 4: Nature-lovers will also enjoy a daytrip to the Atherton Tablelands (a 90-minute drive from Cairns), whose rainforest, wetlands and savanna are home to tree kangaroos, wallabies and more. Bring your camera for Millaa Millaa Falls, an eye-bogglingly beautiful plunge waterfall set in lush forest.
Day 5–6: Back in Cairns, the Botanic Gardens are worth a stroll (especially if you’ve been clever and packed a picnic); if you’re keen to learn more about the tropical flora and fauna, pause at the visitor centre and pose some questions to the helpful staff. A trip to Cairns wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Book a cruise or take a scenic helicopter flight to experience the magnitude of the reef.
Day 7–8: Fly from Cairns to Brisbane (flight time: two hours, 10 minutes) and check into Spicers Balfour Hotel, which occupies an elegant 110-year-old townhouse. Get a taste of the city with a meal to remember at slick Esquire restaurant, which has racked up awards for its ambitious degustation menus (expect to eat between 12 and 25 courses) and thoughtful wine pairings. If you’re not ready for bed yet, go for cocktails at en vogue Heya Bar, which pays homage to the bars and alleyways of Shinjuku’s Golden Gai.
Day 9–11: Allocate three days to beach adventures on Fraser Island (a four-hour drive from Brisbane). Before you board your flight home, go sea kayaking in Hervey Bay, keeping your eyes peeled for humpback whales.
Day 12–13: Drive back to Brisbane; catch your flight home to London.