Hello fellow garden-folk!~ I'm from Athens, Texas (just a little southest of Dallas) and I'm going to be visiting your country in June with 4 more of my friends. We are going to stay in the general area of Cairns so that we can explore the rainforest and the reef. We haven't chosen our lodging yet and only know what we find online. All and any hints about what to do, where , lodging recommendations (we don't want to cook) would be appreciated. I suspect that you folks really know about the good spots. I look forward to hearing from you. Sandy
Visiting your country in June
You should really enjoy it there. There's a wide range of accommodation available, in town or out of town. Depends on what you're looking for. Public transport and tours are available to many places but I think with 5 of you it would be better to have the freedom of a hire car. Travel where you want, when you want, and stay for as long as you want. By the time you multiply the cost of a tour by 5 it would be cheaper to hire a car anyway.
The Flecker Botanic Gardens is a must, right on the edge of town, and the gardens opposite. Behind that up the hill are walking trails through rainforest, well worth it. It's a great drive up onto the Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns, especially the Kuranda area. There's a butterfly farm, bird sanctuary and walking trails through rainforest. If you didn't want to drive up there's a scenic train going up as well as a cable car.
Further north, best with your own transport, is Mossman Gorge. Well worth a bit of time walking around. Further up from there is the Daintree rainforest, unique Gondwanan rainforest right down to sandy beaches. There's a few interpretive centres you can visit as well as nature trails. You can get there easily by 2WD car, but if you wanted to go further north beyond Cape Tribulation to Cooktown then you'd need 4WD.
Up on the Atherton Tablelands behind Cairns there's the crater lakes (Eacham, Barrine, etc.). There's features like the massive curtain fig trees. Also coffee and tea plantations. Quite a lot of things.
South of Cairns Mission Beach is great plus lots of things along the way. Then there's the Great Barrier Reef off the coast. There's cruises out to different reefs for snorkling or scuba diving. Green Island has an underwater observatory and you can just relax on the island or walk around the reef at low tide.
It's a great place for a holiday, but you will be there during the tourist season so you won't be alone!