100 things to see in Tropical North Queensland

New book reveals secrets of the far north.

It took travelling around the world for journalist and author Catherine Lawson to fully appreciate the natural beauty of Queensland.

“We realised after traveling around Australia and the world that everything we really wanted and needed to do, we could do out of Cairns,” Ms Lawson said.

“After 20 years in and out of adventure travelling, we always came back to Cairns.”

Ms Lawson and her partner, photographer David Bristow, have released a book, 100 things to see in Tropical North Queensland, a guide to the best of the far north and Great Barrier Reef.

The guidebook is geared towards people who are “interested in what to do and see, rather than where to drive and sleep”. 


Ms Lawson said the book uses local knowledge to go beyond typical guidebook fare.

“There are a few touristy attractions in the book, but we wanted people to know about the things that they couldn't pick up a brochure for,” she said.

“We want them to go to Fitzroy Island and do more than just hang around the resort and go and to the beach. 

“We want them to know about the best places to dive and the best hikes to do and why it was worthwhile – all the sneaky little places around the island where you could see really amazing marine life and where the best Instagram shots could be taken.”


Ms Lawson, Mr Bristow and their eight-year-old daughter Maya visited every location in the book.

“We went to every single place and we wanted to honour the natural quality of all these locations, because it's very easy to find out just stock-standard information on where to stay and where to spend your money, but that's not really what all the fuss is about,” she said.

“People are drawn to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest because of its natural beauty and we wanted to say there's a hundred possible dive places that you could go to but this is the one that we think is great and why.

“We’ve kind of blown the lid off a few secret spots.”

The author included her favourite location in the guidebook.

“Lizard Island is probably my favourite Island on the east coast,” Ms Lawson said.


“You can fly in and pitch a tent on Watson’s Bay and pay $6.65 a night and you’ve got million-dollar views that would cost you a couple of grand a night at the resort one bay over.

“You have to pack your own cocktails but you’re having the same landscape experience, snorkelling on the same reef and meeting the same turtles.

“North Queensland is as cheap as you want and you can go zero star or five stars but the world is the same, no matter what your budget and that's what I love about it."

100 things to see in Tropical North Queensland is available from Exploring Eden Media.

Whether it’s to the sparkling Sunshine Coast, luxurious far North or to the very tip of Queensland, plan your next holiday with the experts from RACQ Travel. For great offers on car hire, accommodation, touring and more, talk to the team on 1300 888 449 or visit racqtravel.com.au