Cairns: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Cairns, Queensland article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The CBD of Cairns, southeast from Mount Whitfield.
Cairns is located in Queensland
Population: 142,001 (2006)[1] (14th)
Density: 250.9/km² (649.8/sq mi) [1]
Established: 1876
Coordinates: 16°55′32″S 145°46′31″E / 16.92556°S 145.77528°E / -16.92556; 145.77528Coordinates: 16°55′32″S 145°46′31″E / 16.92556°S 145.77528°E / -16.92556; 145.77528
Area: 488.1 km² (188.5 sq mi) [2]
Time zone: AEST (UTC+10)
  • 1707 km (1,061 mi) NW of Brisbane
  • 2420 km (1,504 mi) NNW of Sydney
LGA: Cairns Region
County: Nares
State District: Cairns, Barron River, Mulgrave
Federal Division: Leichhardt
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
29.0 °C
84 °F
20.1 °C
68 °F
2,222.9 mm
87.5 in

Cairns (pronounced /ˈkɛərnz, ˈkærnz/,[3] locally [ˈkeːnz, ˈkænz][4]) is a regional city in Far North Queensland, Australia. The city was named after William Wellington Cairns (then Governor of Queensland). It was formed to serve miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield, but experienced a decline when an easier route was discovered from Port Douglas. It later developed into a railhead and major port for exporting sugar cane, gold, metals, minerals and agricultural products from surrounding coastal areas and the Atherton Tableland region.

The city is rapidly expanding, with a population of 122,731 at the 2006 census.[1] Tourism is the largest income producer for the region, followed closely by the sugar industry.[citation needed] An intercensal estimate for the resident population the Local Government Area as of June 2008 was 158,700.[5]

Cairns is located about 1,700 km (1,056 mi) from Brisbane, and about 2,420 km (1,504 mi) from Sydney by road. It is a popular travel destination for foreign tourists because of its tropical climate and proximity to many attractions. The Great Barrier Reef can be reached in less than an hour by boat. Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation, about 130 km (81 mi) north of Cairns, are popular areas for experiencing a tropical rainforest. It also serves as a starting point for people wanting to explore Cooktown, Cape York Peninsula, and the Atherton Tableland.

Various parks and attractions take advantage of the city's natural surroundings. Among them are Rainforestation Nature Park, Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, and Kuranda Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which extends for 7.5 km (4.7 mi) over World Heritage rainforest.

A notable feature of the Cairns esplanade is a swimming lagoon with adjoining barbecue areas. In May 2003, the then Cairns Mayor Kevin Byrne declared that topless sunbathing is permitted here, as the area is a gathering point for people from around the world who may wish to do so.[6][7] A boardwalk allows pedestrians and cyclists to move along the foreshore from the lagoon in a sustainable manner.



Location of Cairns in Queensland (red)
Cairns, view of the foreshore.
The Mulgrave River running through the Goldsbrough Valley to the south of Gordonvale.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway over the rainforest.

Cairns is located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula on a coastal strip between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. The northern part of the city is located on Trinity Bay and the city centre is located on Trinity Inlet. Some of the city's suburbs are located on flood plains. The Mulgrave River and Barron River flow within the city's boundary but not through the city itself. The city centre's foreshore is located on a mud flat.


Urban layout

Cairns is a provincial city, with a linear urban layout that runs from the south, at Edmonton, to the north, at Ellis Beach.[8] The city is approximately 52 km (32 mi) from north to south. Cairns has experienced recent urban sprawl, with suburbs occupying land previously used for sugar cane farming.

The Northern Beaches consist of a number of beach communities extending north along the coast. In general, each beach suburb is located at the end of a spur road extending from the Captain Cook Highway. From south to north, these are Machans Beach, Holloways Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Park, Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach, Clifton Beach, Palm Cove, and Ellis Beach.

The suburb of Smithfield is located inland against the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, between Yorkeys Knob and Trinity Park. It serves as the main hub for the Northern Beaches, with a modern shopping arcade, called Smithfield Shopping Centre.

Located south of Smithfield and inland from the Northern Beaches along the edge of the Barron River flood plain are the suburbs of Caravonica, Kamerunga, Freshwater, and Stratford. This area is sometimes referred to as Freshwater Valley, though it is actually the lower part of Redlynch Valley; further up the valley are the suburbs of Redlynch, on the western side of Redlynch Valley, and Brinsmead on the eastern side. Stratford, Freshwater, and Brinsmead are separated from Cairns city by Mount Whitfield (elevation 365 m (1,198 ft)) and Whitfield Range. Crystal Cascades and Copperlode Dam are also located behind this range. This area is serviced by the Redlynch Central Shopping Centre, a relatively new shopping centre, located in the fast growing area of the Redlynch Valley. This shopping centre is also due to be expanded in the future.[citation needed]

The city centre of Cairns is adjacent to the suburbs of Cairns North, and Parramatta Park, Bungalow, Portsmith, and in close proximity to Westcourt, Manunda, Manoora, Edge Hill, Whitfield, Kanimbla, Mooroobool, Earlville, Woree and Bayview Heights. The small suburb of Aeroglen is pressed between Mount Whitfield and the airport, on the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns North and Stratford.

Southside Cairns, situated in a narrow area between Trinity Inlet to the east and Lamb Range to the west, includes the suburbs of White Rock, Mount Sheridan, Bentley Park and Edmonton. The townships of Goldsborough, Little Mulgrave, and Aloomba are in close proximity to Gordonvale, located on the Mulgrave River. This area is serviced by the Bruce Highway, which is to be developed into a motorway between Woree and Gordonvale to address increasing traffic congestion.[citation needed]

Nearby localities

Several other small towns and communities within Cairns' jurisdiction are sparsely located along the Bruce highway, the furthest being Mirriwinni, 66 kilometres (41.0 mi) south of Cairns city; the largest of these townships is Babinda, about 60 kilometres (37.3 mi) from Cairns.

The town of Kuranda is located upstream on the Barron River on the western side of the Macalister Range, part of the Great Dividing Range. Kuranda is located in the Tablelands local government area and, due to the geography of the Macalister Range, is not part of the Cairns urban area; however, it forms part of the Cairns economic catchment.


The land originally belonged to the Walubarra Yidinji people,[9] who still recognise indigenous property rights in the area.[10] The area upon which the city has been built is known in the local Yidiny language as Gimuy.[9]

In 1770, James Cook first mapped the future site of Cairns, naming it Trinity Bay. Closer investigation by several official expeditions 100 years later established its potential for development into a port.

Cairns was founded in 1876, hastened by the need to export gold discovered on the tablelands to the west of the inlet. The site was predominantly mangrove swamps and sand ridges. The swamps were gradually cleared by laborers, and the sand ridges were filled in with dried mud, sawdust from local sawmills, and ballast from a quarry at Edge Hill. Debris collected from the construction of a railway to Herberton on the Atherton Tableland, a project which started in 1886, was also used. The railway opened up land that was later used for agriculture on the lowlands (sugar cane, corn, rice, bananas, pineapples), and for fruit and dairy production on the Tableland. The success of local agriculture helped Cairns to establish itself as a port, and the creation of a harbour board in 1906 helped to support its economic future.

During World War II, Cairns was used by the Allied Forces as a staging base for operations in the Pacific, with US Army Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force operational bases (now the airport), as well as a major military seaplane base in Trinity Inlet, and US Navy and Royal Australian Navy bases near the current wharf. Combat missions were flown out of Cairns in support of the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942. Edmonton and White Rock south of Cairns were major military supply areas and US Paratroopers trained at Gordonvale and the Goldsborough Valley.

A major Special Forces training base was established at the old "Fairview" homestead on Munroe's Hill, Mooroobool. This base was officially known as the Z Experimental Station, but to locals and service personnel alike, it was "The House on the Hill".

After World War II, Cairns gradually developed into a centre for tourism. The opening of the Cairns International Airport in 1984, and the building of the Cairns Convention Centre established the city's overseas reputation as a desirable destination for the tourism and business conference markets.


Cairns experiences a warm tropical climate, specifically a Tropical monsoon climate (Am) under the Köppen climate classification.[11] A wet season with tropical monsoons runs from December to April, with a relatively dry season from May to November, though showers are frequent for most of this period. Mean rainfall of Cairns is 1,992.8 millimetres (78.5 in).[12] The township of Babinda at the southern end of the city is one of Australia's wettest towns, recording an annual rainfall of over 4,200 millimetres (165.4 in). It has hot, humid summers and milder temperatures in winter. Mean temperatures vary from 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) in July to 31.4 °C (88.5 °F) in January. Monsoonal activity during the wet season occasionally causes major flooding of the Barron and Mulgrave Rivers, cutting off road and rail access to the city.

Climate data for Cairns
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.4
Average low °C (°F) 23.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 392.2
Sunshine hours 210.8 170.8 201.5 201.0 207.7 216.0 229.4 244.9 258.0 275.9 255.0 238.7 2,701.0
% Humidity 70.5% 73.5% 72.5% 71.5% 70.0% 67.5% 64.5% 63.0% 60.5% 61.5% 64.0% 66.5% 67.5%
Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology[13]

Tropical cyclones

Like most of North and Far North Queensland, Cairns is prone to tropical cyclones, usually forming between November and May.

Notable cyclones that have affected the Cairns region include:

Cyclone Larry

Tropical Cyclone Larry struck areas to the south of Cairns at 7 a.m. on 20 March 2006. Cyclone Larry crossed land near the town of Innisfail, 100 km (62 mi) south of Cairns as a category five cyclone. It was downgraded to a category four cyclone shortly before midday, and further downgraded to a category three cyclone a few hours later. Wind gusts of up to 300 km/h (186 mph) were recorded around the Cairns region, with wind gusts up to 180 km/h (112 mph) reported in the city. It is estimated that about one in four houses in Cairns and surrounding areas were affected by Cyclone Larry.[citation needed]


View of Cairns from Lake Morris with the Yarrabah peninsula in the background.

Cairns is part of the Cairns Region local government area which is governed by a Regional Council. The Council consists of a directly elected mayor and 10 councillors, elected from 10 single-member divisions (or wards) using an optional preferential voting system. Elections are held every four years.

The Cairns Region consists of three former local government areas. The first was the original City of Cairns, consisting of the Cairns City region as listed above. The second, which was amalgamated in 1995, was the Shire of Mulgrave (comprising the other areas, namely the Northern Beaches, Redlynch Valley and Southside). The town of Gordonvale was once called Mulgrave. The third area is the Shire of Douglas, which amalgamated in 2008 during major statewide local government reforms.

At the time of the 1995 amalgamation, Cairns City had a population of approximately 40,000 and Mulgrave Shire had a population of approximately 60,000. Both local government authorities had chambers in the Cairns CBD. The old Cairns City Council chambers has been converted into a new city library. In a controversial decision,[14] new Council chambers were constructed on previously contaminated land in the mainly industrial suburb of Portsmith.

Cairns has three representatives in the Queensland Parliament, from the electoral districts of Barron River, Cairns and Mulgrave. The city is represented in the Federal Parliament by representatives elected from the districts of Leichhardt and Kennedy.

Prior to the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), the indigenous people in Cairns were represented by the Cairns and District Regional Council. The Council had twelve Councillors, who elected a chairperson from among them. The Cairns area was represented on ATSIC by the Commissioner for Queensland North Zone. The last Commissioner for Queensland North was Lionel Quartermaine, who also served as ATSIC's Deputy Chair.


Cairns at night; the wharves. The casino's dome can be seen in the background.

Cairns serves as the major commercial centre for the Far North Queensland and Cape York Peninsula Regions. It is a base for the regional offices of various government departments.


Tourism plays a major part in the Cairns economy. According to Tourism Australia, the Cairns region is the fourth-most popular destination for international tourists in Australia after Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.[15] Whilst the city does not rank amongst Australia's top 10 destinations for domestic tourism, it attracts a significant number of Australian holiday makers given its distance from major capitals.[16] The city's proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics of Queensland, and the Atherton Tableland makes it a popular destination. The city contains hundreds[17] of hotels, resorts, motels and backpackers hostels. Activities in the region include golf, white water rafting, cruises to the Great Barrier Reef, and coach tours to the Daintree Rainforest, Atherton Tableland and Paronella Park. There are also scenic flights, day trips to Kuranda, crocodile farms, and a food-and-wine tour visiting tropical fruit wineries.


Cairns Pier

Several shopping centres of various sizes are located throughout Cairns. The largest of these are Cairns Central shopping centre, located in the central business district, and Stockland Cairns, located in the suburb of Earlville. In Westcourt, one of the city's oldest shopping centres has been refurbished, with the city's first Direct Factory Outlet.[18][19] To service the needs of suburbs further from the city centre, shopping complexes are also located at Mount Sheridan, Redlynch, Smithfield, and Clifton Beach.

The city is becoming a significant economical centre in not just tourism, but in services as well, with many new office towers being built and planned for the near future, including the Cairns Corporate Tower #2.[citation needed]


The Cairns Post is a daily newspaper published in the city; a weekly paper, The Cairns Sun, is also published. The Courier-Mail is a daily Queensland-wide newspaper published in Brisbane. The Australian newspaper also circulates widely.

The Cairns Bulletin is the only independent suburban newspaper in circulation in Cairns. It is distributed from Palm Cove in the north to Gordonvale in the south.

Cairns is served by regional affiliates of the three Australian commercial television networks (Ten, Nine and Seven) and the two public broadcasters (ABC and SBS). Austar Limited provides subscription satellite television services.

Cairns radio stations include a number of public, commercial and community broadcasters. The ABC broadcasts ABC Radio National, ABC Local, ABC Classic FM and the Triple J youth network. Commercial radio stations include 4CA-FM, AM846, HOT FM, SeaFM, 4CCR-FM, 87.6 XFM, 98.7FM, 101.9 Coast FM, and 104.3 4TAB sports radio.

Industry and agriculture

The land around Cairns is still used for sugar cane farming, although this land is increasingly under pressure from new suburbs as the city grows. Within the Cairns City Council area, sugar mills operate in Gordonvale and Babinda.

The Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station is located nearby in Kuranda, and provides green power for some of the city's needs.


Cairns is an important transport hub in the Far North Queensland region. Located at the base of Cape York Peninsula, it provides important transport links between the Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria regions, and the areas to the south of the state. Cairns International Airport is essential to the viability of the area's tourism industry.


The Bruce Highway in Cairns southern suburbs at morning peak hour.

The Bruce Highway runs for 1,700 km (1,056 mi) from Brisbane, and terminates in the Cairns CBD, from which the Captain Cook Highway (also referred to as the Cook Highway) commences, which runs for approximately 76 km (47 mi) from Cairns to Mossman to the northwest.

A need for future upgrades to the Bruce Highway to motorway standards through the southern suburbs to Gordonvale has been identified in regional planning strategies to cope with increasing congestion from rapid population growth. This will result in overpasses at all major intersections from Woree to Gordonvale. The motorway will divert from Bentley Park to Gordonvale, bypassing Edmonton to reduce the affects of road noise on residential areas.[20]

The Kennedy Highway commences at Smithfield on the Barron River flood plain north of Cairns, and ascends the Macalister Range to the township of Kuranda. The highway then extends to the town of Mareeba on the Atherton Tableland, and continues to communities of Cape York Peninsula. There are plans to construct an overpass as part of the Kennedy Range Motorway, which will run from Smithfield to Kuranda.[citation needed]

The Gillies Highway commences at the township of Gordonvale, and ascends the Gillies Range (part of the Great Dividing Range) to the town of Atherton on the Atherton Tableland, passing through the township of Yungaburra on the way.

The controversial private road, Quaid Road, was constructed in 1989 through what is now a Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and links Wangetti, on the coast just north of Cairns, to Southedge, just south of Mount Molloy. The road is not open to the public and is not used for general traffic.


Cairns is served by long-distance coaches to Brisbane, and regional cities to the south. Coaches also operate west to Mount Isa via Townsville, and to Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory. The longest running locally owned Coach company is Tropic Wings Coach Tours, originally established in 1981 and opperated under the name of "Blue Wings Coaches" changing to "Tropic Wings Coach Tours" in 1984. Tropic Wings Coach Tours was the first local company to service Kuranda on a regular basis and has continued to service North Queensland to this day.

Public transport

A public transport network is operated throughout the city by Marlin Coast Sunbus. A transit mall is located in the CBD, through which all services operate. Services include most parts of the city, from Palm Cove in the north, to Gordonvale in the south. Bus services operated by Whitecar Coaches run to Kuranda and to the Atherton Tableland. A smaller minibus service, Jon's Kuranda Bus runs between Cairns and Kuranda. Cairns also has one major taxi company, Black and White Cabs, which services the Cairns region.


Cairns is the terminus for Queensland's North Coast railway line, which follows the eastern seaboard from Brisbane. Services are operated by Queensland Rail (QR). In April 2009, the high speed tilt train service from Brisbane to Cairns was suspended due to safety concerns but resumed service on 4 May.[21] Freight trains also operate along the route, with a QR Freight handling facility located at Portsmith.

Pacific National Queensland (a division of Pacific National, owned by Asciano Limited) operates a rail siding at Woree. It runs private trains on the rail network owned by the Queensland State Government and managed by QR's Network Division.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway operates from Cairns. The tourist railway ascends the Macalister Range and is not used for commuter services. It passes through the suburbs of Stratford, Freshwater (stopping at Freshwater Station) and Redlynch before reaching Kuranda.

Freight services to Forsayth were discontinued in the mid-1990s. These were mixed freight and passenger services that served the semi-remote towns west of the Great Dividing Range. There is now a weekly passenger-only service, The Savannahlander, that leaves Cairns on Wednesday mornings. The Savannahlander is run by a private company, Cairns Kuranda Steam Trains.

Cairns is served by a narrow gauge cane railway (or cane train) network that hauls harvested sugar cane to the Mulgrave Mill located in Gordonvale. The pressure of urban sprawl on land previously cultivated by cane farmers has seen this network reduced over recent years. There has been discussion that these railway corridors may be used for a possible future light rail mass transit system, however no plans have been drawn up.[citation needed]

The use of the existing heavy rail line for commuter services between Redlynch and Gordonvale is occasionally discussed; however this is not a favoured option under the FNQ 2010 Regional Plan, which recommends the use of buses.


Cairns Marina.

Cairns International Airport is located 7 km (4 mi) north of Cairns City between the CBD and the Northern Beaches. It is Australia's seventh busiest domestic airport and sixth busiest international airport. In 2005/2006 there were 3.76 million international and domestic passenger movements.[22]

The airport has a domestic terminal, a separate international terminal, and a general aviation area. The airport handles international flights, and flights to major Australian cities, tourist destinations, and regional destinations throughout North Queensland. It is an important base for general aviation serving the Cape York Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria communities. The Cairns airport is also a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Sea port

The Cairns Seaport, located on Trinity Inlet, is operated by the Cairns Port Authority.[23] It serves as an important port for tourist operators providing daily reef trips. These consist of large catamarans capable of carrying over 300 passengers, as well as smaller operators that may take as few as 12 tourists. Cairns Port is also a port of call for cruise ships, such as Captain Cook Cruises, cruising the South Pacific Ocean. It also provides freight services to coastal townships on Cape York Peninsula, the Torres Strait and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Yearly cargo through the port totals 1.13 million tonnes. Almost 90% of the trade is bulk cargoes[22] - including petroleum, sugar, molasses, fertiliser and LP gas. A large number of fishing trawlers are also located at the port. There is also a marina that houses private yachts and boats used for tourist operations.

The Royal Australian Navy has a base in Cairns (HMAS Cairns).[24] The base has a complement of 900 personnel, and supports fourteen warships, including the four Armidale class patrol boats of Ardent Division, four of the six Balikpapan class landing craft, and all six ships of the Royal Australian Navy Hydrographic Service.[24]

The Trinity Wharf has recently been the subject of a major redevelopment to improve the area for tourist and cruise ship operations. The freight wharves are located to the south of Trinity Wharf further up Trinity Inlet.

Sister cities


Cairns has numerous primary and secondary schools. Separate systems of private and public schools operate in Queensland. There are 20 state primary schools and 16 state high schools operated by the Queensland state government Department of Education within the Cairns City Council area, including 6 schools in the predominantly rural areas south of Gordonvale.

Roman Catholic schools are operated by Catholic Education Cairns. The Roman Catholic system encompasses nineteen primary schools, six secondary colleges and one P-12 college.[26] There are almost 6,000 primary students and 3,250 secondary students enrolled in the Roman Catholic school system.[27]

The Cairns Campus of James Cook University is located at Smithfield. The city is also home to a TAFE college, and a School of the Air base, both located in the inner suburb of Manunda.


The Cairns Base Hospital from the air facing south.

The Cairns Base Hospital is situated on the Cairns Esplanade and is the major hospital for the Cape York Peninsula Region. The smaller Cairns Private Hospital is located nearby. On the north side of the Base hospital is located the Australian Red Cross Blood Service

Cairns is a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which operates clinics and provides emergency evacuations in remote communities throughout the region.

Sport and recreation

Notable sporting grounds include Barlow Park, Cairns Showground and Cazaly's Stadium, the Cairns Convention Centre (basketball), and the Cairns Hockey Centre.

Cazaly's Stadium

Cairns has a National Basketball League (NBL) team, the Cairns Taipans. The Skill360 Australia Northern Pride Queensland Cup rugby league team played their first season in 2008, and act as a feeder team to the North Queensland Cowboys who play in the National Rugby League. The Cairns region has a large association football (soccer) community with a local competition which spans from Port Douglas to Innisfail and west to Dimbulah. Notable footballers from the region include Socceroos Frank Farina, Steve Corica, Shane Stefanutto and Michael Thwaite. Cairns also hosts growing bases for Rugby Union, and a local league of Australian rules football.[28]

Cairns is a major international destination for scuba diving due to its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. Other recreational activities popular with tourists include whitewater rafting, skydiving, kitesurfing and snorkelling.[29]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Cairns (QLD) (Statistical District)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "National Regional Profile : Cairns City Part A (Statistical Subdivision)". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  3. ^ Both pronunciations found in Merriam Webster's 10th Collegiate, and the first at[1]
  4. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Backpacker Boobs Cause Stir". Sydney Morning Herald. 2003-05-23. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Cairns Esplanade Redevelopment Progress - Topless Sunbathing". 
  8. ^ "Cairns Maps and Region Guide". CairnsInfo. 2008-02-13. 
  9. ^ a b Dixon, R. M. W. (1977). "A grammar of Yidiny". Cambridge Studies in Linguistics. Cambridge University Press. p. 19. 
  10. ^ "Welcome - 2007 Native Title Conference". AIATSIS. 2007. 
  11. ^ Linacre, Edward; Geerts, Bart (1997). Climates and Weather Explained. London: Routledge. p. 379. ISBN 0-415-12519-7. 
  12. ^ "Bureau of Meteorology website". 
  13. ^ "Climate statistics for Cairns Aero AWS". Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  14. ^ "Land Row". The Cairns Post. News Limited: p. 1. 19 July 2001. 
  15. ^ "International Market Tourism Facts" (PDF). Tourism Australia. 
  16. ^ "Research & Stats". Tourism Australia. 
  17. ^ "Cairns Accommodation Directory". Cairns Accommodation. 
  18. ^ "Direct Factory Outlets". 
  19. ^ "Direct Benefit". The Cairns Post. News Limited. 3 December 2008. 
  20. ^ FNQ Regional Plan - Supporting Technical Documents - Integrated Transport. February 2000. pp. 41–43. 
  21. ^ "Rail union safety fears grow as Qld tilt train resumes". ABC. 4 May 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Cairns Port Authority 2005/6 Annual Report". 
  23. ^ "Cairns Port Authority". 
  24. ^ a b "HMAS Cairns". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 2008-08-21. 
  25. ^ "Twin cities of Riga". Riga City Council. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  26. ^ "Schools & Colleges of Catholic Education - Diocese of Cairns". 
  27. ^ "CEO Information". 
  28. ^ "AFL Cairns - History". 
  29. ^ "Cairns Popular Activities". 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Cairns's Pier Shopping Centre and promenade
Cairns's Pier Shopping Centre and promenade

Cairns [1] is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef in Far North Queensland Australia.


Cairns is a cosmopolitan city with a population of approx. 130,000 that is very focused on the tourist industry; particularly popular with international tourists. Japanese tourists are especially catered for, with many shops and signs being written in katakana, as well as English. The city is surrounded by rainforest and can be used as a gateway to destinations such as Kuranda and the Daintree. Besides tourism, the city is supported by agricultural activities which include sugar cane, bananas, and the world's first tropical fruit wine region.

There is a lot of accommodation to suit all budgets with plenty of drinking establishments and restaurants catering to all types of tastes. The atmosphere is relatively inexpensive, laid back and unpretentious. There are a plethora of clubs and coffee shops in the city, all overflowing with international tourists which helps to give Cairns its cosmopolitan feel.

There is no swimming beach to speak of in central Cairns, although there are many choices just north and south of the city. A large outdoor, lagoon-style pool is in the center of the Cairns City area, which is very popular throughout the year with tourists and locals alike. If you are aiming to have a beach side resort holiday, there are several resorts a short drive north of Cairns.

Get in

By plane

Cairns International Airport [2] (IATA: CNS, ICAO: YBCS) is the primary international gateway into the region and is also served by many domestic flights. Cairns airport has two terminals; a domestic terminal and an international terminal, both within walking distance from each other.

The international airlines serving Cairns are:

The domestic airlines serving Cairns are:

The hourly-or-so Airport Shuttle [11] bus into town costs $7, while a taxi will do the same trip directly to your destination for around $15.

By train

Cairns Station is right in the city centre, easily within walking distance of the waterfront and most hotels.

Queensland Railways [12] Tilt train and The Sunlander services connect Cairns to Brisbane (via Townsville and Rockhampton), taking 32 hours for the full journey. Even though the Tilt Train reaches speeds of 160km/h between Townsville and Brisbane, the diesel Tilt Train running between Brisbane and Cairns runs at a maximum of 80km/h between Townsville and Cairns due to the poor alignment of the line. Although a trip between Townsville and Cairns takes 4 hours by car, it can take over 7 hours by train.

The Kuranda Scenic Railway [13], also operated by Queensland Rail [14], runs from Cairns to Kuranda, stopping over the majestic Barron Gorge to allow passengers to leave the train and enjoy the beautiful view over the water.

The Savannahlander [15] also travels from Cairns to Kuranda but then continues on to the outback town of Forsayth.

By car

The 1700-km Bruce Highway running south along the coast connects Cairns to the state capital of Brisbane. It takes 22 hours to drive without stopping, and you should allow at least 2-3 days of solid driving, or longer for a more relaxed pace of drive up the coast. There are regular towns along the coast which make good stopping off and sightseeing points.

Get around

By foot

The center of Cairns is small enough to cover on foot.

By bus

Frequent Sunbus buses depart from the market square to the suburbs and Northern Beaches. You can buy a bus ticket that lasts for 24 hours. The bus driver stamps the time of purchase and it valid for the next 24 hours.

By car

Apart from the town centre, a car is useful to see the surrounding attractions if you are not taking a tour.

Car rental

  • Choice Car Rentals, Cairns Airport, [16]. 7 days, 0800 until 1800. from $19 per day.  edit
  • Airport Rent A Car Cairns, [17].
  • Cairns Rent A Car, 432-434 Sheridan Street, 1800 777 779, [18].  edit
  • East Coast Car Rentals Cairns Airport, [19].
  • Network Car & Truck Rentals, [20] 1800 881 797
  • Catch an amateur rugby game in town if you can, the locals play a mean game, and it's a great way to meet local folks.
  • International cricket is sometimes played in Cairns at Cazaly's Stadium [21]. Time your visit right and you could catch a great game for just a couple of dollars.
  • Cairns is home to one of Australia's best basketball teams, as well as basketball's most famous mascot, Joe Blake the Snake.
  • Many natural Cairns attractions include the Great Barrier Reef, Copperlode Dam, Atherton Tablelands and Daintree Rainforest
  • Cairns is the hotspot for wildlife diversity in Australia and is an ideal place to see a huge variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Places such as Mount Lewis, Lamb Range, or Mount Hypipamee are ideal locations to see anything from a Cassowary to Tree Kangaroos.
Swimmers using the lagoon on a winter's day
Swimmers using the lagoon on a winter's day

Cairns is an adventure sports enthusiast's paradise: every second shop is a tourist information centre with signs blaring "dive dive" or "tandem skydiving". Its location close to the ocean, the mountains and the rainforest gives travellers lots of choices of activities.

Standby rates are ubiquitous: many of the more expensive activities, including scuba diving and skydiving, are up to $150 cheaper if you are prepared to go on standby for a cancellation.

  • Swim in the artificial "lagoon" (a public swimming pool with some sand on one side) on the promenade near the pier. The lagoon is unfenced and free to use. A shallow depth(max depth 1.5m) makes it ideal for families with children. The lagoon is a good place to cool off especially during "stinger season" between October and May (cf. Dangerous creatures in Australia) when local beaches should be avoided. Note that there are also no beaches in Cairns itself - one can catch a bus to the northern beaches, but the sand there is rather rough, and during stinger season the area protected by netting at the northern beaches is no bigger than the lagoon.
  • Sun-bake or people watch on the grassy part of the promenade near the lagoon. On a sunny day, even in the middle of Cairns's tropical "winter", there will sometimes be more sun-bakers than there is visible grass.
  • Have a barbecue on the promenade. Cairns has free barbecues scattered generously among the picnic tables on the grass.
  • Go walking - Cairns is surrounded by rainforest clad mountains, and there are nearly 200 walking tracks in this World Heritage Area. Keen walkers should keep an eye out for Tropical Walking Tracks, found at local bookshops and adventure shops. It lists all of the tracks around Cairns as well as those between Townsville and Cooktown and has maps of them and 'how-to-get-there' directions as well.
  • See wildlife at the Cairns Wildlife Dome, 35-41 Wharf Street, Cairns QLD 4870 Australia, +617 4031 7250 (), [22]. A spectacular all-weather wildlife exhibit enclosed by a 20 metre high glass dome on top of the iconic Reef Hotel Casino, visitors walk through a replicated rainforest environment whilst birds such as parrots, cockatoos and lorikeets fly freely around you. See other animals such as koalas, frogmouths, kookaburras, rainforest wallabies, crocodiles, turtles and pythons. Complimentary guided tours and animal presentations take place throughout the day.  edit

Coach Tours

Many coach tours depart Cairns daily, with a couple of hundred to choose from. There are rainforest tours to Mossman Gorge, the Daintree River, Cape Tribulation, and the Cairns Highlands (Atherton Tablelands), specialised 4WD tours, city sights tours, tours to wildlife parks, outback tours, and much, much more.

  • Tropic Wings Coach Tours, PO 1230 Cairns QLD 4870 Australia, +617 4041 9400 (, fax: +617 4041 9499), [23]. Tropic Wings Coach Tours is one of the largest and longest established coach touring companies in Cairns, operating since 1981. Tropic Wings operates full and half day tours to Kuranda including Kuranda Scenic Railway, Skyrail, Rainforestation Nature Park and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary; Cape Tribulation and the Daintree; Port Douglas; Atherton Tablelands and the Outback; and extended tours to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree.  edit
  • Cairns Discovery Tour, [24]. Includes the Royal Flying Doctor Service visitor centre and botanical gardens.  edit
  • Food Trail Tours, PO Box 112 Cairns 4870, Qld, Australia, +61-7-4041-1522 (fax: +61-7-4032-0422), [25]. This tour offers a chance to experience a food, wine and sightseeing extravaganza on the tropical food trail while meeting local people and tasting local produce. The tour includes a tropical fruit wine maker, coffee plantation, macadamia plantation, inclusive barramundi lunch, and a hint of chocolate, as well as a very unique wildlife feeding experience at Granite Gorge [26]. Food Trail Tours is a small locally owned company that takes you away from all the attractions, souvenir shops and other coaches, to meet local people, and taste their exceptional produce. A day on the tropical food trail costs $137 for adults, $65 for a child, and $395 for a family(2A+2C)..  edit
  • Jungle Tours, PO Box 2945 Cairns QLD 4870 Australia, +617 4041 9440 (, fax: +617 4041 9499), [27]. Jungle Tours specializes in day and extended tours to the World Heritage areas of Cape Tribulation and the Daintree - where the oldest rainforest in the world meets the Great Barrier Reef. Small groups travel with their informative guides on air-conditioned buses. Tours can include Port Douglas, The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, cruising on the Daintree River searching for crocodiles and wildlife, swimming in the Mossman Gorge and exploring Cape Tribulation Beach. On extended tours, various levels of accommodation are offered, from backpacker dorms to deluxe resorts, with plenty of options to party and play. Activities vary from reef trips with Rum Runner, to horseriding, jungle surfing, and sea kayaking.  edit
  • NatureTour Australia, [28]. Specializes in trips to local wildlife hotspots.  edit
  • Northern Experience Eco Tour, [29]. P.O.Box 177 Stratford 4870, 07 40580268. Visits the waterfalls, Lake Barrine Cater lake, The Curtain Fig Tree, Famous Milla Milla Falls, Delicious 2 course hot lunch & cheese/yogurt tasting at the Mungalli Organic Bio-Dynamic Dairy, & rainforest of the Southern Cairns Highlands, plus the historic Spanish castle ruins & gardens of Paronella Park & Mena Creek falls, near Innisfail, and the Beautiful Babinda Boulders for a swim in clear mountain spring waters. Back to Cairns via Bruce Highway, sugar cane fields and Walsh's Pyramid. Many photo opportunities, a photographers delight. Small groups, Max 20 passengers.  edit

Diving and snorkeling

A number of Cairns operators run day and liveaboard scuba diving trips from Cairns. For seeing the Great Barrier Reef, the smaller dive boats provide the best experience, both for diving and for snorkeling. The larger operations have more amenities - better food, larger and faster boats, more activities, but sometimes provide a poorer underwater experience, as the underwater areas that the larger boats visit are heavily overused, and somewhat barren of coral and fish. Your mileage may vary.

  • <Passions of Paradise> Passions of Paradise is a 25 metre modern, fast sailing catamaran travelling daily to two of the most sought after destinations on the Great Barrier Reef.

The first is Michaelmas Cay, where the company holds one of the few rare permits which allow passengers access to the beach. This unspoilt paradise is recognised internationally as one of the most important bird nesting sanctuaries on the Great Barrier Reef. Host to over 20,000 sea birds, the cay combines brilliant white sand, warm shallow water and an abundance of marine life making it perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving, glass bottom boat tours or just relaxing on the beach.

The second destination is the Outer Barrier Reef, where they have their own exclusive mooring at Breaking Patches. There you will find the beautiful hard coral gardens that the Outer Reef is famous for. The day includes a beautiful chef prepared hot and cold buffet lunch, all snorkelling equipment and the chance to sail on one of the fastest catamarans travelling to the Great Barrier Reef. [30] Phone +61 7 4041-1600 email:

  • Tusa Dive Australia, cnr Shield Street and the Esplanade, +61-7-4031-1028 (, fax: +61-7-4031-3141), [31]. Tusa Dive Australia are a particularly good small operator. Tusa Dive offer 2 dive day trips to the Outer Reef for $160 ($190 with equipment hire)..  edit
  • Pro Dive Cairns, 116 Spence Street, +61-7-4031-5255 (, fax: +61-7-4051-9955), [32]. Pro Dive Cairns specializes in 11 dive/3 day 2 night liveaboard trips to the Outer Reef, departing every day except Tuesdays. Their dive sites are suitable for inexperienced divers: most trips will include one or more groups of students doing their checkout dives. The liveaboard trip is $580 for a twin share or double cabin (including all equipment). Pro Dive Cairns also offer several PADI [33] courses which include the liveaboard trip: the basic Open Water course (2 days of classroom and pool work plus the trip), Open Water referral checkout dives, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver. The trip is $580 per person, twin share or double and equipment included. Additional fee applies of $35 per person, includes a $15 Government Environmental Management Charge as well as a Port Departure tax and administration costs. The trip is $560 per person, twin share or double, reef tax and equipment included. Open Water course $725, Open Water referral $630.  edit
  • New Horizon Sail and Dive, PO Box 5957, Cairns, Qld 4870, +61-7-4055-6130 (, fax: +61-7-4055-6315), [34]. New Horizon Sail and Dive operates two classic sailing boats, Santa Maria and Coral Sea Dreaming, to the outer Great Barrier Reef. They allow you to experience the reef in a smaller more intimate affair with a maximum of ten (10) passengers on each trip. The trip is from $380 per person for a two day liveaboard and from $540 for a three day liveaboard, all equipment included..  edit
  • Taka Dive Adventures, 131 Lake Street, +61-7-4051-8722 (, fax: +61-7-4031-2739), [35]. Taka Dive offer two liveaboard trips: a 5 day/4 night tour of Cod Hole and the Coral Sea (from $1050 for a 4 share cabin and $1175 for a twin cabin) and a 4 day/3 night tour of Cod Hole and the northern part of the reef (from $900 for a 4 share cabin and $1000 for a twin cabin). The two trips can be combined into one from $1850 (4 share cabin).  edit
  • Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, 143 Lake Street, +61-7-4053-0500, [36]. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions are Australian divers' favourite luxury dive operator, famous for little touches like fresh towels every day, as well as excellent dive sites suited to serious divers. Unlike most liveaboard operators in the region, Mike Ball trips allow solo diving and rebreather diving if you provide appropriate equipment. Cabins with private bathrooms are available. 3 night trip from $1185, 4 night trip from $1294 and 7 night trip from $2300, rental equipment and courses extra.  edit
  • Great Barrier Reef Diving, P.O. Box 5696 Torquay, Queensland, +61-7-4128-9359 (, fax: +61-7-4128-9359), [37]. Oz Magic represents many different dive operators ex Cairns Many different dive options from one day to seven days.  edit


If you are sick of the sea, head up in the air.

  • Skydive Cairns [38], 59 Sheridan Street. tel 1800 330 044 (free call in Australia) or +61 7 4031-5466. fax +61 7 4031 5505. email: Skydive Cairns offers tandem, single jumps, and AFF courses. One of the most beautiful plane rides up to 13,000 feet overlooking the reef just long enough before you lose your lunch on the way down.
  • Tandem Cairns [39], Shop 10, 93 The Esplanade (entrance on Aplin Street). Tel: 1800 805 432 (free call in Australia), email: Tandem Cairns offers tandem skydives for $270.

Hang Gliding

Hang gliders fly off Rex Point Lookout, halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas on the Captain Cook highway. On weekends, it's common to see multiple gliders soaring the sky above the scenic lookout, and the winter season provides consistent flight conditions.

  • Airplay Hang Gliding, 0412000797 (), [40]. Airplay offers tandem hang gliding flights of durations up to an hour and a free outbound shuttle service. Lessons and full instruction are also available to those wishing to learn to fly.  edit


Always wanted to try ballooning? The Cairns region has some of the best weather for ballooning in the World and so trips go year round and are rarely cancelled. It's also one of the cheapest places to go flying, anywhere. The trips go inland to the Atherton Tablelands and take off at first light at Mareeba, finishing around 10AM and can connect directly to a Great Barrier Reef tour or drop you in Kuranda.

  • Ballooning with Hot Air, 1800 800 829, [41]. Includes a hot breakfast, champagne & transfers. $5.  edit
  • Champagne Balloon Flights, 07 40392400, [42]. Offers a slightly cheaper trip that doesn't include breakfast.  edit

White Water Rafting

Rafting in North Queensland has the advantage of departures all year round, tropical water temperatures and ease of access to compliment breath-taking scenery and rapids. The region's white water rafting adventures are suitable for all levels of fitness and enthusiasm. Ride through our planet's oldest continuously growing tropical rainforests on rivers that still run totally wild.

  • RnR White Water Rafting, PO Box 2945 Cairns QLD 4870 Australia, +617 4041 9444 (, fax: +617 4041 9499), [43]. RnR, based in Cairns, is Australia’s White Water Rafting specialist. Operating since 1984. The Tully River is Australia's best and most famous one-day white water rafting experience, with up to 5 hours of rafting over more than 45 Grade 4 rapids through World Heritage Rainforest. The Barron River option is a great half-day tour, with up to 2 hours of rafting on Grade 3 rapids. For something longer, the North Johnstone 4 Day Expedition is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Helicopter in, 4 days of Grade 5 rapids and camping 3 nights under the stars in riverside rainforest clearings.  edit

Sail and visit Duyfken

The 16th century replica Duyfken [44] is now berthed at Marlin Wharf, Marlin Marina, Cairns. Duyfken was the first recorded European ship to visit Australia. Duyfken is open to the public from 9AM to 5PM every day as a floating museum. Come and see what life was like on a 16th century sailing ship and learn about Australia's earliest maritime history. Admission costs are Adults $5, Children $3 (under 12) Family $10 (2 adults and up to 4 children).

You can also Sail Aboard Duyfken Adults $75 Children (under 12) $40

  • Night Markets [45], 71-75 The Esplanade. ph +61 7 4051-7666. The night markets operate every night of the week till late. They are a collection of stalls catering mainly to tourists: you can buy lots of clothes, games and Australiana.
  • Pearls. Of course, you can buy pearls everywhere and the price range is huge. In Cairns you can find shops where you can buy real A-grade pearls from the Torre Strait - not cheap, but at the end more than fair in comparison to the European or US prices for the same quality level.


As with much of Cairns, you can divide the city into the Esplanade and the places within a block of it, and the rest of the city. The Esplanade is littered with bar and grill places supplying red meat and beer all in the one place, and with seafood restaurants. It's relatively difficult to find anything open before 11AM, since they expect the clientele to be sleeping in. The rest of the city has small cafes and milkbars catering to locals. The number of Japanese tourists here makes Japanese food a fairly reliable option, although prices can be steep.

A number of the more expensive restaurants on the Esplanade, particularly towards the north end, offer discounts of 20-30% for early birds: usually you will need to order by 6:30PM and pay and leave no later than 7:30PM to get a discounted meal.

  • La Pizza Trattoria, 93 The Esplanade. tel +61 7 4031-2646. La Pizza Trattoria has good pizza. It lures most patrons in by letting them wander past the pizza chef kneading the dough as they smell the baking pizzas. Medium sized pizzas $17. Open 7 Days 7AM until late.
  • Villa Romana Trattoria [46], Aplin Street (cnr The Esplanade). tel +61 7 4051-9000. fax +61 7 4031 5557. Large Italian meals with some good seafood options and overworked wait staff. 30% discount if you order before 6:45PM. Meals are $20-$30.
  • Hide's Coffee Cafe, Shop 7, 87 Lake Street. tel +61 7 4041-1899. Hides Coffee Cafe, a couple of streets back from the Esplanade, is a good place for a relative cheap (under $10) breakfast or lunch. Order at the counter and remember to keep an eye on the collapsing umbrellas at the outside tables.
  • Sushi Express, Shop 28 Orchid Plaza, 79 Abbott Street. tel +61 7 4041-4388. fax +61 7 4052 1277. A sushi train made up to look like the Kuranda Railway, this place is popular but not wildly busy. The tempura seems to get more attention than the sushi or sashimi. Plates from $2.50 to $4.50.
  • Perrotta's At The Gallery, 38 Abbott Street. tel +61 7 4031-5899. If you want to escape from several evenings touring the bar and grill places, Perotta's is just off the Esplanade and does more sophisticated Western food. Try the French toast with roast pear for breakfast. Breakfast, lunch and dinner approximately $20.
  • Donnini's Ciao Italia, at the Pier Marketplace, features indoor and outdoor dining with a beautiful ocean backdrop. Located at The Esplanade, Donnini's is within walking distance of many of Cairns' hotels. Meals will set you back around $20-$25, and are extra delicious!


Cairns has pubs and bars to cater to travelers, students, and locals. The nightlife is vibrant.

  • Rattle 'N Hum, 67 The Esplanade. tel +61 7 4031-3011. The Rattle 'n Hum is a bar and grill in the midst of one of the busiest parts of The Esplanade. It's quite large and getting a seat is seldom a problem: sit out back once they light torches in the evenings. Competition for the pool table is not formidable so you should be able to get several games in. They do a number of main meals, including wood-fired pizza (approximately $20). The staff are highly variable in quality, ordering a cocktail can be risky, but they're certainly able to pull a beer.
  • Blue Sky Brewery Bar & Restaurant [47] , 34-42 Lake Street. tel +61 7 4057-0500. A new world-class venue and attraction situated in the heart of Cairns CBD. Its bar, restaurant and function rooms attract locals and visitors alike. It has a wide selection of boutique beers brewed onsite, a comprehensive wine cellar, a diverse modern cuisine, and dynamic, yet relaxed Tropical North Queensland atmosphere. All of Blue Sky's handcrafted beers are unpasteurised and brewed naturally, giving a distinct depth of flavour and fresh taste not found in mass-produced beers made by larger commercial breweries.
  • Rhino Bar Cairns [48] , corner of Lake & Spence Street. PH: +61 7 4031-5305.
  • The Woolshed Chargrill & Saloon Bar [49] , 24 Shields Street. tel +61 7 4031-6304. fax +61 7 4041 2283. If you are looking for a place to find all the travelers, go to the Woolshed in downtown Cairns.


Cairns has seemingly endless places to stay, but they do book out during high season (June - September).


Cairns is the backpacker capital of Northern Queensland and there are over 20 hostels, all offering basic bunks in the $14-18 range.

  • Asylum Cairns, +61 7 4031-1474 (toll free: 1800-065-464, , fax: +61 7 4031-8499), [50]. 149 Grafton Street. Bed in small dorm (no bunk beds) $18 for one night or $15 per night if staying two nights or more (prices on website are out of date). Free transfers to and from airport, bus or train station if staying two nights or more. Free internet. Not particularly clean or well maintained. Very friendly and helpful staff. Not in city centre, but within easy walking distance.  edit
  • The Bellview, +61 7 4031-4377 (, fax: +61 7 4031-2850), [51]. 85-87 The Esplanade. Dormitory rooms from $20 per bed per night, budget single rooms from $35 per night, budget double rooms from $47 per night.  edit
  • Bohemia Resort, +61 7 4041-7290 (, fax: +61 7 4041-7292), [52]. 231 McLeod Street. Close to the centre of Cairns and featuring four-dorm rooms, singles, twins and doubles, as well as ensuite and family rooms. Very clean and well maintained. Facilities include a 25m saltwater pool, kitchen, bar and shuttle bus service. Prices start at $23 per person, per night.  edit
  • Cairns Central YHA Backpackers Hostel, +61 7 4051-0772 (, fax: +61 7 4031-3158), [53]. 20-26 McLeod Street. Bunk beds in shared rooms $23-$25 per night, double and twin rooms from $54 per night.  edit
  • Cairns City Backpackers, (), [54]. 274 Draper St, Cairns, Phone: +61 7 40516160. Cairns City Backpackers is the ideal Cairns hostel; small, quiet and friendly, and best of all it is ideally located in a quiet backstreet just a short walk from the heart of Cairns and a 5 minute walk to Cairns Central Shopping Centre.Naturally Cairns City Backpackers has full laundry and kitchen facilities and for keeping in touch with friends and internet at just $3 per hour.  edit
  • Cairns Esplanade YHA, +61 7 4031-1919 (, fax: +61 7 4031-4381), [55]. 93 The Esplanade. Bunk beds in shared rooms $20 per night, double and twin rooms from $46 per night.  edit
  • Calypso Inn, [56]. 5-9 Digger St, Cairns, Qld Australia 4870, Phone: 61-1800-815-628  edit
  • Esplanade Backpackers Hostel, (toll free: 1800-175-716, ), [57]. 93 The Esplanade. Shared dorm accommodation from $22. Centrally located right opposite the Lagoon with a 24 hour reception.  edit
  • Floriana Guesthouse, +61 7 4051-7886 (, fax: +61 7 4051-3056), [58]. 183 The Esplanade. Situated on The Esplanade in Cairns with the front rooms looking out to the coral sea, Floriana is an older style Art Deco 1930's guesthouse. It is 15 mins walk to town and offers rooms with share facilities and self contained flats.  edit
  • Gilligans Backpacker Hotel & Resort, (toll free: 1800-556-995, ), [59]. 57-89 Grafton Street Shared Dorms rooms starting from $18 a night, and private hotel rooms also available. Free meal every night, clean, safe, fun hostel with loads of activities and massive swimming pool.  edit
  • Jimmys Backpackers Hostel, +61 7 4031-6884 (), [60]. 83 The Esplanade. Shared dorm accommodation from $21. Centrally located right opposite the Lagoon with a 24 hour reception.  edit
  • Nomads Beach House backpackers hostel, (toll free: 1800-229-228, ), [61]. 239 Sheridan St. Shared dorm accommodation from $21. Fun and friendly staff and a great onsite bar.  edit
  • Nomads Cairns Backpackers Hostel, (toll free: 1800-737-736, ), [62]. 341 Lake St. Shared Dorm accommodation from $14 a night. Free shuttle bus, Free meal every night. Very clean hostel with a huge swimming pool.  edit
  • Njoy Travellers Resort, +61 7 4031-1088 (), [63]. 141 Sheridan Street. Shared Dorm accommodation from $15 a night. Free shuttle bus to airport at set times, Free welcome drink at Zanzibar Bar and Grill. Very clean, safe, funky and friendly hostel with chilled out reception and pool area.  edit


Mid-range Cairns hotels, resorts, and inns are listed here alphabetically.

  • 181 The Esplanade, [64]. Located next to Cairns Base Hospital 15 min walk from town.  edit
  • Amaroo At Trinity, [65]. A 15 min drive from Cairns CBD to ocean view studio accommodation on Cairns' Northern Beaches. Close to restaurants, hotel, shopping and overlooking the Coral Sea.  edit
  • Brinsmead Studio Apartments, 16 Sun Street, Brinsmead (google maps cairns), +61 7 40452143, [66]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Situated on over an acre of gardens/ Facilities include: linen, laundry, limited kitchen (no oven) with fridge and microwave, airconditioned, off street parking, pool, use of BBQ, pets by arrangement. Min stay 4 nights. from$61/per night.  edit
  • Grosvenor in Cairns, +61 7 4031-8588, [67]. 188 McLeod Street Cairns. Affordable fully self-contained apartment and studio business or holiday accommodation. Email:  edit
  • Holiday Inn Cairns, +61 7 4050-6070 (, fax: +61 7 4031-3770), [68]. 21-123 The Esplanade & Florence Street. Double rooms approximately $150 per night.  edit
  • The Lakes Cairns Resort and Spa, +61 7 4053-9400, [69]. 2 Greenslopes Street Cairns - a 4.5 star resort offering relaxed village atmosphere in spacious modern Cairns apartment accommodation set amongst 11 acres of lush landscaped gardens, lakes and beach lagoon pools.  edit
  • Margaret House Holiday Apartment, 14 Margaret Street , Redlynch (Google Maps Cairns), +61 7 40452143, [70]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. A three bedroom/one bathroom apartment taking up the entire ground floor of a Queenslander house, situated in the centre of Redlynch Village. Close to shops, public transport, the local Hotel restaurant. from$150/night.  edit
  • Marlin Cove Holiday Resort, +61 7 4057-8299, [71]. 2 Keem Street Trinity Beach. Offers 4 star, affordable quality self-contained accommodation in the hub of Trinity Beach, just 15 minutes from Cairns City. Perfect for families.  edit
  • Novotel Rockford Esplanade Apartments, +61 7 4055-3999 (toll free: 1800-788-155), [72]. Palm Cove, QLD 4879.,. - Enjoy the magnificent ocean, pool and mountain views of Palm Cove Esplanade Apartments in Tropical North Queensland over-looking the scenic silky sand of the Palm Cove beach. A 20-minute drive from Cairns airport. The apartments are set amongst thriving melaleucas trees on the beach front, and is just a short stroll from the relaxed buzz of Palm Cove Village.  edit
  • Oasis Resort Cairns, +61 7 4080-1888 (, fax: +61 7 4080-1889), [73]. 122 Lake Street. Resort style King rooms and Twin rooms(with two doubles) approximately $150 per night. One block from the centre of Cairns.  edit
  • Quality Hotel Sheridan Plaza, [74]. 295 Sheridan Street, Cairns, QLD 4870 Australia. Tel +61-7-4031-6500 Fax +61-7-4031-6226. A modern four-star boutique-style hotel, the Quality Hotel Sheridan Plaza is only five minutes away from the Cairns Airport and City Centre, and easily accessible to public transport and tour routes.  edit
  • Queen's Court, +61 7 4051-7722 (), [75]. 167-171 Sheridan Street. Budget rooms from $69 per night, motel-style twin rooms from $103 per night. Family suites available.  edit
  • Reef Retreat Resort, +61 7 4059-1744 (fax: +61 7 4059-1745), [76]. 10-14 Harpa Street, Palm Cove, Cairns Queensland 4879 Australia. The Reef Retreat is in Palm Cove, just 22 km from Cairns in the renowned Great Barrier Reef region of Tropical North Queensland, Australia, nestled between an idyllic coconut palm fringed beach and lush, tropical rainforests.  edit
  • Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns, (toll free: 1300-857-922), [77]. Corner The Esplanade & Kerwin Street - Located conveniently on the Esplanade, Rydges Esplanade Resort is in walking distance to Cairns finest shopping and dining facilities. Amenities include three superb resort swimming pools, one children’s pool, two tennis courts, a complete Health club, Aerobic classes, spa, sauna, and masseuse services.  edit
  • Rydges Plaza Cairns, (toll free: 1300-857-922), [78]. Cnr Spence & Grafton Streets - Centrally located in the heart of Cairns. Rydges Plaza Cairns is close to the Cairns Convention Centre, Reef Casino, Great Barrier Reef departure terminals, Esplanade Lagoon, Foreshore Promenade and Cairns Central shopping complex. Rydges Hotels and Resorts is an Austrailian owned and operated company.  edit
  • Rydges Tradewinds Cairns, (toll free: 1300-857-922), [79]. 137 The Esplanade - Located on the Cairns Esplanade overlooking the Coral Sea, Rydges Tradewinds is just a few minutes walk along the Esplanade Boardwalk to the Cairns lagoon precinct, City Centre, Restaurants, shopping and departure points for the Great Barrier Reef.  edit
  • Villa Vaucluse Apartments of Cairns, [80]. offers self-contained Cairns accommodation apartment units for holiday and corporate guests. It is located at 141-143 Grafton Street, Cairns, Queensland, 4870 Australia. Villa Vaucluse provides personalized tour arrangements at no extra cost. from $150.  edit
  • Wilks Holiday House, 78 Wilks Street, Cairns 4870 (google maps cairns), +61 7 40452143, [81]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 10AM. Has 4 bedrooms/2bathrooms, 2 sitting rooms, indoor and outdoor dining. Facilities include Austar TV, wireless internet connection, free local calls, airconditioned, well equipped kitchen and off street parking. Fully fenced front and back garden. Pet friendly by request. Min stay 4 nights. $215/per night (min 4 nights).  edit
  • Grand Mercure Rockford Esplanade, [82], QLD 4879. Tel: +61 7 4055-3999, Facilities such as bar and outdoor swimming pool. Enjoy magnificent ocean, pool and mountain views in Tropical North Queensland over looking the silky sand of the Palm Cove beach. The hotel is within walking distance of the infamous shopping centre of Palm Cove Village.
  • Clarendon on Spence, +61 7 4041-2226 (fax: +61 7 4041-4132), [83]. 79 Spence Street, Cairns, Qld, 4870. 2-3 bedroom apartments with balconies, fully-equipped kitchens, and master bedrooms featuring en suite with corner spa. Located in the heart of Cairns City, near Esplanade, Reef Fleet Terminal, and restaurant strip.  edit
  • Regency on Spence, +61 7 4041-2226 (fax: +61 7 4041-4132), [85]. 79 Spence Street, Cairns, Qld, 4870. Sister-property of Clarendon on Spence. Offers 2-3 bedroom apartments with balconies located near restaurant district, shopping mall, and Reef Fleet Terminal. Common facilities include a spa and outdoor swimming pool.  edit
  • The Sebel Cairns, +61 7 4031-1300 (, fax: +61 7 4031-1801), [86]. 17 Abbott Street. E-mail:. Formerly Cairns International Hotel offers spacious rooms and suites all with balconies, overlooking the harbour and the city in the heart of Cairns. Accommodation rates from $200 per room per night.  edit
  • Sofitel Reef Hotel, +61 7 4030-8888 (fax: +61 7 4030-8777), [88]. 35-41 Wharf Street. The Reef Hotel Casino is among the best hotels in the city, located in the same building as the Reef Casino and with views over Trinity Bay. Room. from $220.  edit
  • South Side Inn, [89]. 4-Star Accommodation, 3 km from the the City Centre and 6 km from the domestic and international airports.  edit
  • Cairns is a good jumping off point to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The market town of Kuranda makes a great day trip. You can drive, catch the Kuranda Scenic Railway from Cairns or Freshwater stations, or take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway [90].
  • Mareeba, the edge of the outback, where the sun shines 300 days a year, and they produce 80% of Australia's coffee crop. With a tour to the area you don't need a car.
  • Mossman Gorge 70 minutes north of Cairns is a good place to cool off. Avoid the tour coaches, and take great care swimming as the currents are very strong.
  • The Savannahlander [91] is a four day train journey that departs from Cairns to the outback town of Forsayth. It's a unique way to see the Chillagoe caves and Undara lava tubes.
Routes through Cairns
NormantonKuranda  E noframe S  InnisfailTownsville
This is a guide article. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions, arrival and departure info. Plunge forward and help us make it a star!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Database error article)

From LoveToKnow 1911

(There is currently no text in this page)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also cairns


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. A city and port in Queensland, Australia



Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address