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Cairns, QLD

Cairns City is the heart of Tropical North Queensland and is the primary gateway to Northern Australia. Cairns looks a picture, framed by the spectacular twin backdrops of rainforest mountain ranges and the sparkling Coral Sea.

Cairns City aerial

Cairns is a modern, sophisticated city, and is an ideal base to explore the wider Tropical North Queensland region with front door access to World Heritage listed Reef, Rainforest and Outback.

The Cairns International Airport is located only several minutes drive north of the city centre. The city itself is where much of the accommodation is situated close to international standard, restaurants, boutique shopping, modern art galleries and evening entertainment.

All the attributes of a world class modern city are to be found in Cairns: International air access, rail systems, high-standard accommodation facilities, an art gallery, botanic gardens, university, a casino and a convention centre.

Almost a century of architecture is reflected in the city streets – a comfortable blend of traditional Queenslander style and modern designs. Modern buildings grace the cityscape with a mixture of architectural designs including the Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns International Hotel and the Cairns Convention Centre.

The Esplanade Cairns

A focal point for the city is the Cairns Esplanade and Lagoon (pictured above). Almost two kilometres of landscaped parkland fringes a busy thoroughfare and restaurant strip on one side, and a natural harbour inlet on the other.

Each year, thousands of visitors flock to the Esplanade to relax on the grass, eat at sidewalk cafes, meet new people, to walk under the trees, and to watch the many bird species which come to feed on the tidal zone.

Nearby places of interest…

Start at beautiful Cairns

Cairns, the prime gateway to Tropical North Queensland is the ideal starting point for travellers wanting to explore the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest, outback and the vast wilderness of Cape York Peninsula.

Tropical North Queensland

Despite all these attractions outside Cairns, you’ll be seriously tempted to extend your stay in this sophisticated modern city.

With its tree-lined streets, Cairns boasts great shopping malls, efficient transport, sophisticated hotels, cosmopolitan restaurants, cafes and nightclubs and a lifestyle that is in keeping with contemporary city living.

For retail therapy you’ll be in seventh heaven. Cairns boasts an excellent range of outlets and shopping centres whether you’re after designer sunglasses, hip fashion and jewellery, or souvenirs and gifts from crystals to boomerangs. Don’t miss the night markets on Cairns Esplanade for a shopping treat.

Dining is a high point in Cairns and local eateries offer an eclectic choice of Australian and international cuisine. The highlight of most menus is the region’s fresh seafood and unusual tropical fruits.

As for entertainment there are excellent theatres, galleries, nightclubs and the glass-domed Reef Hotel Casino with four separate gaming areas and a luxury five star hotel.

Another pleasant surprise is how close and accessible everything is in Cairns. The airport is only a few minutes drive from the city centre and visiting cruise liners and yachts moor at a marina and wharves only a block away from the main centre.

Shop till you drop

With its tree-lined streets, Cairns boasts great shopping malls, efficient transport, sophisticated hotels, cosmopolitan restaurants, cafes and nightclubs and a lifestyle that is in keeping with contemporary city living.

For retail therapy you’ll be in seventh heaven. Cairns boasts an excellent range of outlets and shopping centres whether you’re after designer sunglasses, hip fashion and jewelry, or souvenirs and gifts from crystals to boomerangs. Don’t miss the night markets on Cairns Esplanade for a real treat.

cairns night markets

The shopping centres offer a variety of goods including luxurious brand shops, duty-free stores, boutiques, galleries and craft shops. Walk around the streets of Cairns to find many souvenirs shops and galleries. Facing the Cairns Harbour, “The Pier Market Place” has a great view over the bay.

The “Cairns Central Shopping Centre”, contains large department stores, supermarkets and cinema, is popular with local shoppers. Located along the shores of Trinity Inlet at Esplanade Street, the Night Market is opened every evening. Aboriginal artworks, handmade accessories by the local artists, t-shirts, opals are stocked.

For fresh produce walk through “Rustys Bazaar”. This market is held on Saturday and Sunday every week, is a great place to take in or purchase vegetables, fruit, and everyday clothing.

“Marina Mirage” one and half hours north in Port Douglas, is another luxury shopping experience of the area. In Kuranda, the hilltop town amongst the tropical rainforest, hosts local markets every day.

Heart of the Tropical North

Cairns, the prime gateway to Tropical North Queensland is the ideal starting point for travellers wanting to explore the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest, outback and the vast wilderness of Cape York Peninsula.

Despite all these attractions outside Cairns, you’ll be seriously tempted to extend your stay in this sophisticated modern city.

With its tree-lined streets, Cairns boasts great shopping malls, efficient transport, sophisticated hotels, cosmopolitan restaurants, cafes and nightclubs and a lifestyle that is in keeping with contemporary city living.

For retail therapy you’ll be in seventh heaven. Cairns boasts an excellent range of outlets and shopping centres whether you’re after designer sunglasses, hip fashion and jewellery, or souvenirs and gifts from crystals to boomerangs. Don’t miss the night markets on Cairns Esplanade for a shopping treat.

Dining is a high point in Cairns and local eateries offer an eclectic choice of Australian and international cuisine. The highlight of most menus is the region’s fresh seafood and unusual tropical fruits.

As for entertainment there are excellent theatres, galleries, nightclubs and the glass-domed Reef Hotel Casino with four separate gaming areas and a luxury five star hotel.

Another pleasant surprise is how close and accessible everything is in Cairns. The airport is only a few minutes drive from the city centre and visiting cruise liners and yachts moor at a marina and wharves only a block away from the main centre.

Step off for the reef

The Great Barrier Reef has a delicate reef ecosystem that evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, and gave life to more than 6,600 species and plants and beasts. It’s still home to endangered species including the endangered green loggerhead turtle, and is a breeding site for humpback whales. While it is protected, there are myriad ways to enjoy it.

Go cruising around the islands, or base yourself at a range of mainland, seaside towns on the Queensland coast and take day trips. Dive sites are dotted up and down the reef, and it’s easy to charter a boat for a day or a longer dive trip, suiting beginners, intermediate or advanced divers.

Choose an island that suits your interests and budget, and find different ways to explore the islands, the reef, and the wildlife of both. Try Lizard Island for superb game-fishing, snorkelling and scuba-diving.

Lush Dunk Island is one of the area’s three rainforest islands; Green Island, off Cairns, has one of the most luxurious resorts in the world; and Hinchinbrook Island is the largest island national park in the world. Beautiful Heron Island and Lady Elliott islands, with their rich bird populations, have become lures for birdwatchers everywhere.

lizard island

Accommodation ranges from camping grounds through eco-cabins to resorts. Dunk has four grades of accommodation. Some islands, like exquisite Orpheus Island, and Double Island, have luxury accommodation, and one, Haggerstone Island, is so remote and exclusive it’s only open for part of the year.

Nearest Airport: Cairns Domestic Airport and Cairns International Airport

Cairns Map

Experiences

  • Active
  • Caravan and Camping
  • Homestay
  • Romance
  • City
  • Cultural
  • Eco Tourism
  • Environmental
  • Food and Wine
  • Historic/Heritage
  • Honeymoon
  • Indulgence/Luxury
  • Mountain
  • Nature based
  • Relaxation
  • Soft Adventure
  • Island

Popular Activities

  • Off Road Driving
  • Ballooning
  • Mountain Biking
  • Trail bike riding
  • Bird Watching
  • Bush Walking
  • Canoeing
  • City Sightseeing
  • Cruising
  • Driving
  • Golfing
  • Horse Riding
  • Kayaking
  • Sailing
  • Scenic Flight
  • Shopping
  • Sightseeing
  • Skating
  • Skiing - Water
  • Skydiving
  • Wind Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Wine Tasting
  • National Park
  • Winery
  • Adventure
  • Fishing
  • Nightlife
  • Rainforest
  • Wildlife
  • Fishing - Game
  • Outback
  • Scuba-Diving
  • Fishing - Beach
  • Beach
  • Fruit Picking
  • Fishing - Trout/Fly
  • Surfing
  • Fishing - Estuary
  • Diving
  • Seakayaking
  • Snorkelling
  • Reef
  • World Heritage
  • White Water Rafting
  • Theme Park
  • Jet Boating

About Cairns

  • Locality: Major urban locality
  • Cairns Postcode: 4870
  • State: Queensland
  • Region: Cairns & Great Barrier Reef
  • Latitude: -16.9254
  • Longitude: 145.77518
  • Elevation: 7m
  • Population: 2737
  • Median Income: $40196
  • Area (Sq/km): 1.804
  • Timezone: Australia/Brisbane

Accommodation In Cairns

Discover some of the accommodation in and around Cairns

Explore The Outback

Australia has a vast remote interior, much of it largely untouched. By night, the outback is deathly quiet, with the only light provided by the stars and the moon - a perfect oportunity for stargazing. Explore the isolated heart of the country, meet and connect with Aboriginal people and experience one of the oldest living cultures in the world. Go ‘walk-about’ and immerse yourself with Australia’s endless outback horizons.

Outback Experiences

Luxe Accommodation

Enjoy a distinctly Australian luxury experience, such as the unforgettable reefs, islands, beaches and coast; rugged mountain ranges, rainforests and vast national parks; and the many vibrant food and wine regions. Take a once in a lifetime adventure and discover the sheer indulgence of experiencing the wonders of Australia in style and stay in total luxury.

Australia has wide variety of accommodation options to suit most budgets and travelling preferences. Choose from luxury lodges, boutique hotels, serviced apartments, motels, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks as well as youth and backpacker hostels.

Accommodation

Glasshouse Mountains

The Glasshouse Mountains in the hinterland of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast are actually the cores of 20 million year old volcanoes. The sides of the volcanoes have eroded away leaving only the hardened rock spiremountain cores we see today. Learn more about this awe-inspiring landscape.

Glasshouse Mountains