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Cairns
Travel Guide

Cairns featuring landscape views, colourful reefs and tropical scenes

Enjoy the year-round hot weather and the friendly, laid-back atmosphere of this city that lies on the doorstep of some of nature’s most spectacular attractions.

With its wonderful tropical climate, and close proximity to many natural wonders, the small city of Cairns in North Queensland is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. It sits between two World Heritage sites, with the 135 million year old Daintree and Cape Tribulation mountainous rainforests to the north, and the Great Barrier Reef off the coast line. The city itself has beautiful white sand beaches, and there is a lively atmosphere in the many restaurants, cafés and nightclubs along the seafront.

A two-hour boat trip will take you out to the The Great Barrier Reef, the largest reef system in the world, in the middle of the Coral Sea. The warm waters are home to colourful and diverse marine life, including many endangered species. Snorkelling is a very popular way to explore this stunning seascape, or alternatively, may tour boats are equipped with a glass bottom so you can marvel at the view beneath you.

Head north from Cairns and you’ll reach Daintree Rainforest, extending across approximately 2,600 square kilometres, and one of the most biologically diverse areas on the globe. Explore at ground-level along the many footpaths, or admire the aerial view from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway that will take you on a 7.5 kilometres ride across the top of the canopy.

Along the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway route, you will have the chance to admire the deep gorges and thundering waterfalls of the Barron Gorge National Park, before ending your journey at Kuranda, known as the Village in the Rainforest. Include a visit to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park to learn all about the local Aboriginal history and culture.

The coastline around Cairns features many beautiful beaches. A 20 minute drive north will take you to Clifton Beach, a long stretch of unspoilt beach lined with palm trees. Make time to visit the nearby Cairns Tropical Zoo, where you’ll discover many native Australian species, and even have get right up close during the interactive Wildlife Encounters.

To see North Queensland’s native crocodiles in their natural habitat, you will need to head to the creeks and rivers around Cairns. For an unforgettable experience, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, 40 minutes north of the city, allows you to get close enough to feed them.

Round off your day’s excitement by joining the locals along the city’s Esplanade, perfect for barbecues or a dip in the lagoon.

Cairns Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Cairns

Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
4 out of 5
209-217 Abbott Street, Cairns North, QLD
The price is NZ$262 per night from 2 Jun. to 2 Jun.
Located in Cairns North, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Private Hospital and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Marlin Marina and Reef Fleet Terminal ...
4.1/5Very Good! (960 reviews)
"Beautiful large room with 2 double beds, stayed on 11th floor overlooking the esplanade, easy access and plenty of car parking"

Reviewed on 17 May 2021

Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns
4.5 out of 5
121-123 The Esplanade & Florence St, Cairns, QLD
The price is NZ$289 per night from 23 May to 23 May
Located in Cairns Central Business District, this luxury hotel is steps away from Center of Contemporary Arts and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Marlin Marina and ...
4.2/5Very Good! (988 reviews)
"My partner and I both enjoyed our stay here. It was for only one night but was very affordable and central to everything."

Reviewed on 21 Apr. 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns
Oaks Cairns Hotel
Oaks Cairns Hotel
59-63 Cairns Esplanade, Cairns, QLD
The price is NZ$224 per night from 30 May to 30 May
Located in Cairns Central Business District, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cairns Regional Gallery and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Marlin Marina and Reef ...
4.1/5Very Good! (22 reviews)
"Good positioned."

Reviewed on 20 Apr. 2021

Oaks Cairns Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort
Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort
3.5 out of 5
23-51 Anderson Road, Woree, QLD
The price is NZ$160 per night from 20 May to 20 May
This family-friendly Cairns campsite is located in Woree, within 2 mi (3 km) of Cairns Golf Club, Wet Tropics of Queensland and Dinden Conservation Park. Stockland ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (508 reviews)
"Had more activity areas than any other resort"

Reviewed on 15 May 2021

Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort
Sea Change Beachfront Apartments
Sea Change Beachfront Apartments
5 out of 5
31-35 Vasey Esplanade, Trinity Beach, QLD
The price is NZ$521 per night from 19 May to 19 May
Nestled on the beach, this Trinity Beach apartment building is within 6 mi (10 km) of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Tjapukai Cultural Park and Smithfield Shopping ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (952 reviews)
Trinity Beach - Relaxation to the max
"we stayed 3 nights 4-7 feb 2021.. Checkin was a breeze friendly staff ..highly recommend staying here , we will return for sure :) Very clean , facilities were excellent .. everything you need is in the apartment ..the view across the beach is breathtaking ... I much prefer Trinity Beach to Palm ..."

Reviewed on 9 Feb. 2021

Sea Change Beachfront Apartments
Sea Point On Trinity Beach
Sea Point On Trinity Beach
4.5 out of 5
63 Vasey Esplanade, Trinity Beach, QLD
The price is NZ$397 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Nestled on the beach, this Trinity Beach apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Trinity Beach and Earl Hill Conservation Park. Kewarra Beach and Smithfield ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (112 reviews)
"Loved the unit and the location. Pool Good too. Perfect"

Reviewed on 9 Apr. 2021

Sea Point On Trinity Beach
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Cairns

Top activities in Cairns

Reviews of Cairns

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
615
5 - Excellent 50.32733224222586%
4 - Good
531
4 - Good 43.45335515548282%
3 - Okay
65
3 - Okay 5.319148936170213%
2 - Disappointing
6
2 - Disappointing 0.4909983633387889%
1 - Terrible
5
1 - Terrible 0.40916530278232405%

5/5 - Excellent

SJ

26 Mar. 2020

Cairns is a beautiful little city. So many outdoor things to do. Natural beauty.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

24 Mar. 2020

Good place to walk around very clean and tidy , the lido was excellent although we didn’t use it , an excellent sea front

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

20 Mar. 2020

Our first trip to FNQ & it exceeded our expectations. Sure it was hot & muggy but we sweated through it. Just loved the greenery, birds, butterflies, bats, flowers, smells, eateries, views, etc … We won't hesitate to return @ the first opportunity.

5/5 - Excellent

Ricky

18 Mar. 2020

1 Word..... AMAZING..!!!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

12 Mar. 2020

A visit to Kuranda is a must do when in Cairns

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

26 Feb. 2020

Able to see all I wanted to in 4 days. Great barrier reef was amazing

Cities near Cairns