Cairns, Queensland's northernmost city, is the acknowledged gateway to the coral splendours of the Great Barrier Reef. Lying on the east coast of the Cape York peninsular—and comfortably north of the Tropic of Capricorn—it is blessed with a tropical clime, luscious rainforests and lapped by warm aquamarine seas. As well as its surrounding natural spectacle, Cairns offer visitors some pretty spectacular fun—especially for the adventurous.
On the seas, you can indulge in the pleasures of wind-boarding, snorkelling and scuba-diving. On the ground, you can immerse yourself in Aboriginal walkabouts, tropical wildlife forays and rock-climbing challenges. And in the air, sky-diving and parascending beckon. Or you can just lounge, pool-side. Whatever the activity, though, you'll need somewhere to stay, and Cairns gives you plenty of choice when it comes to resorts.
As well as the scores of hotels and lodgings found in the city itself, Cairns boasts a scattering of prime tourist resorts, tied to its nine Northern Beaches, stretching 25 km along the coast. Each has its own feel, offering up a different Queensland adventure for you. To help you plan your stay, Expedia.co.uk is delighted to have gathered here the best of Cairns' hotel districts.
Cairns itself offers the best range of choice, having catered for all manner of tourists—from backpacking adventurers to pampered sun-seekers—for many years. Those looking to keep their accommodation simple, as they'll be spending more time in the great outdoors, will find Cairns to their liking. There are a large number of budget hotels and hostels in town, especially along the sea-front.
Alternatively, you'll discover a number of fine hotel resorts around the Esplanade Swimming Lagoon (Cairns doesn't have a beach itself). With all the facilities of the town, plenty of boats to the Barrier Reef, and the airport close by, Cairns makes a great base for those looking for a family holiday. But if you want to feel the sand under your feet, and to hear the crash of waves, head north.
There are several small hotel resorts for the nine beaches stretching along the coast, but perhaps the best appointed is Trinity Beach. This large hotel complex has many mid-priced apartments arranged around the beautiful Blue Lagoon, all set in some vivid tropical gardens. The beach is wonderfully golden, and this has become a top-spot for honeymooners and families alike.
Further north still is Palm Cove. Its beach is one many consider as the gem in Cairns' crown. The surrounds are truly sublime, with gently rolling verdant hills meeting the lapping azure seas in a curve of white sandy beaches. The hotel complex here has been developed in sympathy with this stunning landscape, giving Palm Cove the feel of an unspoilt tropical paradise.
The hotels here are first-class, too, with excellent service and facilities. Though, being in such a fabulous location inevitably adds a premium to the price. The luxury doesn't stop at the hotel—'liveaboard' boats can be hired from here, either to tour the wonders of the Reef, or simply to serve as a platform for lounging in the sun, surrounded by the tranquil turquoise of the Coral Sea. In Cairns, the choice is yours.