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Cairns
Travel Guide

Cairns showing coral, tropical scenes and landscape views

This tropical city is relaxed and friendly, and a step away from unspoilt beaches, pristine rain forest and the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns is a small city in tropical North Queensland. It’s bordered by two World Heritage-listed sites: the Great Barrier Reef and the 135-million-year-old rain forests of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation. The city itself has more than 150,000 residents and features parks and museums. Restaurants and cafés line white sand beaches, and a steady stream of backpackers brings a lively nightlife. Rent a car or book a tour and head out of town to explore the surrounding natural wonders. Buses also run between towns and major attractions.

Many visitors come to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef, which lies in the Coral Sea just off the city’s coast. It takes about two hours to get there by boat. Enjoy the marine life, colourful coral and year-round warm water through a snorkel or a glass-bottomed boat.

The Daintree Rainforest covers about 2,600 square kilometres (1,000 square miles) north of Cairns. Walk through untouched tropical rain forest that’s teeming with wildlife. Get a bird’s-eye view from the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a 7.5-kilometre (4.6-mile) journey above the canopy. During your Skyrail journey you can stop at Barron Gorge National Park, with its deep gorge and waterfalls, and the arty village of Kuranda.

Cairns is surrounded by beaches. Clifton Beach is a 20-minute drive north of the city. The sleepy town features a long, unspoilt beach that’s lined with palm trees and bordered by forest. Cairns Tropical Zoo is here, and features a range of native Australian animals.

The creeks and rivers around Cairns are home to crocodiles. Go to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, a reptile park 40 minutes north of Cairns, where you can get close enough to feed them.

Learn about local Aboriginal history and culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, a 20-minute drive from Cairns.

Much of the community activity in Cairns happens along the Esplanade. Locals gather in this waterfront parkland to make the most of year-round warm weather with outdoor barbecues and a lagoon for swimming. Finish the day with dinner and a drink at the bars and restaurants that line the boardwalk and look out over the ocean.

Cairns Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Cairns

The Abbott Boutique Hotel
The Abbott Boutique Hotel
4 out of 5
69 Abbott St, Cairns, QLD
The price is £86 per night from 21 Jun to 21 Jun
Located in Cairns Central Business District, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cairns Regional Gallery and Reef Fleet Terminal. Cairns Esplanade and Cairns ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (679 reviews)
"Great location with shops and eateries close by. Close to the pier and within walking distance to many places and public transport."

Reviewed on 22 May 2021

The Abbott Boutique Hotel
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 £148 per night from 13 Jul to 13 Jul
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! (980 reviews)
"Exceptionally clean, beautiful building in a beautiful location. Staff were professional and helpful."

Reviewed on 12 Jun 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns
Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns
Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns
5 out of 5
Pierpoint Road, Cairns, QLD
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £191 per night from 16 Jun to 16 Jun
This family-friendly Cairns hotel is located on the boardwalk, within a 10-minute walk of Reef Fleet Terminal and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Convention Centre ...
4.4/5Excellent! (959 reviews)
"Shangri-La‘s location was brilliant and Close to all the amenities no need to catch a taxi or Uber it’s right next to the wharf, terminaL, best restaurants and a stone away to the Casino. Staffs were friendly and helpful, breakfast was awesome."

Reviewed on 28 May 2021

Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns
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 £84 per night from 16 Jun to 16 Jun
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! (509 reviews)
"Had more activity areas than any other resort"

Reviewed on 15 May 2021

Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort
Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore
Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore
5 out of 5
1 Veivers Road, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is £273 per night from 16 Jun to 16 Jun
Nestled on the beach, this Palm Cove aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kuranda National Park and Palm Cove Beach. Clifton Beach is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) away.
4.7/5Exceptional! (443 reviews)
"The location is superb. Accommodation very nice. Hopefully will be back."

Reviewed on 13 May 2021

Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore
Sea Point On Trinity Beach
Sea Point On Trinity Beach
4.5 out of 5
63 Vasey Esplanade, Trinity Beach, QLD
The price is £202 per night from 17 Jun to 17 Jun
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.

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