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CairnsAustralia

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

Cairns which includes a city

Cairns Central Business District

4.5/5Wonderful!(69 area reviews)

Cairns Central Business District is beloved for its popular shops. Take some time to explore sights in the area like Cairns Esplanade and Cairns Night Markets.

Cairns Central Business District

Top hotels in Cairns

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Pacific Hotel Cairns
Pacific Hotel Cairns
4.5 out of 5
Corner Esplanade And Spence Street, Cairns, QLD

Located in Cairns Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Night Markets, Cairns Marlin Marina and Cairns Esplanade. ...

4.3/5Excellent! (2,269 reviews)

"I was happy about baggage storage service after checking out"…"

Reviewed on 12 Mar 2020

Pacific Hotel Cairns
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
5 out of 5
Pierpoint Road, Cairns, QLD
£100
per night
6 Apr-7 Apr

This family-friendly Cairns hotel is located on the boardwalk, just steps away from Reef Fleet Terminal and Cairns Marlin Marina. Esplanade Lagoon and Cairns ...

4.4/5Excellent! (2,841 reviews)

"Beautiful hotel on marina. Lovely garden courtyard. Excellent professional staff. Our room smelled of smoke, we were instantly moved to a different room."…"

Reviewed on 8 Mar 2020

Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
4.5 out of 5
122 Lake St, Cairns, QLD
£88
per night
6 Apr-7 Apr

This family-friendly Cairns hotel is located near the beach, within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Aquarium, Cairns Esplanade and Cairns Night Markets. Cairns Central ...

4/5Very Good! (2,446 reviews)

"very accessible, close to everything. very good size room, good value dinner served by the hotel resturant,equipped with self service laundry a big bonus. very comfortable n appealing lobby. few ants found n rooms (we booked two rooms), the shower space has half panel glass which cannot stop water ..."…"

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2020

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Popular things to do in Cairns

Cairns Esplanade
Image for Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade

4.5/5(57 reviews)

Stroll along the boardwalk surrounded by palms tree and landscaped gardens and watch the sun set over the Coral Sea.

Cairns Marlin Marina
Image for Cairns Marlin Marina

Cairns Marlin Marina

4.5/5(25 reviews)

Enjoy views of the harbour and and unwind with al-fresco dining, entertainment and shopping beside the bay.

Esplanade Lagoon
Image for Esplanade Lagoon

Esplanade Lagoon

4.5/5(30 reviews)

Relax after a day of sightseeing or cool down from the summer heat in this fresh-water lagoon, one of Cairns’ best city attractions.

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome
Image for Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

4/5(1 review)

Meet the animals who live at Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome during your trip to Cairns. Discover the spectacular coral reefs in this walkable area or enjoy its local tours.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Image for Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

4.5/5(67 reviews)

Soar above the treetops of the rain forest, gorges and mountains of North Queensland in a glass-enclosed cable car.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
Image for Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

4/5(6 reviews)

Learn to play the didgeridoo, throw a boomerang and hunt like a warrior at this attraction set in a beautiful rain forest location.

Top activities in Cairns

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park by Night Tour
Image for Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park by Night Tour

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park by Night Tour

84% of travellers recommend
£40
Per adult
Rainforest Dining Experience
Image for Rainforest Dining Experience

Rainforest Dining Experience

96% of travellers recommend
£103
Per adult
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Tickets
Image for Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Tickets

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park Tickets

94% of travellers recommend
£21
Per adult
Moore Reef Full Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise
Image for Moore Reef Full Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise

Moore Reef Full Day Great Barrier Reef Cruise

82% of travellers recommend
£75
Per adult
Fitzroy Island Adventures - Full Day or Half Day
Image for Fitzroy Island Adventures - Full Day or Half Day

Fitzroy Island Adventures - Full Day or Half Day

88% of travellers recommend
£35
Per adult
Aboriginal Cultural Experience
Image for Aboriginal Cultural Experience

Aboriginal Cultural Experience

100% of travellers recommend
£119
Per adult

Reviews of Cairns

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
36
5 - Excellent 59.01639344262295%
4 - Good
22
4 - Good 36.0655737704918%
3 - Okay
3
3 - Okay 4.918032786885246%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

21 Feb 2020

Great place for seafood lovers.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

16 Jan 2020

Good loocation to explore the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

23 Dec 2019

The fruit bats swarming at night was memorable.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

13 Dec 2019

Cairns makes a nice change. However I wouldn’t need more than a few days here.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

17 Nov 2019

Loved Cairns

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

14 Nov 2019

Lovely place lots of activities.