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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, colorful coral and year-round warm water through a snorkel or a glass-bottomed boat.

The Daintree Rainforest covers about 1,00 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) 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 4.6-mile (7.5-kilometer) 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

Palm Cove Beach featuring skyline, a sandy beach and landscape views

Palm Cove

Palm Cove is known for its stunning beaches, and you can see some sights in the area like Palm Cove Beach and Clifton Beach.

Palm Cove
Trinity Beach showing landscape views, tropical scenes and a beach

Trinity Beach

Travelers to Trinity Beach praise its stunning beaches. If you've got some more time to explore, be sure to make a stop by Kewarra Beach and Earl Hill Conservation Park.

Trinity Beach
The lagoon is a great place to watch the sun setting in Cairns. 

www.cheskiesgaplife.com

#colorful

Bungalow

The beaches and shopping are a few reasons travelers visit Bungalow. Though there aren't many top sights in the neighborhood, you can visit Cairns Esplanade and Cairns Central Shopping Centre, a few notable attractions nearby.

Bungalow
Cairns which includes a city

Cairns Central Business District

4.5/5Wonderful!(264 area reviews)

Cairns Central Business District is known for its popular shops, and with sights like Cairns Esplanade and Reef Fleet Terminal, you won't get bored spending a day wandering around this part of Cairns.

Cairns Central Business District
Clifton Beach featuring mountains, a luxury hotel or resort and golf

Clifton Beach

Travelers come to Clifton Beach for its beaches, and you can see top attractions like Palm Cove Beach and Clifton Beach while you're in town.

Clifton Beach
Palms for days! #palmtrees #tropics #trees #beach #australia

Yorkeys Knob

Yorkeys Knob is noteworthy for its beaches, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Half Moon Bay Golf Course and Yorkeys Knob Beach.

Yorkeys Knob

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
The price is ¥8,579 per night

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! (982 reviews)

"Good value for money, good location within a short walk to all restaurants and places of interest."…"

Reviewed on Jul 28, 2020

Pacific Hotel Cairns
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
5 out of 5
Pierpoint Road, Cairns, QLD
The price is ¥14,745 per night

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

4.3/5Excellent! (996 reviews)

"Everything about the room was great. Buffet breakfast was not on due to COVID which is understandable. However, the breakfast menu was a little sparse and over complicated. You could only order 1 of 6 things and didn’t have the option to just have cereal, toast and fruit. I don’t love a heavy breakfast. ..."…"

Reviewed on Jul 28, 2020

Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina
Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns
4 out of 5
209-217 Abbott Street, Cairns North, QLD
The price is ¥11,934 per night

Located in the heart of Cairns North, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Base Hospital and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Marlin Marina and Reef Fleet ...

4/5Very Good! (990 reviews)

"Room was spotless! View over sea gorgeous and sunrise each morning was spectacular. Beautiful large pool. Breakfast exceeded our expectations. Would definitely stay here again!"…"

Reviewed on Aug 2, 2020

Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns

Popular places to visit in Cairns

Cairns Esplanade
Image for Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade

4.5/5(253 reviews)

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

Palm Cove Beach
Image for Palm Cove Beach

Palm Cove Beach

4.5/5(142 reviews)

Located in between the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, this palm tree-lined beach is an idyllic spot to take it easy or begin an adventure.

Cairns Marlin Marina
Image for Cairns Marlin Marina

Cairns Marlin Marina

4.5/5(109 reviews)

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

Clifton Beach
Image for Clifton Beach

Clifton Beach

4.5/5(37 reviews)

This quiet beach north of Cairns offers long stretches of white sand and clear water.

Esplanade Lagoon
Image for Esplanade Lagoon

Esplanade Lagoon

4.5/5(104 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.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Image for Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

4.5/5(206 reviews)

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

Top things to do in Cairns

Full-Day Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Snorkeling Tour
Image for Full-Day Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Snorkeling Tour

Full-Day Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Snorkeling Tour

¥12,561
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
Small Group Premium Daintree & Cape Tribulation Day Tour
Image for Small Group Premium Daintree & Cape Tribulation Day Tour

Small Group Premium Daintree & Cape Tribulation Day Tour

¥17,433
Per adult
96% of travellers recommend
Green Island - Great Barrier Reef Cruise
Image for Green Island - Great Barrier Reef Cruise

Green Island - Great Barrier Reef Cruise

¥6,281
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation Day Tour
Image for Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation Day Tour

Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation Day Tour

¥13,703
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
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

¥5,329
Per adult
88% of travellers recommend
IMAX Private Transfer 7 Guests Cairns Airport to Hotels in Port Douglas
Image for IMAX Private Transfer 7 Guests Cairns Airport to Hotels in Port Douglas

IMAX Private Transfer 7 Guests Cairns Airport to Hotels in Port Douglas

¥14,831
Per adult

Reviews of Cairns

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
122
5 - Excellent 53.275109170305676%
4 - Good
97
4 - Good 42.35807860262009%
3 - Okay
10
3 - Okay 4.366812227074236%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Don

Apr 6, 2020

Cairns is a fun place to visit with plenty of activities for everyone.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 24, 2020

lots to do a bit hot though in summer the flying foxes were interesting

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 19, 2020

Surprisingly quiet. Nice food options. The reef was of course the highlight, and it didn’t disappoint.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 19, 2020

The weather was HOT but the visit was what we wanted. Good food, good people and a great time.

5/5 - Excellent

Penny

Feb 16, 2020

Very laid back town. Seafood is awesome! Friendly folks. Like other places in Australia we’ve seen so far, it’s a clean city. Simply Lovely!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 8, 2020

The Great Barrier Reef is amazing.

Cities near Cairns

Cairns and Northern Beaches which includes signage

Kuranda

Port Douglas featuring a sunset, general coastal views and views

Port Douglas

Cairns showing forests and vehicle touring

Koah

Wangetti showing a pond

Wangetti