Cairns has come a long way from struggling cane town to international resort city. It may not have a beach, but the mudflats and mangroves along the Esplanade foreshore have been replaced with a multimillion-dollar development of parks and the dazzling saltwater lagoon, with top-quality restaurants overlooking the marina. And if you do want some sand, it’s a short local bus ride or easy drive to the Cairns’ Northern Beaches.
Old salts claim Cairns has sold its soul, but it has an infectious holiday vibe. The CBD (central business district) is more board shorts than briefcases – a mini-urban jungle of tour shops, booking agents, car-hire agents and internet cafes.
For many visitors, this is the end of the line on the East Coast jaunt (or the start for those flying into Cairns’ international airport), and the city is awash with bars and nightclubs, as well as accommodation and eateries in all price ranges. It’s a perfect place to meet other travellers, and to kick off your Far North experience.
Best places to stay in Cairns
Australia - Queensland & The Great Barrier Reef (Chapter)
From the surf-soaked Gold Coast beaches to the tropical Daintree rainforest, Queensland offers an array of distractions, including the submarine kingdom of the Great Barrier Reef, and islands - photogenic coral-fringed beauties or rugged sand...
Australia’s alternative East Coast road trip
Australia is enormous, and there's no sharper way to realise that than embarking on a classic Australian road trip. So come with us on a journey along the east coast of this massive continent - a journey from Sydney to Cairns that dodges the tourist crowds in favour of some alternative treasures...
Queensland & the Great Barrier Reef - Cairns & the Daintree Rainforest (Chapter)
Experienced divers and first-time toe-dippers swarm to the Cairns for its easy access to the Great Barrier Reef, while the winding road from Cairns to ritzy Port Douglas offers spectacular coastal vistas. But it’s north of the Daintree River...
Cairns destination guides
Tully River Full-Day White Water Rafting from Cairns including BBQ Lunch
Want to go white water rafting on your vacation to Tropical North Queensland? Go rafting on the the Tully River on this action packed full-day white water rafting adventure from Cairns! The Tully River rafting adventure, one of Australia's most popular rafting excursions, winds through World Heritage Rainforest and offers rapids up to grade 4.
Cairns Arrival Transfer: Airport to Hotel
Welcome to Cairns Airport. Don't arrive and wonder what to do next and how to get to your hotel - book now and let a pre scheduled airport transfer take all that worry away for you! Operated with regular transfers from Cairns Airport to most Cairns city hotels, Northern Beaches hotels, Port Douglas hotels and Silky Oaks Lodge.