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Introducing Cairns

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.