Getting there & away
John’s Kuranda Bus (0418-772 953; tickets $2) runs between Cairns and Kuranda at least twice per day, and up to five times Wednesday to Friday. Buses depart from Cairns’ Lake St Transit Centre. Kuranda Shuttle (0402-032 085; tickets $2) departs Lake St Transit Mall roughly every two hours from 10am to 3pm, and Kuranda (Therwine St) at 10am, 12.15pm, 2pm and 3.45pm (the latter service does not operate on Saturday). Whitecar Coaches (4091 1855; www.whitecarcoaches.com; tickets $4) has five departures on weekdays, 9.30am and 1pm departures on Saturday and a 1pm departure on Sunday from outside Shenannigans, City Mall. Whitecar also has departures from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands including Mareeba, Atherton, Herberton and Ravenshoe (and Chillagoe with a separate connection). Check its website for weekday and weekend services and prices.
Long-distance buses now arrive and depart at Pier Marketplace car park, on Fogarty Park Rd near the Lagoon on Cairns’ Esplanade.
Premier Motor Service (13 34 10; www.premierms.com.au) has buses to/from Innisfail ($16, 1½ hours), Mission Beach ($16, two hours), Tully ($23, 2½ hours), Ingham ($30, four hours) and Townsville ($50, 5½ hours).
Coral Reef Coaches (4098 2600; www.coralreefcoaches.com.au) also runs a daily service from Cairns to Cape Tribulation ($40, four hours) stopping in Port Douglas ($28, 1¼ hours) and Mossman ($25, two hours).
Country Road Coach Lines (4045 2794; www.countryroadcoachlines.com.au; adult/child $72/36) runs a Cairns-to-Cooktown inland service on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday (departing at 7am, arriving at 12.15pm). A coastal service operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (departing at 7am, arriving at 2pm). Courtesy pick-ups are available.
Hiring a car or motorcycle is the best way to travel around Far North Queensland. Most companies restrict the driving of conventional vehicles to sealed roads; if you want to travel to Cooktown via the Bloomfield Track (the coastal route), hire a 4WD.
There’s a mind-numbing number of rental companies in Cairns:
Britz Australia (4032 2611; www.britz.com.au; 411 Sheridan St) Hires out campervans.
Europcar (4051 4600; www.deltaeuropcar.com.au; 135 Abbott St) With an airport desk.
Sheridan Rent a Car (4051 3942; email@example.com; 36 Water St)
Thrifty (1300 367 277; www.thrifty.com.au; Cairns International Airport)
The Queensland Rail (1300 131 722, 4036 9333; www.traveltrain.com.au; Cairns Central Shopping Centre, Bunda St; 9am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 8.45-10am Sat) Tilt Train runs between Cairns and Brisbane ($305, 25 hours), as does the Sunlander (economy seat/sleeper $207/265, 31 hours).
Qantas (13 13 13, 4050 4000; www.qantas.com.au; cnr Lake & Shields Sts), Virgin Blue (13 67 89; www.virginblue.com.au) and Jetstar (13 15 38; www.jetstar.com.au) all service Cairns, with flights to/from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin (and via Alice Springs) and Townsville.