Aerial drone views of the Babinda boulders in Queensland, Australia

Getty Images


Cairns (pronounced ‘cans’) has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a boggy swamp and rollicking goldfields port. As the number-one base for Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, today Cairns heaves under the weight of an ever-growing number of resorts, tour agencies, souvenir shops, backpacker bars and reef boats. This is a tourist town, and unashamedly so – luxury hotel development in 2018 and an increasingly busy cruise-ship port suggest it's only growing busier.


Must-see attractions for your itinerary


Latest stories from Cairns

(AUSTRALIA OUT) Katrina Goudkamp videos coral with the help of Aboriginal trainee Lwayne Boslem as The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority conducts a survey of the bleaching on the Reef from Gladstone to Cooktown, 6 April 2006. THE AGE Picture by SANDY SCHELTEMA (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Sustainable Travel

How Australia scuba tour guides are saving the Great Barrier Reef while tourists are away

Apr 29, 2020 • 4 min read


Purchase our award-winning guidebooks

Get to the heart of Cairns with one of our in-depth, award-winning guidebooks, covering maps, itineraries, and expert guidance.

Go Beyond

Cairns and beyond