Cairns Travel Guide

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Embraced by the glittering blue ocean, unspoiled beaches, and the iconic Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is the perfect place to enjoy some time-out.

Cairns, QLD

Savour seafood under the palm trees, explore bars by the boulevard or take a dive over the world-famous coral forest. The waterfront city of Cairns conjures a spectacular blend of beaches, bars and natural wonder.   

World-famous attractions and activities

Home to the famous Great Barrier Reef, Cairns delivers unparalleled opportunities for diving and snorkelling. You’ll find tours that teach you to dive, as well as snorkelling cruises delivering you amongst colourful schools of tropical Angel, Butterfly and Clownfish. There are also sailing tours - and even the option of viewing the 2,300km natural wonder by helicopter.   
Right near the reef, you’ll find Airlie Beach - a gorgeous strip of pure sand that encompasses Airlie Lagoon. This popular cooling-off place is surrounded by barbecue areas as well as a cafe. Cairns Lagoon is another favourite spotnear the popular Cairns Esplanade, surrounded by beautiful beaches and wooden decking.  
The gateway to the tropical north, Cairns is also home to exquisite seafood. You’ll find bars and restaurants galore along the Cairns Esplanade. Dine alfresco and enjoy the gorgeous view. You can even enjoy a seafood platter aboard Prawn Star, a converted fishing trawler berthed at Cairns Marina.  

Wildlife Wonders

Alongside the marine life that thrives around the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is home to many unique and remarkable residents. Get up close at Cairns Zoom Wildlife Dome, a wildlife exhibit and tropical rainforest enclosed in an all-weather dome. At Kuranda Koala Gardens you’ll meet quokkas, pythons, crocodiles and more. The world-class Cairns Aquarium also features elusive sea creatures from Australia’s Wet Tropics.

In Rainforestation Nature Park you’ll find Indigenous cultural experiences and iconic Australian wildlife. Jump aboard the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway as it carries you through unspoiled tropical rainforest, followed by a tour of the wildlife park where you can meet ’Jack the Ripper’, a five-metre saltwater crocodile.

Cairns as a base to explore Port Douglas

Only an hour’s drive from Cairns, Port Douglas is an idyllic seaside village that is bustling with restaurants, bars and boutique shops. It’s also a spectacular base to further explore the Great Barrier Reef or the ancient Daintree Forest. This natural wonder is the world’s oldest rainforest at 135 million years old. Take a walk along the wooden boardwalk beneath the giant King Ferns. The drive to Port Douglas takes you along the Captain Cook Highway and offers spectacular views of the Coral Sea.

How do I get to Cairns?

If you’re wondering what to see in Cairns, we have good news - the city is highly accessible. Getting from Brisbane to Cairns is easy, with regular flights to Cairns Airport. The airport also services regular interstate flights. You can also catch the train from Brisbane on the Spirit of Queensland. This trip takes 25 hours and you can book a comfortable overnight trip. The train to Cairns from Townsville takes just over six hours, and just over four hours by car.

Top things to do in Cairns

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