Trips to Cairns

Discover tropical city life in Cairns

Travellers to Cairns often come to see the iconic Great Barrier Reef or the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforest, but the city of Cairns itself is also an attractive destination. There are casual cafes, quality restaurants, interesting markets and a charming harbour. So you can choose to relax by the resort’s pool or spend the day exploring this tropical oasis. The best time to visit Cairns is during the northern hemisphere autumn and winter.

Although Cairns has only around 150 000 inhabitants, it is a bustling city with a relaxed atmosphere, vibrant tropical culture and exciting Wet Tropics rainforest experiences. As part of your trip to Cairns, we also recommend a visit to one of Cairns’ northern beaches, such as Palm Cove. There you’ll see a beautiful beach, restaurants and resort-style village life, among other things.

On your trip to Cairns, you should also explore the serene waterfalls, towering trees and crater lakes of the Tablelands and Kuranda. Sample unique tropical flavours, see impressive wildlife and take advantage of the outdoor activities that make Cairns such a popular holiday destination.

We also recommend a visit to the charming, tropical village of Port Douglas, which serves as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest excursions. There you can marvel at the beauty of two World Heritage sites in one area. The village also offers guests a wide range of options for dining, shopping and pampering.

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Shopping and good food in Cairns

There are many boutique-style shops in the city centre where you can find rare bargains, and a larger shopping centre called Cairns Central, with shops from familiar brands. There are also a number of grocery stores in the centre, including Coles and Woolworths, Australia’s largest grocery chains.

Cairns also has a wide choice of restaurants, and you can choose whether you want to try fresh seafood for dinner or local beers and pizza, for example. You can enjoy stunning mountain and sea views at a variety of restaurants along the Cairns waterfront.

Palm Cove Cairns, Australia

The Cairns area offers great experiences

On your way to Cairns, it’s handy to make a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. The spectacularly colourful corals, tropical fish, turtles and rays of the Great Barrier Reef are guaranteed to be an unforgettable sight. You can choose how you want to explore the reef, and experience its beauty from both above and below the surface.

Surrounded by tropical rainforests, the village of Kuranda is perfect for relaxing in beautiful surroundings, known for its scenic cable car, market and art community, and there’s plenty more to see and do.

You can also enjoy the beauty of the rainforest in the areas around Cairns. The World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, for example, is full of natural wonders. Here you can swim in clear waters, spot crocodiles in the river and explore the rainforest-reef interface. You’ll also discover the ancient magic of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.

Cairns, Australia

For the perfect picnic spot, head to Vlasoff Cay by helicopter flight. Surrounded by the stunning blue-green Coral Sea, you can start your morning by snorkelling in the clear waters and then enjoy a rock star breakfast with a bubbly.

A visit to the reef gives you the chance to learn about saltwater culture, and the best way to do that is by discovering the ancient knowledge and stories of the indigenous peoples. Nowhere else will you experience such stories like on a trip to Cairns.

Cairns, Australia

Coastline near Cairns

Although Cairns doesn’t have its own beach, you can relax by the sea at Cairns Lagoon, located on the Cairns Esplanade in the city centre.

For a more traditional beach day, the Northern Beaches area offers great options such as Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob or Clifton Beach. Palm Cove has a comprehensive range of amenities including restaurants and shops.

Further to the North

If you travel further north, you’ll find Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas. If you’re willing to travel a few hours south, Mission Beach has 14km of coastline with four villages along the way.

Be sure to follow lifeguard instructions and only swim between the flags if permitted. Please note that between November and April, swimming in the sea without a wetsuit is not allowed due to the presence of poisonous jellyfish. Crocodiles, which are deadly to humans, also live in and around rivers.

Cairns, Australia

Cairns is easy to get around by bus

TransLink’s Sunbus public bus service operates throughout the city. Its routes run from the northern shores to the southern suburbs via the Lake Street bus terminal.

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