Cairns Accommodation, Hotels, Tours & Information

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Cairns

The tourist capital of Tropical North Queensland, Cairns is a laid-back tropical city whose population of 140,000 is complimented by the many visitors who flock from all corners of the globe. Set on Trinity Inlet, which was named by Captain James Cook on Trinity Sunday, 1770, the city is a must-see for many Australian and international visitors.

The reason is simple. Cairns has so much at its doorstep: the blue waters of the Coral Sea; the riches of the Great Barrier Reef; the flora of the tropical rainforests; the famous train which climbs up a mountainside to Kuranda; the cool inland tablelands and a wealth of offshore islands.

For your Great Barrier Reef experience, a huge fleet of boats of all sizes can transport you to the reef or if you"re short of time, try the quick sea trip to Green Island National Park. Either way, you"ll have plenty of time to snorkel, scuba dive or just potter about in a glass-bottomed boat.

Another must-do activity is the trip to the rainforest village of Kuranda. Most visitors choose to take the Skyrail in one direction and the Scenic Railway in the other. The 110-year-old rail line zigzags through the spectacular rainforest, past and over rivers and waterfalls of the Baron Gorge, while the Skyrail's gondolas offer unparalleled views from over the forest canopy. The Skyrail makes several stops where passengers can alight to take the boardwalk trails through the rainforest. Kuranda"s high-spots include the Butterfly Sanctuary where you can wander among superbly-coloured insects, Birdworld with its host of native and exotic birds and the delightful Kuranda Markets.

For sportfishing, the waters off Cairns and Innisfail are famous for the largest black marlin in the world. Some of the world"s most enthusiastic big game fishermen have come to test their mettle in these waters.

But a Cairns holiday doesn't necessarily mean non-stop tours and rushing about. Take the time to appreciate this entrancing tropical city and take a tip from the oldtimers on the marina verandah bar: relax and enjoy.

Things to do in and around Cairns include:

  • Great Barrier Reef - Head out to the reef and dive, snorkel or peer through a glass-bottomed boat at the countless varieties of tropical fish.
  • Kuranda - Take the Scenic Rail or the Skyrail to the rainforest village - visit the Butterfly Sanctuary or Birdworld as well as the markets.
  • Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park - for dance, theatre and cultural performances.
  • Daintree Rainforest - a unique and ancient rainforest with walks, scenic lookouts, campsites, picnic spots and swimming holes.
  • Atherton Tablelands - cool mountain retreat, with waterfalls, lakes and the unique Curtain Fig Tree.
  • Hartley"s Creek Crocodile Farm - for a close-up look at these remarkable prehistoric creatures.
  • Australian Tropical Zoo - Wild World - for native animals and so much more.
  • Flecker Botanical Gardens - 38 hectares of tropical flora.
  • Centenary Lakes - adjoins the Botanic Gardens - boardwalk through mangroves and tropical rainforest.
  • Adventure activities - white water rafting, hot air ballooning, sea kayaking, 4wd adventures, bungy jumping, parasailing - whatever you want to do to get an adrenalin rush, you"re sure to be able to do it in Cairns!


Find out more about Tropical North Queensland.

Looking for the best attractions? Head to our Top Spots for all the very best things to see and do in the Tropical North.

Cairns: Where To Go / Sightseeing

99 Grafton Street Cairns


Ninety-nine Grafton Street is one of the last remaining structures directly associated with the former Cairns Chinatown. Curiously it is currently occupied by a Greek caf?, indicating the multicultural nature of Queensland society.

One of the early landholders here was Andrew Leon owner of the Hap Wah sugar plantation which he sold in 1886, (purchasing land in Cairns). The Chinese precinct had humble beginnings and was not an homogenous community. It included residents from different cultural districts in China. Chinatown included boarding houses, gaming houses, opium dens and merchant stores. Andrew Leon built four shops on this property in 1892, leasing to merchants Lee Yan Kee.

Lee Yan brought his wife from China in 1895 and in 1896 Mrs Lee Yan gave birth to a son. He was the first Chinese Australian child born in Cairns. At the same time, the Lit Sung Goong Temple was built adjacent to number 99. This shop at 99 Grafton Street had numerous owners including cane farmer Frank Lee Chin, and intermittently operated as a brothel from 1903 until 1932. Chinese shopkeepers and female tenants remained there until the end of World War Two. The adjacent temple was demolished in 1964.




99 Grafton Street
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.2K from Cairns

Whale Bommie Dive Site


Whale Bommie is a giant coral head located off the southern side of Milln Reef. This popular Cairns dive site has something for everyone. While the main bommie varies in depth from 5 metres to 22 metres, more experienced divers can also explore a scattering of smaller bommies in depths to 26 metres.

All these bommies feature pretty corals, including gorgonian fans, soft corals, whip corals and sea whips. A great variety of reef and pelagic fish can be seen on every dive at Whale Bommie. Common species include angelfish, lionfish, trevally, sweetlips, trumpetfish, pufferfish, fusiliers, parrotfish and barracuda. Inspect the many caves and ledges for crayfish, squirrelfish and barramundi cod, and the sand for stingrays, gobies and shells. Whale Bommie is also a good place to see turtles, octopus and whitetip reef sharks.




Milln Reef
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.3K from Cairns

Reef Teach


Reef Teach will greatly enhance any Great Barrier Reef visit.

Their customers describe Reef Teach as informative, fun, hilarious, inspirational and most of all credit Reef Teach for enhancing their trip.

Reef Teach is the only privately run Great Barrier Reef Education Company. It has been running for 25 years this year (2017).

Through the use of real specimens (which are passed around), high quality images and video clips shown on a huge screen, our Marine Biologist will share with the audience hundreds of facts about the Great Barrier Reef. Their main focus topics to help customers have a great experience on the Reef include what marine animals they can see and wonderful facts about these animals.

They also give helpful hints on where to find some iconic animals and how to interact with them and the ever important conservation aspects. Armed with knowledge visitors of the Great Barrier Reef, see more and enjoy far more.

Reef Teach is great value for your money, come along and see for yourself. The Reef Teach show runs Tuesday to Saturday evenings, 18:30 to 20:30. Private shows are also available on request.




85 Lake Street,
Second floor Mainstreet Arcade
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.3K from Cairns

Cairns Museum


The Cairns Museum has amazing stories to share about living in the tropics.

Stories of heat, sweat and hard work. Of cane, railways, rainforests and reefs. Of White Australia, Aboriginal resistance and European isolation. Tales of tourists, hippies and local celebrations, amidst humidity, cyclones, toads, mould and mozzies.

Come in and discover the real Cairns!

After two years of refurbishment and renovation, and an injection of AUD1.6 million dollars, the Cairns Museum is making waves in the tourism industry.




Corner Lake and Shields Streets,
School of Arts
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.4K from Cairns

Kuranda Scenic Railway


The original Kuranda Scenic Railway is a spectacular journey comprising unsurpassed views of dense rainforest, steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls. This famous railway winds its way on a journey of approximately one hour and 45 minutes from Cairns to Kuranda, the village in the rainforest.

The Cairns-Kuranda Railway was constructed between 1882 and 1891 and even today is considered an engineering feat of tremendous magnitude. Hundreds of men were employed to build the 15 hand-made tunnels and 37 bridges that stand as a monument to the pioneers of tropical North Queensland who lost their lives while working on the railway.

Gold Class offers passengers a touch of luxury. Club-style seating, appetisers, refreshments and an exclusive gift pack combine to create an unforgettable experience. Discover the warm ambience of the historical decor in Gold Class, with cedar interior, individual lounge seating and historical photographs.

Kuranda Scenic Railway is also proud to partner with the attractions of Kuranda to form unique day tours such as the Classic Experience tour combining the railway with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Rainforestation features in their Rainforest Experience tour, Tjapukai in their Dreamtime Experience tour and Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Butterfly Sanctuary in their Wildlife Experience tour.






Bunda Street,
Cairns Railway Station
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.4K from Cairns

Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome


The Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome is the world's first Challenge Ropes Course in a wildlife immersion exhibit, It consists of 65 elements of crossings and ziplines.

Mid-ZOOM - At an easier level of difficulty, suitable for beginners and/or young people. Must be over 120 centimetres tall and less than 120 kilograms.

Hi-ZOOM - At a greater level of difficulty, consisting of more complex crossings and ziplines for the more adventurous, featuring three ziplines - one of which you dangle over Goliath the croc!
Must be over 140 centimetres tall and less than 120 kilograms.

Power Jump - This enthralling component is a freefall adventure, where you jump off a 13 metre high tower to make a rapid descent, with a fan device ensuring a gentle and smooth landing. Must be over 120 centimetres tall, over 20 kilograms and less then 120 kilograms.

Dome-Climb - Walk along internal walkways with a birds-eye view of inside the Dome, and then an external platform with spectacular views of the city and surrounding land and seascapes. Must be over 120 centimetres tall and less than 120 kilograms.




35-41 Wharf Street,
Reef Hotel Casino
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.5K from Cairns

Cairns Regional Gallery


Cairns Regional Gallery is Far North Queensland's only visual art museum.

Housed in a refurbished heritage building in central Cairns, the gallery incorporates four individual exhibition spaces inside the building, showcasing an average of 30 exhibitions per year, and featuring the work of National and International artists, with a strong focus on local and indigenous works of art.

The Gallery is also accompanied by a stylish gift shop and cafe. The Gallery Shop has a wide range of functional, artistic, local and designer gifts at a variety of prices, the Gallery Shop can make finding that perfect gift an enjoyable journey.

Exhibitions change every four to eight weeks ensuring there will be something new to see every time you visit, with displays ranging from paintings, to sculpture, installations, photography and prints. A stimulating program of workshops, lectures and special events are held regularly to compliment these exhibitions.

Cairns Regional Gallery is a limited liability and non-profit organisation, and is controlled and funded entity of Cairns City Council.

It is the dynamic combination of the region's cultural diversity, tourism and the distance from Australia's capital cities that sets Cairns, and the Cairns Regional Gallery, apart from other regional arts centres.




40 Abbott Street
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.5K from Cairns

Cairns: Events

Marine Aquarium Conference Australia


Marine Aquarium Conference Australia is the must attend event for the marine aquarium fraternity and industry in Australia. MACA 2017 will feature an eclectic mix of speakers addressing the issues that matter to you from sustainability, husbandry, hardware and new technology. And much, much more! Plus there will be interactive workshops that will help you with your reef keeping needs. And, there will be facilitated forums where the hobbyists and the trade can discuss the issues of supply and demand that affect us all.

Located in the tropical gateway city of Cairns on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, MACA gives you four full days of immersion into the world of the marine aquarium hobby and trade with like minded souls and as many days as you wish to lavish in the wonders of the natural tropical environment of the Great Barrier Reef and ancient Wet Tropics rainforest.


Event Dates
2017
      5th Oct
      6th Oct
      7th Oct
      8th Oct


17 Abbott Street
Cairns City, QLD, 4870

Located 0.4K from Cairns

Crocodile Trophy 2017


The Crocodile Trophy is the oldest Mountain Bike (MTB) stage race in the world and has its home in the heart of one of the most beautiful holiday destinations on earth: Tropical North Queensland in Australia.

From the tropical rainforests in and around Cairns to the Atherton bushlands and via the remote Outback to Skybury Coffee Plantation and Wetherby Station, finishing eight days later on the breath-takingly beautiful Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.

The race stages offer the biggest variety of mountain bike trails - eight days from the jungle in Cairns to the Atherton Tableland with bush single tracks into the unique Australian Outback. Finish on the breath-takingly beautiful Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas.

Ride with cyclists from all over the world - you can camp on cattle stations and in the historic mining villages and even a coffee plantation or there are hotel and motel accommodation packages to choose from! The event is fully catered and supported by race mechanics and medical staff.

Visit the event web site for more details.


Event Dates
2017
      22nd Sep
      23rd Sep


Cairns, QLD, 4780

Located 0.4K from Cairns

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair


From where ever you are, come and join Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and immerse yourself in a CIAF experience of your own.

The CIAF 2017 cultural festivities welcomed more visitors than ever before, 50,000 people attended across all venues enjoying the diversity of Far North Queensland Indigenous culture and taking the chance to attend and buy the latest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art from across Queensland, at the CIAF Art Market and Art Fair.

The now famous CIAF daily program offers free traditional dance and music performances, artist and industry talks, art workshops, theatre and film screenings. Cairns cultural venues offer a variety of art form events and gallery exhibitions, creating a celebratory feeling citywide.


Event Dates
2018
      13th Jul
      13th Jul
      15th Jul


Wharf Street,
Corner of Lake Street
Cairns, QLD, 4870

Located 0.5K from Cairns

Cairns: Eating Out

Vivo Bar and Grill (07) 4059-0944
45 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove
Great menu and wine list as you dine overlooking the Coral Sea

Cairns Map

Cairns Map - Legend
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