Cairns City

Gateway to Reef, Rainforest, and Outback Australia

people swimming in public pool at Cairns Esplanade
Free public swimming pool on the Cairns Esplanade. Picture Credit: Alex Monckton, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Cairns is one of Australia's premier visitor destinations. The Great Barrier Reef, tropical beaches, World Heritage rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands and Tropical Outback are all within easy reach of Cairns - the gateway to Tropical North Queensland and the gateway to a great adventure.

Cairns has all types of accommodation from backpacker and youth hostels to luxury hotels and resorts. The Reef Hotel Casino, great shopping, nightclubs, and restaurants catering to every taste.

Cairns International Airport is one of Australia's busiest, and is an important trade hub sending exports of live fish and fresh produce to Asian and global markets.

Cairns has a vibrant night-life . It is a 'party-town' for the back-packers and other tourists, not to mention the locals. There are pubs, nightclubs and music venues.

the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Cairns
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the main attractions drawing visitors to Far North Queensland, and Cairns. Picture Credit: Ank Kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The islands off Cairns are a favourite haunt for movie stars and celebrities who can find a secluded island to get away from the papparrazzi. From the late 1960s, Cairns gained recognition as the worlds best black marlin fishing grounds and attracted celebrity sports fisherman such as Lee Marvin and Bob Hope.

Many movies and tv shows have used Cairns, the hinterland, reef, and islands as locations. Fools Gold(2008), The Island of Dr. Moreau(1996), The Thin Red Line(1998) and Turkey Shoot(1982) are some notable films either wholly, or partly shot around Cairns. TV shows include The Straits(2012), Sea Patrol(2007-2011), Patrol Boat(1979 and 1983) and various episodes of Survivor used Cairns and the surrounding region as locations.

Things to do in and Around Cairns

Experience the Great Barrier Reef on one of the many coral - viewing, snorkling or diving boats that offer daily excursions to one of the 'seven natural wonders of the world.' The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world.

Experience the Rainforest of Kuranda by skyrail cable car, train, tour or self - drive to the Tropical Tablelands.

Experience the Outback by taking the road to Chillagoe and enter the caves of the fossilised Great Barrier Reef as it was 400 million years ago.

Read more about the History of Cairns

Flying time to Cairns from:

London 21 hrs 55 mins Johannesburg 15 hrs 20 mins
Beijing 13 hrs 55 mins Hong Kong 7 hrs 10 mins
Singapore 9 hrs 30 mins Jakarta 9 hrs 5 mins
Taipei 8 hrs 55 mins Tokyo 7 hrs 15 mins
Santiago 22 hrs 40 mins Los Angeles 17 hrs 20 mins