Cairns and Northern Beaches

Cairns

Famed for its first-class access to the nation’s biggest drawcards, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, these world-heritage sites stamp Cairns on the map as Australia’s nature capital with some serious adventure game.

No matter who you are or how long you’re there, Cairns is a bucket list destination that speaks for itself when it comes to flaunting its natural assets. You could be rubbing fins with Nemo while you snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, surfing your way through the jungle of the Daintree Rainforest or hammock-side on a tropical island all within a day. 

Things to do in Cairns

Whether you’re gliding above the rainforest, meeting the local wildlife or learning about the indigenous history of the region, Cairns is brimming with nature and adventure experiences for every sized explorer. See these top 10 Cairns experience to add to your itinerary.

  • Go White Water Rafting on the Tully River
  • Bungee jump on a bike with AJ Hackett
  • Take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway before descending into the world-heritage listed rainforest
  • Learn about indigenous history with Walkabout Cultural Adventures, Mungalla Aboriginal Tours or Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk
  • Check out the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome for some family fun
  • Go Croc spotting with Daintree River Cruises
  • Swim, socialise and let the kids run free at Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
  • Take a trip to Babinda Boulders and hire a kayak
  • Explore Josephine Falls and swim in the refreshing waters of this natural swimming hole
  • Take the family for a joy ride at the Smithfield MTB Park

Plan your holiday

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Hilton Cairns

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$149 - 934
Situated in lush Tropical North Queensland and set overlooking Trinity Inlet and Marlin Marina, Hilton Cairns is the ideal base from which to explore the region's many attractions. Hilton Cairns continues to demonstrate a commitment to industry leadership and innovation.

Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$275.00 - 1800
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is a deluxe hotel where the emphasis is on quality, sophistication and elegance. Its central location and distinctive friendly Australian character has captivated guests and it is a favourite place for visitors from both Australia and overseas.

Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut

Woree, Cairns Area
From AU$40 - 350
The multi award winning Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut is a friendly oasis set amidst lush tropical gardens, palms and rainforest. With its exceptional choice of activities, it offers the perfect holiday for families.

Cairns Queenslander Hotel and Apartments

Cairns North, Cairns Area
From AU$110 - 325
Cairns Queenslander Hotel and Apartments is situated within Cairns City close to the Esplanade foreshore. The Cairns Queenslander is your ideal coastal setting for your next holiday, short break or overnight stay.

Park Regis City Quays

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$119 - 289
Park Regis City Quays invites you to discover Cairns and surrounds by providing the ultimate base during your next visit. With the Esplanade, harbour foreshore, restaurants, shops, Night Markets, Reef Casino and Marlin Marina a short stroll away;

Nomads Cairns

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$16 - 85
Nomads Cairns is the ultimate tropical backpackers hostel located just minutes from major transportation and attraction's such as the Esplanade Lagoon in Cairns. Nomads Cairns has a variety of rooms to suit all needs including King private rooms, doubles and twins with and without ensuites, eight, six and four bed dorms with shared facilities, and female and male only rooms.

Cairns Central YHA

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$48 - 126
Cairns Central YHA is an award winning hostel located within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, cafes and nightlife. This YHA offers air-conditioned twin, double, family and multi-share rooms including many with ensuites.

Sunshine Tower Hotel

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$119 - 159
Designed with your next short stay in mind, Sunshine Tower Hotel's recently refurbished apartments feature all you need to relax on your next city break, corporate stopover or family holiday. Their studio apartment is more than just a place to stay, it is your home away from home.

Southern Cross Atrium Apartments

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$90 - 360
Designed in a modern 'Atrium Style' Southern Cross Atrium Apartments Cairns are built around a recreational spa, lap sized swimming pool, tropical pool, gym and beautifully landscaped barbecue area that pays homage to their tropical lifestyle.

Bay Village Tropical Retreat

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$135 - 330
Bay Village Tropical Retreat and Apartments, is located in the heart of Cairns, just a short four minute stroll from the Esplanade. It a boutique style retreat in a beautiful tropical setting. The property is a popular choice and is well known for its friendly, attentive service and relaxed atmosphere.
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Great Barrier Reef

Stretching over 2300kms, the Great Barrier Reef consists of 900 islands and 2900 individual reefs so as you can imagine, the ways you tick off this bucket list item is extensive, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular.

Whether you choose to sail, scuba, snorkel, cruise, fly, skydive or island hop, on, in or over the Great Barrier Reef, you can guarantee there is an experience for whatever floats your boat. 

Here are some of the best ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns:

  • Scuba or snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and tick off the Great Eight marine animals to see
  • Take a scenic flight over the reef and witness the beauty from above
  • For the adrenaline junkie, skydive from the highest tandem jump in Australia
  • Go by boat or heli to Vlasoff Cay for the most picturesque picnic spot on the reef
  • Sail to Michaelmas and Upolu Cays
  • Swim and sleep on the reef with Sunlover by Starlight
  • See the reef without getting your hair wet and helmet dive with Seawalker Green Island
  • Take a day trip to a pontoon for reef-viewing and exploration

Cairns tours

Cairns is brimming with nature experiences, and tours are the best way to see as much as you can.

Deciding how you should experience the greatest reef on earth? Check out which Great Barrier Reef Tour is for you.

To learn about the fascinating indigenous history of Tropical North Queensland look at some of these indigenous tours.

The adventure capital will certainly deliver some of the best adrenaline experiences to really get your tummy turning with our guide for adventure packed things to do in Cairns

From the Blog

Cairns accommodation

Whether you are after budget accommodation or you can splash some cash on something a little la-de-da, Cairns has you covered. 

For an all-inclusive 5-star experience where kids under 12 can stay and eat breakfast for free, rest your head at the Pullman Reef Resort and Casino.  If your tribe is looking for a more resort-like vibe, you can’t go past the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort with its lagoon style pool and epic pool bar menu.  Enjoy views of the Coral Sea and stay at Waters Edge Apartments Cairns on the Esplanade. Other accommodation options include the Mantra Trilogy and the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort.

For a true Great Barrier Reef experience, jump on a boat, switch your watch to island time and holiday in impeccable style on Fitzroy Island or Green Island.

If you’re coming to Cairns for a good time not a long time, there are a bunch of backpacker options to suit any budget. Check out Nomads Cairns or Cairns Central YHA for a central place to hit the sack and save your dollars for the more important experiences in the region.

How to get there

International airport

Cairns Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Australia and an international gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The Cairns Esplanade is just over 10 minutes from Cairns Airport and there are plenty of transportation options to get you from the airport to your hotel.

You can take the Airport Connect for $4 one way or $6 return which links Cairns Airport with the public transport network at the Sheridan Street bus stops. From here Translink offer services to Cairns City or Northern Beaches for a minimum of $2.20 for an adult single fare.

There are also a range of airport shuttle services, hire car options or ride share and taxi options if you prefer a more direct route into Cairns from the airport.

From Brisbane

If you are coming to Cairns from Brisbane, the drive along the Pacific Coast Way from Brisbane to Cairns will take you approximately 19 hours. This drive links coastal and hinterlands towns as well as major cities all along the east coast and is a fantastic way to experience Queensland at your leisure. Hire cars are available from Brisbane Airport and you can plan the ultimate road trip with this Brisbane to Cairns Itinerary.

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