Getting to Cairns is often the final destination for many travelers that fly to Australia. Cairns would be considered the tropical beach destination with great access to some of the best parts of the Great Barrier Reef just off the coast. You can catch a cheap flight to Cairns from most major cities and not break the bank, but the idea of taking a road trip up the east coast sounds a lost more fun to me.
When planning a trip to Cairns, it is always helping to keep the following list of things in mind. Oh, and don’t forget to read these fun and funny things you should know about Australia, too!
The climate of Cairns is warm and tropical year round, but don’t forget about the wet season.
Cairns is amazing at early or late winter, and you’ll find that August is typically the busy season for this part of Australia. The weather is warm, but not too warm, but once the summer kicks in, the weather turns hot and humid. Yes, the summer brings the wet season to the tropical north, and besides providing sometimes cyclones and heavy rain, it is just plain muggy. You will sweat.
Cairns is a great place to access the Great Barrier Reef, but you will still need to travel 45 minutes offshore to get there.
The Cairns Reef Fleet terminal offers a number of options for getting there on daily reef cruises. You can buy your tickets, and rent an underwater camera, all from the same building. If you’re looking for something longer and more adventurous, there are reef scuba diving getaways that go for days. Check out the Australia tours page for some ideas.
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Cairns itself is quite small, so you can get around by walking or public transport.
However, I highly recommend renting a car so you can explore the areas around Cairns on your own. These include Port Douglas, Granite Gorge, the Atherton Tablelands and the like (read more in Day Trips from Cairns). Australia bus tours in situations like that just won’t provide the same flexibility and adventure.
There is a stinger season in the tropical north that you should be aware of.
When the rainy season starts, jellyfish make their ways into the waters around tropical Queensland, many of which will just cause a bit of a sting. However, there is a tiny stinger, called the Box Jellyfish, that can inhabit the waters and is potentially fatal. When you go to a beach around Cairns during this time of year, do make sure to swim within the stinger nets and follow any safety instructions that may be posted. Box Jellyfish stings are not very common at all.
Hostels and hotels are plentiful in Cairns since it is such a popular tourist destination.
If you need help deciding where to stay, you can quickly have a look at the following posts for guidance: