Cairns is a very small city, very focused on the travel industry. Due to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns has been very popular among tourists. Accommodation is cheap, there are plenty of cheap restaurants catering to backpackers and the atmosphere is one of a relatively cheap tourist area. The theme parks which surround the city and the numerous activities available here make Cairns one of the most sought after travel destinations in Queensland.
Located at about 1,701 km / 1,057 miles from Brisbane and 2,420 km / 1,504 miles from Sydney, Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia.
How to get to Cairns
Cairns International Airport is the most important international getaway in this part of the country. The airport is served by both international and domestic flights.
Quick search for flights to Cairns (CNS) from Sydney (SYD), Brisbane (BNE), Melbourne (MEL) and Adelaide (ADL):
By train, Cairns is linked to Brisbane to the south and Kuranda to the west.
Cairns is blessed with a warm tropical climate. The dry season extends from April to November while the monsoons hit the city between November and March. The summers are hot and humid, while the winters and mild. The temperatures don’t change too much during the year, but you can expect averages of around 25.7 C / 78 F in July and 31.4 C/ 89 F in January.
What to Do
The Great Barrier Reef can be reached in less than an hour by boat, hence making Cairns the perfect stop before heading to explore the marine life.
The beautiful surroundings have been used to the city’s advantage by constructing several theme parks for tourists: Rainforestation Nature Park, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and the Kuranda Skyrail Gondola Cableway.
At only 130 km / 80 miles from the city, tourists can explore rainforests as part of the Daintree National Park.
As you might have realized by now, Cairns is the hotspot for wildlife diversity in Australia. You can watch a lot of native animals in their natural surroundings by taking a hike either around Mount Lewis, Lamb Range or Mount Hypipamee.
The artificial lagoon near the pier provides the perfect location to swim. The water is shallow and the entrance is free. It’s highly popular among children. The lagoon is the perfect place to be during October and May, when the beaches become dangerous because of the poisonous creatures.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
A number of operators run scuba diving trips to the Great Barrier Reef. A good idea is to choose a small boat as the diving experience will be much more pleasant then if you choose a bigger boat. On bigger boats however, there will be better food but the diving will always suffer.
The most important diving operators in Cairns are:
- Tusa Dive Australia
- Pro Dive Cairns
- New Horizon Sail and Dive
- Taka Dive Adventures
- Dive Directory
- Mike Ball Dive Expeditions
- Great Barrier Reef Diving
Skydiving, Ballooning and Hang Gliding
If you happened to get sick of the sea, head to the skies. It’s quite common to see multiple hand gliders soaring the sky during the weekend looking for the perfect place to enjoy the scenery. Winters are perfect for such experiences.
Ballooning is also popular as Cairns has the perfect weather for such an experience. It’s also one of the cheapest places in the world to take such a trip.