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Visit Cairns, North Queensland

Updated on April 7, 2011

Cairns and The Great Barrier Reef

Cairns in tropical North Queensland is one of those places you really should visit at some point in your life.

The Great Barrier Reef is on your doorstep, so is Daintree National Park.

Hopefully this page will give you a few ideas on how to spend your time and where to stay in Cairns.

I've also included a little bit of information about Cape Tribulation because it's not that far away and it's absolutely beautiful (a great place for a few days away from the party atmosphere in Cairns)

Where is Cairns? Map of Oz, showing Cairns location

Where is Cairns? Map of Oz, showing Cairns location
Where is Cairns? Map of Oz, showing Cairns location

The climate in Cairns (and current weather conditions)

Cairns is in the tropical North of Australia and therefore experiences a warm tropical climate all year round.

Its wet season, typically with tropical monsoons, is between the months of December and April and the dry season is between May and November, however there do tend to be frequent showers during most of this period.

The monsoons during the wet season occasionally cause flooding of the Barron and Mulgrave Rivers which have been known to temporarily cut the city off for access by road and rail.

Cairns and Queensland Travel Guides

Here's a few Travel guides about Cairns about Queensland. I've included a map of the area too.

Budget Places to Stay in Cairns

Backpackers Hostels in Cairns

If you're on a budget then staying in a youth hostel is always a good option. There are loads of backpackers hostels to stay at in Cairns but here are three options, all are varying distances from the main Cairns city centre.

Shared accommodation is available in backpackers hostels from AUD$17. Many youth hostels also provide private accommodation at budget prices.

Nomads Cairns Backpackers Hostel

Found slightly out of town Nomads Cairns Backpackers Hostel has a huge swimming pool and all of the rooms are air-conditioned. It has a bar onsite and if the walk into town puts you off, they do provide a free hourly shuttle bus.

Alternatively stay right in the centre of Cairns opposite the lagoon at Esplanade Backpackers. This is a fairly basic backpackers hostel but it still has everything you need, including internet terminals. No need for a swimming pool though as it's so near to esplanade lagoon!

Cairns Backpackers, Serpent Hostel youtube video - Fun at Cairns Nomads Hostel

Things to do in Cairns

Free, budget and more pricy activities in Cairns and its surrounds

Free Stuff

Walk along The Esplanade

Swim in Cairns Lagoon (or just chillout next to it)

Visit the Saturday Markets

Do the Red Arrow Walk

Visit Flecker Botanical Gardens

Budget things to do

See the movies on a Tuesday (tight-ass Tuesdays!)

Hire a bicycle to see the area

Go to the Museum (gold coin donation)

Sail on Wednesdays - go to Cairns Yacht Club for details

Reef Teach (learn more about coral and tropical fish)

Not as cheap things to do

Go whitewater rafting

Sail to The Great Barrier Reef

Scuba Dive on the Reef

Take a helicopter ride or hot air balloon ride over The Coral Sea

Take the train on the Kuranda Scenic Railway

Visit Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

To find out more check out this Cairns Travel & Destination Guide

Top End Hotels to stay at in Cairns

Got loads of cash? Then stay at one of these 5 star hotels...

Double rooms vary greatly in price and you can get some great last minute deals. However when it's peak season and it's busy you can pay anything from AUD $300 - $1000.

Sofitel Reef Casino

Stay in luxury right in the heart of the city and then lose all of your hard earned cash in the casino downstairs!

Shangri-La Hotel

The Shangri-La Hotel is situated right on the Marina, so has views of all of the boats going out to visit the Great Barrier Reef every day.

Vote for your favourite Cairns pastime

If you've been to Cairns before why not help out first time visitors and vote for your favourite thing to do in Cairns to give them some ideas.

Or if your favourite thing isn't included suggest another in the guestbook.

What's the best thing to do in Cairns?

See results

The Great Barrier reef

The Great Barrier reef
The Great Barrier reef

The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns on Amazon

The Great Barrier Reef, a truely awesome thing to see for yourself!

Learn more about the Great Barrier Reef with one of these fantastic books!

Turtle on The Great Barrier Reef

Turtle on The Great Barrier Reef
Turtle on The Great Barrier Reef

General Travel Guides for Australia

Choose your travel guide to Australia. I always use a travel guide but I don't use it as my "bible" as some people do.

Many travellers forget that it's a guide and what the reviewer may have experienced may not be the same experience you have! Use it for ideas on things to do and to find out where things are then make up your own mind!

Daintree National Park

Daintree National Park
Daintree National Park

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest
Daintree Rainforest

Learn More about Australia and Australian History

Rabbit Proof Fence is an amazing true story written by one of the "lost generation". Well worth a read.

Learn more about aboriginal culture and The infamous Kelly Gang by purchasing one of the following books.

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation
Cape Tribulation

Accommodation in Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation is absolutely beautiful and it's well worth staying there for a while.

Two great places to stay are Ferntree Rainforest Lodge and Jungle Lodge, both located right in the rainforest so you have the opportunity to see some of the wildlife that the area is famous for, like the Cassowary.

Ferntree / Jungle Lodge, Cape Tribulation, Far North Queensland.

The Australian Language and Australian behaviour!

Amusing books on some of the strange slang used by Aussies, and Bill Brysons books about Australia which will have anyone who's visited or visiting the country chuckling to themselves!

Eclectus Parrots Kuranda

Eclectus Parrots Kuranda
Eclectus Parrots Kuranda

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway
Kuranda Scenic Railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a name for the railway line that runs from Cairns, Queensland, Australia to the nearby town of Kuranda. The tourist railway snakes its way up the Macalister Range and is no longer used for regular commuter services. It passes through the suburbs of Stratford, Freshwater (stopping at Freshwater Station) and Redlynch before reaching Kuranda. The line is used for some freight services and other passenger services, such as The Savannahlander.

Attractions - The tropical gardens Kuranda rail station are a well-known attaction in the area. Downhill the line cuts through the Barron Gorge National Park. The tourist train stops at a lookout, with a sweeping view of Barron Falls. A number of smaller waterfalls are passed, including Stoney Creek Falls, just metres from the train. As the train travels up and down, a detailed commentary of the railway's construction is provided.

The railway was completed as far as Kuranda in 1891. Many lives were lost as numerous tunnels and bridges were built. The first operation of a tourist train from Cairns to Kuranda was in 1936, using four longitudinal seating carriages. In 1995 major repairs had to be carried out after a severe rockfall damaged the track.

Read the rest of the wikipedia article here

Have I missed out something about Cairns which you think is unmissable?

Tell me about it here...

Give me your feedback

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is one place we still have to visit to dive. We have not done it yet so your lens is useful. Thanks.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I just love the Kuranda Railway. Lovely lens, lovely place

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi!! Just come to see your nice lens. I did my travel lens too. It's about my hotel in hua hin Thailand. Hua Hin is a charming town of clean white sandy beach. If you come to Thailand, please visit us.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi!! Just come to see your nice lens. I did my travel lens too. It's about my hotel in hua hin Thailand. Hua Hin is a charming town of clean white sandy beach. If you come to Thailand, please visit us.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great Lens, although you did miss out getting drunk at The Woolshed as a thing to do!!!



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