Cairns

Cairns is a vibrant tropical city located in Far North Queensland, Australia. Known for its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, it is a popular destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. The city is surrounded by lush rainforest and has a relaxed atmosphere perfect for outdoor activities.

Cairns also offers a wide range of restaurants, shops, and accommodations to cater to visitors from around the world.

Places to visit

Day plans

Spend a day exploring around

day 1

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef

morning:Start your day with a scenic helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef, offering breathtaking views of the coral wonderland. After that, head to the Cairns Aquarium to witness the diverse marine life in the region. Don't miss out on the delicious seafood brunch at Ochre Restaurant by the waterfront.

afternoon:In the afternoon, indulge in a snorkeling adventure at Green Island, where you can swim alongside vibrant marine creatures. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque Flecker Botanic Gardens, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and exotic flora.

evening:For the evening, unwind at the Hemingway's Brewery, a waterfront hotspot offering a wide selection of craft beers and live music for a laid-back night-out.

day 2

Rainforest Discovery

morning:Embark on an early morning guided tour of Daintree Rainforest, immersing yourself in the stunning biodiversity and ancient landscapes. Experience the thrill of zip-lining through the rainforest canopy and enjoy a hearty breakfast at the revered Whet Café to fuel up for the day.

afternoon:Discover the Mossman Gorge for an awe-inspiring cultural and natural experience. Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the gorge and explore the surrounding trails that showcase the region's rich indigenous heritage and lush flora.

evening:In the evening, relish a sumptuous dinner at the Flames of the Forest, an enchanting rainforest dining experience that combines gourmet cuisine with live entertainment under the stars.

day 3

Waterfront Delights & Cultural Encounters

morning:Start your day with a relaxing morning at the Palm Cove Beach, basking in the sun and enjoying the serene coastal ambiance. Delight in a delightful brunch at Nu Nu Restaurant, offering a delectable blend of modern Australian cuisine with stunning ocean views.

afternoon:Visit Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park to immerse yourself in the rich indigenous heritage through captivating performances and interactive activities. Enjoy a unique cultural lunch experience, savoring traditional indigenous dishes and flavors.

evening:For the evening, head to the vibrant Cairns Esplanade, where you can explore the lively night markets and indulge in a diverse range of culinary delights. Dive into the bustling night scene at Salt House for refreshing cocktails and panoramic waterfront views.

day 4

Adventure Escapades & Tropical Vibes

morning:Embark on an adrenaline-pumping hot air balloon ride at dawn, offering mesmerizing panoramas of the Atherton Tablelands and surrounding landscapes. Afterward, treat yourself to a scrumptious breakfast at Mungalli Creek Dairy, renowned for its organic dairy products and farm-fresh delights.

afternoon:Explore the charming Kuranda Village, where you can hop on the scenic Kuranda Scenic Railway or the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a breathtaking journey through lush rainforest landscapes. Discover the vibrant markets and unique artisan shops for souvenirs and gifts.

evening:In the evening, dine at the enchanting O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, nestled in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park, offering an unforgettable dining experience amidst the tropical rainforest setting.

Cairns's Famous Food

Delicacies in Cairns you must try!

Barramundi

A must-try local dish, barramundi is a delicious freshwater fish that can be found in various forms such as grilled, fried, or as fish and chips. Visit Ochre Restaurant or waterfront eateries like Dundee's at the Cairns Marina for a delectable barramundi experience.

Must-Try!

Mangosteen

This tropical fruit, known for its sweet and tangy flavor, is a local favorite in Cairns. Look for it at Rusty's Markets or the Cairns Night Markets for a refreshing and exotic treat.

Attractions in Cairns

Nice places to capture memories

Cairns Esplanade

Beautiful waterfront area with stunning views of the ocean and mountains, and plenty of photo opportunities.

Lighthouse at Fitzroy Island

Offers panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding islands, making it a perfect spot for great photos.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Provides a unique vantage point to capture breathtaking views of the rainforest canopy and distant Coral Sea.

Seasonal Advice

Best times to visit and what to expect in different seasons

Summer (December to February)

The summer season is popular for tourists due to warm temperatures, sunny weather, and ideal conditions for water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and diving. However, it is also the wet season, with higher chances of rain and the possibility of tropical storms.

Autumn (March to May)

Autumn is a pleasant time to visit Cairns, with warm temperatures, lower humidity, and generally calm weather. It's a great time for outdoor activities and exploring the Great Barrier Reef or the Daintree Rainforest.

Winter (June to August)

Winter in Cairns brings dry and mild weather, making it a popular time for tourists looking to escape the colder temperatures in other parts of the world. It's an excellent time for reef cruises, wildlife spotting, and hiking.

Spring (September to November)

Spring offers pleasant weather and the opportunity to witness the natural beauty of blooming flowers and trees. It's a good time for outdoor adventures, and the water temperatures are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Outdoor Activities in Cairns

Fun outdoor pursuits

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling

Explore the world's largest coral reef system and its diverse marine life while snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail

Take a scenic train ride through the rainforest on the Kuranda Scenic Railway and enjoy aerial views of the lush landscape on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Daintree Rainforest Tours

Embark on a guided tour of the ancient Daintree Rainforest, home to unique flora and fauna, and experience the natural beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.

Tipping & Payment

Ensure a smooth experience

Tipping

In Cairns, Australia, tipping is not expected or required as a standard practice. However, if you receive exceptional service at a restaurant or from a tour guide, it is appreciated to leave a small tip as a gesture of gratitude.

Payment

Payment in Cairns is commonly made using Australian dollars. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are readily available. Contactless payment methods are also becoming more common, especially in retail stores and restaurants.

Local Etiquette

Tips on cultural norms and respectful behavior

Respect for Aboriginal Culture

When visiting Cairns, it's important to show respect for the local Aboriginal culture. This includes seeking permission before entering Aboriginal land and respecting sacred sites and traditional customs.

Environmental Conservation

Cairns is home to diverse and fragile ecosystems, so it's important to practice responsible tourism and support conservation efforts. This includes avoiding damage to coral reefs and rainforests, and following sustainability guidelines when exploring the natural beauty of the region.

Casual and Friendly Communication

Australian culture values casual and friendly communication, so when interacting with locals in Cairns, it's important to be polite, approachable, and open to conversations. Using common greetings and showing interest in local experiences can help build positive interactions.

Food Markets & Street Food

A food market and street food guide

Rusty's Markets

A bustling market offering a wide array of fresh produce, gourmet delights, and local snacks. Don't miss the opportunity to savor authentic street food such as Asian dumplings, Spanish paella, and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice while exploring the vibrant stalls.

Nightlife in Cairns

Nightlife in Cairns offers a dynamic mix of options, perfect for both relaxation and excitement. Renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, the city caters to various tastes with numerous bars, nightclubs, and live music venues. Many of the hotspots are concentrated around the Esplanade and the city center, providing easy access and a lively hub for evening entertainment. Trendy bars and rooftop lounges offer sophisticated settings with panoramic views, perfect for unwinding with a cocktail. For those seeking a more energetic experience, nightclubs in Cairns feature renowned DJs and dance floors filled with locals and tourists alike. Live music is a cornerstone of Cairns' nightlife, with local bands and artists performing in pubs and dedicated music venues. Genres range from rock and indie to jazz and electronica, ensuring a diverse auditory experience. For a unique twist, some venues offer themed nights, trivia competitions, and karaoke. Additionally, the city's dining scene extends into the night, with many restaurants and eateries serving delicious local and international cuisine late into the evening. Outdoor night markets provide an alternative nocturnal activity, where visitors can shop for unique crafts, souvenirs, and enjoy street food while soaking up the bustling nighttime ambiance.

Things to do in Cairns

Unique local experiences...

Pet sitters in Cairns

Relax and unwind while your furry friend enjoys making a new companion!

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