Eco-friendly travel guide to Cairns advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.9 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3.8 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.9 / 5
- Parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 4.1 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.9 / 5
- Safety: 3.8 / 5
- Accommodation: US$1100 - $1300
- Budget per day: US$800 - $900
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Inscribed on the World Heritage List in recognition of its outstanding natural universal values for holding the largest reef in the world this city is in Queensland, Australia. It is located on the east coast of Far North Queensland. The city is the fifth most populous in Queensland, and fourteenth in Australia. It lies on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula on a coastal strip between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. The northern part of the city is located on Trinity Bay and the city center is located on Trinity Inlet. This city is considered the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Besides, it is also renowned as the gateway of the world’s greatest natural attractions, namely the Wet Tropical Rainforest. It is home to the Far North Queensland Heat, who play in the second tier of association football in Australia. The Cairns region has a large association football community with a local competition that spans from Port Douglas to Innisfail and west to Dimbulah. The city serves as the major commercial center for the Far North Queensland and the Cape York Peninsula Regions. It is a base for the regional offices of various government departments. Further, the Cairns region is also home to the world's most dangerous bird. This is the Cassowary, which is a large, flightless bird known for inflicting fatal injuries to dogs and humans when disturbed. It is home to the world's longest lava tubes named the Undara lava tubes, the world's longest fern, and Australia's largest moth named the Hercules moth. Being a tourist in today's world comes with its own set of responsibilities and obligations. The change climate of the planet urges us to be more responsible and take accountability for our actions and also study the impact we have on the environment. One must travel in an eco friendly way and ensure that the local citizens or the natural surroundings are not affected. These are some of the most crucial tips that vacationers must follow to travel responsibly.
- Choosing the right transport method: A major part of your travel experience includes discovering every nook and cranny of the city. While you will have transport options like private cars and taxis at your disposal you need to know that not only do they contribute to more congestion and traffic pollution but also emit harmful gases into the environment. So, choose options like walking, cycling, electronic and public transportation in general.
- Trying local food: A huge part of the local culture is the traditional food that is offered at the local traditional restaurants and by street food vendors. Instead of just sticking to international fast food franchises that contribute to so much waste being produced in the world, you should try the local options. Not only will it help the local economy but also will directly help the families whose sole source of earning are these small food businesses.
- Do not throw waste: As an eco-friendly traveler, you need to promote sustainable living as much as possible in the city to motivate not only fellow tourists but local people. When you visit any tourists attractions especially city parks, make sure you do not throw any food wrapper and do not just stop at that but if you see any trash, pick it up and throw it in the dustbin. It might look like a very small thing to do but has a huge impact on people watching especially the children present in the park since they learn and mimic the behaviour of other people around them.
- Choose a green hotel: Plenty of accommodations are available in the city that provide you with a top-notch experience but instead of choosing them, you can pick green hotels for your stay. They use eco-friendly measures to reduce the pollution and waste of the city. This is one of the great ways to contribute towards the city to keep it safe and clean.
- Shop local: In order to support local craftsmen and artisans always shop local. During your trip to the city, you will come across small shops and food stalls in almost every lane of the city. If you want to have an unforgettable experience in the city, then buy goods and handicrafts from these shops. This will not only help you to save a lot of money but you will be supporting a lot of local people who are dependent on their small businesses to earn a livelihood.
Air Quality and Pollution
The air quality of Cairns is moderately safe. But there are some regions in and around the city that faces uneven air quality that even being at low levels such as experienced in Queensland’s air quality most of the year-round, air pollution can pose risks to human health. The main contributors to air pollution are emissions from motor vehicles and industrial activities, in addition to natural events such as dust storms and fires. Across the country, the main pollutants of concern are particulate matter, which describes airborne particles less than 2.5 or 10 micrometers in diameter, abbreviated to PM 2.5 and PM 10 respectively. Cairns Regional Council is responsible for enforcing legislation relating to air pollution emissions under Australia’s Environmental Protection Act 1994. This act includes causing environmental nuisances caused by dust or backyard burning. Cairns Council, therefore, receives complaints of any such nuisances, and investigates the source, administering an appropriate penalty if the investigation finds that a legitimate offense has occurred.
These penalties can include a fine, issuing a Direction Notice to the offender with a timeframe to resolve the issue, or prosecuting the offender in court. With the help of these measures, they have managed to reduce pollution to a certain level. At the present date, the air quality and pollution are very much in control. Therefore, you can plan a comfortable trip to Cairns.
Respect the Culture
Cairns serves as the major commercial center for the Far North Queensland and the Cape York Peninsula Regions. It is a base for the regional offices of various government departments. The Cairns & District Chinese Association is an art and heritage organization that seeks to preserve the Chinese culture and heritage of Cairns and North Queensland. They are also responsible for enriching the contemporary cultural, social, and economic diversity of the community. The society organizes events such as the Chinese New Year Festival, which is celebrated as the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. The society also organizes Lion dancers, which is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune. Further, dragon boat racing is also organized. Besides, the society also maintains the Lit Sung Goong Temple and offers Chinese language classes and social group activities. The Cairns and District Family History Society maintains a library of world-wide genealogy material. The society publishes new genealogical resources based on collecting and indexing family information relating to Far North Queensland. The Cairns Historical Society operates the Cairns Museum and Cairns Historical Society Resource Centre at the former Cairns School of Arts building on the corner of Lake and Shields Streets in Cairns City. Irukandji, also known as Yirrgay, Yurrgay, Yirrgandji, Djabuganjdji, and Yirgay, is a language of Far North Queensland, particularly the area around the Kuranda Range and Lower Barron River. The Irukandji language region includes the landscape within Cairns Regional Council. Yumplatok, which is also known as Torres Strait Creole and Broken, is a contemporary Torres Strait Island language that originated in the Torres Strait. The contact with missionaries and others has led to the development of a pidgin language, which transitioned into a creole language and now has its own distinctive vocabulary, sound system, usage, grammar, and meaning. Torres Strait Creole is spoken by most Torres Strait Islanders and is a mixture of Standard Australian English and traditional languages. It is an English-based creole. However, each island has its own version of creole.
Top 10 Places to Visit
The city, Cairns is one of the best cities for tourist attractions. According to Tourism Australia, the Cairns region is the fourth-most-popular destination for international tourists in Australia. It holds several sites of attractions and people love to visit the place. Hence, you will get some beautiful spots that have the most attractive views for your holiday trip. Read further to know about some of the interesting spots that are worth visiting, during your tour to the city.
- Great Barrier Reef – Located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in Australia, this reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. Its structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms known as coral polyps. Besides being selected as a World Heritage Site, it is labeled as one of the seven natural wonders of the world by the Cable News Network (CNN). Further, it is the world's largest coral reef system. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism.
- Machans Beach – It is a beach and coastal suburb of Cairns in the Cairns Region, Queensland, Australia. The Barron River and Barr Creek are respectively the southern and northern boundaries of the suburb, while the Coral Sea and Captain Cook Highway from the eastern and western boundaries. The north-eastern coastline is a rocky sea wall, but the south-eastern coastline has a sand beach with the two sections separated by Redden Creek, which flows from the Barron River as a second mouth on the Coral Sea, creating an area known as Redden Island.
- Cairns Esplanade – It is a fabulous place to enjoy the sunrise or sunset stroll and soak up the vibe of this amazing town. Stretching along the seafront in town, the esplanade now encompasses lush tropical parks, playgrounds, a swimming lagoon, and a foreshore promenade. Among the treasure things of free attractions are a skate park, a bouldering park, exercise equipment, bike paths, beach volleyball courts, water-themed playgrounds, and more.
- Flecker Botanical Gardens – This is a heritage-listed botanic garden at Collins Avenue, Edge Hill, in Cairns. It is now known as Cairns Botanic Gardens, and also known as Edge Hill Nursery, and Fitzalan's Botanical Gardens. The garden continues its important botanic role by extending its collection of endangered species from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and providing assistance to both national and international scientific work. Further, the garden maintains national and international memberships such as the Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation, and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. In addition, it is noted nationally and internationally for its collections of palms, gingers, and aroids.
- Palm Cove – Named after the palm trees that line the beach, Palm Cove is a coastal suburb located in Far North Queensland on the Australian coast. Arlington Reef is the closest section of The Great Barrier Reef to Palm Cove. The pristine beaches and palm tree-lined paths are used by cyclists, joggers, and walkers; and netted life guard patrol swimming enclosures offer safe access to the sea all year round. Besides, the Palm Cove jetty is one of the region’s most popular fishing spots where anglers regularly catch species such as mackerel, Giant Trevally, and shark. This coastal suburb is also the location of many resorts and hotels.
- Cairns Aquarium – It is the first public aquarium built in Australia, which is home to more than 16,000 specimens and 10 ecosystems. The aquarium is also an interactive research and education center and is home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. It has 10 lifelike and recreated habitats and is the only aquarium of its type to display endangered or rarely seen endemic species such as the emerald tree monitors, Jardine River painted turtles, ribboned pipefish, and scalloped hammerhead sharks. Further, the aquarium won the Master Builder Queensland award for Project of the Year and the award for Leisure Facilities.
- Trinity Beach – This beach is located at a distance of approx. 20 km from the Cairns city center and approx. 7 km from Smithfield. This beach is also a beach that stretches for about a mile on the eastern coast of Australia bounded by the Coral Sea. It is situated in the Djabugay traditional Aboriginal country. Besides, the origin of the suburb name is derived from Trinity Bay.
- Crystal Cascades – It is a cascade waterfall on the Freshwater Creek in the Far North region of Queensland, Australia. It holds numerous waterfalls and swimming waterholes popular with locals and tourists. The largest waterhole is sited alongside a sheer cliff which is preferred by the locals and tourists to climb to jump into the adjoining deep waterhole. The most famous part of the cliff is called No Fear, which is the highest perch from which to jump.
- Copperlode Falls Dam – This is a freshwater reservoir dam in Lamb Range in the Cairns Region. It is known for servicing the city of Cairns. The dam is located in the range immediately west of Cairns. The reservoir is named Lake Morris after Cairns City engineer Frank Roland Morris discovered its site, but the dam itself is named after the waterfalls it replaced, Copperlode Falls. Further, the reservoir holds 45,000 mega-liters of water.
- Green Island – This is a marine island, located in the Cairns Region, Queensland in Australia. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and protected in the Green Island National Park. The island supports a range of vegetation including dry coastal or beach plants and a vine thicket rain forest. There are no natural freshwater springs on the island so all vegetation relies on rainwater and a small freshwater lens located under the island. Most visitors come for the day.
Above are the mentioned top ten tourist attractions, which you can opt to pay a visit while traveling to Cairns. In addition, there are some other places in the city like parks and museums that you can consider checking out during your tour in the city. Here is a list of such places that you can explore.
- Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park – Tucked in lush rainforest, this Park offers enriching insight into one of the oldest cultures on earth. The center has been a popular stop for the tourist population and is often packaged with tours to Kuranda because of the adjacent Skyrail station. Being a part of the dance performances, music, storytelling, and exhibits will help you to gain knowledge about the fascinating culture of the Tjapukai people to life.
- Barron Gorge National Park – This protected area in the Cairns Region, Queensland, is a part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The Kuranda Scenic Railway line passes through the park with a station at Barron Falls. Besides, the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway provides a scenic cableway running above the Barron Gorge National Park. There are two waterfalls, namely, the Stoney Creek Falls and Surprise Creek Falls that exist on tributaries of the Barron River within the park. Bird's-nest fern and Elkhorn ferns grow amongst Candlenut, Native olive, Corkwood, and False Red Sandalwood trees at the bottom of the gorge. The park forms part of the Wooroonooran Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because it supports a range of bird species endemic to Queensland's Wet Tropics.
- Green Island National Park – This Park is a protected area declared over a small coral cay of Green Island, Cairns Region, Queensland, Australia. It is known to the local Gungganyji Aboriginal peoples as Dabuukji. The Gungganyji people used the island as an initiation ground. It is formed over thousands of years by the build-up of sand and coral rubble deposited on the calm side of a platform reef. The island is covered in tropical vine forest which supports a diversity of birds and insects. Further, a small luxury resort is built on the island with daily ferry services providing access.
- Clifton Beach – This coastal suburb of Cairns is located in the Cairns Region, Queensland, Australia. Besides, this beach is a dormitory suburb located on the shores of the Coral Sea. It has a long sandy beach along the seafront.
- Holloways Beach – This is a coastal suburb of Cairns in the Cairns Region, Queensland, Australia. The town of Holloway Beach is within the suburb. The southwest of the suburb is bounded by the Captain Cook Highway. In the east close to the beach the land-use is mostly residential while the west predominantly farms. The beach has a lifeguard for much of the year. There are a number of restaurants, including an Italian restaurant and coffee shop on the beach, a pizza shop, and a fish-and-chip shop. Other amenities include a sports club, convenience store, and a launderette.
- Ellis Beach – This five-kilometer strip beach is located aside the Coral Sea, north of Cairns on the Captain Cook Highway between Cairns and Port Douglas, within the Cairns Region local government area. The Ellis Beach locality also contains the nearby off-shore Double Island, also known by its native Aboriginal name Wangal Djungay. Further, it is also home to the Ellis Beach Surf Lifesaving Club which regularly hosts competitions and events. It also features pumice stones along its beautiful shores.
- Captain Cook Highway Rock Stacks – This is a short Queensland highway that starts in Cairns and ends in Mossman, where it joins Mossman-Daintree Road, which continues to Daintree. Apart from being a vital link between two tourist locations, Captain Cook Highway is a scenic highway that winds alongside the coast of the tropical seaside rainforest heading towards Port Douglas and Daintree National Park. Further, this highway is used by many tourists to travel to Port Douglas north of Cairns.
- Freshwater Station – This station is on the Cairns-to-Kuranda railway line in Queensland, Australia. It is located at Kamerunga Road, Freshwater in Cairns. It does not currently provide any commuter services, rather, it is only used by the Kuranda Scenic Railway tourist service which stops at this station. In the past year, a refurbishment was completed at Freshwater station with the work included extending the station platform to provide access to all passenger carriages on the Kuranda Scenic Rail service. In addition, there are improving bus and car parking facilities and additional facilities to assist disabled passengers.
- The Australian Armour & Artillery Museum – This is a privately owned museum dedicated to tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery from the Second World War and post-war periods. The museum has purchased a number of vehicles and items for display from overseas, including some items from the Littlefield Collection when it was downsized. In addition, the museum houses vehicles from a number of overseas manufacturers, including vehicles from Czechoslovakia, Japan, Russia, the US, German, and the UK. It is the largest collection of military vehicles in Australia, and the only major collection of vehicles in Australia apart from the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Memorial and Army Tank Museum at Puckapunyal. Besides, it is one of the largest private collections of artillery and AFVs in the world.
- Cairns Museum – Cairns School of Arts is a heritage-listed former school of arts and now the Cairns Museum is located in Cairns city. The museum is a local history museum operated by the Cairns Historical Society. It is a two-storeyed building with verandahs to both street frontages and a corrugated iron roof concealed behind a parapet wall. Besides, the building is of concrete, with only the ground floor being reinforced. The building was built in three stages, with the first being the corner section. Further, it was added to the Queensland Heritage Register.
Cairns is a great spot to feast on fresh seafood, locally-raised beef, and tropical fruit. Further, northern Australia's proximity to Asia will help you to taste Malaysian, Japanese, and Indian cuisine. Besides, you will get to taste the local delicacies that include emu, kangaroo, and crocodile. The city is popular for serving seafood that mainly involves prawns. The prawns are available in the form of grilled, fresh, or battered. Hence, you will get King Prawns, Banana prawns, and Tiger prawns that are some of the great choices. Ramen is also popularly available in the city because of the cultural exchange and the great seafood from the Coral Sea, which has resulted in some amazing Japanese dishes. Steakhouses are very widely located across the city that offers delicious Wagyu and Black Angus steaks, which dominate the local menus and are best-served medium rare with sides like roast veggies or Mediterranean salad. Being a national icon, lean and tasty, kangaroo is one of the healthiest meats available around the city. People in Australia are more obsessed with laksa than ramen, and this noodle soup is one of the great ways to enjoy Cairns’ tasteful seafood. With several variations that are made across the countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, there are two main types of laksa. One is served with a spicy coconut curry broth, while the other is served with a sour asam broth. The curry version is more common in Cairns and is often accompanied by prawns, chicken, or fish.
Another famous dish of Cairns is the barramundi. It is also known as Asian sea bass and is among the favorite types of white fish to eat. It is known for its light flavor and versatility and shows up in dishes like fish tacos, pasta, chowder, and ceviche. Though Korean cuisine is less established in the city, you will get to the famous bibimbap, which is mixed rice that is usually topped with refreshing vegetables that are ideal for Cairns’ sweltering weather. Last but not the least, the city will serve you a flavorful dish called duck confit. This French classic is a traditional preservation method that involves cooking and keeping duck or another meat in its rendered fat. In addition, its smooth textures and rich flavors make it the heart of French cuisine that is available in Cairns.
Traditional Local Restaurants
- C’est Bon – Located in Lake Street, this popular restaurant serves lip-smacking traditional cuisines besides serving some amazing French dishes. The restaurant has an a la carte menu, and also offers seasonal lunch and dinner menus. The seasonal menus include special two and three-course menu options that are worth trying. The ambiance of the restaurant is quiet and charming. Some of the well-known authentic dishes served here include snails, baked barramundi, Black Angus beef eye fillet, and confit duck leg. The prices are affordable and the food quality attracts loads of visitors.
- Tamarind – This Asian fusion restaurant, located in Wharf Street is made with the finest regional produce. With a casual and modern atmosphere, this restaurant serves some super delicious menu options. You can opt to try some of its standout dishes such as Mt Uncle Botanic Gin and Tonic Salmon, Organic Tablelands Pork, and Penang Duck Curry. It is one of the most recommended places for food as it is the multi-award-winning and signature resident at The Reef Hotel Casino. Make sure to try out the desserts that are served here, it will surely overwhelm your taste buds and its menu is inspired by local suppliers and their produce.
Vegetarian and Vegan
- Marinades Indian Cuisine Cairns – This vegan restaurant is located on Spence Street. It is one of the best-known vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the city that serves a gluten-free options menu. The Indian food menu offered here is known for maintaining authentic Indian flavors. With a decent atmosphere, this restaurant serves tasty and good portion size dishes. The service is great. Therefore, the visitors have recommended this place for its excellent service, quality, choice, and friendliness. Hence, it is a worth visiting place for food.
- Spicy Bite – Situated in Esplanade, this restaurant is known for serving Indian and Asian cuisines with a variety of dish options. The quality and quantity served are appropriate. With beautiful décor and calm atmosphere, this is one of the worth visiting a vegan restaurant in the city. The food served here is excellent and has large portions that can easily be consumed by two. The staff is helping and the price is reasonable too.
Barbecued Snags define Australian food culture, and are widely available across the cities of the country. Therefore, you will find many street vendors in the city who sell this dish, with a variety of meat rolled into a sausage, dipped generously in garlic butter, and then barbecued. Meat pies are another popular dish available across the streets of the city. It is a traditional Australian pie filled with mincemeat and gravy and topped with tomato sauce. You will also get a gourmet version of this pie, which is made with mashed potato and mushy peas.
Another food to try in the lanes of the city is Dagwood Dog. It is basically meat on a stick, which is deep-fried to crisp, and topped with tomato sauce. This delicious treat is permanent on the menu at any food market, carnival, and fair. Chiko Rolls are part of the Australian culture of food, which is like spring rolls, with a variety of vegetables and beef as the stuffing.
It is extensively available across the city and can be offered with different stuffing. The world-famous Australian culinary icon Lamington consists of a sponge cake that is dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with fine desiccated coconut. This cake is one of the best desserts served in every corner of the country.
The city not only serves a variety of foods but also provides various drinking options that are not only available in the city but in the whole continent of Australia. Bundaberg Ginger Beer is one of the famous Australian drinks, which is a must-try. This drink is brewed in the most traditional ways and is made of ginger, sugarcane, and water, which is later fermented with a special kind of yeast. Hence, you will get this drink anywhere in the city. Another is the Jagerbombs, which is a nice and flashy cocktail that offers you an energy drink mixed with an alcoholic shot. Another famous Australian drink is this Archie Rose gin. It is a handcrafted drink whose flavors are simply great and can be mixed with a good tonic to enjoy the stunning taste of this super smooth spirit.
Tamborine Mountain is a local alcoholic Australian brand, which is also available across the city. Further, the gins produced by Hippocampus are among the best and high-quality Aussie drinks. The spirits served by them are crafted by traditional Australian methods. The Vodka is made organically using organic wheat. The gin on the other is distilled traditionally as well, using ingredients like coriander, orange, cubeb pepper, and lemon-peel. The soft drinks that are offered in the city are available in multiple flavors such as Blood Orange, Guava, Bitters, Peach, and Lemon Lime, which offers you a range of very Australian drinks.
The tap water of Cairns is good enough that you as a tourist can easily use it for drinking. The Cairns community is supplied with water from Copperlode Falls Dam and Behana Creek. Water from Copperlode Dam supplies water to the areas in the north of Cairns and Cairns city. Besides, the Behana Creek source supplies water to the areas south of Cairns as well as the Cairns city. The locals also use tap water for drinking and other purposes. Further, you can also opt to use bottled water that is widely available across the city at a reasonable price.
- Paradiso Café – Situated in Abbott Street, this café is known for its fun and tropical palm print takeaway coffee cups, as it is for its selection of New York bagels. Located on the deck at Cairns’ Centre for Contemporary Arts, this café serves a drinks menu with various options like smoothies, delicious thick shakes, and a range of cold espresso beverages. Besides, this place also offers a food menu for breakfast and lunch. The atmosphere is casual with outdoor arrangements. You are recommended to try some of its specialty that includes the signature Paradiso Iced Coffee, which features espresso, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate dustings, and a honeycomb crumble.
- The Lillipad Café – This café is not only liked by the locals but also the tourists who love to visit this place. Located in Grafton Street, this café is known for its international flavors and great portions that are served here. They provide meals all day. You can consider trying its breakfast burrito, the Turkish breakfast, or shakshuka, for your breakfast meal. With funky décor and family-friendly availability, this place remains crowded with locals and visitors. They serve a great drink menu that includes fresh leaf tea, as well as iced drinks like an iced mocha or chai.
- Hemingway’s Brewery – Situated in Wharf Street, this brewery is a heritage-listed venue located at the Cruise Liner Terminal in Cairns with views across Trinity Inlet. The venue offers various seating options both indoors with views to the brewery, and outdoors with waterside views.
In addition, the city is also home to the famous Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery, which is considered one of the best and top liquor brands in Australia. It is known to produce some of the best quality gin and vodka.
Besides being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Queensland, the city is also known for providing numerous activities that are quite famous all over the world. No trip is complete without wading through Michaelmas Cay’s white sands and sapphire waters, looking out over the stunning coral reef. Hence, you can opt to spend the day on a luxury yacht and take a snorkeling lesson. Here, you can indulge yourself in the dazzling aquatic display of the Great Barrier Reef and can consider hiring scuba gear and get close to the colorful anemone, and gain immersive experience. Kuranda is not only the gateway to the rainforest, but also home to local markets, a treetop cable-car, and relaxation spots. Therefore, visiting this place is one of the best things to do in Cairns.
Also, you can opt to ride on the train that weaves through the Barron Gorge National Park, skirting around the mountains, past waterfalls, and eventually up to the village of Kuranda, providing you a scenic view all around. You can also enjoy canyoning at Behana Canyon, explore Fitzroy Island, and stroll the aerial walkways before zip-lining through the canopies at the Daintree Rainforest.
You can also consider stopping at Lake Eacham, which is a stunning volcanic-crater lake known for its unique residents, and look out for platypuses, kangaroos, and tree frogs. Further, you can also enjoy white water rafting on the Barron River, tubing on Mulgrave River, skydive over Cairns to get unparalleled views of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. You can also opt for grabbing a kayak and row from Palm Cove to Double Island along the reefs and mangroves, do bungee jumping at Skypark, ride the giant jungle swing, and many more.
Yoga and Retreats
Doing yoga is said to be the best solution to get relief from the tiredness after a whole day’s journey in exploring the city. In just a few minutes of investing the time, you will get the desired result of relaxation and regain the energy. Cairns offers several yoga retreat centers that you can opt for according to your preference. The most famous one is the Prema Shanti Yoga and Meditation Retreat, which is unique in Australia. It is the only venue that has a daily program of meditation and yoga set deep within the world heritage listed pristine Daintree rainforest. It is located midway along the Daintree Coast where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea. They will help you to restore your peaceful mind besides providing you relief from getting restless. Also, these yoga centers will assist you to feel more calm and energetic. Hence, you can consider being a part of the relaxing sessions. Make sure to check the details online and book your spot to revitalize your strength.
As this city remains crowded with tourists throughout the year, the accommodation facility here is highly maintained and the lodging structure is truly engrossing. However, to keep the city pollution-free and reduce waste, this city offers some green hotels, besides apartments, hostels, and guest houses. These lodging options will assist you to get a place where you can stay while you visit the city. It is a place where you can spend your peace and get relief from your tiredness.
These hotels are known to play a positive role in the betterment of the city’s atmosphere, as they use natural sources for light and water. Green Hotels are widely available in the city and are very much in demand, especially among eco-friendly tourists. Hence, they are known to provide all the basic facilities that any individual gets in an average hotel. In addition, the cost of these hotels can be comparatively low or similar to the normal hotels available in the city. Here is a list of some of the popular green hotels that you can consider for your stay in the city.
- Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns
- Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut
- Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
- Paradise On The Beach Resort Palm Cove
- Hilton Cairns
- Villa Marine
Hostels and Guest Houses
The hostels and guest houses available in the city are quite affordable. Though there are some expensive guest houses and hostels available in Cairns, most of them are low-priced and pocket-friendly. Further, in some of these lodging facilities, the options of sharing rooms are also available to divide the room charges with others. You will get almost all the basic benefits along with some extra benefits from them. In addition, these lodging systems are highly suitable for the ones, who are planning to stay in the city for two or three weeks. Some of the well-known lodging options available in the city include:
- Travellers Oasis
- Tropic Days Boutique Hostel
- Mad Monkey Central
- Lilybank Guest House
- Reef Fleet Terminal
- Cairns Marlin Marina
There are many cheap to expensive apartments available in different ranges which provides some premium features to the tourists. Apartments provide many advantages and benefits for tourists to stay comfortable during the tour. It also helps you to save a lot of money in the long stays. Therefore, you can freely stay in the city for business purposes or for study as these lodging options are considered to be the best if your lodging duration is of more than a month. In most of the apartments, you will be surrounded by local people who will help you to know and observe their lifestyle more closely. Some of the rental apartments available in the city are:
- Jack and Newell Holiday Apartments
- Citysider Cairns Holiday Apartments
- Vision Apartments
- Cairns Private Apartments
- Waters Edge Apartment Cairns
- Valle Vista Luxury Apartments
This accommodation option is getting popular in the world and is available in almost all countries. Cairns is one of the cities in Queensland, where Couchsurfing is widely available. It is the best way to get accommodation if you want to spend less or if you are worried about your low budget traveling. You will find many hosts in the country who are ready to provide shelter and food to other tourists. Make sure to look for it from a very early time to get all the things prepared before starting the journey, as it takes a lot of time to find someone as a host and discuss the stay and other things with, Besides, it is the best way for tourists to save money and explore the culture more closely in the travel location.
Camping is for people who like to stay close to nature while exploring the amazing views of mountains, forests, lakes, and other suitable places. The city offers amazing campgrounds that are located in and around the region. Some of the popular camping is offered in NRMA Cairns Holiday Park, Cairns Sunland Leisure Park, and Lake Placid Tourist Park. These places have beautifully landscaped grounds. Further, the campsites provide all the basic facilities like toilets, food arrangements, and others that can ensure your stay be pleasant and relaxing as highly possible. They are available at affordable prices and provide very eye-catching and amazing views that tourists look for. Also, Cape Tribulation, in the heart of the Daintree boasts remote beaches, camping grounds, and resorts that are known for creating the perfect atmosphere for your relaxing vacation.
How to Get There
Cairns provides well-connected and highly-maintained transportation services that are widely available in the city. Airways is the most suitable and fastest way to get in the city as compared to others. The roadways that link the city with other destinations are also well-interlinked. If you are traveling from nearby cities, then you can prefer buses that widely cover various regions in and around the city. You can also opt to travel through waterways that are connected to the port of the city. The options of rental cars, taxis, and buses cover the distance inside the city.
Cairns International Airport is located north of Cairns City between the CBD and the Northern Beaches. The domestic terminal at Cairns Airport underwent an extensive redevelopment which was completed in 2010. The airport has a domestic terminal, an international terminal, and a general aviation area. The airport handles international flights, and flights to major Australian cities, tourist destinations, and regional destinations throughout North Queensland. It is an important base for general aviation serving the Cape York Peninsula and Gulf of Carpentaria communities. The Cairns airport is also a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service
The transit network includes most parts of the city, from Palm Cove in the north, Gordonvale in the south, and Redlynch to the west. It is managed throughout the city by Translink through a service contract with the Sunbus Cairns Company, however, the Go Card ticketing system has not been implemented in the region. A smaller shuttle bus service, Jon's Kuranda Bus runs between Cairns and Kuranda alongside other private coach services. The main bus hubs in the Cairns CBD are the Cairns City bus station, and at Cairns Central, the former servicing almost all bus lines in Cairns. In addition, the city is served by long-distance coaches to Brisbane and regional cities to the south. Coaches also operate west to Mount Isa via Townsville, and to Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory.
Cairns railway station is the terminus for Queensland's North Coast railway line, which follows the eastern seaboard from Brisbane. Services are operated by Queensland Rail and include the high-speed Diesel Tilt Train. Freight trains also operate along the route, with a Queensland Rail (QR) Freight handling facility located at Portsmith. Pacific National Queensland operates a rail siding at Woree. It runs private trains on the rail network owned by the Queensland State Government and managed by QR's Network Division. The Kuranda Scenic Railway operates from Cairns.
The tourist railway ascends the Macalister Range and is not used for commuter services. It passes through the suburbs of Stratford, Freshwater, and Redlynch before reaching Kuranda. Freight services to Forsayth have been discontinued. These were mixed freight and passenger services that served the semi-remote towns west of the Great Dividing Range.
But, there is now a weekly passenger-only service, The Savannahlander that leaves Cairns on Wednesday mornings. The Savannahlander is run by a private company, Cairns Kuranda Steam Trains. Cairns is served by a narrow gauge cane railway network that hauls harvested sugar cane to the Mulgrave Sugar Mill located in Gordonvale.
As the city is well connected with roadways that link to other nearby locations, you will easily be able to hitchhike your way through the city. You can cover the nearby distance with a comfortable ride and in a short time duration. Also, this will help you to gain some of the best experiences on your way to the city as there are plenty of views to admire along the way. To be specific, hitchhiking is the method of taking a lift to reach other locations while being on your way has become very common in different cities located across the world.
The Cairns Seaport, located on Trinity Inlet, is operated by the Cairns Port Authority. It serves as an important port for tourist operators providing daily reef trips. These consist of large catamarans capable of carrying over 300 passengers, as well as smaller operators that may take as few as 12 tourists. Cairns Port is also a port of call for cruise ships, such as Captain Cook Cruises, cruising the South Pacific Ocean. It also provides freight services to coastal townships on the Cape York Peninsula, the Torres Strait, and the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The Trinity Wharf has recently been the subject of a major redevelopment to improve the area for tourist and cruise ship operations. The freight wharves are located to the south of Trinity Wharf further up Trinity Inlet.
The city provides you several options to visit the interior of the city. Therefore, getting an idea about the various modes of traveling will help you get familiar with transport services available in Cairns. Being a tourist, you should always opt to go with the transportation options that will help you to spend less money and get the chance to explore more. Hence, you can opt for transport services like bicycles, cars, etc.
It is one of the best ways of traveling when you want to explore the nearby market areas without missing anything. It is not only the best eco-friendly mode of transportation but also the most common way to get around the city and explore the interiors. Also, walking down the lanes and streets will also help you to understand the culture of the city.
Being an eco-friendly tourist you can prefer bicycling or motorcycle tours to explore some of the destinations in the city. This means of transport will help you to explore the nearby localities a bit faster as compared to walking. Besides, it will help you to cover the nearby short distances.
Australia’s first electric vehicle tourism drive opens in Queensland. The switch was flicked at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Cairns to celebrate the opening of Australia’s first electric vehicle tourism driving network. The five hundred kilometers, Tropical North Queensland Electric Vehicle Drive will feature six electric vehicle charging stations, all powered up at key tourist attractions across the Cairns region.
A public bus transit network exists within the city, with two transit hubs located within the CBD. The Cairns Central Railway Station precinct, and the Cairns City Bus Station located within the Lake Street and Shield Street area, through which all bus lines operate and provide linkage to taxi, rideshare, and intercity rail services.
Tram, Train and Subway
The train service available in the city offers services of getting in the city. Therefore, several railway routes link Cairns to other nearby destinations.
Instead of casual shopping, people around the world are now opting for sustainable shopping that helps to shop lovely things at low costs and decreases the waste of the city. Purchasing items from the small shops will support them a lot, as most of them are dependent on tourism. You will be able to see some of the popular markets in the city that offer antique and vintage items. From clothes to accessories, you will find various types of items while exploring these markets. Shopping is an important part of your tour as it helps you to understand the culture very closely and become more conscious about their tradition.
The Cairns Night Market Food Court offers a diverse range of food options to suit every palate. The Food Court area has room for numerous people to sit comfortably, with large fans keeping everyone cool. Food options include everything from kebabs to delicious Asian cuisines, as well as an impressive range of fresh Australian seafood. Another local market is known to sell locally produced food products. The city also holds meat and fish markets, where you will get a variety of meats and fishes. The food market of the city remains crowded by the locals as well tourists. Other markets like Palm Cove Markets, Mission Beach Market, and Rusty Market.
Esplanade Markets have homemade products, rare stones, clothes, all types of art, massage, local music, local rainforest timbers, carvings, wooden chopping boards, and you will be buying from the maker, artist of the products. Heaps of budget-priced stuff, but some very refined high art, design, and ideas that could easily become a feature piece of a house and garden. Great place to find a special gift. Other markets include Kuranda Rainforest Markets, Port Douglas Markets, and many more.
Second Hand Stores
There are many thrift stores located in the city. These stores are run for charitable purposes. They are known to provide a big collection of used books, and souvenirs that include paintings, handicrafts, shoes, furniture, handbags, jewelry, kitchen supplies, and many more. Hence, you are recommended to visit these stores to supports the locals of the city.
The clothing and other goods under eco-fashion are made from recycled materials or otherwise produced by methods that are not harmful to the environment. The city holds some of the stores and shops that sell eco-fashion clothes. In addition to the extensive use of natural dyes, these clothes are manufactured by using raw materials that are obtained from organic plants. Further, they are launched to provide an alternative to chemically treated clothing. Hence, it is considered to be a part of the sustainable clothes that are highly produced by various brands.
Recycling helps to reduce the toxins that harm the environment. Also, recycling is an effective way to preserve nature. Therefore, the country as a whole has started this process early and the waste products of the country are gathered for the recycling process. Hence, the government is planning to increase the recycling product percentage to bring change to the country. They have taken various measures in the last few years to recycle as much they can and make the country free from wastes. Further, these recycled products are turned into new items that are usable.
The country has taken the necessary steps to improve the environment and reduce waste collection. Their efficient work to collect the wastes from the different regions of the city and then send them for treatment has positively helped in the waste management program They are working to take the necessary steps to reduce the waste, which will further help the urban living style better. Somehow, they had made a lot of progress in a short time. The collection of this waste has assisted to keep the city clean and free from impurities.
Work and Study Abroad
Besides being popular for having a lot of attractions for tourism, the city is also known for offering various types of jobs are also available in the city as well as in the country. This helps many workers from different countries to visit Haiti with the purpose to earn a lot. Furthermore, the city provides various educational facilities. The colleges are available in the city offer benefits like exchange students that help the students to study in the country at a low cost. Therefore, there are many migrants who are working to earn their living pretty well and foreign students who are living in the city to get a degree.
The facility of an exchange student is getting popular around the world. Therefore, an exchange student program is highly served by the colleges and universities of the city. The best thing about this facility is that students can study at foreign universities only with the college fee. They assist to provide an effective way of education to foreign students from across different countries.
Au pair is a useful job service that provides a good source of income for outsiders. Any person can get this facility under which they have to work for a host family and take care of the house, children, or elderly person. The options of au pair in the city are quite helpful for the people who came to earn a living in the city. The benefit of this facility is that it will provide you the convenience to be able to get shelter, food, and even some money.
Volunteering is highly conducted across the city. This will also help you to gain a lot of knowledge about the local people, their culture, their traditions, and many such other things. Many people love to participate in the social events organized under volunteering. You will come across many foreigners who are participating in the volunteering work conducted in the country.