Cairns is a great place to depart for your Great Barrier Reef tour since its right at the doorstep!
The town is a thriving mecca of unique activities and thrilling attractions, thanks to its UNESCO listed sites: the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest at Daintree National Park. These two magnificent natural wonders of the world come together near Cairns and provide a playground of adventure sports, thrilling activities and kick-ass adrenaline adventures you simply can’t find anywhere else on the planet!
Located in northeast Australia, Cairns is a modern city of around 160,000 population. Whether you’re a backpacker on a budget or a luxury traveller on the trip-of-a-lifetime, you’ll find the locals offer a friendly Aussie welcome. “Casual” sums up everything in this area of North Queensland, from the local dress code to the laid-back atmosphere. However, when it comes to activities and tours, everything is done professionally with ship-shape efficiently and smiling enthusiasm. Known as the “Gateway to the Barrier Reef” this walkable waterfront city is packed with independent bars, cafés, shops, tour desks, bureaux de change, ice cream parlours and restaurants. They collectively combine to make this eclectic city throb with life and hum with excitement for what lies just offshore – the Great Barrier Reef!.
Cairns has a tropical climate with warm sunny temperatures all year round. Remember that Australia is in the southern hemisphere and the seasons are reversed!
The humid rainy season is from December to April, but that won’t stop you from getting out on tours and enjoying all that this city has to offer!
If you’re staying in Cairns city centre, most attractions are within easily walking distance. Local buses offer regular services to nearby beaches and delightful towns such as Port Douglas and the rainforest village of Kuranda.
Cool comfortable clothes are the order of the day in Cairns. Choose loose styles and natural fabrics. If you plan to explore the rainforest, invest in some insect/mosquito repellent clothing or long trousers and shirts with sleeves. At other times, beach casual and boat practical are the order of the day.
You’ll also need:
Stroll along the waterfront and you’ll see boats geared up for snorkelling, diving, island tours and deep sea fishing charters, which are unsurpassed.
Must-see highlights include:
The Esplanade Lagoon is a huge open air swimming pool which makes up for a lack of beaches in the city centre.
However, there are plenty of gorgeous sandy beaches just a short bus ride away.
Discover the Rainforests
Cairns has a host of cafés and eateries to suit all budgets and tastes. Some of the most established eateries include:
$ Tosca’s – a modern Italian restaurant in Cairns Shopping Centre, famous for its chargrilled pizzas and old world character.
$ Night Market – great food nightly after 5pm on the Esplanade
$$ Prawn Star in Marlin Marina, Cairns. Nothing beats sitting on a boat enjoying fresh seafood at affordable prices.
$$ Blue Moon Grill for casual Australian fare on the waterfront at Trinity Beach. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) and dine beneath the stars in this wonderful setting.
$$$ Fishlips Bar and Bistro in Cairns Yacht Club offers contemporary seafood dishes and homemade ice cream.