In the far north east of Australia on the shores of the Coral Sea sits the city of Cairns where the outdoor lifestyle rules the days, where connecting with nature is intertwined in the local culture, where vast landscapes of magnificent beauty indulge your senses, and the vibrant town is mixed with art, shopping, and beach communities. While well-known, Cairns lives in the shadow of some Australia's more famous destinations.
Cairns is the main hub for travel into northern Queensland. It has an international airport that connects to all of Australia's major airports and a number of international destinations. Cairns is also served by a rail link that travels along the eastern coast to Brisbane. The city is also served by long distance coaches and the Bruce Highway, which is just over 1000-miles long.
When to Visit
Cairns has a tropical climate, which means that it sees more than its fair share of clothes soaking rain and temperatures that could fry an egg. If the heat makes you wilt, then avoid visiting in January and February where temperatures have been known to stretch into the upper 30s centigrade. Monsoon season, which can bring some pretty serious storms and plenty of soggy shoes is from November to May. The best months to visit are June to October when temperatures are a comfortable, but still toasty enough spend most of your time outside.
Throughout the year Cairns embraces the arts, indigenous culture, and the sea with some amazing festivals. June's The Dreaming festival and July's Didgeridoo Festival focus on Aboriginal heritage with workshops, arts and crafts, and dancing and music performances. The biggest annual event is the Festival Cairns, which takes place over three weeks during August. Activities during this time are an endless stream of music, food, and special events.
Activities and Attractions
Cairns attractions and activities centre around spending endless hours outdoors. Its most famous draws being the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, cooling waterfalls, and of course its miles of sparkling sandy beaches. In addition to touring these fabulous places of outstanding natural beauty water sports will surround you at every angle.
A popular activity is a catamaran trip to Fitzroy Island for a day of hiking, snorkelling, and swimming in the unspoilt waters. Back on the shores of Cairns, you can windsurf, swim, go diving or sea kayaking, fish, go white water rafting, or sailing. If you prefer to stay dry, float through the skies on a hot air balloon, or go horse riding through the forest. If you feel the need to set your heart at a pace only a cheetah could keep up with, skydiving, bungy jumping, and ziplining are waiting to fill you with adrenaline.
In addition to the must see Great Barrier Reef don't miss exploring the 3,000 animal species that live in the Daintree Rainforest. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is one of Australia's best attractions. Enclosed safely in a cable car, you will soar over the trees and Coral Sea for 7.5-miles. Another fantastic way to see the landscapes of Cairns is the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
After Dark - Cairns nightlife
Cairns has a vibrant nightlife with more pubs than you could check out in any one trip. However, there are a few that you shouldn't miss. Built in 1890 The Heritage is Cairns' second oldest building and is a fine example of the elegance and grandness of the time. It has plenty of drink, food, and dancing to keep you going through the night. The Salt House is a great place to sip on a cocktail, soak up the nightime views of Marina, and see local bands play live. The Cock & Bull is arguably Cairn's best loved pub. It is family friendly, serves good value, tasty food, and has an English tavern atmosphere with an Australian twist; the beer garden here is tropical.
Cairn's restaurants serve up plenty of fresh local produce from both the land and the sea. Cairns Flames of the Forest Dining Experience is cultural, beautiful and unique; a magical way to eat dinner that you won't find elsewhere. Trinity Beach has a good choice of seaside restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines. The Ochre Restaurant serves up an enticing mix of local seafood, bush food, and game.