Experts in Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific

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Cairns Lagoon Image credit: Tourism Queensland

Cairns Holidays

Cairns is the bustling hub of Tropical North Queensland. With the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest on your doorstep, holidays to Cairns place you right at the heart of the action.

With its laid-back atmosphere, a Cairns holiday certainly calls for flip flops (or thongs as Aussies call them). Laze on the soft sand of Cairns Esplanade Lagoon or take a leisurely stroll along Cairns’ waterfront boardwalk. While it may not have a beach – the foreshore is made up of mudflats and mangroves – there are several northern beach suburbs just a short drive away, including Trinity Beach and the popular Palm Cove.

For the evenings, you’re only ever a short stroll away from a variety of bars and restaurants. The marina also has an impressive selection of fine dining options with sensational views across the harbour.

Cairns is also the ideal gateway to explore the sprawling wilderness of Queensland’s Wet Tropics. Venture into the Daintree Rainforest, enjoy a scenic railway trip up to Kuranda or take a mini road trip up the coast to the resort town of Port Douglas, before continuing on to Cape Tribulation - where the rainforest meets the reef.

If you're planning on doing a hot air balloon ride, it's a very early start but well worth the effort. You get picked up from your accommodation and driven out into the Cairns Hinterland before the sun rises. Watch your balloon being inflated before floating gently over the Queensland outback. Remember to look out below for wild kangaroos.
Dave, Travel Designer

Must-see places

What to do in Cairns

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Places to stay in Cairns

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Other places to go in Queensland

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Traveller's guide

  • Travellers Guide: 

    Useful information

    Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)

    Language: English

    Time difference: GMT+10

    Flying time: approx. 24 hours + 1 stop

    Airport: Cairns Airport (code: CNS)

    Departure tax: departure tax is included in the cost of your airline ticket

    Visa: all visitors to Australia (except New Zealand citizens) require an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) or eVisitor visa that enables you to stay in the country for three months. This can be organised by your Travel Designer at the time of booking.

    Best time to visit Cairns

    With its tropical climate, Cairns is warm year round. However, the weather is characterised by two distinct seasons – the wet and dry season.

    High season: summer (Dec to Feb)

    • Temperatures range from 23-31°C.
    • Hot and humid, this is the start of the wet season which lasts throughout the summer months.

    Shoulder season: autumn and spring (Mar to May and Sep to Nov)

    • Autumn temperatures range from 21-29°C
    • Spring temperatures range from 20-29°C.

    Low season: winter (Jun to Aug)

    • Temperatures range from 17-26°C.
    • The cooler temperatures and lower humidity of dry season makes it one of the most popular times to visit Cairns.
  • Travellers Guide: 

    Getting there

    Cairns has an international airport which most major airlines fly into and has plenty of regular domestic flights too. The airport itself is only a short 15-minute drive into the city centre.

    Also be sure to check out our stopover destinations to add on to your holiday to Cairns.

    Approximate flying times:

    • Brisbane to Cairns = 2 hours 20 minutes
    • Sydney to Cairns = 3 hours
    • Melbourne to Cairns = 3 hours 30 minutes
    • Perth to Cairns = 5 hours 20 minutes

    Getting around

    Cairns is a compact city so getting around isn’t a problem. Most tour companies out the the reef are concentrated around the waterfront, as are most of the hotels. Otherwise there are buses and taxis in abundance, or why not take advantage of the sunny weather and hire a bike. However, to explore the regions other must-see sights, it’s best to hire a car.

    Approximate driving times:

    • Cairns to Port Douglas = 1 hour
    • Cairns to Palm Cove = 30 minutes
    • Cairns to Cape Tribulation = 3 hours
    • Cairns to Cooktown = 4 hours 30 minutes