No trip to Cairns would be complete without a day spent exploring the Great Barrier Reef. One of the largest and most experienced reef cruise operators is Quicksilver, which operates daily cruises to the outer reef and islands from Cairns and Port Douglas. The company has over 50 Great Barrier Reef dive sites and eleven major vessels in its fleet.
Discover the aboriginal cultural park, showcasing the culture and beliefs of the rainforest people of Tropical North Queensland through theatres, stage shows, boomerang/spear throwing and bush medicine. This well-organised event is truly entertaining and educational and should not be missed.
There are three rivers in Cairns suitable for rafting, each with its own degree of difficulty. It is a great experience and also team building to face the impressive rapids together. RnR White Water Rafting is a white water rafting specialist in Australia and they offer a wide range of different tours.
Tropical and magical Green Island is a unique part of the Great Barrier Reef, making it a perfect spot for a half-day or full day tour. There are plenty of options to snorkel, parasail, dive and swim in the clear ocean waters. Or why not explore the Green Island National Park that is also set here? Or just simply relax on the white sandy beach. Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises will take you to this small, beautiful island:
Jungle Surfing is located on a private reserve 2,5 hours drive north of Cairns. The property borders the Daintree Cape Tribulation National Park and offers stunning rainforest as well as views over the Great Barrier Reef. Jungle Surfing is an exciting and adventurous way to experience the spectacular Daintree Rainforest and being up there in the canopy gives you unparalleled access to the heart of the rainforest.
Amazing Mossman Gorge lies 80 kilometers north of Cairns. It is a river with magic blue green waters surrounded by enchanting rainforest. The water is refreshingly cool and it is a peaceful place to go swimming - beware of the rapids though. This area is part of the traditional homeland of the indigenous tribe of Kuku Yulanji. Mossman Gorge Centre:
Meet the animals and learn about the fragile ecology of the rainforest right in the heart of Cairns. This spectacular wildlife exhibit is enclosed by a 20-meter-high glass dome on top of the Reef Hotel Casino. Be surrounded by birds such as parrots, cockatoos, lorikeets, doves and rosellas and see for yourself how cute the rainforest wallabies are.
Learn about Aboriginal plant use and wonder at the flora and fauna at this tropical oasis of 38 hectares of native Autralian gardens. The Cairns Botanic Gardens area is divided into four distinct areas: Flecker Gardens, Centenary Lakes, Mt. Whitfield Conservation Park and Tanks Art Centre.
Experience the splendour of this World Heritage listed rainforest, this is the oldest tropical rainforest and a home to diverse and unique animals, plants and fungi. At around 1.200 km² the Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent. A beautiful place where to listen to birds and swim at calm beaches and where to enjoy the wonder of the nature while finding an inner peace.
Board the famous Kuranda Scenic Rail for a breath-taking journey on one of the world’s most scenic operational rail journeys to the charming town of Kurunda and a return journey by cable car across the canopy of the rainforest. With the cable car, you will get an amazing birds-eye views so make sure not to forget your camera.
Housed in a landmark heritage building, Cairns Regional Gallery is the region´s leading gallery, featuring historical and contemporary art made by national and international artists. There is also a permanent collection, showcasing unique history and living cultures of Far North Queensland.
The oldest golf course in Cairns, the Golf Club offers a lovely course and located only five minutes from the city centre. The 18-hole course is set in tropical surroundings with lovely views and a rich bird life to enjoy while playing. There is also a driving range onsite.
This is a great place to go whether it is for lunch, dinner or just a drink. The atmosphere is laid back and there’s always a friendly crowd. The portions are big and the food is tasty the perfect Aussie pub experience. From the menu you can choose everything from pizza to burgers, steak, chicken and fresh seafood.
The location is perfect, overlooking the beautiful water. They have a wide range of local as well as international beers and offer a great mix of food such as wood fired pizzas, steaks, burgers, pasta and seafood. You can also choose a glass of wine from the extensive wine list to accompanied with your food.
Talk about a fantastic setting. Have sit on the veranda that is enveloped by palm trees and offers an amazing ocean view. The restaurant is located on the beachfront of beautiful Trinity Beach (20 km north of Cairns) and is a great place where to enjoy upscale Italian fare. Try the char grilled vegetables with goat cheese or spaghetti with seafood.
There are many reasons to have dinner here, the first and foremost is that this is where the locals go - and they should know. Boasting two kitchens (where they make traditional pub fare), a tropical garden, pool tables, multiple big screen televisions and ever smiling staff, Cock & Bull has reason to be proud of themselves.
Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant is a part of the Bay Village Tropical Retreat & Apartments and an excellent place to come for brunch, lunch or dinner. They serve authentic flavours of the Balinese cuisine such as assorted seafood braised in yellow coconut milk and balinese lamb stew with cardamon and coriander.
Bushfire Flame Grill invites you to a real Australian BBQ, the beef comes from the Australia’s outback throughout Queensland and Northern Territory. The staff circles around the restaurant and carves the sizzzling hot roasted meats directly to your plate. If you think that you have tasted good Aussie BBQ before, you better think again.
Thai Coins comes well recommended for any Thai food lover. They have many vegetarian dishes but can also prepare vegan or gluten free dishes upon request. From the menu you can pick all the traditional Thai dishes such as Pad Thai, Pad khing, Tom yum soup, Gang ped (red curry) and it is all made with fresh ingredients.
If you are one of those who can eat a pie any time of the day, then this is the place you should go to. You will find all types of pies at Meldrum's including gluten free options and it is all served by the friendly and helpful staff. Can get quite busy, but worth a visit.
Green Ant Cantina is a popular eating spot among the locals here in Cairns and where you can dine South American, Caribbean and Baja Californian inspired cuisines. Choose between mouth-watering dishes like jambalaya, quesadillas, nachos and chicken salad and end your evening by having a mojito or sangria by the bar while listing to music.
Sample the fruits of the rainforest and get your energy levels soaring for the day ahead or take a fresh salad from the varied menu. If you are thirsty, check out the freshly squeezed juices or the ice cold smoothies. Tiny’s Juice Bar is a quick and yummy way to stay healthy.
A café/restaurant that is lively and stylish, boasting a mix of fresh local produce and upscale edibles. The coffee is superb and try and leave room for one of its divine desserts. Located only metres away from the CBD and the Esplanade lagoon, with an outdoor seating area that lets you sit down and take a break while watching other people go by their busy days.
A favourite among the locals, The Lillypad Cafe is excellent for lunch, you get a huge feed for super cheap, and always delicious! It is extra recommended if you’re looking for organic, vegetarian and healthy food. On the menu you will find classics such as eggs Benedict and French crepes including some sweet bakery treats.
This espresso bar is truly a must stop for the coffee connoisseur, Industry One Coffee is not only offering quality and super fresh roasted coffee but the staff has also a genuine passion for what they are doing, which is so obviously shown. Beside serving amazing coffee they also have some sweet treats like cupcakes, muffins and cakes as well as food.
If you need your daily fix of coffee, then head over to Cruze Coffee where the skilled barista will customize the perfect cup of coffee according to your taste - you even get to choose which beans you want the coffee made with! Quality, freshness and friendly service are some of the key elements at this popular coffee shop.
Famous for their bacon and egg roll as well as for the excellent coffee, Re:hab has become a popular haunt among the locals. A great place for coffee addicts including for those who are craving for sweets as they serve some lovely delicious cakes and it is all served in a laid-back vibe.
Combined retail store and a unique health food café, Paleo Café is all about choosing a healthy lifestyle. Fresh juices, smoothies, coconut ice-cream and high quality breakfast and lunch meals are all prepared without any dairy, grains, sugar and preservatives. A fast growing network with several locations across Australia and for sure deserves a visit.
Passionate about their coffee, the team at Blackbird Espresso for sure knows how to consistently make silky quality coffee and how to give great customer service. Due to the popularity among the locals and tourist alike they have open another store at 205 Newell Street, Bungalow.
Located in the heart of Cairns, Annee's Caphe is a cute and quirky Vietnamese Coffee shop where they use Vietnamese brewing process to create a smooth and personalized cup if iced coffee. The owner Annee, is a lady who believes in giving a personable and memorable service to every guests.
This is a renowned party venue, maybe the biggest one in Cairns and it is located at Gilligan's Backpackers Hotel and Resort. Popular among locals and backpackers alike. The back deck by the pool shows off some of Cairns most popular live bands including local and international DJ’s.
The Pier Bar is a great place to down a few beers while watching the sunset from the deck. Simply awesome! Be prepared though, because as the night passes, the crowd grows, and you better be ready for a night of chatting with some friendly locals while listing to live music. Every Thursday is the salsa night with free Salsa lesson and performances from Sabor Dance Company.
The Woolshed is a famous late night watering hole, popular with the backpacking crowd. Riotous fun that usually ends up with quite a few people dancing on top of the tables and it is open every night with different themes. On the street level is the restaurant while the nigtclub is upstairs.
Great atmosphere, live music and excellent drinks. P.J. O’Briens is an Irish pub full of tourists, locals and backpackers, all of which are having a good time, enjoying the fun atmosphere. Live party bands on the weekends, lady’s nights on Tuesdays, wild west on Wednesdays - the fun never ends.
Salt House is a cool, chilled, funky bar with an amazing scenery of the marina in Cairns. Enjoy a drink at the outdoor cocktail bar among the tranquil ponds and fire features and if the hunger kicks in just head over to the large restaurant area. Four days a week they are hosting live music, both local and visiting bands are entertaining the guests.
After a fun filled day, Cock & Bull welcomes you to have a nice meal, shoot some pool and enjoy a couple of cold ones. This English tavern is popular among the locals and welcomes you with a relaxed country feeling. Check out the tropical beer garden, a great place to mingle with friends.
This five-star hotel is not only a fine casino with several bars and restaurants but it is also a great entertainment destination that offers live music, shows and much more. The casino provides a wide variety of table games for example blackjack, roulette, Texas hold’em poker, Money Wheel including over 500 gaming machines. Enjoy a fun evening out at this huge entertainment complex!
With Ultimate Party Tours, you get the chance to explore Cairns nighlife and party with other happy tourist including the locals. The team has hand-picked the best nighclubs in Cairns to create that perfect night out. The tour includes dinner and drinks at affordable price and runs at least every Wednesday and Saturday night. Check for more information on the website below.
Dance the night away at Lyquid Nightlife, one of Cairns hottest party destinations with premium bottle service and dj´s who are spinning the latest in music. This stylish and sophisticated club is the place to see and be seen, it has it all, the design, state of the art sound system, hi-tech lighting and friendly staff, what more can you ask for?
For that air-conditioned shopping mall experience, head to Cairns Central which has 180 speciality shops and department stores. The centre has served the locals region since 1997 and besides offering fashion store for men women and kids, they have restaurants and a supermarket too. Myer, Target, Coles are also located here.
A unique shopping destination in Cairns where to find just about everything you need, everything from local and international fashion labels to footwear, swimwear, jewellery and other specialty shops with the perfect gifts. Pay a visit to the art gallery that boast art made by local artists or buy some fresh groceries at the supermarket. When the hunger kicks in there are plenty of cafés and restaurant to choose from.
One of the most popular tourist attraction in Far North Queenslands, the night market in Cairns is the perfect place to head for when looking for handmade local gifts and souvenirs. Find a bargain at any of the 130 stalls that are selling everything from opals to pearls, silver, clothing, t-shirts and crafts or just grab a bite to eat at the food court while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the market.
One of the most famous and successful markets in Australia, so be sure to save some money for Rusty’s Market that is held at Gilligan’s Backpackers Hostel every weekend. At this vibrant and colourful market (with 180 stalls) you can pick up some of the region’s finest food, exotic fruit, vegetables, flowers and sumptuous delicatessens. Beside food, there are stalls selling bric-a-brac including clothing and jewellery... and much more!
Located just outside the city centre, DFO Cairns is a popular shopping centre among the fashionistas who are looking for that perfect outfit without the big price tag. This outlet boasts over 100 Australian and international brands who offers discounted top quality clothing, accessories and homeware. Top brands such as Ralph Lauren, Guess, Oroton and Quicksilver are all located here.
For the ultimate high-end luxury shopping, head over to DFS Galleria, located in the heart of Cairns CBD. The boutiques are spread across two floors and offers duty free shopping for international guests. Here you will find leading brands in fashion including watches, fragrance, sunglasses, leather goods and accessories by Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Michael Kors and Cartier.
Hosting a stunning collection of local Aboriginal Rainforest Art including artwork from Central Australian Aboriginal artists in a beautiful environment. The knowledgeable staff will help you to pick that authentic art or artefacts to bring back home, making it as a perfect gift or souvenir.
Situated in the heart of the Northern Beaches of Cairns, just 15 km north of Cairns International Airport, Smithfield Centre provides an extensive range of shops for men and women including footwear and major stores like Coles, Woolworths, Dan Murphy's and Kmart. When feeling hungry, there are cafés and restaurant including a food court here. With over 110 retailers, you will definitely find what you are looking for.
Held every Sunday on the waterfront at Anzac Park, Port Douglas Markets is not only a must-do due to their amazing products, but also because of its beautiful backdrop over the Coral Sea and the breath-taking mountain ranges. Browse through the 100 stalls selling local produced foods, arts, crafts, jewellery, handmade furniture and toys while enjoying the view. The perfect place to spend a Sunday morning!
With an ideal location in the heart of Carins CBD, Orchid Plaza is a great shopping destination with two levels of food and fashion. Have a cup of coffee or buy the perfect outfit at this light and airy centre, also a great place to find a wide range of gifts and souvenirs to bring back home.
Cairns International Airport is located 7 km from Cairns CBD. Free taxi telephones are located in the arrival halls or just head over to the taxi ranks that are immediately outside the terminal. Pre-book or just turn up, the taxis and shuttles are always available. Cairns Taxis: +61 131 008, [email protected], www.cairnstaxis.com.au Sun Palm Transport Group operates an airport shuttle bus service to hotels and the city centre including Palm Cove and Port Douglas. The pickup point is close to the arrival area of both terminals. Just head over to the shuttle bus counter and you will get help. No pre-booking is required. For more information, call or visit the website +61 7 4099 1191, www.sunpalmtransport.com.au Airport Connect is a bus service provided by Sun Palm Transport that links Cairns Airport with the Translink public transport network at north and southbound Sheridan Street bus stops. You can pre-book in advance on the Sun Palm Transport website or by phone on +61 7 4099 1191. Tickets can also be bought on arrival at the Sun Palm Transport counter in both terminals. Either way, you should head over to their counter where the staff will direct you to the bus. The bus will take you to the southbound side of Sheridan Street bus stop where you then can carry on your journey to your destination via the Translink public transport network. www.sunpalmtransport.com.au, [email protected], Airport Connect: [email protected] www.translink.com.au/cairns
Sunbus is the public transport that operates throughout the city, running from northern beaches to the southern suburbs via the CBD. Daily, weekly and monthly passes are available as a series of zonal tickets, allowing unlimited travel in defined areas. There are also private bus lines that operates in the areas like Port Douglas, Mossman, Kuranda, the Atherton Tablelands and Mission Beach. You can either buy a go Card or just paper tickets. Go card can be bought online, 7-Eleven store and selected retailers including busway stations. The paper tickets can be purchased on-board on the bus, from a ticket office at train stations and from fare machines.