All you need to know about money and related services, including currency exchange, banks and Australian currency: you can also learn how to reward the excellent service you receive with our guide to tipping in Cairns.

Australian Money

Australia uses Australian dollars and cents.  All other currencies will be accepted at banks.  Credit cards are easy to use in Cairns, and there are a vast amount of ATM and Eftpos machines that will work with most overseas accounts.

Australian notes are made out of polymer (plastic), so no worries if they go through the washing machine.  The letters are colourful and easily recognized.

Australian Dollar Notes



The green note features Dame Nellie Melba, a famous Australian operatic soprano, on one side.  The other side of the note featured John Monash, a First World War commander who served as Melbourne University’s vice-chancellor from 1923 to 1931.  The note also features golden wattle.  The note also features five raised bumps along the edge to benefit people with low vision and the blind.


The note is gold and features David Unaipon, an aboriginal man of the Ngarrindjeri people, for his assistance to help to break the Indigenous Australian stereotypes.  On the other side of the $50 features, Edith Cowan, who did terrific work for the rights of women and children and was the first woman to serve as a member of parliament.


The twenty-dollar note is red.  It features Reverend John Flynn, who pioneered the Royal Flying Doctor Service on one side.  On the other side, Mary Reibey arrived in Australia as a convict and later became a successful businesswoman in shipping and trading.


The ten-dollar notes are blue, featuring AB ‘Banjo Paterson on one side, who is famous for his Australian poetry.  On the other side, Dame Mary Gilmore is featured.  Dame Mary Gilmore was a founding member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers as an Author, poet, journalist and campaigner against injustice and deprivation.


The five-dollar note is pink and purple.  On one side of the note, Queen Elizabeth II is featured, and the new parliament house on the other.

Australian Coins

Australian coins generally feature certain people and animals. There are also times when the Royal Australian Mint also at times runs unique coins


The $2 coin is the most valuable of the Australian coins.  The colour of the coin is gold.  On one side of the coin, a drawing of Gwoya Jungarai, an Aboriginal Edler, is featured.  The other side features Queen Elizabeth II.


The one-dollar coin features a mob of kangaroos on one side and the other on Queen Elizabeth II.  The colour of the coin is gold.


The fifty-cent piece has a diameter of 31.65 mm and is one of the largest coins currently circulating in the World.  It is a dodecagonal cupro-nickel coin.  On one side, the Australian Coat of Arms is featured, while Queen Elizabeth II is featured on the other.  The Australian Coat of Arms features a kangaroo and an emu holding up a shield, symbolizing our nation that can only move forwards as neither animal can move backwards easily.


The twenty-cent coin is a round coin featuring Queen Elizabeth II on one side and the platypus on the other.  The platypus is an Australian semiaquatic egg-laying mammal.


The Australian ten-cent coin is a round silver coin composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel.  On one side, it features the lyrebird, and on the other side Queen Elizabeth II.

The lyrebird is an Australian bird.  The male has a superb curved feather tail that he uses in courtship.  The email and young male lyrebirds are long but without the specialized feathers of the adult male.   The lyrebird has an extraordinary ability to mimic artificial sounds from its environment.

The smallest Australian coin currently in the currency, the five-cent coin, is round and silver in colour.  Made of a composition of 75% copper and 25% nickel.  Features the Eccidna on one side and Queen Elizabeth II on the other

Echidna is an Australian peculiar egg-laying mammal that has an appetite for ants.