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

Australian Money

Australia uses Australian dollars and cents.  All other currency will be accepted at banks.  Credit cards are easy to use in Cairns, and there are a vast amount of ATM and Eftpos machines which 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 notes are colourful and easily recognised.

Australian Dollar Notes



The note is green and features Dame Nellie Melba a famous Australian operatic soprano on one side.  The other side of the note features John Monash, who was a commander in the First World War and also served as vice-chancellor of Melbourne University from 1923 to 1931.  The note also features golden wattle. The note also features five raised bumps along the edge as a benefit for people who have 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 break the Indigenous Australian stereotypes.  On the other side of the $50 features, Edith Cowan, who did amazing work for the rights of woman and children and was the first woman to serve as a member of parliament.


The twenty-dollar note is red. It features on one side Reverend John Flynn, who pioneered the Royal Flying Doctor Service.  On the other side Mary Reibey who 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.  One 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 where the Royal Australian Mint also at times runs special coins


The $2 coin is the most valuable of the Australian coins. The colour of the coin is gold. One 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 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 largest coins currently circulating in the World.  It is a dodecagonal cupro-nickel coin.  One one side the Australian Coat of Arms is featured while on the other side Queen Elizabeth II is featured.  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 on the other side the platypus.  The platypus is an Australian is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal.


The Australian ten-cent coin is a round silver coin with a composition 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 specialised feathers of the adult male.   The lyrebird has an extraordinary ability to mimic artificial sounds from their 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. Featuring the Eccidna on one side and Queen Elizabeth II on the other

Echidna, Australian peculiar egg-laying mammals that have an appetite for ants.