Cairns Travel Guide

Welcome to Cairns, Australia, a beautiful city in the heart of Queensland. Cairns is famous for its natural beauty, tropical climate, and vibrant Culture. It is a popular destination for tourists from around the world and is considered to be the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

Attracting millions of visitors annually, Cairns offers many activities and attractions for travellers of all ages. From snorkelling and scuba diving to exploring the rainforest, there is something for everyone in Cairns.

This travel guide will provide all the information you need to plan your trip to Cairns, including the best time to visit, top attractions, and things to do.

When to Visit Cairns

Cairns lagoon

Cairns is a tropical destination with warm weather year-round, but the best time to visit is from May to September. During this time, temperatures are mild, and rainfall is low, making it the perfect time to explore the Great Barrier Reef and go on rainforest walks.

Top Attractions in Cairns

Great Barrier Reef,

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world and a must-see attraction in Cairns. You can explore the reef by snorkelling, scuba diving, or on a glass-bottom boat tour.

Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest tours

The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest in the world and home to diverse flora and fauna. You can take a guided tour or explore the rainforest on your own.

Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail The Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail offer a unique way to explore the rainforest. You can take a scenic train ride to Kuranda and then return to Cairns on the Skyrail gondola.

Cairns Esplanade

The Cairns Esplanade is a beautiful waterfront area perfect for a stroll. Enjoy the ocean views, dip in the lagoon, or enjoy a BBQ with family and friends.

Things to Do in Cairns

Snorkelling and Scuba Diving

Snorkeling Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and there are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving. You can explore the coral reefs and see a variety of marine life.

Rainforest Walks The rainforests surrounding Cairns offer plenty of hiking and exploring opportunities. You can see waterfalls, wildlife, and beautiful scenery.

Hot Air Ballooning

Hot Air Balloon Cairns

Hot air ballooning is a unique way to see the beauty of Cairns from above. You can take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise and enjoy the breathtaking views of the city and surrounding area.

White Water Rafting Cairns is home to some of Australia’s best whitewater rafting. You can take a guided tour down the Tully River and experience the thrill of the rapids.


Cairns, Australia, is a beautiful city with plenty to offer travellers of all ages. Whether you are interested in exploring the Great Barrier Reef, hiking in the rainforest, or enjoying the beautiful waterfront, Cairns has something for everyone. We hope this travel guide has provided you with all the information you need to plan your trip to Cairns.

Essential Information for Visitors visiting Cairns

We provide helpful information for visitors to Cairns, including where to leave your luggage, how to tip using Australian dollars, and where to find the banks and public holidays.

Then, check Cairns weather to learn what to pack.

How to get to Cairns

If you plan a trip to Cairns, Australia, you may wonder how to get there. Cairns is located in the northeastern part of the country, and there are several ways to get to this beautiful tropical destination.

By Air

The easiest way to get to Cairns is by air. The Cairns Airport is located just a few kilometres from the city centre and is serviced by several major airlines. You can fly directly from major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide, as well as international destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

Travel time 

Brisbane to Cairns flights are 2 hours and 14 minutes for the quickest direct route—a total distance of 1700 kilometres, or 1056 miles.

Sydney to Cairns, a flight time of 3 hours and 10  minutes for the quickest direct route. A total of 1962 kilometres, or 1219 miles.

Adelaide to Cairns Flight time is 3  hours and 15 minutes for the quickest direct route—2126 kilometres or 1321 miles.

Melbourne to Cairns flight time is 3  hours and 21 minutes for the quickest direct route—a total distance of 2325 kilometres, or 1445 miles.

By Car

If you prefer a scenic drive, you can travel to Cairns. The city is connected to the rest of Queensland via the Bruce Highway, which runs along the coast. The drive from Brisbane to Cairns takes around 19 hours, but plenty of stops exist to break up the journey.

By Train: If you’re looking for a unique way to travel to Cairns, you can take the train. The Queensland Rail Sunlander train runs between Brisbane and Cairns, stopping at several destinations. This is a great way to see the Queensland countryside and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

By Bus

Several bus companies operate services to Cairns from major cities in Australia. Greyhound Australia is one of the largest and most popular companies, offering comfortable coaches and convenient schedules.

No matter how you travel to Cairns, you’ll be greeted with warm weather, stunning scenery, and vibrant culture. We hope this guide has helped you plan your journey to this tropical paradise.

Cairns Useful information

When you arrive in Cairns at the Cairns Airport, are you unsure how to get to your accommodation? Look at a map of Cairns to get your bearings.

Next, see our page on getting around Cairns.

Then, discover the best things to do in Cairns.

Cairns Night Markets

Frequently Asked Questions

Book A Great Barrier Reef tour