Answers to your questions in  Cairns FAQs

How much do you know about Cairns?  let’s begin with the basics, including essential information, frequently asked questions and facts about Australia’s 15th-largest city.

Cairns FAQs


What country is Cairns in?

Cairns is a city located in the state of Queensland, Australia.

Where is Cairns located in Queensland?

A coastal city located in the far north of Queensland, Australia. It is located about 1,700 km (1,056 miles) north of Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland.  Cairns is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. Cairns is surrounded by tropical forests, rugged mountain ranges, and pristine beaches, making it a popular tourist destination for outdoor activities and adventure sports.

What is Cairns famous for?

Cairns is a city located in the far north of Queensland, Australia, and is famous for several reasons, including:

  1. The Great Barrier Reef: Cairns is a popular starting point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most important natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can go snorkelling or scuba diving to see the Reef’s vibrant coral and diverse marine life.
  2. The Wet Tropics Rainforest: The Wet Tropics Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that extends from Cairns to Cooktown, covering an area of over 900,000 hectares. Visitors can explore this unique and biodiverse ecosystem on guided walks and hikes.
  3. Adventure Sports. Cairns is a popular destination for adventure sports, such as skydiving, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and hot-air ballooning. The city’s tropical climate and stunning scenery make it an ideal place to try something new and exciting.
  4. Cultural Heritage Cairns has a rich cultural heritage, combining indigenous and colonial influences. Visitors can explore the city’s history and cultural heritage by visiting museums,  art galleries, and cultural centres or participating in cultural events and festivals.

These are just a few of the many things that Cairns is famous for. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the region’s natural beauty, or participate in outdoor adventures, Cairns has something to offer everyone.


What to do in Cairns

Cairns is a tropical city located in the far north of Queensland, Australia, and is a popular destination for tourists due to its stunning natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities. Here are some suggestions for things to do in Cairns:

Visit the Great Barrier Reef.   


Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most famous natural wonders. Take a boat trip to the reef and snorkel or dive among the colourful coral and abundant marine life.

Explore the Daintree Rainforest. 

The Daintree Rainforest is the world’s oldest rainforest and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a guided tour to learn about the forest’s unique ecology and see some rare species that call it home.

Visit Kuranda. 

Kuranda is a charming mountain village in the rainforest, accessible by either road or the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Stroll through the village, visit the Kuranda Heritage Markets, and enjoy scenic views.

Go Whitewater Rafting.

The Tully River is one of Australia’s best whitewater rafting destinations south of Cairns. Take a guided tour and experience the thrill of navigating the rapids.

Take a hot air balloon ride.

Get a bird’s eye view of the stunning landscapes surrounding Cairns by taking a fantastic sunset hot air balloon ride.

Visit the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

The Cairns Botanic Gardens are home to a diverse collection of tropical plants and are a peaceful place to relax and take in the beauty of the surrounding rainforest.

Try your luck at the casino.

The Reef Hotel Casino offers a range of games, including poker, blackjack, and roulette, as well as live entertainment and dining options.

These are just a few of the many things to do in Cairns. You will surely find something to suit you in this vibrant and beautiful city regardless of your interests.


When to visit Cairns 

The best time to visit Cairns depends on your personal preferences and the activities you plan.

  1. Summer (December to February):                                                                                         This is the peak tourist season in Cairns, and the weather is warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from 25-30°C. It’s the perfect time to explore the Great Barrier Reef; the water is warm and clear.
  2. Autumn (March to May):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Autumn is a shoulder season in Cairns, with temperatures slightly cooler than summer, ranging from 20-25°C. If you prefer milder weather and smaller crowds, this is a great time to visit the city.
  3. Winter (June to August):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Winter is the dry season in Cairns, and temperatures are cool and pleasant, with an average temperature of around 20°C. This is a good time to visit if you want to avoid crowds and prefer mild weather for exploring the city and surrounding areas.
  4. Spring (September to November):                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Spring is another shoulder season in Cairns, and temperatures start to warm up, with an average temperature of around 25°C. This is a good time to visit if you prefer mild weather and smaller crowds.

Regardless of the time of year you visit, there is always something to do in Cairns. So, plan your trip and enjoy exploring this beautiful city and its surroundings.


Is Cairns Safe?

Cairns is generally considered a safe city for tourists and locals alike. However, as with any destination, it’s important to take precautions to stay safe while travelling.

Here are some tips to help you stay safe in Cairns:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings: As you would in any city, stay aware of your surroundings, especially when walking alone or at night.
  2. Be careful when swimming. The waters off the coast of Cairns can be dangerous, especially for those unfamiliar with the area. Always swim between the flags at patrolled beaches and remember any warning signs.
  3. Take care of your personal belongings: Keep your valuables secure, especially when in crowded areas or while using public transportation.
  4. Drive carefully: If you plan on driving while in Cairns, be aware of the local road rules and take care when driving, especially in rural areas.
  5. Follow local advice: If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to ask the locals or contact the local authorities.

Overall, Cairns is a safe city; with a little common sense and caution, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit.

How big Is Cairns?

Cairns is a relatively small city in North Queensland, Australia. As of 2021, the estimated population of Cairns is around 157,000 people, making it one of the smaller cities in Australia.

In terms of land area, Cairns covers approximately 1,767 square kilometres (681 square miles), stretching from the coast to the mountains. Despite its small size, Cairns has much to offer visitors, including stunning natural beauty, a rich cultural heritage, and a vibrant tourism industry. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, you can find it in Cairns.

What is the city of Cairns?

Cairns is a city located in the far north of Queensland, Australia. It is a popular tourist destination for its stunning natural beauty, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, and the nearby Atherton Tablelands.

Cairns was founded in the late 19th century and had a rich cultural heritage mixed with indigenous, colonial, and modern influences. The city is a hub for tourism in the region, with a thriving industry that caters to visitors from around the world.

In addition to its natural attractions, Cairns offers a range of cultural, dining, and shopping experiences and a vibrant nightlife. The city has a warm, tropical climate, with temperatures ranging from 20-30°C throughout the year.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or a culture buff, there is something for everyone in Cairns. So, Cairns is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a destination that offers a mix of natural beauty, history, and modern conveniences.

What time zone is Cairns?

Cairns is in the Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) time zone. AEST is 10 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+10).

It’s important to note that Cairns does observe Daylight Saving Time, so the time difference may be different during certain periods of the year. During Daylight Saving Time, which typically takes place from the first Sunday in October to the first Sunday in April, Cairns is 9 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+9).

It’s always a good idea to check the current time in Cairns before you travel, especially if you’re making international calls or have time-sensitive appointments.

I only have one day in Cairns. What should I do?

If you only have one day in Cairns, here are some activities you can do to make the most of your time:

  1. Visit the Esplanade. Stroll along the Esplanade, a popular park and beach area in the heart of Cairns. Swimming in the lagoon-style pool, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying a meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants.
  2. Explore the Cairns Botanic Gardens. Spend some time at the Cairns Botanic Gardens, where you can admire the beauty of the tropical plants and trees and learn about the local flora and fauna.
  3. Take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. One of the biggest draws of Cairns is the Great Barrier Reef, which is only a short boat ride away. If you have time, book a day trip to the reef and spend some time snorkelling or diving among the colourful coral and marine life.
  4. Visit the Cairns Museum. If you’re interested in local history, visit the Cairns Museum to learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage and the area’s indigenous cultures.
  5. Enjoy a meal. Cairns has a thriving dining scene, so try some local cuisine, including fresh seafood and tropical fruits.

These are just a few suggestions for how to make the most of your one day in Cairns. Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to have a great time in this beautiful city.

Where can I get a map of Cairns?

You can obtain a map of Cairns in several ways:

  1. Tourist information centres.  Many tourist information centres in Cairns offer free city maps, including details on local attractions, transportation, and accommodations. These centres are typically located at the airport, city centre, or popular tourist spots.
  2. Online. Many websites offer maps of Cairns that you can view online or print out. Some popular options include Google Maps, OpenStreetMap, and MapQuest.
  3. Local stores. Some local stores and newsagents in Cairns carry city maps, including convenience stores, bookstores, and gift shops.
  4. Hotels. If you’re staying in a hotel, the front desk staff may be able to provide you with a map of the city or at least point you in the right direction for obtaining one.

Wherever you decide to get your map, it’s a good idea to have a physical or digital map of Cairns with you as you explore the city. This will help you get around, find your way to local attractions, and maximise your time in this beautiful destination.

Im travelling to Cairns with the kids. What should we do?

Cairns is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities to keep kids of all ages entertained and engaged. Here are some suggestions for things to do with kids in Cairns:

  1. Visit the Cairns Aquarium.  This world-class aquarium offers a chance to learn about the incredible marine life of the Great Barrier Reef, including colourful fish, sea turtles, and other tropical species.
  2. Take a scenic train ride: The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a must-do activity for families.  Capture stunning views of the rainforest, waterfalls, and coasts.
  3. Explore the Botanic Gardens: Take a stroll through the Cairns Botanic Gardens.  Here you can admire the beauty of the tropical plants and trees.  Then spot some of the local wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and lizards.
  4. Visit a wildlife park. Take the kids to one of the many wildlife parks in the area. Here they can see kangaroos, koalas, and other Australian animals up close.
  5. Go snorkelling or swimming.  Cairns is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coves, perfect for snorkelling, swimming, and playing in the water.
  6. Visit the Cairns Esplanade. The Esplanade is a popular park and beach area, perfect for picnics, playgrounds, and swimming in the lagoon-style pool.

These are just a few suggestions for things to do with kids in Cairns. With so much to see and do, your family will surely have an unforgettable time in this beautiful destination.


Next, Visit Cairns Attractions