Getting to Cairns: Your Gateway to Far North Queensland

Cairns in Far North Queensland is a major travel destination for visitors exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, and other tropical wonders. Here’s a comprehensive guide to getting to Cairns, whether by air, road, or rail.

By Air

Flying is the most convenient and fastest way to get to Cairns, especially if you come from major cities within Australia or overseas.

Cairns Airport (CNS):

Cairns Airport is the main gateway to the region, located just 7 kilometres (about 4 miles) north of the city centre. The airport serves both domestic and international flights.

Airport Transfers: Once you arrive at Cairns Airport, you have several transportation options to your accommodation or the city centre.

  • Taxis: Taxis are available outside both the domestic and international terminals.
  • Ride-Sharing Services: Uber and other ride-sharing services operate in Cairns.
  • Airport Shuttle Services: Many hotels offer shuttle services or allow you to book a seat on a shared airport shuttle.
  • Car Rentals: Major car rental companies are available at the airport, allowing you to explore Cairns and its surroundings at your own pace.

By Road

Driving to Cairns can be a scenic and adventurous way to experience the beauty of Queensland, especially if you’re travelling from within the state or from nearby regions.

Bruce Highway: The Bruce Highway is the main route connecting Brisbane to Cairns. The drive is approximately 1,700 kilometres (about 1,056 miles) and can take around 20–24 hours, making it ideal for a road trip with several stops.

Driving Tips:

  • Plan your stops to explore attractions such as the Sunshine Coast, Fraser Island, Airlie Beach, and Townsville.
  • Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and carry essential supplies, especially if driving through remote areas.
  • Be aware of local wildlife, especially when driving at dawn or dusk.

By Rail

Travelling to Cairns by train offers a relaxed and scenic journey, allowing you to take in the diverse landscapes of Queensland.

Spirit of Queensland: Queensland Rail runs the Spirit of Queensland, a cutting-edge train service between Brisbane and Cairns. The journey takes approximately 24 hours and offers several classes of travel, including RailBed and Premium Economy.


  • Comfortable seating and sleeping options.
  • On-board dining car serving meals and refreshments.
  • Panoramic views of Queensland’s coastal and inland scenery.

Booking Tickets: Tickets for the Spirit of Queensland can be booked online through Queensland Rail’s website or at major train stations. Booking is recommended, especially during peak travel periods.

By Bus

Long-distance bus services are another option for getting to Cairns, providing a budget-friendly and comfortable travel experience.

Greyhound Australia: Greyhound Australia offers daily services to Cairns from major cities and towns along the east coast of Queensland. The buses have modern amenities, including reclining seats, air conditioning, and on-board restrooms.

Premier Motor Service: Premier Motor Service also operates routes to Cairns, offering an affordable alternative with several stops.

Booking Tickets: Tickets for bus services can be booked online through the respective company’s website or at bus terminals.

Exploring North Queensland

Once you arrive, you’ll enjoy many attractions and activities. From exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest to experiencing the vibrant local culture and cuisine, Cairns offers something for everyone.

Plan your journey to Cairns and embark on an unforgettable adventure in Far North Queensland. 🌴🌊✈️

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