About Cairns

Gateway to the iconic Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest, Cairns is the crown jewel of Queensland and is one of the go-to holiday destinations for Australians. Mountains, beaches, tidal wetlands, lakes, mangroves, estuaries and coastal plains are all part of Cairns’ unique topography.
 
Cairns was once a lush rainforest primarily inhabited by the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people. Gimuy was, and still is, the Aboriginal name for the city. Delve deep into the city and its roots and you will still find them inhabiting areas around Cairns and Yarrabah. From a sleepy little town, Cairns has evolved into a tropical playground with an infectious holiday energy. 

With access to the most exclusive Great Barrier Reef sites, Cairns cruises are your ticket to the most incredible sightseeing, snorkelling and diving experiences. On these popular cruises, you can enjoy close-up encounters with the abundant marine life and coral gardens that earned the ‘best vacation spot’ status of this region. Also, don’t miss the Cairns boat trips to the exciting Green Island and Fitzroy Island, two stunning islands famous for its stunning beaches and unique snorkelling opportunities.
 
Ride on a 7.5km-long Skyrail Rainforest Cableway running above the Barron Gorge National Park, journey into the Kuranda Village in the Wet Tropics on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, sunbathe at the man-made Esplanade Lagoon or join a cruise from Cairns for a thrilling snorkel session. Spend days, or even months exploring this tropical oasis!

Featured Cruises

18 Cruises

4hr Afternoon Big Cat Green Island & Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Reef Rocket cruise to Green Island. Enjoy pristine white beaches & guided a rainforest boardwalk. Free glass-bottom boat tour to discover coral gardens.

Duration 4hr

From $110

8Hr Reef Magic Outer Barrier Reef Cruise

Cruise to an exclusive activity pontoon on Moore Reef! Enjoy snorkelling, semi-submersible, glass-bottom boat tours, lunch, beverages and more.

Duration 8hr

From $299

4Hr Morning Big Cat Green Island Cruise & Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Reef Rocket cruise to Green Island. Enjoy pristine white beaches & guided a rainforest boardwalk. Free glass-bottom boat tour to discover coral gardens.

Duration 4hr

From $110

8.5Hr Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel Cruise

Only cruise in Cairns where you can listen to indigenous dreamtime stories, enjoy dances, use clap sticks & fire poles and snorkel at 2 reef sites.

Duration 8hr

From $279

Full Day Ocean Free Great Barrier Reef & Green Island Tour

Get the best of both worlds with the only operator with reef mooring at Pinnacle Reef - spend time snorkelling and/or enjoy Green Island exploration.

Duration 9hr

From $255

8Hr Sunlover Moore Reef Cruise

Explore the world-heritage Great Barrier Reef with friends or family on a fun floating pontoon. Snorkelling, water slides, touch-tank demos & more.

Duration 9hr

From $265

8Hr Sunlover Fitzroy Island Tour

Spend the day at Fitzroy Island with rainforest-clad mountains & rocky headlands. Snorkel straight off Nudey Beach - voted the best in Australia.

Duration 8hr

From $129

4Hr Fitzroy Island Adventure Tour

Low on time? Here’s the ideal Fitzroy Island tour! Enjoy snorkelling off Nudey Beach, voted Australia’s best beach, a glass-bottom reef tour & lunch.

Duration 4hr

From $120

8Hr Fitzroy Island Adventure Tour

Experience the best of Reef & Rainforest as you explore Fitzroy Island and the famous Nudey Beach. Lunch, hiking, sunbathing, snorkelling and more.

Duration 8hr

From $240

8Hr Big Cat Green Island Cruise with Glass Bottom Boat Tour

Cruise on the luxury ‘Big Cat’ to the scenic Green Island coral cay. Island exploration, rainforest trails, and a free glass-bottom boat tour awaits.

Duration 8hr

From $150

4Hr Barron River Late Eco Rafting

Tackle grade 2 & 3 whitewater rapids of Barron River, rafting your way through World Heritage listed rainforests and over the drop at Rooster Tail.

Duration 4hr

From $169

9Hr Russell River Pack Rafting Adventure

All new adventure tour on the Russell River. Hike with your ‘packraft’ through rainforests & creeks, before you tackle spectacular grade 3-4 rapids.

Duration 9hr

From $175

35Min Bad Fishy Jet Boat Ride

Buckle up for ‘extreme fun’ on the Bad Fishy as you ride, spin & slide at incredible speed down the Cairns Trinity Inlet – award-winning adventure.

From $79

75Min Cairns Inlet Sightseeing Safari

Cruise down the mangrove and mountain-lined Trinity Inlet, home to saltwater crocodiles. Small-group tour - maximum 18 guests. Free drink included.

Duration 1hr

From $55

1.5Hr Cairns Sunset Sightseeing Tour

Short sunset cruise on a pontoon-style boat to enjoy the best sights and sounds of tropical Cairns and the Trinity Inlet. Free drink & snack incl.

Duration 1hr

From $65

3.5Hr Barron Gorge National Park Rafting Tour

Perfect for first-time rafters, you can navigate a combination of calm water & whitewater rapids flowing through the lush rainforests of Barron Gorge.

Duration 3hr

From $165

Ocean Safari Morning Great Barrier Reef Adventure

See two World Heritage areas alongside each other - the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest! Explore the Mackay Reef with a small group.

Duration 4hr

From $174 $184

Ocean Safari Afternoon Great Barrier Reef Adventure

See two World Heritage areas alongside each other - the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest! Explore the Mackay Reef with a small group.

Duration 4hr

From $184

See All Cruises

Know Before You Go

Best Time To Visit

One of the major highlights of Cairns is its weather, and there are many advantages to visiting any time of the year. The weather in Cairns is unlike Australia’s southern regions, here there are two seasons: a summer and a dry season.

During the dry season, you can enjoy favourable weather and even witness migrating whales, but it's important to be prepared for larger crowds. In contrast, the summer season brings tropical weather with occasional summer showers.

Public Holidays

Sunday, 1 January: New Year's Day
Monday, 2 January: Additional public holiday for New Year's Day
Thursday, 26 January: Australia Day
Friday, 7 April: Good Friday
Saturday, 8 April: Day following Good Friday
Sunday, 9 April: Easter Sunday
Monday, 10 April: Easter Monday
Tuesday, 25 April: Anzac Day
Monday, 25 December: Christmas Day
Tuesday, 26 December: Boxing Day

Events & Festivals

Crankworx Cairns (May)
Crankworx is a mountain biking festival showcasing top elite races, amateur and CWNEXT next generation events, as well as engaging Kidsworx activities. The festival also features a lively expo and a vibrant atmosphere, bringing together mountain biking enthusiasts and action sports fans to revel in the best of Australian hospitality.


Cairns Children's Festival (May)
Exclusive for children under the age of 12, the Cairns Children’s Festival shines the spotlight on the creativity of the younger ones, with a safe and engaging environment for families to explore. The festival invites local creatives to design installations and activities as well as plenty of opportunities for children to be part of the festival.

Cairns Show (July)
The annual Cairns show is the one that unites the city to the state – except family entertainment, competition entries, educational displays, awesome food stalls, thrilling rides, animals of all sizes, local business exhibits and more.

School Holidays

TERM 1 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2023
Queensland: 1 April to 16 April

TERM 2 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2023
Queensland: 24 June to 9 July

TERM 3 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2023
Queensland: 16 September to 2 October

TERM 4 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2023 - 2024
Queensland: 9 December 2023 to 21 January 2024

Accommodation

It is advisable to pre-book your hotel/ accommodation when visiting Cairns as it has a high tourist influx, throughout the year. All major hotels offer airport pick-up & drop off and parking facilities. Plan ahead and enjoy a great stay!

Dining

Cairns is known for its relaxed, laid-back lifestyle, exquisite food, and spectacular views, that’s exactly what you get when you dine out on one of their top restaurants.
Indulge in a variety of delectable dishes in this area, ranging from ocean-fresh seafood to locally procured meats infused with African flavours. Your culinary experience is bound to be exceptional, with an abundance of satisfying meals to choose from.

Transport

Cairns has transport options for all budgets and tastes including the many four-wheel drive tours that can pick you up and drop back off at your doorstep. Daily bus services are run by Sunbus and take you to most suburbs, beaches, and towns with most routes beginning from the Cairns City Mall. You can hail a taxi from the street or better, get an Uber - don’t forget to tip!

Cairns Tourist Information

Public Conveniences

Public restrooms (both paid and free) are available at all major locations. You can also pop-in at a restaurant or shopping centre, as all of them are equipped with well-maintained restrooms.

Shopping & Market Hours

In Cairns, you'll discover a selection of luxury fashion and retail shopping outlets typically associated with capital cities. The Cairns CBD Shopping Precinct is home to a range of high-end Australian and international brands, including couture labels and exclusive boutiques.

Most of the markets are open on all days of the week, and the general timings are 8am to 9pm on weekdays, from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays and 1pm to 8pm on Sundays. Cairns also has a prominent night market scene, which is active every day of the year from 4pm.

Medical Services

The emergency hotline for any assistance from Police, Fire and Ambulance is 000. For non-urgent medical help you can connect on: 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). Cairns has hospitals namely Cairns Base Hospital, Cairns Private Hospital etc. for any medical service.
 

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