Cairns is the best place to station yourself if you’re planning on visiting the Great Barrier Reef or Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest. Make no mistake though; this is a relaxed city that deserves your time. There’s plenty to do in the capital of Far North Queensland. So before you head off to dive amongst the world's largest coral reef system or discover the oldest rainforest on earth, spend a little time in this fun, touristy town that oozes Queensland charm and welcomes with open arms. Pack your board shorts and sarongs, dine on local seafood, explore bustling markets and take adventurous day trips from Cairns.
Fly into Cairns and ride the Kuranda Scenic Rail marveling at the ancient rainforests, dramatic gorges, and UNESCO World Heritage listed landscapes of Queensland’s tropical north. We then see the outback come to life as we traverse through the heart of the Gulf Savannah regions riding the legendary Gulflander and Savannahlander trains before an unforgettable tour of the Undara Lava Tubes in Cobbold Gorge.
Traverse the state of Queensland through Roma, Barcaldine, Emerald, Longreach, and Cloncurry to the Gulf of Carpenteria to experience an epic Gulf sunset and Sand Island dinner. See the outback come to life, learn about the heritage of mining, discover the indigenous culture, and ride the legendary Gulflander train as touring heads through Cobbold Gorge and Undara to tropical Cairns on this journey showcasing the best of Queensland.
With a touch over 150,000 residents, this once riotous Goldfield port is now a tourist hub connecting visitors with Far North Queensland’s iconic natural wonders.
There are so many day trips to take from Cairns; the Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda and the Skyrail, Port Douglas, Crystal Cascades, Green Island and so much more. Further afield Cairns holiday packages include the Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tablelands. From eco-tours and Indigenous experiences to sailing and hot air ballooning, there is a Cairns tour for everyone.
During winter, conditions are perfect for heading out to the Great Barrier Reef. The water temperature is pleasant, the weather is generally calm, and there’s a chance to spot migrating whales.
Although you can visit Cairns and the rest of Far North Queensland at any time of year, winter is preferable for most. The wet season in Cairns (December to March) is very hot and humid with average daytime temperatures of around 31 degrees celsius. High rainfall at this time of year replenishes the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation making for some spectacular raging rivers and waterfalls. During the dry season (April to October), things are more temperate at around 26 degrees during the day.
Water temperatures are glorious all year round but keep in mind that from October to May it’s stinger season with box jellyfish and Irukandji active in the water. You can still dive and snorkel at this time but you’ll need a special stinger suit.
When will you be heading to Cairns? Take a look at our Cairns tours for seniors and start making your plans.
Located at the base of the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Cairns has its own airport and can be reached easily from Australia’s capital cities and select international hubs. The flight from Brisbane is just 2.5 hours, whilst Sydney is a little over three hours away.
Life is pretty casual in Cairns so pack your board shorts, t-shirts and sarongs. Of course, hats are a must in this tropical outdoor lifestyle! You’ll also need appropriate SPF and a stinger suit if you’re planning to snorkel during jellyfish season.
While there are no actual beaches in Cairns itself, there are several nearby that can be accessed within a short drive from the city. The most popular beach near Cairns is Trinity Beach, about 20 km north of the city centre. It is a beautiful palm-fringed beach with clear water and white sand, and it is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Other nearby beaches include Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob, and Ellis Beach, all located within a short drive from Cairns.
It's worth noting that the Cairns esplanade lagoon, a popular public space along the waterfront in the CBD, has a saltwater swimming lagoon that overlooks the ocean. While it's not a natural beach, it's a great spot for swimming and sunbathing without having to leave the city.
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