Cairns Travel Guide

Browse 138 travel reviews, 90 travel blogs and 3,582 travel photos from real travelers to Cairns.

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Cairns Overview

As the gateway to the astonishing Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforst (the only place in the world where two World Heritage Areas meet), Cairns is something of an international playground, with life very much centered around having a whole lot of fun. And why not; while the city might not be steeped in the best of Australian culture, there’s little that could distract from the reef anyway, and you’ll find plenty in the way of affordable thrills, lively bars and tourist trips to keep you busy.

Of course, it’s the vibrant call of the mammoth reef that’s brought you here, and there aren’t many ways you can’t enjoy it. From staying on your own off-shore island in the thick of the action, to diving or snorkeling across the reef, passing over it on a flat bottomed boat or even learning about it in the impressive reef education centre. The flittering, alien landscape of the sub-aqua is amongst the best in the world here, with plenty of colorful fish, wild-looking corals and some startling drop offs to float over.

You’ll inevitably want to focus your time on the reef, but there’s plenty more, too. Quirky restaurants and shops. At night you certainly must visit the “Night Markets”... lots of souvenir shops at one place.
Not to be missed too: the stunning 4,800m2 saltwater lagoon, which makes for a dreamy city-center swimming pool. When stingers rule out the beach in the summer, head for Crystal Cascades instead, where you can wallow in the pools of a whole heap of striking waterfalls. Or with the local busses you can drive to the northern beaches. There are a lot of busses and there are frequent drives... almost every half hour.
Don't miss out on the esplanade: sportactivities (sort of fitness machines, skatepark,...), a large playground, there even can be a circus workshop going on. Lots of people hang out there, even locals walking their dog, going jogging or just going for a stroll.

Of course, as such a popular tourism spot, Cairns makes the perfect destination to meet and mingle with other travelers, too, as well as being drenched in so much sun you could almost be in Thailand.

There can be few more desirable stops on an Australian itinerary than Cairns, which manages to be an epic tourist destination and home of a host of Australian stereotypes at the same time. Above all, though, you’ll never forget that reef.

Popular Nearby Destinations

You reach Kuranda by car, bus, skyrail or scenic train from Cairns. Kuranda is a little village in the rainforest. In Kuranda there are a lot of souvenir shops to visit at pace. So when y…
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