Cairns is a regional town in far North Queensland, founded in 1876. Set in lush, tropical rainforest and bordered by some of Australia's most beautiful coastline, it is a holiday destination that everyone should experience at least once.
Whether you are seeking adventure or just a spot to relax and unwind you can’t beat Cairns. The area experiences year-round hot and humid weather and is renowned for its laid back atmosphere. Cairns is also the main gateway to the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforests.
Read on to discover what makes Cairns a must-visit destination, or head straight to turu's listings to find and book holiday accommodation in Cairns
Cairns attracts travellers wishing to explore the Great Barrier Reef and nearby Daintree Rainforest however there are many others attractions in the Cairns region worth visiting. Nature lovers should check out Cairns Botanic Gardens which offers an explosion of foliage and tropical wild flowers in idyllic grounds. To learn more about Australia’s indigenous heritage head to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park at Caravonica Lakes where you can throw a boomerang or enjoy one of the many Aboriginal dance performances. Or to captivate the senses, experience the region’s ancient World Heritage protected rainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offering stunning views of the canopy and the Barron Falls.
Cairns hosts a number of annual events and festivals. In January be sure to check out the Yacht Club Anniversary regatta. The Reef and Rainforest Carnivale in the Cairns region is a popular 10-day event held in February. Festival Cairns takes over for three weeks in late August offering musical and theatre performances near the Cairns Esplanade. And arty-types won’t want to miss the twice-yearly Cairns Art Society Exhibition with the chance to purchase works directly from local artists.
Free things to do in Cairns
A day out in Cairns need not break the budget. The Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon is a great place to take a dip and to keep the kiddies cool in the tropical heat. The area is surrounded by picnic and barbecue areas making it a great base for a day of free outdoor fun. For just AU$5 you can visit the Cairns Museum and learn about the region of Tropical North Queensland. The Cairns Night Market also provides budget-friendly after-dark entertainment. And for the art lovers, Cairns boasts a range of art galleries housing indigenous and local art which are free to enter.
Family-friendly places to visit in Cairns
- Cairns Great Barrier Reef Family Tours: Visit the site
- Skyrail Rainforest Cableway & Kuranda Scenic Railway: Smithfield QLD 4870
- Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park: Cairns Western Arterial Road, Caravonica QLD 4878
- Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon: The Esplanade Cairns QLD 4870 [FREE]
- Daintree Rainforest: Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873
- Kuranda Australian Butterfly Sanctuary: Rob Veivers Drive, Kuranda QLD 4881
- Palm Cove Beach: Arlington Esplanade, Palm Cove QLD 4879 [FREE]
Cairns weather: when to visit
The rainy season occurs between January and March. From December to April tropical cyclones and thunderstorms are a possibility. June to August is considered the best time to visit Cairns for warm weather, blue skies and more importantly clear waters, perfect for exploring the world’s largest coral reef. To help plan your next trip to the North Queensland tropical city of Cairns, check out the mean monthly temperatures and mean monthly rainfall here.