Cheap flights to Cairns depart from Brisbane and Darwin airports with an approximate flight time of 2 hours and 20 minutes. Cheap flights through Jetstar are available from the Gold Coast. Direct flights are available from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Flights exiting Canberra will typically include a transfer through Brisbane or Sydney. Departures from Hobart may include a flight from Melbourne while cheap flights exiting Perth will also transfer through Brisbane or Sydney. Cairns City is a fifteen minute drive from the airport and many accommodation options operate hotel shuttle services. There is a taxi rank located outside both the international and domestic terminals and this should not cost more than $20 for your fare. Sun Palm operates a bus service to the city centre. Car hire in Cairns is relatively cheap and there are a number of car rental companies operating within the terminal. Book ahead online or check your airlines preferred ground transport partner for the best deal.
All the attractions around Cairns are serviced by tour bus operators. Public transport by way of the Sunbus operates services within Cairns City and departures to Kuranda and Port Douglas leave from the Lake Street Transit Centre. Taxis are a great option of an evening in Cairns and the fares are more than reasonable. A grid-style city plan means navigating Cairns on foot is simple. There are several options for cheap bicycle hire and the landscape is predominantly flat. Driving in Cairns is the easiest way to cover all the main attractions on your own timetable. Traffic is very relaxed and the well-signed open roads provide photo opportunities other sightseeing may not.
The Daintree rainforest provides a luscious green backdrop balanced with the brilliant blue water and white sand of Cape Tribulation. Snorkel, hike or laze on the beach of the outskirts of the Great Barrier Reef with a day tour to Green Island. Snorkelling and scuba enthusiasts will enjoy experiencing the Michaelmas or Upolu Cays. Reach the Atherton Tableland with a cable car ride up the Kuranda SkyRail. Walk to the gorgeous Barron Falls or test your nerve at the Australian Venom Zoo. A 4-park pass will give you access to North Queensland’s big reserve offerings; Wildlife Habitat; the rooftop zoo of Cairns Wildlife Dome; Rainforestation Nature Park and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Visit the Cairns Historical Museum, bike around the Botanic Gardens and cool down with an afternoon picnic at the Esplanade Lagoon. Complete your Cairns experience with a helicopter ride overlooking the Great Barrier Reef, or find your sea legs on a luxury catamaran day tour.
Visitors don’t generally flock to Cairns to shop, but this is not to say Cairns is not rich in retail offerings. Cairns Central or the Smithfield Centre offer typical mall settings with department, chain and speciality stores. Visit The Pier at The Marina for boutique shopping or the Direct Factory Outlets if you like to rummage for a bargain. The Cairns Esplanade Market is great for a weekend stroll and a cheeky bite to eat. Sip on cocktails at Lilo Bar, The Lounge or the sophisticated backdrop of The Attic Lounge Bar. Enjoy a casual evening at Mad Cow Tavern or party at the famous Wool Shed, Vertigo Bar, Velvet Underground or the Sugar Hut. Corea Corea has cheap Asian cuisine, choose Brazilian BBQ at Bushfire Flame Grill or Caribbean Tapas at Havana Music Café. Fresh North Queensland seafood is available throughout Cairns. For something different, dine on mud crabs with hollandaise sauce at M Yogo or the native selections at Ochre Restaurant which include slow roasted Wallaby and Wattle Seed Pavlova.