Cairns is a major gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Tropical Queensland
It is the departure point for many day trips to the Atherton Tableland, Great Barrier Reef boat trips, Kuranda and the Daintree Tropical Rainforest. Flying into Cairns, one is struck by the lush tropical vegetation contrasting with the bright blue of the Coral Sea.
This beautiful tropical city is full of restaurants, nightlife, shopping and a wide range of luxury hotel accommodation from budget to five star. Choose to stay in the city itself, or along the northern beaches heading to Port Douglas.
Things to do
Most day tours either to the Great Barrier reef of other areas of North Queensland depart from Cairns making it an ideal base to explore the best that Tropical North Queensland has to offer.
Key activities in and around Cairns include:
- Air Ballooning
- White water rafting
- Great Barrier Reef Cruises
- Daintree rainforest tours
- Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
- Kuranda Scenic Railway
- Atherton Tablelands
Travel Destination Cairns is the 5th most popular destination for International visitors. It is situated on a coastal strip between the Atherton Tableland (part of the Great Dividing Range) and the Coral Sea.
With a population of about 175,000 it is a major regional centre that spreads about 52 kilometres ( 32 miles) along the coast. The major International airport for Far North Queensland is at Cairns.
Aboriginal history goes back at least 30,000 years. The Cairns area is the traditional home of the Walubarra Yidinji Aboriginal people. Captain James Cook named the inlet Trinity Bay in 1770 as he mapped the region for the first time.
For the next 100 years, the mangrove swamps and sand ridges that made up the original landscape remained undisturbed. The discovery of gold on the Atherton Tableland behind Trinity Inlet in 1876 made Cairns develop as a port and fueled its growth. The railway up the escarpment to the tableland was started in 1886 to get the gold to the port.
This is the same rail line you can ride today on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Rubble from building the railway and clearing the land filled in the sand ridges and the mangrove swamps and Travel Destination Cairns grew steadily for the next 100 years.
During WW ll it was a centre of military support for both Australian and American forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea. In 1984 the International Airport linked it to Asia and made it the main point of entry for the Great Barrier Reef.
Geography and Weather
Cairns is set on a coastal plain that runs from the Coral Sea to the escarpment of the Atherton Tablelands which rise about 600 m (2,000 ft).on the east. Located 16 deg. south of the Equator, Travel Destination Cairns has a Tropical Monsoon Climate, with hot, humid summers and drier, warm winters. Dry Season (June to October) is winter and the peak tourist season. Tourism and growing Sugar Cane are the main industries.
In summer you can expect an average daily high temperature of around 31 C (88 F) and an average overnight low of 24 C (75 F). In the winter dry season expect average daily high temperatures of 26 C (79 F) and lows of 17 C (63F). Annual average rainfall is high – 2,092 mm (80 in).
Most rain falls in the Wet Season between November and April. The Dry Season runs from about June to October.
Map of Cairns
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Cairns