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Cheap flights to Cairns (CNS) to book in 2023

Get the latest deals, compare airfares and get tips on nabbing the cheapest Cairns fares.

Cairns and remote areas of Tropical North Queensland are some of Australia's most unique and untouched destinations. When planning a trip to the north of Australia, transport considerations are key to a pleasant stay. Find out all you need to know including airline and flight information, flight deals and your transport options to navigate your way around this incredible part of Australia.

Update Today's Cairns flight deals:

Flight CentreFlight Centre

Up to $2800 bonus value on select flights, holidays and accommodations



100% off return flights on select holiday packages


Australia flights starts at $45 one way on Jetstar


Cheap Flights to Port Moresby Airport from $255

TL;DR: Cairns flights

Cairns's airport:
Cairns Airport (CNS)

Get the best price:
April to September

Frequently asked questions about flights to Cairns

How much does it cost to fly to Cairns?

Flights to Cairns can go for less than $100 each from within Queensland and during a flight sale from cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

According to data from Cheapflights, fares from cities further west cost approximately $350 return.

Jetstar does tend to have the lowest prices as there are no extra inclusions that come with your ticket, so if you're looking at Qantas or Virgin flights to get checked baggage and rewards points, expect ticket prices to be higher.

When is the cheapest time to fly to Cairns?

Flight prices to Cairns tend not to fluctuate too much throughout the year, but the prices do spike around the school holidays and over Christmas and New Year's time.

Although not too much more expensive than the rest of the year, flights during July and August may be a bit pricier. This is due to higher demand for those living in the southern parts of Australia seeking northern Queensland's winter sun. We think April to September is the best time to visit Cairns weather wise.

Cheapest months to fly:

April to September

Priciest months to fly:

July and August

How long does it take to fly to Cairns?

Here's how long it takes to fly to Cairns from major cities across Australia. Where a direct flight isn't available, we've made note of the shortest connecting flights' total travel time.

  • Adelaide: 3 hours direct
  • Brisbane: 2 hours, 25 minutes direct
  • Canberra: 3 hours, 14 minutes direct
  • Darwin: 2 hours, 33 minutes direct
  • Hobart: 7 hours, 28 minutes with a stopover
  • Melbourne: 3 hours, 22 minutes direct
  • Perth: 4 hours, 18 minutes direct
  • Sydney: 3 hours, 8 minutes direct

Which airlines fly direct to Cairns?

You can find flights to Cairns with the following airlines via these cities.

  • Airnorth: Darwin, Gove and Toowoomba
  • Alliance Airlines: Groote Eylandt, Sunshine Coast and Weipa
  • Hinterland Aviation: Coen and Cooktown
  • Jetstar: Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney
  • Qantas: Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Horn Island, Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville and Weipa
  • Rex Airlines: Bamaga, Mount Isa, Normanton and Townsville
  • Virgin Australia: Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney

What's the best airline to fly to Cairns with?

  • Best for price: Budget carrier Jetstar typically has the cheapest flights to Cairns, just remember checked baggage and other extras aren't included in the base fare.
  • Best for extra inclusions: Qantas will get you to Cairns with 23kg checked luggage and refreshments included in the cost of your ticket.
  • Best for frequent flyer rewards: Earn points with Qantas (Qantas Frequent Flyer) or Virgin Australia (Velocity Frequent Flyer). Earn Qantas Points on eligible Jetstar fares.

How many points do I need to fly to Cairns?

Departure cityPoints required for a return Qantas flightPoints required for a return Virgin flight
Adelaide28,800Not available
Alice Springs36,000Not available
Darwin19,200Not available
Gold Coast19,20023,600
Perth28,800Not available

Want to earn a free flight to Cairns?

These frequent flyer credit card offers can give you more than enough bonus points for a complimentary flight (minus applicable taxes) to Cairns Airport (CNS) from major cities across Australia.

NAB Qantas Rewards Signature Card

Up to 120,000 bonus Qantas Points
Discounted $295 first year annual fee

Offer may be withdrawn at any time

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply


American Express Velocity Platinum Card

Receive 60,000 bonus Velocity Points

Offer may be withdrawn at any time

Eligibility criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply

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How far in advance should I book my flights to Cairns?

Cairns pricing data from KAYAK suggests that flights to Cairns are at their cheapest 90 days before your departure date. KAYAK suggests that you book at least 3 weeks prior to your travel date to find a below-average price.

How far is the airport in Cairns?

Cairns Airport (CNS) is a 9 minute drive (5.7km) away from the city centre. Car hire desks can be found at the arrivals hall and taxis are available from the designated taxi ranks just outside. Viator, City Discovery and Jayride offer personalised and private airport shuttle services and transfers from Cairns Airport to your resort, hotel or holiday apartment.

Alternatively, Uber is available from Cairns Airport and costs $10-$15 to Cairns city centre.

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