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Cairns and Tropical North Queensland

When to do, what to do and where to stay.

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Great Barrier Reef

Cairns and the remote areas of tropical North Queensland boast some of the most spectacular and untouched landscapes.

Powder soft sands and inviting waters abound along the coast and one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef, is right on your doorstep - as are the national parks. These enchanting natural landscapes teem with wildlife and adventure, making for the perfect destination for romancing couples and exciting family holidays.

Cairns is serviced by an international airport which can connect visitors from other major cities onto the more remote locations in Tropical North Queensland.

Getting around Cairns

Cairns' CBD is small and walkable, but many of the area's attractions aren't within the city limits. If you're planning on exploring the Daintree or Northern Beaches, or need to get to/from the airport, read on.

Cairns public transport

Types of transport. Flights, trains, buses and private cars offer the most flexible transport options for getting around Tropical North Queensland. Timetable and fare information is available from Cairns Regional Council. Trains connect Cairns, Cape York, Proserpine, and Mount Isa. Timetable and fare information is available from Cairns Unlimited.

Paying for transport. Trains and buses can be booked online or paid for on the spot at the bus or railway station.

Best apps for getting around. The Go Cairns app provides public transport information in the Cairns area.

Where is Cairns airport compared to the city?

Cairns airport is situated approximately 6km north of the city centre, on Airport Avenue.

Is the airport open 24 hours?

No. Cairns airport opens at 4am, or two hours before the first flight, whichever is earlier, and closes after the last flight of the day. If you're planning an overnight stay, you'll need to check out hotels nearby.

Where is the railway station?

Cairns railway station is integrated with the central shopping centre. The station itself is located on Bunda Street in Cairns city centre. It has lines that run south to Brisbane.

Does Cairns have Uber?

Yes. However, Uber is new to Cairns, and the only option currently available is UberX. The base fare is $2 and then $1 per kilometre after that, with a minimum fare of $8.

Where can you take a rental car?

Many car hire companies restrict how far north you can take a vehicle in Queensland beyond the Daintree's main attractions. If you're hiring a car, make sure you check with the rental company where you can and can't go.

Most will allow you to take the car onto the Daintree river ferry so you can see some of the rainforest's top things to see, but will restrict you from going much further than Cape Tribulation.

How far is it from Cairns to Cooktown?

The journey north from Cairns to Cooktown covers 323km, which equates to approximately 4 hours 10 minutes by road. There are two main routes to choose from: the coastal road which has stunning views, or the sealed inland road which is safer.

Cooktown is a small, pristine town situated on the Great Barrier Reef. It remains untouched by commercialisation and offers a breathtaking experience off the beaten track.

Cairns travel deals

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