Cairns and Tropical North Queensland

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

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

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 to explore the local area or for a bigger Queensland road trip, 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

Deal

Flights within Australia from $49 each way

Verified Yesterday Expires 28 Jan 2022
Available on select travel dates from April – September 2022. Destinations include Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Darwin, Cairns and more. Sample fare is Ballina-Sydney. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Worldwide flights from $109 each way with Jetstar

Verified 2 days ago Expires 28 Jan 2022
Available for travel from 4 February – 15 September 2022 to destinations including Bali, Phuket, Auckland, Tokyo, Honolulu and more. Sample price is Cairns-Bali.
Deal

Flights with Jetstar from $29 each way

Verified 2 days ago Expires 28 Jan 2022
Available for travel from April - November 2022 to destinations including Sydney, Perth, Cairns, Uluru, Brisbane and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne.
Deal

Up to 50% off flights across Australia

Verified 3 days ago Expires 4 Feb 2022
Available for travel until 28 February 2022. Destinations include Adelaide, Melbourne, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Perth and more.
Deal

Up to 35% off Australia getaways

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available on stays until February 2022, including Christmas and New Year's Eve. Destinations include Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Cairns, Adelaide, Townsville, Tasmania, Sydney, Broome and more.
Deal

Up to 25% off getaways

Available on select dates when you book your hotel and flight together. Destinations include Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns, Uluru, Brisbane, Canberra and more.
Deal

Australia-wide flights from $59 each way

Expires 15 Feb 2022
Available from November 2021 – September 2022 to destinations including Cairns, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina and Sydney-Coffs Harbour. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to 48% off Australia experiences + an extra 10% off with code

Available on activities including skydives, whale watching cruises, day tours, getaways and more. Must purchase 2 or more vouchers. Destinations include Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Campervan hire from $5 per day

Available on select routes, dates and locations in Australia, including Darwin, Alice Springs, Cairns and Brisbane and New Zealand.
Code

Up to 15% off Australia car and campervan hires

Verified Today Expires 28 Feb 2022
Available on select rental dates until 30 June 2022. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 65% off holiday packages

Verified Today
Available on select dates until December 2022. Destinations include Adelaide, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sydney, Cairns, Canberra, Hunter Valley and more.
Deal

Up to 15% off Australia adventures

Verified Today Expires 28 Feb 2022
Available on select travel dates until 2022. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Rottnest Island, Cairns, Darwin, Sydney, Byron Bay, Uluru, Canberra, Jindabyne, Great Ocean Road and more.
Deal

Up to 25% off campervan hires

Expires 30 Jan 2022
Available on rentals until 31 March 2022. Destinations include Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to $20 off skydiving with code

Get $20 off per person when you book for 4 or more. Destinations include Sydney, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Cairns, Brisbane and more.
Code

Up to $40 off skydiving with code

Get $40 off per person when you book for 8 or more. Destinations include Sydney, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Cairns, Brisbane and more.
Code

Up to 10% off Queensland skydives

Expires 16 Jun 2022
Available on jumps until June 2022 when you use the code. Destinations include Cairns and Mission Beach. T&Cs apply.
Code

Extra $10 off Australia getaway packages

Available on select travel dates when you spend a minimum of $300. Destinations include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Blue Mountains, Cairns, Canberra and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Australia skydives from $219 + free $20 merchandise voucher

Available on jumps from 7,500 ft to 15,000 ft. Destinations include Sydney, Hunter Valley, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Australia stays from $18/night

Available on select travel dates across Sydney, Adelaide, Cairns, Brisbane, Perth and more. Sample rate is for a stay at Melbourne. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 36% off domestic stays + free cancellations

Available from until February 2022, including Christmas and New Year's Eve on destinations including Broome, Mackay, Launceston, Darwin, Perth, Cairns, Sydney, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 61% off Australia getaways

Available for travel on select dates to Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Launceston, Newcastle, Noosa Heads, Cairns, NSW and more.
Deal

Up to 40% off things to do in Australia

Available on select dates and activities including hot air ballooning, skydiving, sightseeing cruises, whale watching cruises and dining. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Perth, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Brisbane and more.
Deal

Up to 15% off local activities

Available on select dates on activities including day tours, skydiving, hot air ballooning, attraction passes and cruises. Destinations include in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Activities for kids from $17 + an extra $5 off with code

Available on select dates when you spend a minimum of $250. Activities include day tour cruises, hop-on hop-off bus tours, attraction passes and more. Destinations include Gold Coast, Cairns, Melbourne, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to 10% off Maui motorhome rentals

Verified Today Expires 15 Feb 2022
Available until 28 February 2022 on pick up and drop off locations including Brisbane, Cairns, Hobart, Perth and Sydney. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to 15% off Britz Campervan rentals

Verified Today Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available until 27 February 2022 for 2 Berth ST - Venturer vehicle. Destinations include Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. T&Cs apply.
Code

Up to 15% off Queensland campervan hires

Verified Today Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available with Britz until 13 February 2022 on pick up and drop off locations in Cairns and Brisbane. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 10% off daily rental rates

Expires 28 Feb 2022
Available on rentals when you book a minimum of 21 days. Destinations include Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Extra 10% off stays for members

Sign up Expedia Rewards to become a member and get exclusive discounts on hotel stays. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Canberra, Sunshine Coast, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Australia stays from $30 per night

Available on select stay dates until December 2022 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darwin, Canberra and more. Sample rate is for a stay at Gilligan's Backpackers Hotel & Resort in Cairns.
Code

Extra 5% off Australia prepaid rentals

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available on rentals until 31 March 2022. Destinations include Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Free drinks with Celebrity Cruises

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available on cruises from October - December 2022 departing from Sydney. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Vanuatu, Wellington and more.
Deal

Up to 35% off worldwide cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available on select dates in 2022. Destinations include Sydney, Cairns, Darwin, Auckland and more.
Deal

Cairns car hires from $27

Available on select rental dates in 2022 with Avis, Budget, Sixt, Europcar and more. Destinations close from Cairns include Palm Island, Mareeba and more.
Deal

Cairns flights from $105 each way

Expires 15 Feb 2022
Available on select flight dates June 2022. Sample flight departs from Brisbane. Other flights depart from Sydney, Gold Coast and more.
Code

Get 5% off Australia activities

Available on activities including skydives, jet ski rides, whale watching cruises, day tours, rally driving, scenic helicopter flights and more. Minimum spend of $300 required. Destinations include Cairns, Sydney, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Up to 42% off sightseeing cruises

Available on select travel dates until 2022, including Christmas and New Year. Activities include whale watching, dolphin watching, lunch cruises, sunset cruises in Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne and more.
Deal

Get 5% off advance bookings

Available on rentals booked 125+ days in advance. Destinations include Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. T&CS apply.
Deal

Australia stays from $9/night

Available on select stay dates across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Cairns, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is for a stay at Koalas Perth City Backpackers Hostel. T&Cs apply.
Deal

Queensland getaways from $118 per night

Expires 31 Jan 2022
Available on stays up to 13 months from booking date. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Whitsundays. T&Cs apply.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site