Commonly referred to as the gateway to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a city in the tropical Far North Queensland. Northwest of the city, Daintree National Park spans mountainous rainforest, gorges and beaches.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
- No trip to Cairns would be complete without seeing the Great Barrier Reef. Book yourself on a snorkelling & diving tour.
- Kuranda Scenic Rail & Skyrail is one of the world's most beautiful and unforgettable rainforest experiences. Most tours include both the Kuranda Scenic Rail & Skyrail Rainforest Cableway with accommodation transfers.
- If you're feeling adventurous, book yourself on a quad biking tour around the rainforest.
For the Emergency services just dial 000 from any phone. You can also contact the Cairns local police station at 0061740307000.
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Cairns has the full range of transport options for all tastes and budgets. Don’t forget the many four wheel drive tours that can pick you up and drop you back off at your doorstep, taking you up to the beautiful rainforests without you having to negotiate those windy mountain roads.
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This is the main station serving Cairns.
Cairns Railway Station
Where should I take extra care?
There are no real crime hotspots in the city, take extra care in busy tourist areas and apply the usual safety precautions. Watch out for quiet areas after dark and stay in the well lit main streets.
Where can I keep up with the news?
What are the common crimes?
Beware of pickpockets as they tend to operate in tourist areas, keep your belongings secure at all times and be careful if strangers try to make conversation or distract you as it could be an attempt to steal your valuables.
Credit card fraud, cloning cards can be an issue be careful where you use your cards. Also if you are withdrawing money from cash machines make sure you cover your pin and be discreet about the amount of cash you withdraw.
What safety tips should I know about Cairns?
Cairns is home to the Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile. These are the largest crocodile species on earth and could potentially ruin your holiday (and life). However they are not really an issue as long as some common sense is shown. Don’t swim where you see a crocodile warning sign; don’t swim where you think there should be a crocodile warning sign. Generally if you avoid muddy waters and only swim in the ocean or fast flowing clear rivers and creeks you’ll be OK. A good rule of thumb is don’t swim where there isn’t anyone else in the water. The locals know where and where not to swim.
The sea waters of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are home to 2 of the most deadly Jellyfish in the world. The Box Jellyfish, which inhabits coastal waters (stinger season is October to April) and the Irundkandji, which is an oceanic jellyfish which is mostly kept out at sea but northerly winds can sometimes bring them to the reef and as well as coastal beaches. During the stinger season stinger nets are provided on the beaches. Take extra caution.
Unique Suggestions: If you do go to the main street for shopping set a price 20-30% lower than what they are asking for, shop owners are up for haggling, they put commission on top of the original.
Improve Your Personal Safety
Knowledge – the more you have the better equipped you are.
Awareness – the more you see the safer you become.
Response – the right reaction can change a situation.
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta
The Yacht Club features a variety of events throughout the year. One of Cairns’ first events of the year is the annual regatta, but the Yacht Club also hosts several monthly events including junior races and dinghy and keel boat races. Held in January.
Reef and Rainforest Carnivale
This 10-day event held in Port Douglas, Daintree, Cape Tribulation and Mossman it is characterised by vibrant colours and raucous celebration. A myriad of games and events centred on the region’s natural endowments is backed by vendors selling snacks, handicrafts and artwork—most of which are connected to the reef and rainforest themes.
Held annually in September Festival Cairns is one of Australia’s leading regional cultural festivals. Staged in the heart of Far North Queensland, the Festival is a showcase for the region both nationally and internationally.
Lizard Island Black Marlin Class
A week-long competition pitting the world’s best big-game anglers against one another. The Marlin Fishing Classic is also held around this time. Those who would like to cast a line and try their luck can arrange a charter fishing boat through any one of the local travel agencies.
Where is great to eat?
Elegant and exceptional, Tamarind’s Eastern inspired cuisine, handcrafted from the freshest local produce, delivers exquisite flavours, impeccably served. A flawless experience. Changing regularly with the seasons, Tamarind’s menu is complemented by an impressive Australian wine list, local and imported beers and spirits, and an innovative and enticing cocktail menu.
“As Cairns’ only truly French restaurant, we consider your visit an indulgent journey of the senses. We pride ourselves on being delightfully, authentically, classically French, yet always affordable and fitting in with smart casual tropical dining.” Visit their website for more information.
Fusion Art Bar & Tapas is a new and exciting space in the heart of Cairns. Specialising in good coffee, fine wine and great food. It has an industrial, up cycled and vintage look with old exposed red brick walls and high concrete ceilings. The establishment is ‘fused’ with UnderArt Gallery.
Where else is great to visit?
Palm Cove, Queensland
Described as both a tropical paradise and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Palm Cove meets the Great Barrier Reef in spectacular fashion. Home to a diverse and interesting range of wildlife including lizards, tree frogs and many bird species Palm Cove has a lot to offer including various different types of tours such as cove, reef and rainforest exploration for travellers with an expert guide to highlight all the great features of this small community. As well as all the usual and exciting outdoor pursuits, due to its immense popularity as a great destination luxury hotels and top rated restaurants can frequented by visitors.
Fitzroy Island National Park
Fitzroy Island was given its name by intrepid explored Captain James Cook in 1770 and boasts a fantastic landscape or woodland, rainforest, coral beaches and granite outcrops. People wishing to visit must travel to the island via private boat or the regular ferry service out of Cairns. As well as going on scenic walks which include hidden gems such as the Secret Garden Track, visitors can also view wildlife and go on boating trips or the more adventurous traveller might like to go snorkelling and diving.
Cairns Tropical Zoo
Hosting the largest and most comprehensive collection of both native and introduced species of reptiles, birds and mammals, the Cairns Tropical Zoo is a 6 hectare tropical zoo a mere 20 minutes out of the centre of Cairns. There are numerous activities to be involved in throughout the day including Kangaroo feeding, a flight bird show talk as well as animal experiences with koala’s and wombats.
Daintree Cape Tribulation Rainforest
The Daintree and Cape Tribulation Rainforests is a world heritage listed rainforest region due in no small part to its beauty and uniqueness. It is a location not to be missed on any traveller’s itinerary and can be accessed through one of the four wheel drive tour companies where passionate tour guides are welcoming and keen to show visitors the fantastic scenery of forests and mountains.
What are the highlight attractions?
José Paronella’s dream was to build a castle. He chose a special part of Australia and created Paronella Park. On 5 Hectares beside Mena Creek Falls he built his castle, picnic area by the falls, tennis courts, bridges, a tunnel, and wrapped it up in an amazing range of 7,500 tropical plants and trees (now a lush rainforest!). It opened to the public in 1935.
Great Barrier Reef
Nothing quite like the Great Barrier Reef exists anywhere else on the planet which is what makes Cairns and Port Douglas such popular destinations. With a startling array of marine wildlife as well as the beautiful and colourful coral reefs the Great Barrier Reef if not to be missed. In an area of over 344,400 square kilometres of World Heritage Site, Cairns offers easy access to this beautiful landscape.
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a scenic cableway running above the Barron Gorge National Park from the Cairns suburb of Caravonica to Kuranda, Queensland. The cableway runs over the rainforest and gorges from Caravonica Lakes to Kuranda, a distance of 7.5km, with 2 mid-route stations.
Kuranda Scenic Railway
The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a name for the railway line that runs from Cairns, Queensland, Australia to the nearby town of Kuranda. The tourist railway snakes its way up the Macalister Range and is no longer used for regular commuter services.