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Beauty in Paradise

Welcome to Tropical North Queensland

Welcome to Paradise – Tropical North Queensland. Whether it’s an indulgent break or a thrilling adventure, this stunning region with five different mountain biking precincts offers you a magical and life-changing experience.

Feel the energy of a vibrant tropical culture of Cairns brought to life with festivals, events and experiences shaped by the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest. Revel in the outdoors lifestyle and ease of an intimate cosmopolitan city that is adventurous by nature.

Be seduced by an easy going beachside retreat where natural encounters, not crowds are the norm. Free your playful side exploring 14 kilometres of sand by bike, marvelling at romantic ruins or rafting the rapids to discover Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast.

Explore a vast savannah landscape where spectacular gorges, ancient lava tubes and the history of Australian pioneers await discovery. Uncover these hidden gems in the rugged lands of the Gulf Savannah.

Refine your senses with an exotic getaway to an absolute beachfront tropical hideaway where every day is all about you. Indulge in beachfront dining, decadent day spas and tropical resorts to uncover Palm Cove or journey through the natural wilderness to the top of Australia and discover the landscapes of Cooktown & Cape York and follow in the footsteps of early explorers on an epic adventure taking in memorable pubs, Aboriginal culture and Australian pioneering history.

Serene waterfalls, towering trees and crater lakes contrast against a tapestry of farms along self-drive trails to timeless villages and fascinating markets. Discover the exotic tropical flavours, unique wildlife and outdoor pursuits that make the Atherton Tablelands and Kuranda one of the many must-do’s within the region.

Let the charm of Port Douglas‘ boutique tropical village and the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest revitalise you. Indulge in dining, shopping and pampering and experience the beauty of two World Heritage areas in a region that is adventurous by nature.

Welcome to Tropical North Queensland.

  • Info / StatsOpen or Close
    Location

    Cairns is located on the north east coast of Queensland; a two-hour flight from Brisbane, or three-hour flight from Sydney.

    Size

    Cairns is the hub of Tropical North Queensland, which is 400,000sq km, equal to the combined size of California and Oregon or Spain and Portugal. Cairns also has the closest access to the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest reef in the world, measuring 2,011km in length and 72 km across at its widest point, also making it the world’s largest World Heritage Area. There are an estimated 1,500 species of fish, 300 species of hard, reef building corals, more than 4,000 mollusc species and around 400 species of sponges on the Reef.

    Population

    There are 150,000 people within the Cairns Regional Council area.

    History

    Aboriginal tribes lived in the Cairns region for thousands of years before the first white settlers arrived 100 years after Captain James Cook discovered Cairns in 1770 when his ship HM Bark Endeavour ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef. The discover of gold in the region saw the town officially founded in 1876 and named after the State Governor of the day, Sir William Cairns. As the gold rush died out, setters discovered sugar cane, fishing and pearling as the region’s major industries. in 1984, the opening of the international airport ushered in major tourism as the region’s primary industry and continues to meld the city into the international hub it is today.

    Temperature/ Seasons

    Spring/ Summer (September – March)
    > Daytime 31°C/ Evening 28°C

    Autumn/ Winter (April – August)
    > Daytime 28°C/ Evening 21°C

    Seawater Temperature

    Average seawater temperature is 26°C

    Beach Safety

    When swimming in Australia it is recommended you swim at beaches patrolled by lifesavers and to swim between the flags. Also wear sunscreen and appropriate swimwear.

    Airport Drive Time

    Airport to Cairns: 10 minutes/ 7km.

    Taxis/ Shuttles/ Buses

    All of these services are available in and around the region.

    Car Hire/ Driving

    Driving is on the left side of the road in Australia. Cars may be hired at the airport or areas around the CBD.

    Bank & Shopping Hours

    Banks generally open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday. ATMs are available 24 hours/ 7 days. General shopping centre hours are 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 10am to 4pm Sunday. Independent shops are often closed Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, with most shops closed on Public Holidays.

    Drive Time & Distances

    Cairns to Palm Cove
    > 20 minutes/ 25 kilometres/ 16 miles

    Cairns to Kuranda

    > 30 minutes/ 38 kilometres/ 15 miles

    Cairns to Cairns Highlands

    > 1 hour/ 60 kilometres/ 40 miles

    Cairns to Port Douglas

    > 1 hour/ 60 kilometres/ 40 miles

    Cairns to Daintree

    > 1.5 hours/ 80 kilometres/ 68 miles

    Cairns to Cooktown

    > 5 hours/ 200 kilometres/ 146 miles

    Cairns to Mission Beach

    > 1.5 hours/ 110 kilometres/ 87 miles

    Cairns to Cardwell/ Hinchinbook

    > 2.5 hours/ 145 kilometres/ 110 miles

    Lagoon/ Esplanade

    Stretching 2.5km along the foreshore of Cairns CBD, the Esplanade has bike and foot paths, as well as children’s playgrounds, skateboard park, volleyball courts, exercise areas, barbeques and the Cairns lagoon.

    Reef Fleet Terminal

    Located at the southern end of the Esplanade, this is the primary departure point for trips to the Great Barrier Reef.

    Internet Access

    Internet cafes are available throughout the CBD and open from 8am to midnight. Wireless internet access is available at various internet cafes and coffee shops with prices varying.

  • WeatherOpen or Close

    The weather in Cairns is comfortable and tropical all year round, with maximum temperatures usually forecast at 31º C (88 F) in the summer and 26°C (79 F) in the winter.

    There are generally only two seasons in the Tropics, ‘the green’ and ‘the dry’. The green season weather begins with the first monsoonal rains, usually around November, and ends around May. About 75-90% of the annual rainfall is recorded then, with the highest falls between Cairns and Tully around the Bellenden Ker and Bartle Frere Mountains.

    During the cooler, dry season the days are balmy and the evenings pleasantly cool (17-26ºC/63-79F). You will only need to pack lightly – at 16 degrees south of the Equator, the weather in Port Douglas is like Tahiti. During the winter months, on very rare evenings, a wrap is required. Winter days are filled with warm and sunny weather, which makes swimming at Four Mile Beach in the middle of July great to write home about!

    Summertime, or the green season, means warmer weather and restorative rain. The rainforest revitalises itself and the streams are replenished. Sea temperatures range from 23ºC in July to 28ºC in February. The green season also means marine stingers inhabit the warm tropical waters along the north Queensland coast. Swimming only within the protected enclosure at Four Mile Beach is recommended. Stingers are usually present in the water from November to the end of May.

    The warmer green season temperatures usually occur in January, with the lowest temperatures occurring in June, July and August.

    The green season is often dramatic, wildly beautiful and eagerly awaited by the flora and fauna of the tropical rainforests. Without our annual rainfall, there would be no rainforest and, as many visitors discover, our ‘liquid sunshine’ doesn’t interfere with diving, snorkeling or touring.


    [awesome-weather location=”Cairns” units=”C”]

Follow the links below to view a comprehensive list of accommodation, tours and attractions available throughout the Cairns region!

– Cairns

– Atherton Tablelands

– Port Douglas

– Daintree / Cape Tribulation

– The Outback

Mission Beach / Cassowary Coast