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The Cairns Travel Guide 2021

With a population of only 150,000 people Cairns is a relatively small city. However, what it lacks in size it surely makes up for in beautiful scenery and activities nearby! In this Ultimate Cairns Travel Guide, we are going to go over the best places to see, where to eat, accommodation and any other questions someone may have when travelling to Cairns!

Getting to Cairns

There are many different options for getting to Cairns. The city has its own airport with many cheap flights from Asia and all Australian cities. However, many backpackers simply drive to Cairns as the last destination when travelling along the east coast.

How Many Days Do You Need?

Although cairns is a much smaller city compared to the major cities of Australia, however, there is still plenty of things to do nearby. I would recommend spending at least a week around Cairns which would give you enough time to see all the major sights and take part in some amazing activities.

Things To See In Cairns

From inner city signts to beautiful nature spots, Cairns has many possibilities and things to do. Here I will go through some of my favorite spots!


Cairns Esplanade

Located in the very centre of Cairns, the esplanade is a more recently constructed area that has become the centre of activity within Cairns. The Esplanade has a 4800 square metre lagoon which is perhaps the areas most famous attraction. There is also a great boardwalk that brings you all along the coast. Right next to the esplanade, there are plenty of markets selling delicious food, souvenirs and massages!

Cairns Botanic Gardens

Very close to the Esplanade, the Botanic Gardens are definitely worth a visit if you are staying in the city. There are many beautiful plants and wildlife you can see thriving within the gardens. Also, if you are looking for some exercise, there are also plenty of walking tracks through the gardens that lead up in to mount Whitfield.

Nearby Sights

Millaa Millaa – Waterfalls and Rainforests

A tiny rural town located 2 hours from Cairns, Millaa Milla offers some of the most beautiful rainforest sight and a perfect waterfall, a great place for a swim!

Fitzroy Island

Located just 29km off the coast of Cairns, Fitzroy Island is a beautiful tropical island and the perfect place for a getaway. With amazing ocean views giving you plenty to do such as snorkelling, diving, kayaking and fishing. If you want a dream island break, Fitzroy Island is well worth a trip.

Cape Tribulation

Although Cape Tribulation isn’t close to Cairns, it is a very popular destination for people once they’ve finished their stay in Cairns. With many beautiful beaches, rainforests and Barrier Reef boat tours leaving from here, Cape Tribulation is definitely worth a visit!

Cairns Travel Guide: Things To Do In Cairns

  • Chill in the Cairns Esplanade man made pool!
  • Take a tour of the great barrier reef, a must see for anyone visiting Cairns.
  • Take a walk in the Cairns Botanical Garden!
  • Visit one of the many local beaches.
  • Tour the night markets within the city
  • Take a hike through one of the many rainforest walking trails.

Getting Around Cairns

If you are looking to take public transport during your stay in Cairns, check out for timetables and fare fees. If you prefer a move active form of transport, bike rentals are available throughout Cairns and are a great option due to Cairns city’s size.


Hotels: Shangri-La Hotel, Rydges Esplanade, Novotel

Hostels: Gilligans Backpackers, Bounce Cairns, Mad Monkey Central, Why Not Backpackers, Travellers Oasis

Other: There are also plenty of Airbnb listings and also shared accommodation options if you are staying longer term.

Additional Questions

Here are the answers to some other things you may be wondering before travelling to Cairns.

What is the weather like in Cairns?

Cairs has a tropical climate with high, humid temperatures with plenty of rain.

Where should I go for a good night out?

There are plenty of places around such as Gilligans, The Attic Lounge, The Woolshed & The Downunder Bar.

Cairns Travel Guide: Conclusion

I hope you found this ultimate Cairns travel guide helpful. If you are looking for more Aussie travel guides, free free to browse our latest blog posts!


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