Cairns and Port Douglas

Cairns and Port Douglas

Overview

Once you reach this tropical region, you won't want to leave.

Cairns is the major jumping-off point for the extraordinary Great Barrier Reef, the lush Daintree Rainforest and slow road trips through the beautiful countryside of the Atherton Tablelands. And the food is great - with some of the country's finest chefs setting up restaurants in the luxe outpost of Port Douglas. 

Read articleOpens external site in a new window Travel Insider

Travel Insider

With the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest as neighbours, Cairns is often seen as little more than a jumping-off point between World Heritage-listed icons. Read 'The Ultimate Guide to Cairns According to a Local'.

Read articleOpens external site in a new window

Flights to Cairns

Don't miss

Most visitors use Cairns as a base from which to plan their itinerary. Here are some great things to see and do.

No Title No Description

Where to go

Make Cairns your hub for exploring the tropics and reef or explore Palm Cove, Port Douglas and the Daintree.

Cairns

There's plenty of activities and attractions in and around the centre of Cairns.

The city centre is marked by Cairns Central ShoppingOpens external site and the Cairns railway stationOpens external site to the west, the airportOpens external site to the north and the council buildings to the south. Most services and places of interest are concentrated around the Reef Fleet TerminalOpens external site with wharves, a marina, restaurants, bars and a shopping centre at The PierOpens external site.

Edge Hill to the north of the city centre is a good walk for the Botanical GardensOpens external siteTank Arts CentreOpens external site and Mt Whitfield National ParkOpens external site. There are also easy walking track from there to Centenary LakesOpens external site.

Palm Cove

Head north from Cairns and discover paradise at Palm Cove.

Northwest of the city Stratford and Freshwater are residential suburbs with trendy cafes, while north from there are a string of beach suburbs that run in order: Machans BeachOpens external site in a new window, Holloways BeachOpens external site in a new window and Yorkeys KnobOpens external site in a new window all offer cafes and holiday accommodation - or even wind-surfing at Yorkeys Knob.

Further on are Trinity BeachOpens external site in a new window, Kewarra BeachOpens external site in a new window and Clifton BeachOpens external site in a new window tall the way to the swanky, spa capital of Palm CoveOpens external site in a new window. Beyond Palm Cove you'll find the wide sandy beach of Buchan's Point and Ellis BeachOpens external site in a new window.

Port Douglas and Mossman Gorge

You'll find glitz, gastronomy and gorgeous beaches in and around Port Douglas.

There's oceanfront resorts in Port DouglasOpens external site as well as world-class restaurants all in this tiny beach outpost. Four Mile BeachOpens external site offers gently undulating waves makes and is a popular destination for young families.

Part of the Daintree Rainforest and located 20 kilometres north of Port Douglas, Mossman GorgeOpens external site is one of the region's star attractions. The new Mossman Gorge Centre is an indigenous eco-tourism experience where local Aboriginal guides will give you a genuine, authentic and unique insight into the local area. Relax afterwards in one of Mossman's historic pubs.

Cape Tribulation

Get off the beaten track in this World Heritage-listed region.

Only accessible by ferry, you'll need a 4WD to get around some parts of Cape TribulationOpens external site in a new windowbut it's well worth the trip.

Enjoy empty Robinson-Crusoe style beaches, pristine bushwalking tracks through the rainforest and one of Australia's richest diversity of flora and fauna.

Quick facts

Currency

Currency

Australian Dollar (A$)

Electricity

Electricity

230V / 50 Hz

Population

Population

142,000

Seasons

Seasons

There are two distinct weather seasons Cairns experiences each year like the rest of Queensland. Winter falls between April and September, with slightly cooler but warm temperatures and minimal rain. Summer is October to March with hot, sticky temperatures and heavy rainfall periods.

Getting around

From the Airport

From the airport, there are plenty of transport options to get to Cairns or your hotel. Airport ConnectOpens external site in a new window is a public transport link that gets you to the city centre or the northern Beaches. Taxis and Rental Cars can be booked from the Airport upon arrival. Transfers and LimousinesOpens external site in a new window and the Sun Palm BusOpens external site in a new window can be pre booked to pick you up and take you to your hotel.

Around town

Getting around Cairns CBD is best done on foot. To get to surrounding areas it is best in your (hire) car as it gives you freedom to get out and explore the surrounding area and enjoy the best of the region. Alternatively the local public transport SunbusOpens external site in a new window is great to get to most surrounding areas in Cairns and the beaches. 

Cairns car hire

Take off from Cairns in your own car and visit Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation and the luxe beach destination of Port Douglas. Qantas Points per A$1 spent on the Base Rate within Australia.

Getting you there

Your flight with Qantas

Baggage icon

Pack more into your trip with complimentary checked baggage allowance on every flight.

dining icon

Enjoy complimentary meals or refreshments every time you fly with us.

Book your flights to Cairns.

Other destinations

Important Information

Disclaimer: ^ You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions.

** Prices are per room, per night and vary depending on date of check in, length of stay and room type. Conditions apply.

~ Qantas activities are provided by Viator. Conditions apply.