Founded in the 17th century as a port to serve the goldfields of interior Australia, Cairns has become a popular destination for holidaymakers due to its tropical climate, and as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. With so much great sea life to be seen, it is no wonder Cairns is known worldwide as the Marlin Coast. Cairns is a laidback city best enjoyed outdoors.
Cairns has a tropical climate. The wet monsoonal season runs from November to May and dry season from June to October.
Cairns has a hot and humid summer with temperatures varying from 25°C-31°C from December to February, whereas temperatures are milder in winter June -August averaging in the high-teens and early-20s. From April to October, Cairns reaches peak visibility for divers and this coincides with the best time for whale watching from June to September.
Although the Great Barrier Reef is several miles from the Cairns shoreline, you can enjoy it during your holiday without even getting your feet wet thanks to semi-submersible crafts, glass bottom boats and underwater observatories. For those that want to experience the phenomenal ocean life first-hand, a Cairns holiday also offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world. About two hours north of Cairns lies the world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, home to a diverse range of plants and animals which you can see while trekking throuogh.
Tucked into said rainforest is the village of Kuranda, known for its vibrant arts community. To get there, try Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which glides above the rainforest and descends into its heart.
When you think of Cairns and the tropical north, think of its pristine beaches with soft white sand, calm clear waters and lush palm trees.
Over the years, Palm Cove and Trinity beaches have developed into popular tourist destinations due to their residential locations.
But, for an authentic tropical beach, visit Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island. It’s only a 45-minute boat ride from Cairns and is nestled among the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by colourful coral and marine life.
Cairns has a thriving cafe scene to enjoy. Eat breakfast as Caffiend for chilli eggs and french toast. Then lunch on wholesome salads at Silk Caffe and indulge on an iced nutella coffee.
If you want to take advantage of the balmy weather, dine alfresco on the Esplanade.
On weekends, take the chance to mingle with locals at Rusty’s Markets, where you can stock up on fresh local produce at over 180 stalls.
The Cairns nightlife/nightclub district is all neatly located within a four square city block.
For an evening with a bit more sophistication, visit Cairns Reef Casino for live music and entertainment or take a trip to the waterfront bars found near the Cairns Marlin Marina for dinner and drinks.
Visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park to get a feel for the 40,000-year-old aboriginal culture through theatre, guided bush-walks and didgeridoo shows.
Adventure and Sport There are many fun activities to partake in whilst in Cairns, including:
Cairns is an easy city to get around because it’s flat and everything is fairly close together.
Cairns also has a full range of transport options to suit all tastes and budgets. Buses, taxis and boats are all available and any four-wheel drive tours you take will pick you up and drop you off at your doorstep - bonus!