Read about the city

Cairns is a lovely and relaxed town in tropical Northern Australia. It is also the gateway to many boat trips to the Great Barrier Reef and all the unforgettable experiences of snorkeling and simply enjoying the beauties of the reef.

Cairns is a relatively young city with its founding in 1876. Since then, the city has grown into a regional metropolis, and there are many beautiful buildings from Cairns' first years during its development. These include public buildings and several Queensland-style architectural hotels.

There are many experiences in Cairns where you can, for example, take a swim in the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, which lies along the city's distinguished promenade along the sea. Here you will also find shopping, restaurants and various activities.

In the vicinity of Cairns, nature is always close by. Of course, this applies to the Great Barrier Reef, but also to the beautiful inland, where the city of Kuranda is a good destination for an excursion. From here you can experience the Barron Gorge National Park.

Other attractions
  • Barrier Reef Hotel: This old and charming hotel was built in 1926 by Carl Peter Jorgensen. The contemporary building reflected the growing town and belief in Cairns' future with new harbour facilities and much more.
  • Bishop's House: This building was built in 1930 as a Catholic monastery. It was at a time when several Catholic institutions were being established in the city; eg the monastery and a school. Today, the elegant building is decorated as the local bishop's residence.
  • St Monica's Old Cathedral: This is a now former Roman cathedral, built in 1927 with a Catholic school on the premises. The church was replaced in 1968 as a cathedral by the larger St Monica's Cathedral, which at the time was built as a modern church.

Hides Hotel, Cairns

  • Hides Hotel: Hides Hotel is one of Cairns' great, beautiful hotel buildings dating back to the 20th century. The elegant hotel was built in 1928 and throughout the years it was neighbor to the Cairns Hotel from 1885.
  • Cairns City Council Chambers: This neoclassical building was built in the years 1929-1930 for city council purposes. The beautiful building replaced a former one of wood, and since 1999 it has served as the Cairns City Library.

Cairns War Memorial

  • Cairns War Memorial: This is a monument erected in 1925. The monument was constructed in honor of those who fought in World War I. The memorial was moved to its current location in 1972 and it indicates the time 4.28. It was at this time that ANZAC troops arrived to Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
History overview

    [expand title="Read about city history" id="historie2" swaptitle="Hide content"]
    The first European presence in the present Cairns area occurred in 1770, when Captain James Cook had the coasts of Queensland in sight without going ashore.

    It was not until about 100 years later when gold was found on the Hodgkinson River, the city of Cairns was founded as a service point for the many miners. It was in 1876 and Cairns was named after the then Governor of Queensland, William Wellington Cairns.

    Traffic to the Hodgkinson River disappeared when Port Douglas took over the role as the city with the easiest access to the mining area, but Cairns grew nonetheless, as the city became both the shipping port for not least the region's sugar production and the railway hub. The Cairns Railway commenced services in 1886.

    Today, 130,000 people live in Cairns, and a significant portion of the city's revenue now comes from tourism. Here is a warm tropical climate, and besides the city's own sights, many visitors come to see the beautiful surroundings; especially the Great Barrier Reef, located a short boat trip from Cairns.
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Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, Esplanade, Cairns City Queensland, Australien

Top attractions

Cairns Esplanade

  • Cairns Esplanade: The fashionable coastal street, Cairns Esplanade, offers a variety of shops, restaurants, playgrounds, works of art as well as a variety of other amusements and experiences in the nature.
  • Cairns Regional Gallery: This art museum is known as one of the foremost of Australia's regional art museums. The museum does much to showcase a wide and varied selection of works of art, not least by local artists from northern Queensland.

Flecker Botanical Gardens, Cairns

  • Flecker Botanical Gardens: Close to the center of Cairns, this botanical garden is like a tropical oasis with its wealth of beautiful flowers and interesting plants; among other things, the heavy Amorphophallus Titanum.
  • Cairns Museum: The Cairns Museum is a good introduction to the city and the area, describing and exhibiting history from the beginning of the Aborigines to the modern day city in tropical North Australia.
Trips in the area

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

  • Great Barrier Reef: The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest system of coral reefs. In total, about 3,000 coral reef systems and nearly 1,000 islands form a more than 2,000-kilometer/1,250 miles-long coral belt along the Australian northeast coast. The reef is easily accessible from Cairns.
  • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: The cable car, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, is an extremely beautiful and exciting ride through the Barron Gorge National Park. The trip departs from the Cairns suburb of Caravonica to the city of Kuranda.

Kuranda Scenic Railway, Cairns Australia

  • Kuranda: Kuranda is a cozy town and the gateway to several experiences such as the Barron Falls Waterfall and the Barron Gorge National Park. An exciting way to go to Kuranda is by the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
  • Barron Gorge National Park: This is a beautiful national park with a lush and varied landscape. The National Park is located around the Barron River, which forms the beautiful Barron Falls in the park.
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  • Cairns Central Shopping Center, Aplin / Spence / McLeod / Bunda Streets,
  • Orchid Plaza, Abbott Street
  • Stockland Cairns, 537 Mulgrave Road, Earlville,
  • Shopping streets: CBD, Esplanade, Lake Street
With kids
  • Birds: Birdworld Kuranda, 8 Rob Veivers Drive, Kuranda,
  • Railway: Kuranda Scenic Railway, Cairns Railway Station, Bunda Street,
  • Cable Car: Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, 6 Skyrail Drive, Smithfield,
  • Crocodiles: Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, Captain Cook Highway, Wangetti,
  • Bathing: Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, Esplanade
  • Animals and zipline: Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, Wharf Street,
Practical info