Cairns is a breathtaking city located right on the water. It boasts a tropical climate, which means temperatures are favourable year-round. The area has two distinct seasons: winter and summer. The winter months, which are April – September have cooler temperatures, minimal rainfall, and clear skies. Late August is the ideal time to visit because then you skip the holiday tourist season. Average temperatures at this time are 17.4 – 26.5 degrees Celsius.
Each terminal has a sheltered taxi rank available. A $4 AUD fee is automatically added for rides departing from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The approximate fare to city centre is $25 AUD.
The Sun Palm Transport Group offers a direct shuttle bus to and from the airport. The shuttle must be pre-booked. The fare to city centre is approximately $15 AUD for adults and $7.50 AUD for children.
Translink offers a bus service from the airport to city centre. The bus departs every 30 minutes and minimum fare is approximately $4 AUD.
Uber operates in Cairns, and there are dedicated airport pickups in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of the airport. You must pre-book their service using the smartphone app. The fare depends on the time of day, number of passengers, and type of vehicle requested.
Private Car Hire
Limousines may be booked ahead of time for a direct ride to and from the airport. Prices vary depending on the type of vehicle requested and the time of service. Popular private car hires include: Let’s Take the Rolls, Murrays Coach Bus & Limousine Hire, CoolRides, Cairns Limousine Service, and Hughes Limousines.
You can save money and explore Cairns with your car hire picked up at the airport. Book your rental car with momondo.
Cairns has a flat landscape and is a tightly put together city, so a vast majority of the attractions are accessed by walking around, including the CBD area. If you want to venture up to the tablelands and rainforest, however, you will need other means of transportation.
The Sunbus operates throughout Cairns and runs daily. It is the most affordable way to get around the area, and there are around 18 routes. The daily fare starts at $4.40 AUD for travel within zone 1 and can go up to $13.40 AUD for travel to zone 9 locations.
Taxis are the most expensive means of transportation in Cairns, but to shorten travel times, they might be worth the cost. You can typically hail one from the curb, but you can also locate a taxi rank or contact the company for a booking. The booking fee is $1.50 AUD, and the flag fare starts at $2.90 AUD. The price after that is $2.26 AUD per kilometre and $0.82 AUD per minute wait time.
To get from one end of Cairns to the other, or to venture up to the rainforest, you can book a ride-share through Uber using their smartphone app. The fare depends on how far you are driving and the vehicle selected.
Boats are useful when you want to venture across the harbour, take a tour of the local reefs, or just travel along the waterfront. River cruises take anywhere from 1 – 14 hours depending on how far out you go. The cost depends on which tour you book, the company, type of boat, and party size.
Most people come to Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef, but there is plenty more to do after you have snorkeled your way through the reef. The cafe culture is amazing in Cairns, and you will find gourmet coffee shops on almost every corner of the CBD. There are also local eateries featuring Aussie wines, fusion cuisine, and popular foods. In the Cairns Highlands, you will find Tarzali Lakes platypus park. Cairns has several museums and tourist sites dedicated to the Aboriginal culture, including the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. It will be worth your time to book a rainforest trip and hike through the forests that are over 135 million years old.
Try a Hostel
If you are the adventurous type and do not need a luxury hotel, then book a hostel in the CBD. Hostels are the most cost-effective type of lodging, and you can find a room for as little as $17 AUD or a private accommodation for $55 – $90 AUD.
Purchase Day Tickets
The bus is by far the cheapest means of transportation in Cairns, but it can be costly if you pay per zone. Consider purchasing a day pass to save on transportation costs.
Enjoy a boxed wine, which is much cheaper than purchasing bottled Australian wines in Cairns.
Be Aware of Stinger Season
During the rainy season, experiences the infamous Stinger Season, which is when the jellyfish make their way into the waters around Cairns. During this time, the Box Jellyfish may be in the water. Their sting can be fatal; therefore, only swim around the stinger nets during this season and follow all safety precautions posted along the beach.