Cairns Info

Here's some General Information on Cairns, It's in addition to our Cairns FAQ. Feel free to email us if there's anything we've missed or haven't made too clear.

Airport

Banking

Bus Station

Crocodiles

Cyclones

Driving

Internet Access

Jellyfish

Mosquitoes

Personal Safety

Poste Restante

Port Douglas

Rainforest

Reef Tax

Scuba Diving

Sharks

Shopping

Snakes & Spiders

Snorkelling

Train Station

 

 

AIRPORT

The Cairns International and Domestic Airport is located within ten minutes drive from the Cairns CBD and is easily accessible by hire car, taxi or airport shuttle bus. A taxi will only cost you around $16 one way into the CBD and the airport shuttle will set you back around $7.00 per person. 
Hire cars can be picked up and returned from/to the airport and you will find many hire car booths there on arrival in the lounge at both terminals, however it is much cheaper to prebook.
If you are heading overseas from Cairns the airport departure tax is slightly higher here than other Australian airports due to it being privately owned. The departure tax is currently $46 per person. We can also help you organise your flight to Cairns.

 

BANKING

All transactions are in Australian Dollars. Currency conversion is available in all tourist areas. All the major Australian Banks have branches here and they are open between 9.30 am and 4.00 pm from Monday to Thursday - 9.00 am to 5.00 pm on Fridays. There is also no shortage of ATM's, they can be found everywhere in the Cairns area that accept all types of cards from all banks, anywhere in the world. It would pay to check with your own Bank before coming to Cairns as to which bank here has a reciprocal agreement with them.

 

BUS STATION

The local Sunbus services Cairns and it's suburbs. The main depot is in City Place on Lake St. Very close to the Cairns CBD the interstate bus terminal is located at the Reef Fleet Terminal. Here you will find the bus services of Greyhound Pioneer, McCaffertys and Coral Coaches. You cannot get a local bus to Kuranda.

 

CROCODILES

Cairns is home to the Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile. These are the largest on earth and could potentially ruin your holiday (and life). However they are not really an issue as long as some common sense is shown. Don't swim where you see a crocodile warning sign, don't swim where you think there should be a crocodile warning sign. Generally if you avoid muddy waters and only swim in the ocean or fast flowing clear rivers and creeks you'll be OK. A good rule of thumb is don't swim where there isn't anyone else in the water. Us locals tend to be very crocodile aware.

 

CYCLONES

Cyclones are the Australian term for hurricanes or typhoons. Cairns is in the cyclone affected part of Australia, and has had a few near misses as well as a few smaller direct hits. The cyclone season officially runs from December to April, however it tends to be at it's peak in February and March. On average 2-3 cyclones affect the Queensland Coast every year. Don't worry, if a cyclone was coming our way on your holiday, you'd have time to leave and everything would be all OK.  We would usually be placed on a cyclone warning 4 or 5 days before the event. In March 2006, Cyclone Larry, one of the largest cyclones to cross the Queensland Coast narrowly missed Cairns, making landfall at Innisfail. This affected Cairns more than the recent cyclone Yasi, which struck Mission Beach and Tully in February 2011. Don't worry about being caught in a cyclone - all Cairns Tours are cancelled long before any danger is due.

If there is a Cyclone threatening Cairns click here because I'll be running a blog for as long as we've got an internet connection.

Click here for a blog about Cyclone Steve, or here for photo's of Cyclone Larry's destruction

 

DRIVING

In Australia we drive on the left side of the road. Cairns is relatively easy to negotiate with adequate signage. We do have a few round-abouts, and these can be tricky for visitors. Just be careful of suicidal cyclists at times. Click here for more info on driving in Australia.

 

INTERNET ACCESS

You will probably not see as many internet access places anywhere as there are in Cairns. We seem to be the E-mail capital of the world and the prices vary all of the time. Some places will let you check your email for free then start charging you after the first five minutes. Around Cairns at the moment the average price per hour seems to be about $3, but it goes as low as $1.00 and as high as $6.00. If you want to search you can even find many places offering a free half hour. Wireless Hotspots are available at many cafe's and shopping centres as well as most Fast Food Restaurants. 

 

JELLYFISH

The waters of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are home to 2 of the most deadly Jellyfish in the world. The Box Jellyfish, which inhabits coastal waters (stinger season is Oct to April) and the Irundkandji, which is an oceanic jellyfish which is mostly kept out at sea but northerly winds can sometimes bring them to the reef and as well as coastal beaches. During the stinger season stinger nets are provided on the beaches.  If you swim in the stinger nets provided at most of the beaches and wear a stinger suit (thin lycra wetsuit) when at the Reef you won't get stung. Stinger suits are available on most boats - they also act to protect you against sun burn too and abrasions!   As long as you are sensible - you have nothing to worry about! (Click here to visit our marine stinger page for more info.)

 

MOSQUITOES

These guys can be pretty annoying, especially in the wet season. Both Ross River Fever and Dengue Fever have been passed by mosquitoes in Cairns. I've lived here all my life and never got either. We use a product called "RID" which contains DEET and is very effective in keeping them away. "Bushman" is also very effective. Don't bother bringing repellent from overseas as it isn't formulated against our tropical bities!

 

PERSONAL SAFETY

Cairns is generally a safe city. The Queensland Police Force have a large presence in the city and in co-operation with the Cairns City Council make personal safety a priority. Make sure you use hotel safes and as with anywhere never carry large amounts of money around always better to be on the safety side just in case. One thing we don't recommend is walking around the city at night alone especially if you're a female. While there are security camera's located in various points around the inner city they won't act as a deterrent all of the time. Catch a taxi home or walk with a male friend if you have one handy. If you plan to drive a vehicle do not speed and/or drink and drive you will get caught! The Esplanade lagoon and flagged areas on all Northern Beaches are patrolled by lifesavers.

 

POSTE RESTANTE

The Poste Restante is open between 9 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday. You can have your mail sent here for collection while you are travelling as well as taking care of all of your other postal needs. A lot of shops and news agencies can also sell you stamps however they may not have stamps for posting international letters, parcels and postcards. The Cairns GPO is located at 32 Sheriden St, with additional post offices located in both Orchid Plaza and Cairns Central Shopping Centres.

 

PORT DOUGLAS

Port Douglas is located approximately an hour from Cairns. most tours from Cairns to the Daintree Rainforest will at least do a drive through of Port Douglas. Many people choose to hire a car and take advantage of the spectacular scenic drive. along the Captain Cook Highway. Port Douglas hosts a very popular foreshore markets every sunday. Flames of the Forest, a unique dining experience is located at Port Douglas.

 

RAINFOREST

Cairns is surrounded on all sides by Rainforest. The most well known is called the Daintree Rainforest. Cape Tribulation is located in the Daintree Rainforest.

 

REEF TAX (or EMC)

Reef Tax or Environmental Management Charge is a government imposed levy upon all visitors to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is usually added on to your ticket price however it may be included. Your booking will mention if you need to pay this on the day of travel.

 

SCUBA DIVING

Scuba Diving in Cairns is amongst the best and safest in the world. All operators are licenced and all staff have at lest divemaster qualifications - most being fully qualified instructors. There are lots of Cairns Reef Tours available that include Scuba Diving - just ask us. Before learning to dive a

Dive medical to Australian Standard 4005.1 is required. A dive medical done overseas generally will not comply.

 

SNORKELLING

Snorkelling is fairly easy - even for kids and the unexperienced. You do need to know how to swim. For beginners or if you have small children one of the tours visiting a pontoon or island may be the better choice. Most boats/tours will include a snorkelling demonstration/lesson on the way out to the reef. Our Great Barrier Reef Tours page list all the snorkelling options.

SNAKES & SPIDERS

There are lots of these in Australia, in fact more than anywhere else in the world. However you'd be pretty lucky to see a snake in the wild and if you do see one it won't bite you unless you annoy it. They are mostly shy creatures and try and stay away from humans!  So just be sensible and if you see one walk away!  Same goes for spiders. I've lived here all my life and never been bitten, and I've been pretty stupid.

 

SHARKS

A lot of people ask about sharks. Unfortunately films like Jaws have created a national fear of sharks - this is such a shame as they are beautiful mostly peaceful creatures, most of which are very shy and believe it or not - are more afraid of us than we are of them! If you are lucky you might get to see a small reef-shark - these are completely harmless. Most people are excited to see them.  Heidi has a great love of sharks and has dived all over the world looking for sharks!  She has even done a 4 day great white shark expedition in a shark cage which was fantastic!  However fear not - these amazing beasts (they are huge!) do not live in the tropical waters around here - she had to dive the chilly oceans off South Australia for this adventure!

 

SHOPPING

Cairns has all the shopping you could need on your holiday. There is a major shopping centre located in the middle of Cairns City called "Cairns Central" as well as other centres in the suburbs. All major Australian Chains have stores in Cairns. There are 3 supermarkets located in the city centre. As for souvenirs and T'Shirts etc, you can't miss them, almost every second shop sells them.

 

TRAIN STATION

The train station is located right beside one of our major shopping complexes - Cairns Central, on the southern side. It is only a five minute walk from the Cairns City centre and the Esplanade. The train to Kuranda departs from this station in the morning and returns late in the afternoon. Whilst Cairns does not have local train services this station caters for long distance rail journeys.

 

Here's some of our most popular pages - have a look at them, and then you'll definately want to Visit Cairns!

 

 

Contact Details



07 4057 4312
+61 7 4057 4312


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