Cairns Vacations

Tin and timber harvesting from the nearby Atherton table lands were the impetus for Carins’ growth. Prawn and marlin fishing continued to add to the development in the mid twentieth century, however, Cairns has exploded as the place from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Diving and snorkeling are more important than any monument, and the ... Read more
town unashamedly caters to the tourist trade, creating an accessible experience for the travellers who flock here to marvel at the Reef. New residents arrive all the time, making Cairns a destination not just for tourists but fortune-seeking Australians.

Cairns places to stay and top hotels

Cairns things to do and experiences

  • Great Barrier Reef
    9.944 reviews
    Outdoors, Beaches and Watersports
    Popular withAdventureOutdoorsy
  • Wet Tropics of Queensland
    8.99 reviews
    Sights and Museums
    Popular withBackpackers
  • Rum Runner
    8.37 reviews
    Tours, Classes and Rentals, Outdoors, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Sailing
    Popular withBackpackersAdventure
  • Cairns Night Markets
    9.54 reviews
    Shopping, Flea Market, Market
    Popular withFoodiesNightlife




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Cairns reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    Adventure Travelers
  • 8.2
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • 7.9
  • 6.4
    Family Travelers
  • 5.5

Member Reviews(60)

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Foster City, California, USA

Cairns town itself is a quiet, made for tourist adventure town. You can relax at beaches close by, do all the adventures on the reef, or go to the rainforest part, so there are lots to do for everyone.

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsBackpackersAdventure Travelers
Los Angeles, California, USA

A wonderful town on the coast with so many different activities that shouldn't be missed. Whether a backpacker or luxe traveler, there is something for everyone. This was my favorite place along the coast to see the reef.

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsBudget TravelersFamily TravelersBackpackers
Pittsford (town), New York

Located in Queensland, Cairns is known as the tourist capital of northern Australia, primarily due to its location near the Great Barrier Reef & the Wet Tropics rainforest. It is also a good starting point for a trip to the Outback & is a busy cruise port. Although many boat excursions for the adventurous are available here, we enjoyed exploring the city on foot. This is a tropical climate, so wear your sunscreen.

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsFamily TravelersAdventure Travelers
Cape Town, South Africa

There is not much to see in Cairns by itself but what's great are all those activities which you can enjoy in here. Good to have car or people who are willing to rent the car with you.

Recommended for:BackpackersAdventure Travelers
Westminster, California, USA

I loved this city more than Sydney itself because it's less crowded and much more mellow. The beach waves are really calm here. It's a small town with some different restaurants; not a whole lot but at least diverse. Lots of tour companies in this area; all of them around the same price to take you to different areas of the Great Barrier Reef. I wished I had more time to explore!

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsAdventure Travelers
New Delhi, India

if you're planning on diving or snorkelling the great barrier reef, cairns is the ideal base. not much going on in the city, but the beaches are lovely.

New York City, New York State, USA

A nice tourist town, though December the beaches are full of jellyfish, so there is a nice lagoon in town to do your swimming. Decent night life. Marina gives you access to reef trips, and there are plenty of tours to the rainforest. Would recommend checking out other nearby beach towns too though, while you are in the area.

Recommended for:Green TravelersAdventure Travelers
los angeles

Nothing here but the great barrier reef, diving here is pricey. Well then everything here was pricey.

Recommended for:Adventure TravelersBackpackersOutdoor Enthusiasts
Orange County, CA

Cairns is really close to the equator so the weather is more tropical most of the year. When I visited, it was fall in Australia but the weather was balmy. People could be found at the pool. You can go scuba diving or snorkeling. Even locals visit Cairns for a holiday.

Recommended for:Adventure TravelersBackpackersBudget Travelers

Quintessential beach town but you will love it. We were there in the middle of the Australian Summer so it was very humid - if the weather had been a little nicer it would have been absolutely wonderful but we had fun nonetheless. Lots of night bars around - also a nice casino next to our hotel.

But essentially this is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Once you visit the reefs here everything else you have seen or will see will never stand up to comparison. The ferry ride is not too long either - maybe an hour or so.