Guide to Cairns
Aboriginal name: Gimuy (pronounced Gee-moy)
- Getting to Cairns
- When to visit
The gateway to Queensland's tropical north, Cairns is a laid-back city best enjoyed outdoors.
The region of Cairns is home to the iconic Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest, but the city of Cairns itself is also a must-visit. You'll find brilliant cafés, bustling markets and plenty of beaches nearby. Relax by a resort pool or spend your days exploring this tropical oasis.
The Gimuy-walubarra yidi are the Traditional Owners of Cairns and the surrounding district.
- Traditional name: Gimuy (pronounced Gee-moy)
- Indigenous Peoples: Gimuy-walubarra yidi
- Traditional languages: Yidiny language
Cairns Airport (CNS) is the main gateway to Tropical North Queensland making this the perfect starting point for your tropical holiday.
- Cairns Airport (CNS) is 5.5km (3.5mi) from the city and services international and domestic arrivals
- Car hire, taxis, rideshares and transfer services are available to book prior to your arrival, or on the day
The city centre is fairly flat, so getting around is easy, even on foot. However, Cairns offers a wide range of transport options, including a network of buses and taxi services. Unless you are joining an organised tour, car hire is recommended for reaching nearby attractions such as the Daintree Rainforest.
Cairns' weather is one of the best things about this stunning tropical destination, and there are benefits to visiting any time of the year. Different to Australia’s southern regions, Queensland's north has only two seasons: a summer season and a dry season. While the dry season boasts great weather and even migrating whales, you should expect larger crowds. The summer season is characterised by tropical weather, including summer showers.
- High season: Dry season (May to October)
- Low season: Summer season (November to April)
- Don’t miss: Taking a dip with dwarf minke whales (June and July)
- Arrival: Special assistance is offered at Cairns International Airport for those with visible or hidden disabilities.
- Getting around: You can organise for a qualified carer to accompany you as a tour companion with Out There Travel Care, and wheelchair-accessible vehicle hire is available with Wheelies Van Rental.
- Accessible experience highlights: Sail atop the Great Barrier Reef on a Reef Magic catamaran and explore the Daintree Rainforest on wheelchair-friendly trails through Mossman Gorge.
- Helpful resources: Find itineraries and inspiration for your trip with this accessible travel guide.