Australia’s entry point to northern Queensland is Cairns. Cairns is a worthwhile stop on everyone’s schedule, regardless of whether you are backpacking around the area, looking to dive, want to visit the woods, or are travelling deeper inland. Cairns is a very typical tropical city where people prioritise stopping to smell the roses. The city merits a longer stay than most people give it because there is so much to see there.(CAIRNS TRAVEL GUIDE)
While Cairns doesn’t require much time, it does serve as a suitable starting point for day trips to the interior or farther north. I advise a three- to four-day stay. This offers you enough time to tour the city and go on some excursions outside of it.
If you can, try to stay at least a few nights in the north. It is a region of the country that is sadly underappreciated and undervisited because there are fewer tourists, more beaches, and more jungle there.
This Cairns travel guide can assist you in planning your vacation, saving money, and making the most of your time in this amazing region of Austrila!
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Cairns
1.Take a look at the Great Barrier Reef
One of the top dive sites in the world is the great barrier reef With a size of around 344,000 square kilometres (133,000 square miles), it is the largest living thing on Earth (you can actually see the reef from space). In addition to huge clams, manta rays, sharks, turtles, clownfish, and other animals, the reef is naturally teeming with life. The most well-liked starting location for diving expeditions to the reef is Cairns. I was astounded by the coral and the abundance of fauna. It did not let me down! Dive excursions begin at about 230 AUD.
2. Wander about the Daintree Forest
Despite being known for its dry Outback, Australia also has rainforests. The Daintree region, which encompasses 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of Australia’s greatest tropical rainforest, is quite large. Additionally, it is the planet’s oldest rainforest, having existed for more than 120 million years. There are numerous day tours and multi-day excursions available in this area. Most visitors stop here en route to Cape Tribulation in the north. A two-day guided trip will set you back about 350 AUD.
3. go to Cape Tribulation.
After crossing the Daintree, continue up into Cape Tribulation, Cooktown, and Cape York.Few visitors travel up this route. There isn’t much to do here besides unwind, take in the scenery, and swim. Instead of taking a day trip, stay here for at least one night. It’s only 140 kilometres (87 miles) north of Cairns and is worth your time for the breathtaking landscapes.
4. Participate in extreme sports.
If swimming, diving, and trekking are too mundane for you, there’s always bungee jumping or sky diving.The a canyon swing is also here, thanks to AJ Hackett, the inventor of contemporary bungee leaping. A tandem skydive over the Great Barrier Reef from 4,500 metres (15,000 feet) up costs about 310 AUD, while a 50-meter (164-foot) bungee leap costs 139 AUD.
5. Observe the Atherton Tablelands,
Rainforest, marshes, and savanna are all present on the Atherton Tablelands. Day trips here are lengthy (you’ll leave early and return late), but you’ll see a tonne of spectacular waterfalls, including the renowned Millaa Millaa Falls (which is crazy beautiful!). This area is home to wallabies and tree kangaroos. Use Uncle Brian’s tours if you go. Their trip covers a lot of ground, and the drivers are entertaining and hilarious. Tours for one day cost 129 AUD.
Cairns Travel Costs
–In Cairns, there are many dorms available for 25–35 AUD per night. Private rooms begin at 50 AUD but typically cost between 75 and 110 AUD. Standard amenities at hostels include free Wi-Fi and self-catering options. Check before making a reservation, as only some hotels offer complimentary breakfast.
If you have a tent, you can stay outside the city on a basic site without electricity for under 10 AUD per night.
Budget hotel prices
–Budget two-star accommodations start at about 100 AUD, while the majority of low-cost choices are closer to 150 AUD. Air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and even breakfast are considered standard luxuries.
Private rooms on Airbnb start at 50 AUD per night but typically cost closer to 150 AUD. A full house or apartment should cost at least 150 AUD (however, prices can be double or even triple if not booked early).
– he local cuisine is comparable to that of other parts of the nation. The two major staples are chicken and lamb, with burgers, steak, and prawns following closely behind. In addition to the ubiquitous BBQ, restaurants frequently serve a wide variety of pasta and seafood meals. Other typical dishes include vegemite on toast, meat pies, fish and chips, shellfish, and chicken parmigiana, which is just chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce, ham, and cheese.
Sandwiches and other inexpensive fare can be found for less than 15 AUD. The average main dish in a casual restaurant costs between 20 and 30 AUD. For a combo lunch, fast food (like McDonald’s) costs about 15 AUD.
If you want to splurge, an elegant meal and drink will set you back at least 60 AUD. You should budget 20–25 AUD for a lunch, for example, if you like Indian or Chinese food.
A coffee or cappuccino costs 5 AUD while a beer costs about 7–8 AUD. Water in bottles costs about 3 AUD.
Spend between 70 and 90 AUD a week on basic staples like pasta, rice, seasonal veggies, and some meat if you prepare your own food.
Backpacking Cairns Suggested Budgets
For 70 AUD per day, you may travel on a backpacker’s budget and explore Cairns. This is a suggested spending plan based on the assumption that you’ll be using public transportation to get around, preparing all of your meals, consuming little alcohol, and engaging in primarily free activities like swimming and hiking. If you intend to drink, increase your daily spending by 10–20 AUD.
On a mid-range budget of 200 AUD per day or more, you can stay in an Airbnb, eat out for most meals at less expensive restaurants, have a few drinks at the bar, occasionally take a taxi to get around, and participate in a few paid activities like going bungee jumping or visiting the Great Barrier Reef.
You can stay in a hotel, eat out anywhere you like, rent a car to go around, drink more, and participate in as many activities as you want on a “luxury” budget of $400 AUD or more each day. But for luxury, this is merely the ground floor. There are no boundaries!
According to your travel preferences, you can use the chart below to obtain a general estimate of how much money you need to set aside each day. Remember that these are daily averages and that some days you may spend more and some days less (you might spend less every day). We simply wish to provide you with a rough outline for creating your budget. The prices are in Australian dollars.
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Avoiding numerous pricey tours and excursions is the best way to save money in Carins. That will help you save a tonne of money. However, that’s a drawback of travelling, so here are some additional ways to save in Cairns:
Purchase a package:There is a lot to do and see in the area, but it will cost you money. When you book tours and excursions with the same company, you may be eligible for a small discount. Ask your hostel if they have any specials as well.
Consume sparingly.Although eating out can be pricey, there are several sandwich shops around that can help you keep your spending low. Instead of going to a sit-down restaurant, get a sandwich or carry a picnic lunch.
Stay with a local:If you plan ahead, you can typically locate find a Couchsurfing host to accommodate you during your trip. By doing this, you’ll not only have a free place to stay but also a local host who can provide you with advice and insider information.
Drink goon (box wine):Goon (box wine) is a notorious beverage on the Australian hostel circuit for backpackers. The easiest way to drink, get drunk, and save a lot of money at the same time is with this inexpensive box of wine.
Prepare your own food.Eating out is expensive, so the easiest way to save money is to prepare as many meals as you can. It’s not fancy, but it’s inexpensive!
- Work for your room: Many hostels provide guests with the option of working for their lodging. You receive a free bed in return for a few hours of cleaning each day. While commitments vary, the majority of hostels require a minimum of one week’s stay.
- Save money on ridesharing: Uber is the best way to get around a city if you don’t want to wait for a bus or pay for a taxi because it is less expensive than cabs.
- Bring a water bottle :Bring a reusable water bottle because Cairns’ tap water is safe to drink. This will help you save money and reduce the amount of plastic you consume. To guarantee that your water is always sterile and clean, Lifestraw manufactures sturdy water bottles with integrated filters.
Where to Stay in Cairns
Cairns has a plenty of hostels to help you visit on a budget. Here are my favorite places to stay:
How to Get Around Cairns
Public transportation – Translink operates a dependable public bus service in Cairns that can get you almost anywhere you need to go. Starting at 2.40 AUD, a single zone fare increases. A single-zone daily pass costs $4.80 AUD.
A Go Card can help you save money. You can save about 30% on each ticket by using an electronic pre-paid ticket. You’ll need to load it with 20 AUD, but if you’re staying for a few days, you won’t have any trouble using that.
Bike rental –The Esplanade, Centenary Lakes, and Botanic Gardens are some of the best-known routes in Cairns’ extensive network of bike trails. You can rent bicycles at Cairns Scooter & Bicycle Hire or from several of the hostels. Rental rates begin at 25 AUD per day.
Taxis: Since taxis are pricey, I would steer clear of them. Prices range from 2.90 AUD to 2.30 AUD more per kilometre. If you can, avoid them!
Ridesharing: There are ridesharing apps in this area that are a little less expensive than taxis.
Car rental – Renting a car is perfect if you want to explore the north or venture off the beaten path in Cairns. However, you do not need a car to get around the city. For a weeklong rental, you can find rentals for about 60 AUD per day. Use Discover Cars to find the lowest rates on Discover Cars.
When to Go to Cairns
North Queensland’s position means that Cairns experiences hot, muggy summers and dry, moderate winters. Queensland is a fantastic destination all year round due to its average daily high temperatures, which range from 26 °C (88 °F) in the winter to 31 °C (79 °F) in the summer.
The wettest season is summer (December to February), when temperatures range from 75 to 89 °F (25 to 31 °C). Since the majority of travellers arrive in Australia during the summer, this is also the busiest time of the year.
Autumn (March through May) is also a wonderful season to visit because the weather is still pleasant and warm and the rain stops in April.
The optimum time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is in the spring (September to November), if that is your main objective. During the yearly coral spawning in November, the reef truly comes to life.
Go during the shoulder season to avoid the crowds (April–May or September–October). Prices will be lower, and there will be fewer people.
How to Stay Safe in Cairns
It is extremely safe to go and backpack in Cairns. People are polite and helpful, and violent attacks are uncommon.
The majority of events in Cairns usually happen because tourists are unfamiliar with the area’s unusual temperature and wildness. Keep yourself as hydrated as you can and use as much sunscreen as you can. Carry mosquito repellent because dengue fever is a possibility.
In the months of November through May, avoid swimming in the ocean unless there is a beach stinger net to protect you from jellyfish stings. Prior to going on a hike, always check the forecast and pack water and sunscreen. When leaving the city, be cautious of animals, particularly snakes and spiders. If you’ve been bitten, get medical help right away.
Although solo female tourists are often secure here, the usual precautions still apply (never leave your drink unattended at the bar, never walk home alone at night intoxicated, etc.). For specialised guidance, consult other blogs written by solitary female travellers.
If you’re concerned about travel fraud, read this article to learn common travel scams to avoid here. . But there aren’t many here.
When there is an emergency, call 000 for help.
The most crucial piece of guidance I can give is to get quality travel insurance. You will be covered by travel insurance in the event of illness, accidents, theft, and cancellations. It offers complete security in case something goes wrong. Since I’ve needed it so often in the past, I never travel without it. To find the insurance that’s best for you, use the widget below:
Cairns Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
These are the businesses I like to use when I travel. They routinely outperform their rivals in terms of pricing, customer service, and value. Overall, they are superior. They are the businesses I use the most, and I always start there when looking for travel discounts.
- Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine. They search small websites and budget airlines that larger search sites tend to miss. They are hands down the number one place to start.
- This is the best hostel accommodation site out there with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- The best all around booking site that constantly provides the cheapest and lowest rates. They have the widest selection of budget accommodation. In all my tests, they’ve always had the cheapest rates out of all the booking websites.
- If you want to do group tours, go with Intrepid. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get exclusive discounts with them too!
Get Your Guide
- Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace for tours and excursions. They have tons of tour options available in cities all around the world, including everything from cooking classes, walking tours, street art lessons, and more!
- This website allows you to see how to get from point A to point B the best and cheapest way possible. Just enter your departure and arrival destinations and it will give you all the bus, train, plane, or boat routes that can get you there as well as how much they cost. It’s one of the best transportation websites out there!
- Safety Wing offers convenient and affordable plans tailored to digital nomads and long-term travelers. They have cheap monthly plans, great customer service, and an easy-to-use claims process that makes it perfect for those on the road.
- My go-to company for reusable water bottles with built-in filters so you can ensure your drinking water is always clean and safe.
- They make lightweight, durable, easy-to-clean travel clothing.