Cairns General Information
It is the international and domestic gateway to Australia’s Tropical North Queensland and is truly a multicultural city. Direct flights connect Cairns airport with Singapore; Hong Kong; Japan; Guam; Port Moresby & Auckland plus all Australian state capital cities and some regional centres thus making it one of the busiest airports in the country. Cairns airport is just 10 minutes from the city centre.
Cairns City is the major metropolitan area for the region.
The population is about 140,000. For shopaholics there are 4 large shopping malls within the city precincts as well as a number of arcades with many boutiques. There is very little that cannot be bought in Cairns. There are also the Night Markets open each night and Rusty’s markets (fruit and vegetables) at the weekends plus the ‘Farmgate’ markets at the Pier on Saturday mornings for art, craft, vegetables and fruit.
The Cairns Esplanade is a two-mile long park on the waterfront and incorporates ‘The Lagoon’ which is a 2 Ha unfenced swimming pool; a number of shelters and BBQ facilities (free to use); a children’s water playground and jungle gym – "Muddies"; a skate park and volley ball court. At the northern end there is another children’s playground. Bordering this area is a 2.5km boardwalk and bicycle path linking the northern end to the Lagoon; the boardwalk continues from the Lagoon around the marina to the south for another kilometer or so to the river. This boardwalk is a great place for wildlife photographers to catch those spectacular bird shots and not get your shoes dirty.
Cairns Botanical Gardens and the adjacent Wetlands are the places to visit if you want to view some really lush tropical growth plus the rather weird and wonderful shapes in the plants. A great place for photographers to get some spectacular shots. There is a good restaurant where you can have morning or afternoon tea or a longer break for lunch, reasonably priced and a good wine list.
Restaurants of almost every ethnic taste can be found in Cairns city or nearby suburbs, though the specialty of the region is seafood and is readily available in most restaurants. There is a dinner cruise each night and a pre dinner evening cruise with drinks and nibbles just to whet your appetite. The Night Market’s are open each night and incorporates a food mall.
The Lagoon is 2 Ha of chlorinated fresh water on the Cairns Esplanade. If a salt water swim is preferred then, within 15-30 minutes drive are a number of suitable sandy beaches. Unfortunately, being sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns region has no surfing beaches. Swimming in some of the nearby streams like Crystal Cascades and Mossman Gorge is a good alternative to the ocean and swimming pools. Cairns has its own Golf course and is closely associated with a number of others in the area – some of international competition standard. You can do everything from dive beneath the sea to soaring above in hang gliders or skydiving and everything in between the two, like horse or quadbike riding, bungy jumping and white water rafting. The Reef Casino is a popular venue at any time right in the city. Cairns Convention Centre is renowned and is a favoured venue for conventioneers from around the world and interstate. The large hotels in the city also have meeting rooms for large and small gatherings and weddings.
In most accommodation houses and on the Cairns Esplanade you will find Tour desks ready to advise you on over 600 activities available to you. The staffs manning these desks have enjoyed many of the tours themselves and give experienced advice on suitability for your needs or budget.
Dress is "casual" at all times but the most formal. Standard dress is shorts or skirt and a "T" shirt or tank top; men will need full "roman" style sandals to enter the Casino and some restaurants at night, otherwise thongs for footwear (jandals or flip-flops). Evening dress is much the same as day wear but a bit more upmarket.
Cairns Base Hospital on the Esplanade, for emergency treatment only. 24 hr Medical Centre for non emergency treatment; next door is a chemist shop for late service on medications; on the corner of Grafton and Florence Streets, Cairns.
Getting To Cairns
From Cairns airport – taxi is about Au$15 (Maxi Taxi (up to 8 persons) about Au$20; Airport shuttle bus service is about Au$8 per person to/from the city accommodation. Taxi – call 131008 There is only one taxi service in Cairns. Self Drive – Hire cars are available at airports and can be booked for airport collection or delivered to your accomodation.
From Brisbane, drive north along the Bruce Highway (highway No 1). Allow 3 days to drive the 1700km to Cairns comfortably.
Bus Services – This is an enjoyable way to see the countryside; major coach companies operate express luxury coach services as well as more leisurely trips from the major cities and rural centres; vehicles are all air-conditioned for your comfort. Rail – The ‘Sunlander’ train travels up the Queensland coast from Brisbane and takes 31 hours. The "Tilt" train is faster and takes 25 hours. Bookings can be made through Queensland Rail www.qr.com.au.
Driving In Queensland
Like the UK we drive on the left side of the road, a driver’s license is necessary to hire a car. Unless otherwise sign posted there is a mandatory "give way to the right" at intersections.
Health & Beauty
There are a number of Hairdressing and Beauty salons in the city and suburbs, some Hotels will have their own salon on site. We also have a number of spas and businesses offering "Wellness "packages of therapeutic or remedial massage combined with aromatherapy and music.
There is a nudist club in Cairns and a property in Mossman (White Cockatoo) for Nudist Travelers.