The stylish city of Cairns, in Queensland, is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforests and islands of North-Eastern Australia. And with excellent shopping, dining and bars, as well as some very beautiful beaches, Cairns is a terrific destination in its own right.
Its popularity as a tourist destination and as the arrival point for holidaymakers keen to sample tropical Queensland means that Cairns can also boast a fine selection of holiday rentals, including self-contained accommodation, villas and apartments to suit all budgets.
Cairns is situated on the Cape York Peninsula, around 1000 miles north of Brisbane and 1500 miles from Sydney. Founded in 1876 and named after a former governor general of Queensland, it made its name as the major port on the north-eastern seaboard for exporting the raw materials that were plentiful in the region, including sugar cane, gold, minerals and agricultural products. As Australia’s economy has changed, so too has Cairns – today tourism plays a leading role in the city’s economy and its position close to the Wet Tropics, the Great Barrier Reef and the Atherton Tableland mean Cairns ranks in Australia’s top five destinations for international tourists.
Today many holiday rentals in the city overlook the Foreshore Promenade, which runs for two miles along the beachfront and has at its centre the Esplanade with an enormous saltwater lagoon and adjoining barbecue facilities. Here the famed
Australian love of the great outdoors is seen in all its glory, with surfers and sunbathers, rollerbladers and skateboarders all enjoying the all-year-round sunshine.
Also fringing the Promenade are Cairns’ best bars and restaurants, as well as some excellent boutique shopping. And, of course, there are also covered malls at Cairns Central and Westcourt for those who want to splash the cash in air-conditioned cool.
However, Cairns’ greatest asset is its proximity to some of the most amazing natural attractions anywhere in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef runs for an incredible 1600 miles down the coast of Queensland, the world’s largest coral reef and an underwater marvel. From Cairns, visitors can arrange to go snorkelling or scuba diving to explore this unique world with its extraordinary marine wildlife. Or why not walk underwater and see the coral and fish for a quite unique experience? You can even ride the Scuba Doo, an underwater motorbike but if all that seems a little too much, glass-bottomed boats provide a glimpse of the reef without having to get your feet wet!
Just 15 miles from Cairns is Kuranda village, a picturesque mountain retreat in the centre of tropical rainforests. Once a focus for those entranced by Sixties’ counter-culture, today Kuranda is a stylish centre for arts and crafts. A scenic railway and rainforest cableway offer the best ways to arrive here but even driving offers stunning views of tropical forests and mountain ranges.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Daintree Rainforest National Park is another must-see on any trip to Cairns. This ancient rainforest is a unique collection of Australian fauna and flora, some of which cannot be found anywhere else on the continent – in fact, Daintree is considered the oldest surviving rainforest on earth. A Skyrail cableway will allow you to climb high to the rainforest canopy for a never-to-be-forgotten experience.
Cairns’ position, close to some of the most amazing scenery and sights in Australia, make this city a natural stop for any visitors to Queensland. With holiday rentals plentiful and affordable, Cairns’ own attractions make the city a terrific holiday destination on its own.
Cairns enjoys the warm, tropical climate that is typical of northern Queensland, which means it can offer all-year-round sunshine. During the summer months from January to March, expect average daily temperatures of 31°C with nighttime heat around 24°C. Be aware that temperatures can go a lot higher, too – travellers not used to the Australian heat should make sure they do what the locals do and cover up well with sunscreen. Summer also means tropical thunderstorms, usually in the late afternoon and evening – thankfully, they rarely last more than a matter of minutes but do be prepared and carry a light rain jacket. Having self-contained accommodation means you can leave your holiday base prepared for every eventuality.
The gateway to northern Queensland is via Brisbane International Airport and UK holidaymakers can fly there from London’s Heathrow Airport with some of the major carriers. Connecting flights from Brisbane fly into Cairns International Airport and local transport, including taxis and buses, from there into the city centre are plentiful and affordable. Car rental will allow travellers greater freedom to explore this amazing region – check with your holiday accommodation that free parking is available.