Cairns

Cairns is located in lush tropical far north Queensland on the east coast of Australia. This beautiful town boasts an infectious energy, recruiting over fifty new residents each week. The area is surrounded by world heritage listed natural wonders including the Great Barrier Reef which sits offshore and shapes the city's exotic character. The area is also home to many more popular natural attractions including the Atherton Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, Mission Beach and Green Island. Cairns itself has become a vibrant town, bustling with a constant stream of tourists which has influenced the growing infrastructure in the inner city area and region.

Cairns is slowly becoming more than just the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef with outdoor lifestyle, stylish cafés, boutique shopping and bustling nightlife every night of the week. To the north of Cairns are popular swimming beaches and resorts including the internationally renowned Port Douglas. Less than an hours drive away from Cairns you will find the famous Daintree National Park, and not far from here, Mossman offers visitors a glimpse of country life in the Cairns region and a laid back place to relax with nature.

Population: 128,000

Airport: Cairns International Airport [CNS]

Attractions:

The Great Barrier Reef runs at 2300 kms along the northeast coast of Queensland and is the largest natural feature on earth and can be seen from space. The reef has been slowly built over the last 600,000 years by billions of tiny creatures called coral polyps is home to some of the most exotic and rare marine wildlife in the world. The beautiful reef goes no further than 150 metres in the water's depth and therefore makes one of the world's most popular and breathtaking tourists attractions, allowing visitors to snorkel and dive in the reef.

Port Douglas is located about 70km north of Cairns and is home to a small permanent population of about 1300 residents. During the peak tourist season, the population grows to over four times its normal size, bringing people from all over the world to holiday in this exotic and very stylish little beach town and holiday along breathtaking Four Mile Beach. After being established in 1877 as a port for the Hodgkinson River goldfields, the town has become a 'style capital' housing some exclusive fashion labels and playing host to big budget Hollywood films. There is a range of accommodation options offered in Port Douglas from five star hotels and resorts to caravan parks and holiday rental houses.

If you drive one and a half hour south of beautiful Cairns you will find the famous Mission Beach. Offering you the best of both worlds, Mission Beach is secluded but still has a fabulous range of shopping, accommodation, restaurants and cafés. The area is made up of four smaller villages and are held together by the length of the beach, Garners Beach in the north and the Edmund Kennedy walking track.

The Daintree Rainforest National Park, located about 110km north of Cairns and 40 minutes from Port Douglas and Mossman is one of Australia's largest chunks of rainforest. It is said to contain thirty per cent of amphibian, marsupial and reptile species in Australia and is situated in a tiny 0.2 per cent of Australia's landmass. The area was world heritage listed in 1983 and has since then been the fuel to fight against the destruction of many other national parks in Australia and around the world. Tours of the rainforest are available, or if you have a 4WD you can brave the track yourself!

Transport Around City: The best way to get around the region is by hiring a car, which will give the most freedom to roam the area at your own leisure. If you are staying in Cairns city or Port Douglas, walking is an efficient way of getting around due to the close proximity of everything. Shuttles, buses and taxi services are also available.

Recommended Restaurants: Ochre Restaurant (CBD), Marinades (Indian, Cairns CBD), Atriums (Esplanade), Matsuri (CBD).

Recommended bars : Reef Hotel Casino - Vertigo Bar, Soho (Esplanade), Blue Mango Cafe and Wine Bar (Esplanade), The Pier Bar and Grill (Pier Marketplace).

Recommended hotels: Sebel Cairns Hotel (CBD), Hilton Cairns Hotel (Esplanade), Shangri La Hotel (Marina), Pacific International (CBD).

Climate: Tropical

Culture: There is so much to experience in Cairns and the culture of the region is so diverse. The local aboriginal culture is fascinating and offers visitors a different perspective on the beautiful area and its history. The food on offer in the region is delicious and exotic, with many different types of cuisine on offer.

Best time of year to travel: May-September.