Our advice is that you should grab a map from your hotel (there
are plenty of free maps available in Cairns - even the taxis hand
out a great little fold out map), put on a comfortable pair of walking
shoes, grab the camera and hit the streets. The locals are friendly
and always willing to have a chat or to offer a suggestion on places
to visit or things to do during your stay.
is important to dress comfortably and be sure to grab a bottle of
water. The weather in Cairns is simple. It is either hot and dry
or hot and wet. If you have fair skin it is a good idea to throw
a bottle of sunscreen in your bag just in case. Even though there
is plenty of shelter in the City it is easy to get burnt without
realising it. Dress is very casual in North Queensland. Shorts and
t-shirts are more than acceptable anytime day or night. Some restaurants
in five star hotels might like you to dress a little smarter (perhaps
a shirt and trousers) but these restaurants are a rarity. It is
the tropics and people dress accordingly.
City has a relaxed and easy going pace that makes it the perfect
place to spend a day exploring. In the warmer summer months it can
be demanding for those people travelling from cooler northern climates
however most shops and arcades are air-conditioned providing the
perfect respite from the heat and humidity.
of the activity in Cairns focuses on the waterfront. The main tourist
strip is the Esplanade which runs for approximately 6km parallel
to the Coast. It is only the three blocks at the southern end that
are busy with restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. The Esplanade
itself is very popular for people wanting to go for a pleasant walk,
bike ride or roller blade. There are shelters and toilets along
the length of this coastal parkland and the view is very attractive.
the actual city itself there are about 10 blocks that form the basis
of the CBD. These have everything that the seasoned traveller could
possibly want. There are banks, chemists (pharmacies), travel agents,
food stores, restaurants, bars, photographic shops, souvenir shops,
duty free stores, clothing retailers, doctors, dentists, lawyers,
internet cafes and beauty salons.
a shopping point of view there plenty of specialty stores to investigate
during your day. These sell everything from opals to cigars and
everything in between.
are also two main shopping centres, The Pier Marketplace and Cairns
Central. The Pier is located on the waterfront and it is a very
popular place to visit for both tourists and locals alike. There
are over 100 specialty retailers with a large aquarium and numerous
restaurants and cafes. Most visitors to Cairns include a visit to
The Pier during their stay. Cairns Central is a large centre, set
near the restaurant area in Shield St. This is a very functional
shopping centre containing over 180 shops and a cinema complex.
If you are looking for a specific item it is likely that you will
find it in Cairns Central.
are a surprising number of art galleries featuring works from local
artists including painters, sculptors and photographers in the City
centre. In the heart of the Cairns you can also visit the Regional
Gallery which is an impressive attraction hosting a number of displays
of culturally significant artwork from throughout North Queensland.
The Gallery showcases a lot of work from Torres Strait and Aboriginal
Communities throughout Cape York.
are a lot of restaurants and cafes throughout the CBD. Most serve
great coffee and they are reasonably priced. There are more than
enough eateries open and trading to ensure that you can enjoy a
meal at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
stroll along the waterfront encompasses Trinity Wharf, where to
larger passenger cruise ships dock, past the Cairns Yacht Squadron,
by The Hilton Hotel, Marlin Marina and The Pier Marketplace. This
area is where all of the reef and fishing charter operators leave
from. Early in the morning it can be a real hive of activity as
up to 8,000 people board their boats for their trip to The Great
transport is readily available in the CBD. The main mall in the
CBD is also the transit terminal for public transport (blue buses).
Taxi ranks are located throughout the City itself. If you are driving
into the City and planning to park and then go on a walking tour
there are a number of undercover car parks available that are relatively
inexpensive. If you park at a meter the cost is about $1 per hour
and if the meter expires you will be given a ticket (our parking
officers are tough).