Cairns Hotels Guide

Queensland, Australia

queensland accommodation guide

The modern, vibrant city of Cairns is the gateway to tropical North Queensland's most famous attractions: The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Most visitors base themselves in the city or surrounding beach-side suburbs and explore this tropical paradise on day or overnight tours. The best time of year to visit is in winter (May to September) when the tropical humidity is less intense and rainfall lower.

Cairns Highlights

Cairns Holidays Planner

Cairns is a pleasant enough seaside town with a lively bar scene but it doesn't have a beach and there are no specific attractions in the town itself apart from a commercial cultural centre highlighting aboriginal traditions and way of life. What Cairns does have is the marina where day cruises depart for the reef and outlying coral islands and its a great stepping stone for exploring the surrounding countryside. There are pleasant beach towns a few kilometres north of town including Yorky's Knob and a beautiful coastal drive heading north to Ellis Beach. Inland, the tropical rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands beckon.

Offshore, Green Island takes just 45 minutes by boat (or a ten minute sea-plane journey) from Cairns marina and is the most popular day tour option. The island is actually a coral cay built up over thousands of years, and home to a myriad of native plant and bird life species. It is surrounded by spectacular coral fringing reefs – perfect for snorkelling right off the beach. Snorkelling gear can be hired once you arrive on the island.

Another popular way to experience the reef is a boat tour to the Outer Reef areas. Oyster Reef is a shallow reef with protected clear water and abundant marine life, while Upolu Reef is a magical place offering sightings of moray eels, giant clams, turtles and millions of colourful tropical fish. Or visit the Low Isles, an enchanting small coral cay complete with picture perfect blue lagoon and swaying coconut palms. Many companies also operate 'glass-bottom boat' tours, a perfect way for the infirm and young children to see the wonders of the reef without having to snorkel. It is even possible to stay overnight on the reef – aboard luxury cruisers, dive-boats, or specially built 'pontoon-hotels'.

Cairns Accommodation Search

There are three main accommodation areas in Cairns. The first is the CBD, where you'll find a range of hotels and family apartments close to activities, restaurants and night-life. The second is the Northern Beaches area, where you'll find luxury 5-star resorts, relaxing caravan parks, affordable family resorts and apartments located in colourful beach-side villages. The third accommodation option are the gorgeous tropical islands located within the Great Barrier Reef itself. Green, Fitzroy and Heron Islands, among others, provide a range of 3, 4 and 5 star hotel rooms, apartments and beach-side cabins. The following Cairns hotels provide some of the best deals for a holiday in Queensland – please search below for availability and get the very best room rates sourced from over 100 local and online booking agents:

Cairns Travel Info
Ferry transfers to the islands are usually included in the price of accommodation. Cairns has international and domestic airports, with hotel transfers and car-hire available. There are also train and coach connections from Brisbane and other towns along the coast. Cairns has a tropical climate.