Cairns is an inviting city in northern Queensland and is an ideal launchpad for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Adventure seekers will love the abundance of activities on offer, from sailing excursions to snorkeling trips along jungle rivers, while those looking for a laid-back vacation can relax at one of the region's many lavish resorts. Families will also find it a superb spot to stay, with plenty of kid-friendly activities and safe, sandy beaches.

Getting Oriented

A stay in Cairns provides an excellent mix of city amenities and nature excursions
A stay in Cairns provides an excellent mix of city amenities and nature excursions

Situated in northern Queensland, Australia, Cairns is a key starting point for exploring the region's natural wonders. This city, with its unique position near both the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, offers an intriguing blend of urban and natural attractions and has a range of accommodation options for all budgets.

Cairns caters to diverse travelers, from adrenaline seekers to those who prefer serene nature experiences. The city features a lively mix of markets, varied cuisines, and an inviting Esplanade with endless ocean views. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy activities like scenic railway trips to Kuranda and guided tours in the Daintree Rainforest. And, of course, the highlight of the region, the Great Barrier Reef, is just a boat ride away.

Why our specialists love Cairns

"Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the oldest rainforest in the world, the Daintree National Park. It's a laid-back town with tropical vibes, easygoing and friendly people, and lots to do, especially if you love the outdoors and nature." - Konrad, kimkim Australia Specialist and Cairns local

"Cairns is a great part of any Australia itinerary, it's the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, so you have several options and different ways to explore the Reef. There are also direct flights from most Australian cities. There's a fabulous lagoon/swimming pool area on the Esplanade, which is fantastic for kids and adults alike. I definitely suggest a few hours of relaxing there. Try to stay over a weekend so you can also enjoy the local markets along the Esplanade. You have great access to the Kuranda Village as well as the Atherton Tablelands from there. The famous Kuranda Railway and Gondola also depart not far from Cairns. If you've rented a car during your stay, you can make some awesome day trips while using Cairns as your base. (Paronella Park, Babinda Boulders, Palm Cove, and Daintree, to name a few). Palm Cove is only about a 15-minute drive from Cairns and offers a much more relaxed beach town feel, with a great array of restaurants." - Vicky, kimkim Australia Specialist

"Every year, Cairns is the place we most look forward to visiting. It is situated in Tropical Queensland and has a laid-back vibe while also offering a plethora of activities to choose from. If you're looking to see the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is the perfect gateway. There are plenty of ways to experience the reef, from snorkeling and sailing to scenic flights.

The fact that it's the world's oldest rainforest adds to its intrigue. Exploring Daintree, Cape Tribulation, or Kuranda on a day trip provides a unique perspective of the tropical environment. This area is where the rainforest and reef intersect.

There's a great range of restaurants and hotels to choose from in this well-liked tourist destination. The fresh seafood is exceptional, but there are also plenty of options available from European cuisine to delicious Asian flavors." - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

Water-Based Excursions

Great Barrier Reef Private Helicopter Tour

Experience the Great Barrier Reef from above during a helicopter tour
Experience the Great Barrier Reef from above during a helicopter tour

A diving trip likely comes to mind when you think of exploring the Great Barrier Reef. But did you know the best way to experience its vastness is by taking to the sky? On a Great Barrier Reef private helicopter tour, you'll be treated to a bird's-eye view of the coral formations and abundant marine life below before landing on the remote Vlasoff Cay.

On Vlasoff Cay, you'll have two hours to spend as you please—snorkeling among tropical fish, relaxing on white-sand beaches, exploring the edges of paradise, or a mix of all three. Then, before returning to Cairns, delight in a gourmet picnic lunch complete with sparkling wine. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"To fully appreciate the reef, we recommend a combination of a helicopter ride and cruise. You can take a cruise for one leg of the journey and then switch to a helicopter for the other leg. This provides you with the opportunity to observe the reef from both the water and air perspectives." - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

Experience the Great Barrier Reef by Boat

Stay the night on the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Sea Dreaming
Stay the night on the Great Barrier Reef with Coral Sea Dreaming

There's no shortage of boat tours featuring the Great Barrier Reef, but our specialists recommend going with as small a group as possible. Ocean Free is an excellent option and is the only company in Cairns to offer a personal sailing reef and island tour. Bypass the busy docking platforms and glide up to Green Island, an unspoiled island tucked within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

For those with a schedule that allows it, consider an overnight liveaboard experience with Coral Sea Dreaming. Besides being treated to a memorable sunrise and sunset, you'll have the unique opportunity to witness otherworldly nocturnal sea creatures during a diving excursion. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"The Great Barrier Reef is a must-visit, but this tour offers a smaller group with a maximum of 25 people onboard. They don't go to the large platform but instead visit Green Island and the reef. In the afternoon, they sail back to Cairns." - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

Dive Trip to the Great Barrier Reef

See tropical fish up close during a Great Barrier Reef diving trip
See tropical fish up close during a Great Barrier Reef diving trip

Discover the mesmerizing underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef during a premium dive trip with Scuba IQ. Led by an expert guide and joined by only a few other passionate divers, you'll head underwater to experience three superb dive sites. The excursion starts and finishes in Port Douglas, and you can look forward to top-notch rental equipment, detailed briefings, and time to chat with your guide about the many remarkable marine animals you saw. Learn more

Become a Marine Biologist for a Day

Help protect the Great Barrier Reef by becoming a marine biologist for a day
Help protect the Great Barrier Reef by becoming a marine biologist for a day

There's hardly a better feeling than giving back while on vacation, which is why our experts love this "Become a Marine Biologist for a Day" experience with Passions of Paradise. This unique program allows you to contribute directly to the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef by collecting data on the reef's health, tallying observed fish species, and monitoring coral planting. In addition, with a maximum of 12 participants and numerous breaks for refreshments, you can look forward to touches of luxury during your personalized excursion. Learn more

Explore Fitzroy Island

Spend a day exploring Fitzroy Island during your trip to Cairns
Spend a day exploring Fitzroy Island during your trip to Cairns

Just a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns awaits the pristine Fitzroy Island, an ideal destination for adventure lovers to spend an afternoon. Take the logistics out of the planning by joining this Fitzroy Island and guided snorkel safari tour. With ferry tickets and equipment included and five hours on the island, you'll have plenty of time to snorkel, sunbathe, hike through the islands' rainforest interior, and even take a glass-bottom boat tour. Learn more

Visit the Outer Reef

Scuba dive the Outer Reef of the Great Barrier Reef
Scuba enthusiasts will love exploring the Outer Reef of the Great Barrier Reef

If you've come for scuba diving and are eager to spend a good amount of time below the surface, embark on a full-day snorkel and dive trip to the Outer Barrier Reef. With three hand-picked sites, unlimited snorkeling, and three guided dives, the choice is yours if you'd like to spend all afternoon in the water or pop up for the buffet lunch and afternoon tea. Learn more

Expert advice

Look to visit the Outer Reef on a small group snorkel/dive tour—it's key to go with a small operator who knows how to responsibly visit the healthiest parts of the reef versus a massive tour ship with overtouristed sites and little to see.

Sunset Sailing on the Coral Sea

Enjoy a sunset sail on the Coral Sea
Enjoy a sunset sailing experience on the Coral Sea

Add a slice of luxury and romance to your Cairns vacation by booking a sunset sailing experience on the Coral Sea. Aboard a high-performance luxury catamaran, you'll be treated to a welcome drink and a selection of canapés. Then, settle in on the catamaran's spacious deck to watch the dreamy sunset and admire the scenic backdrop of lush mountains and pristine coastlines. Learn more

Land-Based Excursions

Highlights Day Trip

Experience the pristine beauty of the Daintree River on a highlights tour
Experience the pristine beauty of the Daintree River on a highlights tour

While often overlooked, the inland surroundings of Cairns' are an absolute treat for the eyes. To see the lush rainforests, dramatic coastlines, and crocodile-filled rivers, join a full-day highlights tour. Throughout, you'll walk along the enticing Mossman Gorge, cruise along the Daintree River, and visit Cape Tribulation. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"A visit to the Daintree, Mossman Gorge, and Cape Tribulation is an essential day trip. The Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its flora and fauna are truly unique. You can choose to join a small group or have a private guide accompany you." - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

Day Trip to Kuranda

Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway on a day trip to Kuranda
Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway on a day trip to Kuranda

Located amid the World Heritage Rainforest and renowned for its traditional arts and crafts scene, Kuranda is one of those places you have to spend a few hours in to truly grasp how unique it is. On this Kuranda day trip, the excitement starts right from the get-go when you embark on a scenic railway ride to Kuranda Village. Then, enjoy free time visiting the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, joining a Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, and gliding over the rainforest on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"It's worth taking the Gold Class upgrade for the Rail. You can also choose to upgrade the Skyrail/gondola portion, which means you have a see-through floor when you glide over the rainforest canopy" - Vicky, kimkim Australia Specialist

Get Up Close with Crocodiles & Australian Wildlife

Get up close to crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
Get up close to crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

If getting up close to crocodiles is a must-do on your Australian adventure, consider spending an afternoon at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. Here, you'll have the opportunity to cruise through melaleuca wetlands in search of saltwater crocodiles, witness the world's most venomous snakes from a safe distance, and enjoy various wildlife presentations. And if you arrive early enough, you can also enjoy breakfast with koalas! Learn more

Daintree Dreaming Traditional Aboriginal Fishing

Learn about Aboriginal traditions on a Daintree Dreaming Traditional Aboriginal Fishing experience
Learn about Indigenous traditions on a Daintree Dreaming Traditional Aboriginal Fishing experience

An excellent way to combine adventure, culture, and nature is by joining the Daintree Dreaming Traditional Aboriginal Fishing experience. During this tour, an Aboriginal guide will lead you into the serene Mossman Gorge, where you'll be greeted with a symbolic smoking ceremony and join an interpretive walk through the ancient rainforest. Then, tuck into a delicious lunch before delving into time-honored fishing and gathering techniques. Learn more

Undara National Park

Discover the lava tubes of Undara National Park
Discover the lava tubes of Undara National Park

A bit farther away but well worth the travel time, Undara National Park awaits to wow you with its profound geological marvels. On this overnight outback experience, you'll cross the desolate Savannah Plains to reach Savannah Country, a region renowned for its lava tubes. An expert guide will lead the way inside, allowing you to discover a thriving habitat for rainforest plants and animals. Throughout this overnight experience, you'll also watch the sunset from the top of a hill and get to know your travel companions while sitting around a campfire. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"Undara is an Aboriginal word meaning 'long way.' The park protects one of the longest lava tube cave systems in the world and gives you a true outback experience—it's a bit more off-the-beaten-path in the outback, but it's a wonder to see." - Connie, kimkim Australia Specialist

Private Boutique Cairns Tablelands Tasting Tour

Immerse yourself in the region's flavors on a Private Boutique Cairns Tablelands Tasting Tour
Immerse yourself in the region's flavors on a private boutique Cairns Tablelands tasting tour

During a private tasting tour through Tropical Queensland's Atherton Tablelands, treat yourself to a day among the vines. This full-day excursion is perfect for foodies and wine enthusiasts looking to leave the logistics to experts and embrace the many flavors, scents, and sights surrounding them. Over 11 hours, you'll learn about the art of food and drink production from passionate local artisans and enjoy an array of tastings that include everything from exotic fruits to premium spirits. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"Indulge in the delight of tropical produce with this tour that offers a chance to savor the local flavors and tropical wine." - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

Scenic Road Trip From Cairns to Port Douglas

Take the wheel to discover the scenic Captain Cook Highway
Take the wheel to discover the scenic Captain Cook Highway

Rent a vehicle and get behind the wheel for a journey along the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Port Douglas. This hour-long drive is an experience in itself, featuring awe-inspiring views of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef as it meanders through lush rainforests and past isolated beaches. Be sure to stop off at the famed Rex Lookout for superb coastal views, and then, once you've reached Port Douglas, grab a bite to eat or a sweet treat before your return journey. Learn more

Float in the Mossman River

See the Mossman River from a new angle while snorkeling
See the Mossman River from a new angle during a snorkeling and floating experience

While river snorkeling might naturally be at the top of your mind during a trip to Cairns, you might find this Mossman River floating experience a surprising highlight. Using the river's current to drift gracefully down the crystal-clear waters, you'll encounter an underwater world teeming with fish, turtles, and vibrant wildlife. Remember to look above the surface to see water dragons, colorful birds, and even the elusive platypus. Then, to top it off, join your guide for an immersive rainforest walk to learn more about the region's unusual ecosystem. Learn more

Why our experts love it

"By floating along the Mossman River, you can witness the rainforest from a one-of-a-kind angle, taking in the beauty of its clear waters, varied sea creatures, and breathtaking landscape. This excursion features chances to swim, snorkel, and join a guided trek through the rainforest—a unique way to see the river without crowds!" - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist.

Explore Cairns

Visit Cairns Aquarium to admire aquatic animals from the region
Visit Cairns Aquarium to admire aquatic animals from the region

Beyond its famous surroundings, the city of Cairns itself is home to many delightful markets, shops, restaurants, and family-friendly activities. The weekend markets are especially a must-visit, where you can find everything from handmade crafts at the Cairns Esplanade Market to gourmet delights and fresh local produce at Rusty's Market. In the evening, head over to the Esplanade to enjoy street performers and live music. 

For nature lovers, the Cairns Aquarium features over 16,000 aquatic animals from the Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics rainforests, Gulf Savannah, and the Cape York Peninsula. And if you're interested in letting loose and enjoying local flavors, choose from one of the many Cairns Brewery & Distillery tours, ranging from private to more party-style options.

Explore Daintree

Experience the lush Daintree Rainforest
Experience the lush Daintree Rainforest on a full-day tour

Immerse yourself in the world's oldest rainforest with a Daintree Rainforest National Park tour. Kimkim's experts recommend a private Daintree day tour, which includes visits to private reserves, swimming in freshwater creeks, and cruising down the Daintree River. Another excellent option is a full-day Cape Tribulation and Daintree wilderness tour, which features the diverse Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas, brings you across the Daintree River for lunch at Mason's Café, and takes you on a journey to the serene Cape Tribulation Beach.

Why our experts love it

"It's a must-do. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the oldest rainforest in the world! It's wild, beautiful, and incredible and definitely worth a visit. I loved the cruise along the Daintree River and learning about the crocodiles and their breeding habits. There's also a very cool zipline you can take, which is great for those seeking more of a thrill. The crocodiles were enough for me!" - Vicky, kimkim Australia Specialist

Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Best Time to Visit Cairns

Enjoy the endless sunshine of Cairns' in March
Enjoy the endless sunshine of Cairns in March

Considering Australia's seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere, December to February marks summer in Cairns, while winter falls between June and August. Even so, Cairns's location in the Tropical North of Queensland ensures pleasant weather year-round, and you'll find distinct advantages for each season.

Overall, the best time to visit Cairns is during the shoulder seasons—April to June and October to early December—when temperatures are warm and towns, trails, and waterways are quietest. However, if you're eager to spend as much time as possible exploring the Great Barrier Reef while underwater, summer, with its warm, clear waters, is an excellent choice. Keep in mind that summer is often humid and rainy, and it's also the time stingers (jellyfish) are typically seen in the water.

Conversely, winter is characterized by cooler weather and low rainfall, making it ideal for hiking, sailing, and other outdoor excursions. Winter is also the most popular season to visit Cairns, so you'll want to book ahead for activities and accommodations. 

Where to Stay

Where to Stay in Cairns

Enjoy the superb location of the Pacific Hotel Cairns
Enjoy the superb location of the Pacific Hotel Cairns (photo courtesy of Pacific Hotel Cairns)

Staying in Cairns gives you the distinct advantage of ticking off various activities. You're on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, and the Atherton Tablelands, and within walking distance, you'll find thriving restaurants and family-friendly activities. On the other hand, during peak travel time, Cairns can feel busy and crowded.

Below are our favorite accommodations, each hand-picked for their location, value, and comfort:

Kimkim favorite: Pacific Hotel Cairns. Loved for its central location in Cairns, this flashy yet inviting hotel features a rooftop terrace with an outdoor pool, a Brazilian-inspired restaurant, and comfortable rooms.

Local specialist favorite: Crystalbrook Riley. Connie's favorite accommodation for its "great atmosphere, great ambience, excellent location." You can expect a more upscale experience here that's perfect for couples or families with older children. 

Top pick for families: Mantra Esplanade Cairns. Featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, Mantra is ideal for families looking for a comfortable stay without stretching the budget. Plus, its central location means the beach is just a few minutes walk away. 

Best accommodation in Cairns by budget: Cairns offers a range of accommodations for every type of traveler. If you're on a tighter budget, consider staying at The Oaks Cairns to enjoy the advantages of having a fully-equipped kitchen without losing out on views. Meanwhile, if your budget allows, book at the Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside or Pacific Hotel Cairns, both loved by kimkim's experts for their location and value. For a luxury stay, the 5-star Shangri La's prime location is impossible to beat, while Crystalbrook Flynn promises an all-inclusive getaway. 

Where to Stay in Port Douglas

Photo courtesy of Mandalay Luxury Beachfront Apartments
Enjoy a lavish stay at the Luxury Mandalay Apartments (photo courtesy of Luxury Mandalay Apartments)

Port Douglas offers a more sophisticated and laid-back experience and is a favorite among nature lovers thanks to its proximity to the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Expect to pay higher prices than Cairns, but in return, you'll be treated to more fine dining options and a deeper connection to your surroundings.

Local specialist favorite: Luxury Mandalay Apartments. After a big day out adventuring, sometimes all you want is to grab a takeaway and dine at home—which is exactly why our specialist, Vicky, loves this location for families. 

Top pick for luxury: The Reef House. As an adults-only resort, you can look forward to a lavish stay with plenty of unique opportunities for relaxation. Book in at the spa, join one of their many wellness-focused activities or unwind by the pool.

Where to Stay in Palm Cove

Enjoy a laid back atmosphere while staying in Port Douglas
Enjoy a laid-back atmosphere while staying in Palm Cove

Known for its pristine, palm-lined beach and relaxed atmosphere, Palm Cove is perfect for those seeking peace and wellness. While families and backpackers may find it lacking in activities, this is your place if you're looking to spend your time in Cairns hopping between modern and traditional spas and wellness centers.

Best for a unique stay: Thala Beach Nature Reserve. While technically closer to Port Douglas, it's stunningly located on a private 1.2-mile (2 km) stretch of rainforest-backed beach. It's hard to leave the lush property, even with the Great Barrier Reef at your doorstep. 

Where to Stay in Atherton Tablelands

A stunning view point over the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, Australia
A sweeping viewpoint over the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, Australia

In the Atherton Tablelands, you'll be greeted by cooler temperatures, rustic charm, and a rural landscape filled with rainforests and waterfalls. It's a superb destination for nature enthusiasts and hikers, given it's entirely surrounded by forest reserves and national parks. However, its remote location also means getting to and from the coast requires extra time.

Where to Stay in Daintree

Immerse yourself in Daintree Rainforest with a stay at Silky Oaks Lodge
Immerse yourself in the Daintree Rainforest with a stay at Silky Oaks Lodge (photo courtesy of Silky Oaks Lodge)

If you're eager to leave the trodden path and completely immerse yourself in nature, opt to stay in Daintree. You'll have to give up some of your creature comforts, but in return, you'll be staying in the oldest rainforest in the world, surrounded by all sorts of wildlife. 

Top pick for couples & honeymooners: Silky Oaks Lodge. Think treehouse-style suites, open-air bathtubs, an on-site spa, and elevated dining, and you can understand why Silky Oaks Lodge is a favorite for kimkim honeymooners. 

kimkim Experts' Take on Where to Stay

Photo courtesy of The Reef House
For a slice of luxury and tranquility, stay at The Reef House in Port Douglas (photo courtesy of The Reef House)

Still unsure where to call home while in Cairns? Check out what our specialists have to say:

"Base yourself in Cairns - there's more to do in terms of restaurants, bars, and cafés. Port Douglas is great if you're looking for a few days of quiet R&R, but it's a small, very quiet town where most things close early, especially midweek. Also, unless you're staying right in Port Douglas, you would need a car to commute in and out of town. Palm Cove is also an alternative—it's a mini Port Douglas in close proximity to the city, and most hotels are beachfront." - Konrad, kimkim Australia Specialist & Cairns local

"Personally, I prefer Port Douglas, as it gives a more relaxed beach town feel. Cairns is a small city with no Beach to relax on. However, families may prefer Cairns, as it offers more day tours from the hub and evening activities such as night markets, the aquarium, sunset dinner cruises, and more. It is also closer to Kuranda, which is part of every family's trip. Honeymooners and those more adventurous may prefer Port Douglas. The drive there from Cairns is also a spectacular one. Port Douglas is closer to the Daintree National Park, which is also a must-see when visiting the area."

"Cairns is a major city in tropical Queensland that offers a wider range of services and hotel options. If you only have a few days, we recommend staying in Cairns, where you can take day tours and try different restaurants in the evenings.

If you have extra time, Port Douglas provides a laid-back resort-style experience. Take pleasure in sipping a cocktail while lounging by the pool, go for a leisurely stroll on the beach, or wander through the village streets. Port Douglas is an excellent choice for those seeking a few days of relaxation while on tour, and it's also a perfect spot to stay when exploring the Daintree and Cape Tribulation." - Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

"Cairns has a bit more of a vibe, shopping, nightlife, and plenty of activities, Cairns is your pick if you're looking for that kind of location. On the other hand, if you're seeking a laid-back, luxurious, beachy vacation with closer access to the Daintree Rainforest, Port Douglas is the go-to. It also seems, in my opinion, that Port Douglas caters to lots of families; they have a handful of apartment-style hotels." - Connie, kimkim Australia Specialist

How Long to Stay in Cairns

Footpath thru dense rainforest in Mossman Gorge, Queensland, Australia
A more extended stay in Cairns allows you to experience its many highlights, including Mossman Gorge

The experts weighed in on how many days to spend in Cairns.

"If you're limited for time, then two full days will allow for a trip to the reef and either the Daintree Rainforest or the Atherton Tablelands. If you have more time, then spend 4-5 days in the region; there's a lot to do. If you want to explore and relax, stay for seven days." - Konrad, kimkim Australia Specialist & Cairns local

"You should spend at least four days/three nights in Cairns to fully enjoy the reef, rainforests, and city vibe if you can. However, extending your stay to seven days would allow you to explore the stunning Palm Cove or Northern Beaches as well!" 
- Asko, kimkim Australia Specialist

How to Get to Cairns

Getting to Cairns is easy, with flight, drive, train, and transfer options
Getting to Cairns is easy, with flight, drive, train, and transfer options

The most convenient way to get to Cairns is by flying into Cairns Airport (CNS), which offers domestic and international flights. It's well-connected to major Australian cities and some international destinations in the Asia-Pacific region. Once at the airport, the city center is just a short drive or bus ride away.

For those including Cairns as part of a longer trip, road-tripping along the scenic coastal roads is a popular choice, especially from nearby cities such as Townsville or Brisbane. Additionally, long-distance coaches and trains offer services to Cairns, providing a more leisurely pace through the beautiful landscapes of Queensland.

How to Craft the Perfect Cairns Itinerary

Add Cairns to your itinerary to enjoy easy access to the Great Barrier Reef
Add Cairns to your itinerary to enjoy easy access to the Great Barrier Reef

If you plan to visit Australia, Cairns is a natural addition to your itinerary for an immersive Great Barrier Reef experience. Give yourself one week in Australia for a well-rounded introduction to the region that includes Daintree Rainforest and Port Douglas. Cairns also fits nicely into other Australian itineraries thanks to its easily accessible airport; however, if you'd like to explore more than one region of Australia, plan to visit the country for at least two weeks.

Discover how to plan your trip to Australia and Cairns:

Cairns: Best Itinerary Ideas
How Many Days to Spend in Australia

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include experiences in Cairns:

Tropical North Queensland: Hamilton Island, Port Douglas, Cairns & More - 7 Days
Sydney, Uluru & Cairns- 8 Days
East Coast Aussie Adventure: Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Adelaide & Sydney - 2 Weeks