Located in the north of Queensland, Australia, the port city of Cairns was formally known for exporting sugar cane and agricultural produce from around the area. While Cairns has largely been overlooked by those travelling to Brisbane, Sydney and other tourist areas, the city has now evolved into a thriving cultural hotspot boasting spectacular scenery. The city is a popular choice with tourists owing to the relaxed atmosphere and stunning natural landscapes both in and around the city. The city centre is home to an impressive lagoon-style pool as well as the stunning Lake Placid and Botanical gardens for those wanting to escape the busy city for a quiet afternoon. Although not a beach resort, there are a few beaches close by.
One of these would be just about perfect for exploring the areas surrounding the city and especially for negotiating dirt tracks and roads.
Driving in Cairns Downtown
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Take care when driving at night; particularly in more rural areas as animals and wildlife tend to wander onto the road.
The Quaid Road which runs through the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is a private road and is not open to the public.
There are a variety of parking facilities available throughout the city including privately run car parks and on-street parking. On-street parking costs around $1.20 per hour.
Highlights & Hotspots
One of the city’s most popular attractions is the lagoon, located in the city centre. This impressive saltwater pool is quite the hotspot with tourists, particularly when the weather is warm. There’s a play area for children as well as a number of picnic and barbecue areas.
Outdoorsy types will enjoy exploring the impressive mountains and rainforest areas that surround the city. There are over 200 different hiking trails for walkers of all levels, each offering fantastic views of the city and gorgeous scenery.
Soak up the city’s culture and spend a day at Tjapukai Cultural Park. Situated just north of the city centre the park is home to a fantastic gallery, a dance theatre and other performance spaces which host a range of performances.
The city is considered to be the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, owing to its proximity to this stunning attraction. This impressive coral formation is the largest in the world and is only a short drive from Cairns. The Reef can be seen either by diving or boat ride.
Cairns International Airport is located approximately four miles north of Cairns city centre and is accessible via the National Route 1, straight from the city centre.
The airport is the main air terminal for North Queensland, although Brisbane Airport tends to have more flights serving a wider range of destinations. The airport is a major hub for domestic flights to other major cities in Australia.