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CAIRNS FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

The main airport servicing the area is Cairns International Airport, if you have not booked a private transfer through us you have a few options. Rental cars, taxis, shuttle bus and public buses are available at the airport to transfer you to your hotel.

What types of transportation can I find at the airport?

If you choose to rent a car to get around Cairns there are several rental car agencies at the airport. The car rental desks are located in the arrivals hall of both terminals T1 and T2.

You can find Cairns Taxi at the airport, they are the only regulated taxi service available in the Cairns Region. They provide door to door service for passengers throughout the Cairns area including the central business district (CBD) and the coastal area from Ellis Beach to Wrights Creek in Edmonton.

You can find taxi stands in front of both terminal buildings where taxis are readily available with 24-hour monitoring by the Cairns Taxi Booking Call center. Pricing from the airport to the city center ranges between AUD$25 - $35.

For more information please call tel. 131-008 or visit www.cairnstaxis.com.au

A shuttle bus service is available from the Cairns Airport, operated by Sun Palm Transport Group, they service all accommodation providers in the city center and surrounding areas. Pricing from the airport to the city center costs around AUD$15 - $17 for one passenger, one way or AUD$25 - $35 for one passenger with a return, children under 12 travel for free. Shuttles depart from the airport hourly, the ticket counter can be found in the arrivals halls, then follow the signs to the bus stop which is located just outside both terminals.

The bus service at the airport is operated by Sun Palm Transport, called Airport connect, which links the airport with the Translink public transport network, which is located at the north and southbound Sheridan Street bus stops about 2 miles away. The cost is around AUD$3, buses run every hour from 7 am - 11 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Sun Palm Transport desk inside the terminal.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

There is a train station in Cairns located by the Cairns Central shopping center which is within walking distance to most hotels and the waterfront. You can catch a taxi from the Cairns Railway Station or book a shuttle bus to take you to your hotel.

Cairns offers a local bus service operated by Sunbus with 8 bus routes operating throughout the central business district to the northern beaches and the southern suburbs, tickets can be purchased on board, be sure to have correct change. The bus runs from 7 am - 11 pm, the last service heading back into the city is normally around 10pm - 11 pm while the last service out of the city is between 11 pm and midnight.

Three zones are offered: Zone one - the city center which includes Whitfield, Mooroobool, Bayview and Coconut Resort. Zone two - extending to Yorkey`s Knob, Smithfield, Centenary Park and Edmonton and Zone three - Northern beaches up to Palm Cove and south down to Gordonvale.

For more information on zone, tickets, and fares please call tel. 4057-7411 or visit www.sunbus.com.au

Where can I catch a boat or ferry in Cairns?

Cairns sits on the Coral coast and is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef with so many options for visitors to explore the waters by boat. The Reef Fleet Terminal is located adjacent to Cairns Marlin Marina and is the main departure point to the Reef. The area features a boardwalk and a boulevard linking to The Esplanade and Trinity Inlet with restaurants and parking available for visitors.

I will have a car in Cairns where can I park?

The city of Cairns offers some free and paid parking on their streets. Signs are posted at the beginning and end of the available parking areas, signs will let you know if the parking is free or you need to pay.

Paid parking will be indicated by the letter `T` and will provide pay and display machines where you buy your parking tickets. Paid parking hours are between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm during the week and from 8:30 am - 11:30 am on Saturdays and cost approximately AUD$1.20 per hour. Outside of these times parking is free.

How do I call or hail a taxi?

Taxis are plentiful in the city and can be hailed from the street or found at taxi stands, bus stations, the train station and outside many tourist attractions. You can also have your hotel call a local taxi company and order one for you.

Is Cairns a walking city?

The city center is small and definitely walkable with over 280 miles of shared paths provided which are perfect for walking or cycling. Cairns city center is flat and laid out in a grid pattern with places located in the vicinity of the central business district (CBD) that are close together.

The Esplanade is one of the busiest areas for people featuring different restaurants, shops, hotels, markets and The Lagoon. If you start out walking on the Esplanade, outside of the Pacific International Hotel you can walk to the end of the Esplanade in about 10 minutes, then another 10 minutes on to the Cairns Central Shopping Center where the bus and train station are located.

Can I ride a bike in Cairns?

Cairns is the perfect destination to take a bike ride, the city center is flat with some great cycling paths and circuits that criss-cross and take you all around the city. The Esplanade, The Botanic Gardens, and Centenary Lakes are some great areas for a bike ride. Bikes can be hired around the city from tour desks, hotels, and hostels.

Is Cairns a dangerous city, is there anything I should be aware of?

Australia is one of the safest places to visit in the world, just like visiting any other city in the world be sure to keep your street smarts and keep your personal items safe when you are out and about, use caution when walking in remote areas at night.

What are some popular areas for shopping?

Cairns is well known for its night markets that operate every evening of the week from 4 pm - 11 pm, some of these markets can be found at 71 - 75 The Esplanade with all kinds of stalls selling souvenirs, handmade gifts and street food. Rusty`s Market can be found on 57 - 89 Grafton Street with storefronts selling fresh fruits and vegetables that are picked locally.

Cairns Central Shopping Center is the main shopping mall in town located next to the train station filled with over 180 retail stores, two supermarkets, restaurants and movie theaters. Open Monday - Saturday, 9 am - 5:30 pm, late night shopping until 9 pm on Thursdays and 10:30 am - 4 pm on Sundays.

The DFO factory outlets are a popular shopping center located on Mulgrave Road just outside the city center they are open 7 days a week from 9 am - 5 pm. The outlets feature over 100 Australian and International name brand stores selling everything at discounted prices.

Smithfield Shopping Center is a shopping center with two supermarkets, clothing stores, book shops and take out restaurants, located on Captain Cook Highway.

The Pier Cairns Shopping Center is located between the Esplanade Lagoon and the International Reef Fleet Terminal overlooking Trinity Bay and the Marlin Marina. The area features award-winning waterfront restaurants, specialty stores, cafes, bars and an art gallery all situated along the waterfront with a great atmosphere, offering a unique way to shop.

The DFS Galleria is the ultimate high-end luxury shopping destination in Cairns, located in the CBD consisting of two levels filled with boutiques, duty-free shops and luxury retailers such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Cartier. Open daily from 12 noon - 8 pm.

What is the currency? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The Australian dollar (AUD$) is the official currency of Australia. The airport and local banks are the best places to exchange cash or traveler's checks and is also available at bank and hotels. ATMs are widespread in the city but may be limited in more remote towns and the Outback.

For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Australia by clicking here Australia

What is the food like?

Cairns is filled with plenty of options for food, from fine dining along the waterfront to cafes dotted along the streets, there are so many restaurants, cafes and bars you won`t know where to begin! You can find food from all around the world including locally caught seafood along with fresh produce picked daily, sushi bars, Thai and Chinese cuisine, fast food, bar food, steakhouses, cafes and family style restaurants. Some of the popular areas for dining are The Esplanade where you can find a number of bar and grill establishments and high-end restaurants. The Café scene is becoming more and more popular in the area with lots of trendy cafes on Grafton and Spence streets. And of course, dine alfresco in the city by the sea with beautiful weather year round.

What is the nightlife like?

Cairns is known as the party capital, where it`s always happy hour somewhere! There is an abundance of pubs, bars, and nightclubs to choose from which are open 7 days a week. The most popular area is in the city center around Spence, Grafton and Spence Street where many places stay open until 5 am! However, there is a curfew so you need to be inside a pub or club by 3 am or you will not be allowed in after that time.

What is a popular time to visit?

Due to the fabulous tropical climate year round in Cairns outdoor activities and water sports operate 365 days of the year, no matter what time of year it is this is a great city to visit. Due to its close proximity to the equator, there is a rainy season during November - March with daily showers, the average temperature rarely dips below 68F.

Winter time in Cairns is also whale watching season where visitors can experience the spectacular sights of Humpback and Dwarf Minke whales that migrate to the area, this is one of the biggest sightseeing attractions in Australia.

June through November is the most favorable time of year to visit the Great Barrier Reef with good clear visibility in the water with mild weather.

Australia Day is held in January, Chinese New Year in February, Great Barrier Reef Masters Games held in May, Cairns annual festival held the end of August through the beginning of September and New Year`s Eve on the Cairns Esplanade are a few things to check out.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In the event of an emergency call 000 for police, fire, ambulance or 112 from a mobile phone.

Cairns offer two hospitals, one public and one private with 24-hour clinics available, the closest clinic on the corner of Grafton and Florence Street in the city as well as a 24-hour pharmacy.

Cairns Base Hospital and Emergency Room tel. +61 7 4226 0000

Cairns Private Hospital tel. +61 7 4052 5200