Cairns is undoubtedly the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and that's quite a feather in its cap - but the city is so much more than just that. Hot and humid, it has a laid-back vibe that makes it the perfect way to start any holiday. The local markets, buzzing foreshore promenade, urban parks and wildlife-related attractions make Cairns a destination in itself.
Although the city itself has no beaches (you can cool off in the foreshore's free-to-use artificial lagoon), there are some great stretches of sand to the north. Adventure sports are a popular activity in the region, and visitors can try white-water rafting, skydiving, bungy jumping, quad biking, horse riding and more before getting onboard a ship for a fabulous cruise from Cairns.
Cruise lines and destinations from Cairns
Cruising to and from Cairns is a relatively new possibility, and there is a small but exciting selection of cruise lines offering itineraries which depart the northern city. P&O Australia now have some cruises from Cairns, a great new addition to their program. There are several luxury cruise lines which cruise out of Cairns - Celebrity Cruises, Princess cruise deals, Carnival cruise deals and Royal Caribbean to name a few.
Papua New Guinea is a popular destination for cruises departing Cairns, thanks to its proximity to Northern Queensland. This fabulous southeast Asian country has a lot to offer the adventurous cruise lover. Other places you can reach from Cairns are the Solomon Islands and the coast of Queensland - some ships cruise from Cairns to Brisbane or Sydney. P&O will also be offering limited short taster cruises from the city. If a tropical getaway is what you are after, Cairns cruises often pass by the tropical paradise that is Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
Cairns cruise port
The port of Cairns is a busy place, with a lot of Queensland shipping traffic and smaller vessels headed out to the Great Barrier Reef. Cruise ships dock along Wharves 1-5, where there is space for two vessels, and passengers are processed through a dedicated cruise terminal on Wharf 2 and 3.
The terminal is an attractive, heritage-listed space used for events and functions as well as cruises. The handy information booth is generally staffed during the days when cruise ship is docked. Paid parking is nearby.
The Cairns Cruise Terminal is located in the heart of the city, a short walk from essentials like ATMs, restaurants, internet cafes and tourism outposts. The Esplanade is also nearby, a great public waterfront space for strolling, swimming in the artificial lagoon, BBQing and more.