Cairns is a small city by international standards. Located by the sea it boasts a good balance of laid back tropical lifestyle and the excitement of a major tourist destination with lots to see and do. There is an excellent range of shopping and dining and it is an easy city to spend a casual day or two exploring. There are literally hundreds of day touring options and tourists are very well catered for. For those who enjoy some night life there are numerous bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained. Many people use Cairns as their base to branch out and explore the rest of North Queensland. The international airport is only about 6km from the heart of town.
Distance from closest major city
Cairns is located approximately 1729 km north of Brisbane.
Captain James Cook was the first known European to visit the site where Cairns is located, arriving on Trinity Sunday 1770 and naming the area Trinity Bay. Cairns took quite a while to be developed, being passed over by Smithfield and Cooktown as the real frontier towns servicing the gold rush late in the 19th Century. Cairns looked like passing into obscurity until it was chosen as the starting point for a railway line that serviced the Atherton Tablelands taking up workers and supplies and bringing back tin and timber. Sugar Cane farms were developed close to Cairns as there was now access to transport the cane to Southern Mills. Cairns began to gain a reputation as a tourist destination throughout the 1970's. In 1984 an international airport opened and a major tourism boom began which converted Cairns from a sleepy regional town to a thriving city.
Without a doubt tourism is the number one industry in Cairns. Industries that service tourism have grown proportionally over the years with the most notable being the building industry. Cairns is home to a large commercial fishing fleet that catch prawns in the rich waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait.
Feel of the town
Cairns is a very green city built on the banks of the Trinity Inlet. There are parks and gardens throughout the town, large shopping centres and a few high rise buildings in the CBD. Cairns is surrounded by high forested ranges that provide a very lush backdrop to the city. The Esplanade is the area of most activity. This is a waterfront parkland where tourists and locals alike tend to congregate to relax and enjoy the views. The Pier Marketplace is a feature on the Esplanade. It is a great place to visit for excellent shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Cairns is easy to find your way around, people are friendly and helpful and happy to offer a suggestion on what to see and do.