Cairns is surrounded by a natural wonderland – the glorious Coral Sea on one side and lush rainforest hinterland on the other. Located on the Trinity Inlet, the city is an interesting mix of century old buildings and modern architecture. There are also plenty of restaurants, shops, galleries, boutiques, cafes and cultural institutions.
The city of Cairns is the heart of the Tropical North - a focal point for visitors and local inhabitants alike. Founded in 1876 as a port for the Hodkinson River goldfield 60 miles inland, the settlement that served pioneers, fossickers and thousands of diggers has long outlived these shifts in fortune to become one of the world's most attractive vacation destinations.
Average Temperatures in Cairns (°C)
Featured Shore Tours from Cairns
More about Cairns
Docking / Disembarkation
Your P&O Cruises ship will dock at the terminal in the heart of Cairns. Clothing and souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes and supermarkets are all within close walking distance from the ship.
Taxis are widely available.
Shopping in Cairns is easy. Just about everything you’d need is available in the compact downtown area. The Pier Marketplace on The Esplanade has a collection of designer stores, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. You’ll find the very best Aussie beachwear, bush clothing and contemporary arts and crafts in stores and galleries around the city, at Kuranda in the hinterland and at The Marketplace.
If you’d like to purchase aboriginal arts and crafts, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is a good place to shop for magnificent paintings, jewellery, clothing and artefacts. Beware of fake indigenous art and crafts and purchase only from reputable stores. If you purchase anything made from shells, wood or other natural materials, please ensure these items do not contravene your country’s quarantine laws.
Although Cairns isn’t a huge city, it is home to a fabulous array of dining experiences, both Australian and international. There are fine restaurants, cafes, bistros, bars and pubs and plenty of ‘take-away’ outlets selling everything from fish and chips to exotic Asian specialties. Wander around the city centre and The Esplanade and follow your taste buds. Seafood is a specialty in these parts of course, and do make sure you sample some of Queensland’s tropical and exotic fruits.
The tropics are subject to a wide range of weather extremes however in Cairns you’d be very unlucky to have to curtail your travels because of weather. The dry season starts in May and stretches to October. Temperatures are mild and rarely drop below 20 degrees Celsius. Humidity during the ‘dry’ is also lower. In summer, the wet season, the rain can fall in torrents and the humidity rises, however there are usually long stretches of sunshine and cooling sea breezes. The temperature in summer can sometimes exceed 29 degrees Celsius.
Major credit cards and charge cards are widely accepted.
Telephones International and Local
Public telephones are widely available.
What To Wear Ashore
To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, wear comfortable lightweight clothes, flat soled shoes and a hat, SPF30+ or higher factor sunscreen and bring bottled water. It’s also a good idea to bring a waterproof jacket if you’re venturing out onto the beautiful coastal waters and outer islands. In the dry season (winter), you may need a jacket in the evening or if you journey up into the Atherton Tablelands.
There are a variety of Shore Tours available for you to enjoy during your time in Cairns. Subject to availability, tours may be pre reserved prior to your cruise departure via cruise personaliser
or booked onboard at the Shore Tours Desk.
Whatever you decide to do after your visit to Cairns or any island port of call, please bring your rubbish back to the ship with you – that includes dead camera batteries.
How to book
To take advantage of our fantastic low cost cruises, book now. Visit your travel agent or call 13 24 94 for Australian bookings or 0800 780 716 for New Zealand bookings.
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Note: The information in this page is subject to change without notice. We apologise for any inconvenience, but P&O Cruises cannot accept responsibility for any such alterations. Thank you.