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Cairns is surrounded by a natural wonderland – the glorious Coral Sea on one side and lush rainforest hinterland on the other.
Although European mariners sailed past the region from around the 17th century, and possibly even as early as the 16th, it wasn’t until Captain James Cook chartered the coastline in 1770 that far north Queensland finally made its way onto the map. Even then it took until the latter half of the 19th century before Europeans made their way through treacherous reefs and almost impenetrable rainforest to finally arrive at what is now Cairns. Timber cutting, agriculture and mining soon drew more European, Chinese and Malay settlers. Initially established in 1876 as a settlement and port serving newly discovered gold fields, increased activity associated with agriculture also soon began. Cairns remained a sleepy frontier town for many years, until the sugar industry ignited a growth spurt after the Second World War.
156,169 (2011 cenus)
Guest favourites, the most booked Shore Tours at this port
Our handpicked Shore Tours are a must for any guest.
Getting there should be half the adventure. With P&O Cruises you can take one-way cruises to enjoy your holiday that little bit longer.
A one-way P&O Cruise may not return to your homeport, but it's not problem! With P&O Cruise Air, we organise your cruise plus flights from your home, to the leaving homeport and/or back again. With P&O Cruise Air all you have to do is pack your bag!
Booking is easy! Simply contact your travel agent or our Customer Service & Sales team on 1300 159 454 (AU) or 0800 780 716 (NZ).
One of the main reasons travellers journey to Cairns is to experience the Great Barrier Reef. There are a huge range of activities, tours and cruises to choose from. Boats heading out to the reef depart from jetties near The Esplanade.
Enjoy a swim in the man-made swimming lagoon located on The Esplanade, fronting Trinity Inlet. Along The Esplanade you’ll also find The Pier Marketplace, walking trails and an amphitheater. If you want to learn about the culture, way of life and dreaming of indigenous Australian’s, the superb Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is well worth a visit. It is located in Smithfield, to the north of the city, near Yorkeys Knob.
Glide just metres over the rainforest canopy onboard the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and enjoy spectacular views over Cairns and the surrounding World Heritage Listed tropical rainforests. Alternatively, join the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway, constructed more than 100 years ago and take a scenic journey through the mountains.
Your ship will dock at the terminal in the heart of Cairns. Clothing and souvenir shops, restaurants, supermarkets and cafes are all within close walking distance from the ship.
Taxis are widely available throughout the city.
There is a fabulous array of dining experiences, from fine restaurants and cafes to bistros, bars and pubs. There are also plenty of take-away outlets. Follow your taste buds around the city centre and The Esplanade. Seafood is a specialty in these parts. Make sure you also sample some of Queensland’s tropical and exotic fruits.
Quarantine authorities do not generally allow food such as fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products and sandwiches to be taken off the ship however commercially packaged confectionery, chips and bottled drinking water are allowed subject to inspection.
Just about everything you’d need is located in the compact downtown area. The Pier Marketplace and The Esplanade have a collection of designer stores and boutiques. You’ll also find Aussie beach wear, bush clothing and contemporary arts and crafts in stores and galleries around the city. 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 artifacts.
The tropics are typically subject to a wide range of weather extremes. The dry season starts in May and stretches to October. Temperatures are mild and rarely drop below 20 degrees. Humidity during the dry season is also lower. Summer marks the beginning of the wet season. The rain can fall in torrents and the humidity rises; nonetheless there are usually still long stretches of sunshine and cooling sea breezes. The temperature in summer can sometimes exceed 29 degrees.
Major credit cards and charge cards are widely accepted. Automatic teller machines can provide currency to foreign card holders.
Public telephones and internet access are widely available throughout the city. Mobile coverage is generally available.
To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, please wear comfortable flat soled shoes, lightweight clothing and a hat. You are also advised to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, an umbrella or waterproof jacket and bottled water.
There are a range of tours available for you to really get the most out of your time in Cairns. Tours can be booked onboard at the shore tours desk and are subject to availability. Passengers are required to meet at a specific location for each shore tour departure. Please refer to your tour ticket for the correct time and place.
Coral is an extremely precious marine organism. In an effort to preserve its natural beauty and habitat please avoid touching it in all circumstances. Just as with most of Australia’s beaches, blue bottles can visit occasionally in the summer months. During your time ashore we ask that you dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully.