Port of Cairns is a major port in the Australian state of Queensland. Its cruise terminal – called Cruise Liner Terminal - serves not only international cruise ships but also a vast number of Australian reef cruise vessels. Maximum 2 cruise ships can dock on wharves 1 to 5, a short distance to the compact city centre, shopping and dining areas. Larger ships that are not able to turn around in the long and narrow port, anchor in the open sea or at an area called the Yorkie’s Knob and transport their passengers by tenders. There are shuttles to the city centre provided by the cruise ships for a fee. There is long term parking available at the cruise terminal at 10 AUD per day and a tourist information desk. There is a public bus stop just 10 min walking distance from the terminal, but mostly the cruise passengers would jump straight on a boat to the Barrier Reef from the same terminal. There are plenty of taxis as well. The Cairns Airport is only 10 min (8km) away by car.
The local currency is the Australian dollar (AUD). Australia has eliminated the penny and cash transactions are rounded up to the nearest nickel. All major credit cards are accepted everywhere. There are plenty of ATMs and exchanging money is easy. You can exchange cash at one of the money exchange shops at the city centre. Smaller, independent shops tend to have better rates than banks and established shops like Travelex. Make sure you check the market rate and ask if there would be any commission charges and fees. If you use your cards to draw cash from an ATM, make sure you have notified your bank you would be spending time abroad and you are aware of any transaction fees. More and more banks and financial companies now tend to offer cards with no additional fees when using abroad, so it might pay off for you to check if you can get such card before travelling.
Opening hours and bank holidays. Most shops and shopping centres in Cairnsare generally opened to 9 am to 5.30 pm, with some of them working until as late as 10pm and only some of them are closed on Sundays. Traditionally most shops are closed for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day. There are number of National bank holidays as well and some shops will be closed, so do make yourself familiar with those, especially if your time is limited.
Tipping in Australia is not as common as it is in Europe and the United States. There are jars for tips, but they are hardly used. You can tip if you are happy with the service, but you don’t have to. There are no service charges added to your bill at restaurants either.
It is common knowledge that English is the language of Cairns, so you would have no problems being understood.
The local time in Cairns is GMT+10 and the International dialling code is + 617.
Things To Do
There is no sign of a doubt, Cairns is mostly famous for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – the largest coral reef system on the planet and the only visible from space, composed of 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands and spreading over 133,000 square miles (344,400sqm). The reef is a World Heritage Site and an important part of local groups of Aboriginal descendants’ culture and spirituality. It has lost more than half of its coral cover since 1985, so protecting it and lowering the impact of tourism and fishing on it is vital. There are loads of ways to see the reef even in a day. The quickest and most scenic one would be to take a helicopter or a seaplane tour, but you can also book a boat trip, go snorkelling, paddleboarding, scuba diving, go on a glass-bottom boat, book a “seawalker” trip – any kind of sea-related activity under the sun for any budget and time-frame. Beware of the fact that there is a danger of being stung by dangerous jellyfish when you swim and snorkel in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Most companies that organise tours provide protective gear.
See the village of Kuranda by skyrail and the scenic railway – constructed between 1882 and 1891, it is an engineer wonder of its time. We recommend that you combine the two ways of travel to see this lovely village, perched up above a World Heritage tropical rainforest. Stop on the way into Barron Falls Station to see this rolling cascade of waterfalls. There is loads to do in and near Kuranda. You can give a koala a cuddle at Koala Gardens, see some dazzling butterflies at Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, take a boat down Barron River, take an Army Duck tour at Rainforestation Nature Park.
Daintree National Park is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland and a World Heritage Site. It’s the oldest continuously surviving tropical forest in the world – thought to be 165 million years old. Its flora and fauna are beyond impressive. 80% of the world’s fern families are found in the area and some of the trees here are thought to be over 3,000 years old. Nearly half of Australia’s bird, mammal, butterfly, reptile and frog species can be found here. There are 10 animals that are endemic to the area, such as the Boyd’s Forest Dragon, Ulysses Butterfly, Tree Kangaroo and a Southern Cassowary. There is lots to do at this tropical paradise – camp at Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier reef, explore the canopy at Daintree Discovery Centre, zip-line through the treetops, spot crocodiles on a Daintree River cruise, or go on a walkabout with Aboriginal guides and learn the ways of a 40,000-year-old culture.
Learn more about the world’s oldest Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Cultural Park. Take a refreshing, croc-free swim in the idyllic Crystal Cascades – a secret, no public transport pristine area that locals would rather keep to themselves. Palm Cove is a beautiful, relaxing, luxurious little resort with swaying palms, fringing the sandy beach.
Venture further out to Atherton Tablelands (known just as Tablelands) – a vast fertile plateau, that Kuranda is also a part of – try artisan, organic cheese from farmers that first settled here more than 100 years ago and other fresh local produce like coffee, tea, seafood and meats, served in the cafes and restaurants that the area is dotted with. Admire waterfalls, rivers, streams, gorges and a volcanic crater lake; visit Hastie Swamp, Crystal Caves, mount Mulligan Escarpment, Mareeba Wetlands and Granite Gorge Nature Park. At Undara Volcanic National Park – the traditional country of the Ewamian Aboriginal people, to see the longest lava tubes originating from a single volcano, about 160 km long.
All Cruises and Flight details are subject to availability and price variation. Final package price is available upon payment of deposit and confirming your ATOL & ABTA protected cruise holiday