Sophisticated and multi-cultural Cairns is a shopper's heaven with a great mix of shopping malls and department stores as well as souvenir and trinket stores which are a dime a dozen by the main port and The Esplanade. Good buys include crocodile skin leather goods and pearls.
The enormous number of tourists means that major fashion boutiques from Australia and all over the world have outlets here. Visitors from outside of Australia may want to take the opportunity to purchase the quirky clothes of local designers. Duty free at the international airport offers even more bargains, and a surprisingly wide range.
Shoppers after nautical or beach holiday buys like shell jewelry and hats will be in their element in Cairns. All basic needs like sunscreen and t-shirts are readily available and despite the temptation to do so, price gouging is pretty much unheard of in Cairns where prices are no higher than they tend to be in Brisbane.
Cairns Central is, by far, the largest shopping complex in the tropical north of Queensland. The Cairns Railway Station is underneath the center and so Cairns Central bustles all day long with locals and visitors. Souvenir shops and large Australian department store chains like Myer have outlets here.
Around 100 specialty stores are located in this complex down near the main port where boats to the Great Barrier Reef leave throughout the day. The Pier contains a great food court and a number of bars as well as the foyer of the Radisson Plaza Hotel.
More than 130 stores are contained here as well as a Coles supermarket, K Mart and a large food court. The Smithfield Shopping Centre is about two miles north of downtown Cairns but the major retailers operate shuttle bus services during retail opening hours.
A shuttle bus service from downtown Cairns runs shoppers from the center of town to the Westcourt Plaza, which contains supermarkets and department stores as well as a sprawling food court. Numerous medical and security facilities are located here too.
Prices are fixed in department stores and retail shops and credit cards are welcome as is cash. Some hotel shops will accept foreign currencies but in general AUD is the only accepted currency. ATMs proliferate all over town and exchange bureaux are clustered around downtown, the casino and the main port.