Cairns is the sweltering gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia's second-largest tourist attraction (after Uluru) and the largest living thing in the world. Most people who visit here do so fleetingly, in order to take boat trips to the Reef. This is a shame since Cairns itself is a thriving tourist center that marks the entrance to the far north tropics of Australia.
Travel far enough north up Australia’s Sunshine State of Queensland and you will eventually reach the picturesque town of Cairns. Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns has developed into a hub of activity, popular with all types of travelers. An eclectic mix of tropical waters and lush mountain ranges provide the perfect place to spend a few days.
As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns grows more popular with each year that passes. Millions of visitors from all walks of life base themselves in the tropical city and visit the reef and surrounding rain forests. As so, Cairns has developed into a fantastic place to stay with an abundance of hotels, hostels and B&Bs to suit any budget.
Cairns is popular for being a shopping hot-spot in northern Queensland. Many locals make the trip into the CBD from miles around to indulge in some of the best shopping around. Its ancient indigenous past is showcased in many shops around town, where visitors can pick up a number of great souvenirs. There are also some great modern shops where you will be able to peruse some of the world’s great names in fashion.
Australians are known around the world for their love and expertise when it comes to lighting up the barbie and throwing a few snags on; here in Cairns it’s no different. Whether you are looking for first class dining or simple pie and chips, Cairns has something to suit every taste. Its perfect location, being right next to the blue ocean, provides visitors with an unprecedented selection of fresh sea food; some say the best sea food in all of Queensland.
Australia is known across the globe for having a huge variety of activities and sights to suit every taste; and here in Cairns it’s no different. What is different however, is the landscape. While 95% of Australia is desert or savannah Tropical North Queensland is green and verdant. This stunning natural location nestled between the blue ocean and lush greens of the rain forest means it’s a haven for those looking for beach and walking holidays.
Cairns is one of the centers of Australian tourism and as a result people come here from all over the world to work, study and play. This means a cosmopolitan dining scene that can hold its own with the eating on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Cairns is very much a night time city since the soaring temperatures and soggy humidity during the day prohibit any kind of vigorous activity during the day time. Of an evening, the international crowd flocks to bars and restaurants that pulsate with travelers from all backgrounds, and the variety of nightlife and atmosphere here is truly electric.
The main thing to bear in mind when approaching a stay in Cairns is the heat and humidity. This is a very steamy part of the world and the most frequent cause of discomfort and distress is unfamiliarity or lack of preparation for extreme temperatures. Also, be sure to avoid swimming in the waters directly off Cairns as crocodiles swim in the wild here. Tourist traps are another concern, and most visitors should try to book well in advance for all trips to the Great Barrier Reef.
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.
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