Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Australia teems with exotic wildlife, unusual geological formations, and beautiful tropical waters. Explore Aborigine culture, scuba the Great Barrier Reef, and more on an Australian cruise.
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Need to know
Cairns' tropical cyclone season lasts from November to May.
Like most cities dependent on tourism, be aware of your surroundings. Secure your valuables and avoid wearing flashy clothing. Don't wander the streets alone in the late hours.
There is a tourist medical facility available at 15 Lake St., Cairns, QLD, 4870. Ph: +61 0740411699, Website: http://www.ctlmedical.com.au
They are closed on Sundays and have limited hours on Saturday. Monday-Friday they are open 8am-6pm.
Most Pharmacies are open to about 9pm.
Staying in Cairns, it's easy to navigate the city's grid pattern. The Esplanade is a popular walking destination and is near the Reef Terminal where boats depart for the Reef.
Cairns is flat and easy to get around. Hotel, tour desks, and hostels offer bikes for hire.
The Black & White Taxis operate stands around the city, including in front of Reef Terminal and the Esplanade.
The central bus and taxi hub is City Place and the Lake St. Transit Centre. Operated by Sunbus, Buses run all over Cairns and he surrounding areas. bus fares are zone dependent. Zones 1 & 2 are $2.40-$2.90 AUD for a single ride.
On 26 January each year, Australians come together to celebrate their national day. The date commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain, reflecting the nation’s diversity and achievements, its past and its future.
Reef and Rainforest Carnival
A 10-day festival in Port Douglas in May. It is characterized by vibrant colors and raucous celebration. All handicrafts and artwork connect to the reef and rainforest themes.
In August-September, experience a taste of Cairns with 40 events spanning music, sport, dining, and theater.
ports > destinations > Cairns
For many cruisers, the port of call in Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
Photo by 04marjess at en.wikipedia, from Wikimedia Commons
Visitors to Cairns can experience rainforests to reefs. The tropical city is the access point for several World Heritage-Listed sites like the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.
Cairns is located on the northeastern coast of Australia. The city provides access to Cape Tribulation, the northernmost reaches of Australia, to aborigine villages and historical sites, and natural wonders. The city caters to tourism and is known for a laidback beach town vibe.
Good to Know
Port of Entry
Address: Grafton & Hartley Streets
PO Box 594
Cairns, Queensland 4870
Phone: +61 7 40523888
GMT + 10 (Daylight Savings) (Australian Eastern Time)
16° 55' 47" S, 145° 46' 50" E
Like much of Australia, Cairns has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season. The rainy season builds in December and lasts from January to March. Tropical cyclone season lasts from November to May. The average temperature during the wet season is 24°-31°C (75°-88°F). Water temperatures are typically near 29°C (84°F).
The dry season is typically June-August, Australia's winter. Daytime temperatures average 18°C (61°F) and the water is typically 22°C(72°F).
Australia has a decimal currency system, with 100 cents to the Australian dollar. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are found around Sydney at most bank branches and in some clubs and pubs. Foreign exchange offices are located throughout the city including at American Express. Major credit cards accepted in Australia are Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express. Travelex travellers’ checks are widely accepted throughout NSW. Banks are open from Monday to Friday 9.30am until between 4pm and 5pm, depending on the branch.
A Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent applies to most goods and
services. It is included in the ticket price of goods and in restaurant
menus. Departing travellers may be able to claim a refund for GST paid on
goods bought in Australia under the Tourist Refund Scheme. As a rule,
tipping is not expected in NSW and is rarely added to bills automatically.
However, if you're happy with the service, 10 per cent is an acceptable
amount especially in restaurants, for taxi rides and in hotels.
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The electrical current in Australia is 220-240 volts, AC 50Hz. The Australian three-pin power outlet is different from some other countries, so you may need an adaptor.
Things to do and see
The world's oldest surviving rainforest is a wonder to explore. Crocodiles, turtles, and platypus hide in the sparkling streams. Rainy season is the best time to visit to experience the rushing waterfalls and streams. Walk the aerial walkway or one of the many hiking trails to immerse into this ancient landscape.
Ride the railway 25km northwest of Cairns to the mountain retreat of Kuranda, the village of the rainforest. The arts and craft culture flourishes in markets and the many shops selling local wares and produce like honey and tropical fruits. There are many nature walks departing from Kuranda.
Ride the raging waters of the Tully River on a white water adventure over 45 rapids.
Stroll along the Cairns Foreshore Promenade with a saltwater lagoon, restaurants, bars, and beautiful waterfront vistas.
Barron River Whitewater
Perfect for beginners or families, the Barron River winds through a gorge with exciting rapids.
A popular location for hot air ballooning.
This seaside resort town is perfect for finding arts and crafts treasures. It's another jumping off point for the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.
To the south of Cairns lies Mission Beach, a 14km stretch of golden sand sitting between World Heritage rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef
The options to explore from the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef are endless. Tour operators offer helicopter and airplane rides, glass bottom boat rides, sailing, snorkeling, and diving day trips and liveaboards to the outer reef and its surrounds. Check with operators to see which specific reefs they offer.
Whale season runs from June-August. Spy Dwarf Minke on the north reef or Humpback whales on the outer reef along their annual migration.
This string of 10 reefs along the outside of the Great Barrier Reef is often listed in top 10 lists. The coral is spectacular and the fish abundant. See Dwarf Minke whales during their season.
A series of smaller reefs with 16 major diving attractions. Spot giant clams, clownfish, Maori wrasse and more.
A 6,000-year-old coral cay with a unique reef and rainforest environment. Hike into the forest or canoe, kayak, or snorkel around the island.
See giant clams, spotted rays, and another marine wildlife off this remote resort island.
Close enough to be seen from Cairns, this large island is the peak of a mountain chain. There is a nude beach, hiking, snorkeling, and diving available.
Feed gigantic potato cod, a highlight of many scuba diver's trip to the Great Barrier Reef.