Hiring a car from Cairns airport

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Hiring a car from Cairns airport

Pick up your hire car in Cairns and discover this tropical city on the shores of the Great Barrier Reef.

60-second guide to Cairns airport

in its own head

"Sun, sea and adventure aplenty - our city is a must-see destination on any Oz itinerary. The Great Barrier Reef is just a boat trip away and after a hard day's snorkelling, skydiving or white-water rafting, we like to kick back with a beer and enjoy the nightlife."

but more realistically

The town itself is not much to write home about. But Cairns is the gateway to what are undoubtedly some of Australia's best sights and experiences. There is no easier jumping-off point to the Great Barrier Reef and affordable day trips to islands and tropical forests abound.

the vibe

Without question, the vibe here is laid back. Take a stroll in your thongs (flip-flops) and relax.

the natives

Locals are laid back and there's a definite hippy vibe to this adventure playground. Many work in the tourist industry and are well versed in holidaymaker speak, so you'll never be short of a good natter.

the weather

Cairns boasts a warm, tropical climate but take heed: a wet season with tropical monsoons runs from December to April and temperatures can reach a scorching 32°C in January.

the local speciality

Seafood tops the bill here but if you’d like to try something a little more exotic, order the kangaroo, crocodile or ostrich.

the celebrity

Fool's Gold, the movie starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, was shot in the area. Hudson is even said to have had a near-death experience when 10-foot storm swells hit during a catamaran trip.

did you know?

During World War II, Cairns was used by the Allied Forces as a staging base for operations in the Pacific. After the war, Cairns slowly reinvented itself as a centre for tourism.

they say

"I have been coming to Cairns since the early 90s and have always felt like it's my second home. From the great restaurants to the Great Barrier Reef I am guaranteed a relaxing fun-filled time." - Peter Andre

5 to see in town...

1. Flecker Botanic Gardens

This tropical oasis boasts acres of native Australian gardens and many plants found here cannot be seen elsewhere.

where to park?

There is a car park at the eastern end of Collins Avenue where a walking track into the garden starts.

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2. Cairns Esplanade

Take some time out here to enjoy the lagoon, picnic areas, public barbecue spots, playgrounds, shops and restaurants. Just remember that as good as it is - there’s still even more to see and do.

where to park?

On-street parking is available along the esplanade.

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3. Cairns Museum

With all the gliding and diving, you may feel like you're missing out on the rich local history. Drop in to this museum for an overview of the area's Aboriginal and Islander beginnings.

where to park?

There are on-street parking spaces along Lake Street.

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4. Holloways Beach

Holloways is one skinny beach. At literally only a couple of metres in width, this is a great spot to pull over in the hire car, jump out and take a couple of strides straight into the ocean to cool off. Heaven.

where to park?

On-street parking spaces can be found close to the beach, try Cassia Street.

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5. Pier Marketplace

Not a boat fan? Visit Undersea World Aquarium at the Pier Marketplace, where you can view the reef's critters without getting your feet wet - and browse the shops while you're there.

where to park?

Located on Pier Point Road, try the free on-site car park.

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and 4 to drive to...

1. Great Barrier Reef

Truly spectacular - no photo can prepare you for the magnificence of this, sadly threatened, wonder of the world. Take your pick of tours and activities, whatever your level of ability.

how to get there?

Diving day trips and cruises to the Great Barrier Reef depart from Cairns' Marlin Marina, at the end of Spence Street.

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2. Daintree National Park

The Greater Daintree Rainforest has existed continuously for more than 110 million years, making it possibly the oldest existing rainforest and, thankfully, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

how to get there?

Take the Captain Cook Highway north and merge with the Mossman Daintree Road, which leads to Daintree National Park. The journey should take just over two hours.

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3. Cape Tribulation

Named by Captain Cook, this section of coast is where the Great Barrier Reef and Greater Daintree Rainforest meet, making it a superb spot for sea kayaking and glorious strolls along the boardwalk.

how to get there?

Situated 85 miles north of Cairns, follow the Captain Cook Highway and cross the Daintree River by car ferry. Continue to Cape Tribulation Road.

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4. Wooroonooran National Park

See platypus, possums and all those other creatures great and small that you've heard about in books - or wander to one of the many waterfalls at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

how to get there?

Just over 40 miles from the city centre, head south on the Bruce Highway.

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