There are not that
many - because Cairns is not that type of city.
It is a very enjoyable
city, with lots of
colourful atmosphere to take in, good markets, walking
tracks, nice cafes, pubs, restaurants, excellent accommodation and
a great night life.
It has a lot of adventures,
and some great free things
to do, but it's not as rich in museums as are the cities
There are some
and they are listed below.
Cairns Attractions in the
Cairns museum is an interesting place to visit if you are into
the history of Cairns and the area around it. There are some
interesting displays about Aboriginal, Chinese and European history,
such as sugar cane, timber logging, mining, and the building of the
Railway. UPDATE 2017 the NEW Cairns Museum is open!
The New Cairns Aquarium Apart
from the brand new Cairns Museum, the other great new thing that got
ready in the same year, 2017 - is the new Cairns Aquarium.
It was about time as Townsville has had theirs for decades and Cairns
is really a lot more touristic and a lot more of a coral reef
destination. The new aquarium is amazing!
Regional Gallery has a few different exhibitions of paintings,
jewellery, and all sorts of art by local as well as national and
There are a few galleries in the central Cairns,
but this one is the best known.
It's funny to add a casino to a list of tourist attractions, but this
is what Cairns casino really is. It attracts herds of Asian tourists,
and is also a hotel. Take a lift up to the roof where you have some
views, and another one of great Cairns attractions - the Wildlife Dome
North Cairns Attractions
They are lovely botanic gardens in northern Cairns, in Edge
There are walking tracks in the rainforest, some great tropical
flowers and trees, and rainforest understory plants. There is also a
fern house and an orchid house. It's a great place to stroll around.
This art centre is always on the list of Cairns attractions, but when
you visit, you may actually not see more than three, albeit quite
impressive WWII tanks. With better luck there happens to be an art
exhibition, but it's not the case all the time. It's worth finding out
what's on at the time of
Flying Doctor Service
you are from overseas you may not know what this service is. Because
Australia is such a huge country with remote areas, RFDS provides the
remote areas with medical services. The
Cairns base is the
largest in the whole
country, and the one that
services the Cape York area.
Cairns Attractions North of the City
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park North of the city is Tjapukai - a great Aboriginal cultural park, particularly if you are from overseas.
They are the original local tribe and they have done a great job on
creating a beautiful park and a fantastic local indigenous exprience.
next door is Skyrail - the cableway up the Kuranda Range, where you can
experience flying over the tree tops of this ancient tropical
There are also magnificent views over the coast, Coral Sea and some north Cairns suburbs.
The New Armour and Artillery Museum Another one of the new Cairns attractions - opened in 2014, is the new Armour and Artillery Museum next door to the above two.
Supposedly the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, it's a
great collection of armoured vehicles and artillery both from the First
and the Second World War.
Other than the already mentioned Dome in the roof of the Casino, this
is the closest zoo park to Cairns.
It is about 20 minutes drive from the city centre and there
It has the usual Australian animals like kangaroos, koalas, wombats, dingos, cassowaries,
as well as some not found in Australia.
next door to the Cairns Tropical Zoo, this is a night time
experience with nocturnal animal spotlighting; as well as a BBQ dinner,
live music and entertainment, meant
for overseas visitors as a fun way to learn a bit about the Aussie
2016 unfortunately both Cairns Tropical Zoo and the Night
Zoo were permanently closed.
Mine Next door
to the Cairns
Tropical Zoo and Cairns
Night Zoo, this
is actually not an opal mine but a shop.
And on top of that far north Queensland is not opal country, you have
more opals down south. But in case you are from overseas and
interested, this is not a bad shop, there is also some opal
information, and knowledgeable staff.
The Old Cairns
museum is one of the best Cairns attractions and a fun place to visit if you like history. It is
right in the middle of the
city centre, at the City
Place on the corner of Lake and Shield Streets.
There are displays on the
Cairns and the area around it, including: * Photos of
streets of early Cairns
traps, canoes and tools
* European homes,
furnitures, typing machines, dresses and
* Mining history (Hodgkinson Goldfields,
which was the
reason why Cairns was first built)
* Gold rushes
the history of the early
cane, cotton, pineapple,
banana and other farming
Regional Gallery is one of Cairns attractions and is the largest art gallery in city.
in the city
centre, one block from the
Lagoon and the Esplanade, on the corner of Abbott and Shield Streets.
is in a nice historical building, built in 1933-1936, which is listed
in the Heritage Register of Queensland.
It used to be State Public
Office Building, but was given a two million dollar facelift in 1994
and turned into art gallery in 1995. There are
gallery rooms, and many exhibitions
are changing displays of works of local artists.
There are paintings as
well as all sorts of modern art, including modern Aboriginal
On the ground floor there
are the foyer
(obviously!), the Gallery Shop, the Gallery Cafe and Restaurant, and
the Lady Norman Gallery.
The Lady Norman Gallery
spotted gum and silver ash flooring, and art donated by Lady Betty
The Gallery Shop
postcards, and hand made glass, ceramics, home wares, jewellery, prints
and other Australian art and craft products.
The Perrotta's Cafe and
is in the front of the building - open for dinner.
On the first floor
is the Focus Gallery, the Public Curator's Gallery, the Ireland
Family's Gallery, and The Niche. There is also an education room.
The Focus Gallery
individual works from the collection of Cairns Regional Gallery.
The Public Curator's
has Chillagoe marble flooring and columns from the 1930s when the
building was first built. This room used to be the Public Curator's
The Ireland Family
has art donated by the Ireland Family.
has exhibitions and
the Education Room is for children's programs, art classes, workshops
On the second floor is the Loft Gallery that
collectives and the work of artists' of tropical north Queensland.
Botanic Gardens is one of the Cairns attractions in north Cairns. It is a nice place to stroll around
if you got an hour or two to kill in Cairns and prefer nature to the
There are some other places to experience tropical rainforests in
Cairns but they are all in northern and western suburbs while this one is closest to the city.
There is a self guided
walk, a fern
house and an orchid
a cafe and information centre. Plants include vines, shrubs, flowering
trees, tropical fruits, bamboo, ginger, palms and ferns - native as
well as exotic species. The
Flecker Botanic Gardens information
centre and cafe
are a short stroll from the main entrance, and the self guided walk
starts at the information centre.
a few marked rainforests species such as a sugar palm, a native
Dutchman's pipe vine (one of the most important host plants of Cairns
Birdwing butterfly), sealing wax palm, foxtail palm, Havana cigar and
red torch ginger, before it comes to George Watkins Orchid House.
And after that you continue walking north and the next one is Munro Martin Fern House.
Then the self guided walk
continues past lots of plants like cardboard plant, a bromeliad garden,
elephant ear, native backscratcher ginger, variegated ginger, tar tree,
fan palm, salacca, Caroline Ivory nut, burity palm, Panama hat, lacy
tree philodendron, Timor giant black bamboo, Bali bamboo, giant Buddha
belly bamboo, nimbung palm, teak tree, strangler fig, Tahitian ginger,
Pinang yaki, travellers palm, blood banana and song of India.
walk finally takes you back to where it started at the Flecker Botanic
Gardens information centre. West of the information centre is the Aboriginal Plant Use Garden.
north of that is a section called Understory Rainforest Plants,
with tracks along and acrosss a creek.
If you continue east along those tracks, you come to an interpretive centre, and finally to Australia's
Gondwanan Heritage Garden - a section of plants with
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my partner
Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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This site uses British
English, which is the English we use in
best efforts have been made to ensure that all the information on this
website is correct, this site is not to be blamed should there be a
My full time project of 2020-21 is to improve every single page on this website with more information and more, better photos. With almost 300 pages and so many photos to go through, it is very time consuming work, but it is gradually happening, right now :-)
This is the ORIGINAL Cape York Travel Guide run Locally on the Peninsula.