Host City

Cairns – Home to DC2020

Cairns is the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north, renowned for its relaxed, tropical climate and laid back ambiance. Cairns boasts the best of Australia’s tropics – with islands, rainforest and reef on its doorstep. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef extends over 1,500 kilometers and is home to the greatest variety of flora and fauna species found in any one location in the world.

Timezone: GMT +10
Weather: The weather in Cairns in October is warm with an average temperature of 28 degrees celsius.

10 Interesting Facts About Cairns

Cairns is the main centre of Northern Queensland

The town of Cairns was created over the site of a sea-slug fishing camp when gold was found to the north in 1876

However, it was the Atherton Tablelands’ tin and timber resources that established Cairns and kept it ahead of its nearby rival, Port Douglas

The Cairns harbour is the focus of north Queensland’s fish and prawn industries, and tourism began modestly when marlin fishing became popular after World War II

With the “discovery” of the Great Barrier Reef in the 1970s and the appeal of the local climate, tourism snowballed in Cairns

Today, Cairns is most popular as a base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and the Atherton Tablelands

Cairns is awash with bars, nightclubs, eateries and cafes suiting all budgets

The only beach right in town is a man-made 4,000-sq-m (43,000-sq-ft) saltwater lagoon and artificial beach

Despite its beachfront esplanade, Cairns has a city atmosphere and instead of sandy beaches there are mudflats, abundant with native birdlife

If you are spending more than a day or two in the area, consider basing yourself in Cairns’ pretty northern beaches

Around Cairns

Plan ahead and make the most of your trip to Cairns while attending the DC2020 Symposium. Visit Cairns and Port Douglas Tours to see the discounted tours available for both adults and children. You’ll find a wide variety things to do in Cairns, get ready to be overwhelmed with the amount of choices you’ll have. Here’s a list of some of the most wonderful and interesting things to do in Cairns:

Great Barrier Reef

As one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef needs no introduction. It’s the largest coral reef in the world and home to an extraordinary variety of marine life. Unsurprisingly, this makes it one of the most famous tourist destinations not just in Australia, but the world as well.

The Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. The reef contains an abundance of marine life and comprises of over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays and literally hundreds of picturesque tropical islands with some of the worlds most beautiful sun-soaked, golden beaches. Because of its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the worlds most sought after tourist destinations.

A visitor to the Great Barrier Reef can enjoy many experiences including snorkelling, scuba diving, aircraft or helicopter tours, bare boats (self-sail), glass-bottomed boat viewing, semi-submersibles and educational trips, cruise ship tours, whale watching and swimming with dolphins.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR DISCOUNTED DIVE & SNORKEL TRIP

Daintree Discovery Centre

To many visitors and travellers, a trip to Cairns isn’t complete without experiencing the wonders of the world-famous Daintree Rainforest. This world-heritage listed rainforest is truly a sight to behold, featuring an incredible diversity of plant and animal life that any true nature enthusiast will love. The Daintree Rainforest is also recognised as the world’s oldest rainforest, making a trip here truly worthwhile.

If you’d like a one-of-a-kind experience of this amazing rainforest, The Daintree Discovery Centre should definitely be one of your top choices. Our discovery centre is perfect for those who want an intimate experience of the Daintree rainforest, with a collection of facilities and exhibitions that bring you up close with its many wonders.

Top attractions include the famous Canopy Tower and the Aerial Walkway, two features that provide breathtaking views of this beautiful rainforest. The Canopy Tower is one of the most popular attractions, standing 23 metres above ground and featuring five viewing platforms for guests of all ages. These platforms offer spectacular views of the surrounding forest, allowing guests to experience the Daintree Rainforest in ways that they may never have done before. The Aerial Walkway, on the other hand, provides a mid-canopy stroll that brings you across in the midst of trees and the mid-level rainforest.

The Daintree Discovery Centre also offer over 900 metres of rainforest boardwalksguided tours, and a variety of displays and exhibitions that give a glimpse of what life in the Daintree Rainforest is like.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR DISCOUNTED DAINTREE TOURS

The Esplanade

One of the most popular landmarks in Cairns, the Esplanade is a wonderful place for taking leisurely walks or relaxing with some light outdoor activities. This iconic attraction is a stretch of foreshore spanning around 2.5 kilometres, with a variety of recreational and leisure facilities strewn throughout the area.

Its main attractions include the Lagoon, the Esplanade Boardwalk, a parklands area, and playgrounds. Families and groups will love its relaxing atmosphere, which provides the perfect setting for a variety of outdoor activities. From biking and running to swimming and picnicking, the Esplanade is one of the best places in Cairns to enjoy some fun under the sun.

Kuranda Scenic Railway

This historic railway brings you across some of the region’s most beautiful natural environments, passing through the Wet Tropics of Queensland and other scenic sights. This train provides a unique experience of the rainforest, immersing you in its enchanting atmosphere as you wind through from one station to the next. See all types of plants and wildlife, and experience the different smells and sounds of the surrounding rainforest.

The Cairns station is conveniently a terminal station for the Kuranda Scenic Railway, allowing visitors to easily book a tour here and hop on this special train. The station itself is located near the CBD area and right beside the Cairns Shopping Centre, so you always have easy access to it whenever you’re in the city.

Cairns Botanic Gardens

The Cairns Botanic Gardens is one the most extraordinary plant exhibitions in Australia, showcasing a wide variety of tropical plants found both in the Daintree Rainforest and the surrounding regions.

It features a number of gardens and botanic spaces that provide guests an in-depth look of the region’s amazing plant life. Main attractions include the Flecker Garden, the Gondwanan Heritage Garden, two centenary lakes, and the Mount Whitfield Conservation Park.

Even if you’re not much of a flower or plant enthusiast, you’ll still find plenty to see and appreciate at the Cairns Botanic Gardens. And with no admission fee, a visit here is easily one of the best things to do in Cairns for free.

Rusty's Market

There are many weekend and night markets in Cairns and nearby Port Douglas, but the most famous of these is the long-running Rusty’s Markets. This weekend market has been around for almost 40 years, starting in 1975 and still going strong today. With its rich history and wide collection of interesting finds, Rusty’s Markets is undoubtedly one of Cairn’s most beloved cultural icons.

Here, you’ll find over 180 stalls that sell all kinds of food and items, spanning everything from different varieties of fruits and vegetables to clothing, jewellery, and accessories. Through the years, however, it’s gained a reputation as a place that does more than just sell items – it’s also become a veritable entertainment and cultural hub in the city.

If you’d like to immerse yourself in the heart of Cairn’s local culture, then there’s hardly a better place to do it than Rusty’s Markets. You’ll find it between Grafton Street and Sheridan Street in the CBD, from Friday to Sunday. The markets open at 5:00 AM each day and close at 6:00 PM (3:00 PM on Sunday).

Cairns Aquarium

Cairns Aquarium is one of Australia’s most spectacular aquarium. It is the only aquarium in the world to exclusively showcase the stunning aquatic wildlife from tropical North Queensland’s two World Heritage listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.

Travel through 10 amazing North Queensland ecosystems from the world’s most ancient rainforest to the world’s largest coral reef to discover 71 different exhibits showcasing the extremely rare and incredibly unique species of this region. Endangered Freshwater Sawfish, Grey Reef Sharks and Humphead Maori Wrasse dominate the massive fresh water and marine habitats while the Amethystine Python and Boyd’s Forest Dragon make a spectacle of themselves in their treetop displays. Add to this a panorama of wildlife and marine fish that create an underwater world filled with a kaleidoscope of colour.

Enjoy daily talks and presentations by knowledgeable and entertaining educators, marvel at the animal feeding sessions and get a hands-on experience at the marine and terrestrial touch tanks. Complete your day at Cairns Aquarium with breakfast, lunch or dinner at Dundee’s Restaurant.

Open 365 days of the year, experience the spectacular diversity of the region without the need to get wet or even leave the city.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is the ultimate place to experience the rich and ancient cultures unique to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. For over 26 years the park has engaged, entertained and educated thousands through two very unique experiences known to many as “Tjapukai By Day” and “Tjapukai By Night”, each distinctly different.

Tjapukai By Day is great for all ages, offers free access to wi-fi and can be enjoyed no matter what the weather conditions may be. The parks restaurants, theatres and retail shop are complimented by a wide range of interactive experiences rotating throughout the day. Ranging from dance performances, boomerang and spear throwing, men’s and women’s business through to art exhibitions there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Tjapukai by Night- Journey into the legends of the dreamtime and discover the magic of Australia’s ancient indigenous culture. Immerse yourself in the traditions of the Aboriginal people through traditional dances, music and storytelling, providing a powerful and personal insight into ancient Australian culture. Admission includes a complimentary welcome drink on arrival (standard beer, wine or juice), scrumptious buffet dinner, face painting and time to browse the Retail Gallery for authentic Aboriginal souvenirs before departing.