Cairns is a coastal city, located 7 miles south of its international airport. Car hire in Cairns is easy, with major agencies having services at the airport. Once in town, you'll find the central area generally compact and walkable, containing most restaurants, shops, and hotels in Cairns. Walk over to the Cairns Esplanade for a first taste of the outdoors here. Stroll along the manmade lagoon, and catch some of the abundant sunshine along this stretch of flats. This park includes Wi-Fi, toilets, electric BBQ grills, and picnic areas along the foreshore. There's many incredible attractions in the Cairns region, and not just the Great Barrier Reef that many visitors come for. If you rent a car in Cairns, you can venture out to the outlying communities along the Northern Beaches area. Back in town, there's a wealth of companies in town offering excursion options, whether they be guided tours or activity-based adventures. Having your own self-drive car will make it easy to get to and from many of these destinations.
A trip to Kuranda, 13km away from Cairns, takes you to the breathtaking Atherton Tablelands. See more of this wonderful landscape on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, with views of Barron Gorge National Park. Kuranda's top attractions include the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Here, you'll experience traditional music and dance, and a buffet featuring novelties like kangaroo kofta, sugarcane-skewered crocodile, and braised emu canapes. The Wet Tropics of Queensland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an 8,940 km² stretch of tropical forest with 13 river systems, and Wallaman Falls, Australia's tallest waterfall. It also contains hundreds of rare plant and bird species. When you rent a car in Cairns, drive on one of the Wet Tropics' 40 scenic routes, ride a bike on mountainous trails, or hike one of the 150 trails. A road trip to the Daintree, the world's oldest tropical rainforest, and Cape Tribulation is another worthwhile excursion. There's a range of popular activities here, including cruising on the Daintree River to spot crocs, ziplining from elevated platforms, swimming at stunning Mossman Gorge, and guided bushwalks with the indigenous Kuku Yalanji people.
Cairns is located in the Far North region in the Australian state of Queensland. The region hosts a rich ecosystem which sustains hundreds of plant and bird species, marine life, and both endemic and rare animals. Cairns itself lies on a coastal strip between the Great Dividing Range and the Coral Sea. This means an equally diverse collection of landscapes, from rugged mountains and dense rainforests, to one of the most popular sites in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns has a tropical climate with rainy, humid summers, and mild, dry winters. With the intense sunshine often found here, you'll need lightweight comfortable clothing, sunglasses, hats, swimwear, and a broad-range sunscreen to reduce the risks of sun exposure. To avoid heavy tourist crowds and the jellyfish menace, visit Cairns in the winter months of July and August; temperatures will be relatively cooler than summer, yet still warm and less humid.
You need a valid driver's license from your home country, and possibly an additional International Driving Permit, to drive in Australia. The minimum age to rent a car in Cairns is 21, with additional surcharges and restrictions possible for drivers under 24. As in the rest of Australia, the vehicles in Cairns are right-hand drive, and you should bear left when driving. Seatbelts are required for all passengers, and speed limits are 100km/h on the highways, and 50km/h near schools and in residential areas. When driving, watch out as animals like emus, wombats, kangaroos, bandicoots, and koalas may cross the road without warning. Also note that the alcohol blood level limit is 0.05%, which is the equivalent of more than one standard drink.