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Cairns

(3.9/5 based on 34,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: adventure, trails, nature

The Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef

A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing. The city has an easygoing, unpretentious atmosphere that makes it easy for visitors to adjust to local life. Much of the appeal of Cairns comes from its backdrop of forested hills flanked by attractive beaches. Plan your tour of Cairns and Australia travel itinerary using our Australia holiday planner.
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Where to stay in Cairns

Though Cairns seems to offer an endless selection of cozy rooms, most budget-friendly options remain fully booked through the high season, stretching from June to September. Reserve early if you want a hotel room packed with amenities, or look for alternative lodgings in the city's smaller inns. As the backpacker capital of northern Queensland, Cairns features dozens of economical hostels providing comfortable beds and free Wi-Fi. For something far more luxurious, look for centrally located rental apartments with spacious rooms and harbor views.
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