Cairns Visitor Information
The City of Cairns
Located about 1,700 kilometres north-west of Brisbane along the coastal strip in the eastern borders of Cape York Peninsula facing the Coral Sea, the City of Cairns is a local government area in the state of Queensland. This city of over 150,900 residents is also the major commercial centre for both the Cape York Peninsula and Far North Queensland.
Named after Sir William Wellington Cairns, former governor of Queensland and later acting governor of South Australia, this regional city was established in 1876 to serve the miners who were headed for the Hodgkinson River goldfield in the late 1870s. Later in its history, and owing to its strategic location, the City of Cairns served as a staging base to the Allied Forces for their operations in the Pacific during World War II.
One of Australia's most famous international tourist destinations (much thanks to its tropical climate), the City of Cairns today is the starting point for people who want to visit the Great Barrier Reef (the world's greatest reef system). Because of Cairns' coastal setting, plus its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, some of the most popular activities in the area include scuba diving, snorkelling, and kite-sailing.
The City of Cairns also serves as a gateway to other Australian tourism hotspots. Two "must-see" sites tourists can access through Cairns are the Australian Outback (where one may visit Chillagoe, Gulf Savannah, Mareeba, Northern Outback, and Undara Volcanic National Park) and Cairns Rainforest (note-worthy locales within include Daintree Rainforest National Park, Licuala State Forest, and Southern Wet Tropics Rainforest). Other notable tourist locations in and around the city include Atherton Tablelands (a major agricultural area in the region), Kuranda (fondly known as the "Village in the Rainforest"), Palm Cove (an exotic location about 30 minutes north of Cairns), and Port Douglas (named after John Douglas, former premier of Queensland).