Cairns & Northern Beaches Hotels
High season in Cairns includes 2 weeks at Easter, the period from early July to early October, and the Christmas holiday through January. Book ahead in those periods. In low season (Nov–June), many hotels offer discounts or negotiate fees. Cairns has a good supply of affordable accommodations, both in the heart of the city and along the northern beaches. You don’t have to stay in Cairns city if you don’t have a car; most tour and cruise operators do transfers.
Overnighting on the Reef
The Spirit of Freedom ( tel. 07/4047 9150; www.spiritoffreedom.com.au) in Cairns offers a chance to “sleep on the Reef”aboard the 36 m (120-ft.) Spirit of Freedom, a sleek, modern motor yacht with electronic stabilizers, a widescreen TV with DVD player, comfortable lounge areas, sun decks, and 11 luxury double or quad shared cabins, each with an en suite bathroom. You will visit the popular Cod Hole and Ribbon Reef and on longer trips venture into the Coral Sea. A 3-day, 3-night trip will cost A$1,575 to A$2,375 depending on your choice of cabin and ends with a 193 km (120-mile) one-way 1-hour low-level flight from Lizard Island back to Cairns. You will fit in up to 11 dives. Prices include meals and pickup from your Cairns accommodations. Allow A$120 to A$245 extra for equipment rental. There are also 4-day and 7-day cruises to choose from (the latter a combination of both shorter trips).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.