By Plane Qantas ( tel. 13 13 13 in Australia) has direct flights throughout the day to Cairns from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne, and at least one flight a day from Uluru and Alice Springs. QantasLink also flies from Townsville. Virgin Australia ( tel. 13 67 89 in Australia) flies to Cairns direct from Townsville, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. Jetstar ( tel. 13 15 38 in Australia) flies from Brisbane. Tigerair ( tel. 03/9034 3733) flies from Melbourne and Sydney. Some international carriers serve Cairns from various Asian cities and New Zealand.
Cairns Airport ( tel. 1800/177 748; www.cairnsairport.com.au) is 8 km (5 miles) north of downtown. A 5-minute walk along a covered walkway connects the international terminal with the domestic terminal. Airport Connections ( tel. 07/4099 5950; www.tnqshuttle.com) will meet all flights at both terminals. Transfers to the city cost A$14 adults and A$7 children 2 to 12, and it also runs transfers to the northern beaches and Port Douglas. Bookings are essential. Sun Palm Australia Coach ( tel. 07/4087 2900; www.sunpalmtransport.com) provides transfers from the airport to the city and northern beaches. The one-way fare is A$14 for adults and A$7.50 for children 2 to 11 to the city, and A$23 for adults and A$12.50 for children to Palm Cove.
A taxi from the airport costs around A$29 to the city, A$55 to Trinity Beach, and A$68 to Palm Cove. There is a set fee of A$190 to Port Douglas. Call Cairns Taxis ( tel. 13 10 08 in Australia).
Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot, and Thrifty all have car-rental offices at the domestic and international terminals .
By Train Long-distance trains operated by Queensland Rail ( tel. 1800/872 467 in Queensland; www.queenslandrail.com.au) run from Brisbane several times a week. The 160 kmph (100-mph) Spirit of Queensland takes about 24 hours and costs from A$369 for a business class seat. Northbound trains leave Brisbane at 3:45pm on Monday and Friday; southbound runs depart Cairns at 8:05am on Wednesday and Sunday. The new trains feature luxury business-class seating, with an entertainment system for each seat, including multiple movie and audio channels, and lie-flat airline-style “railbeds.” A railbed between Brisbane and Cairns costs A$519.
The Sunlander, which runs three times a week between Brisbane and Cairns, takes 31 hours and costs from A$161 for a sitting berth, A$268 for a sleeper, or A$899 for all-inclusive Queenslander class (only available twice a week). Trains pull into the Cairns Central terminal ( tel. 07/4036 9250) on Bunda Street in the center of town.
By Bus Greyhound Australia ( tel. 1300/473 946 in Australia, or 07/4051 5899 in Cairns; www.greyhound.com.au) buses pull into Trinity Wharf Centre in the center of town. Buses travel from the south via all towns and cities on the Bruce Highway; they also run from the west, from Alice Springs and Darwin, via Tennant Creek on the Stuart Highway, and the Outback mining town of Mount Isa to Townsville, where they join the Bruce Highway and head north. The 48-hour Sydney–Cairns trip costs A$484; the 29-hour trip from Brisbane is A$302.
By Car From Brisbane and all major towns in the south, you’ll enter Cairns on the Bruce Highway. To reach the northern beaches or Port Douglas, take Sheridan Street in the city center, which becomes the Captain Cook Highway.
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.