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Where should I stay in Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef?

Stay near the Cairns Pier and you’ll be walking distance from Marlin Marina and Reef Fleet Marina, the two major marinas where you can catch a boat to the Great Barrier Reef. Check out these top hotels near Cairns Pier:

  • Pacific Hotel Cairns is in the middle of the action, but when you’re watching the sunset from the outdoor pool, you’ll feel worlds away.
  • After a stay at Shangri-La Hotel, an indulgent 5-star property with Egyptian cotton sheets, designer toiletries, and pillow menus, you’ll be well-rested for your Great Barrier Reef adventure.

What Cairns hotels are on the beach?

  • Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort: This 5-star resort has ocean views and is right on the Esplanade near Cairns CBD. After a fun beach day, slip into your complimentary bathrobe and slippers and order up 24-hour room service.
  • Cairns Beach Resort: For a true beach experience, head north of the city centre to the suburb of Holloways Beach. Cairns Beach Resort sits right across from the sand and even provides complimentary beach towels.

Where to stay in Cairns with a family?

  • Hilton Cairns: Don’t give up luxury just because you’re on a family holiday. The Hilton has rollaway beds available for the little ones, complimentary cribs, and 24-hour room service. Plus you’ll be right near the Night Markets, the Cairns Museum, tons of shopping, and endless water adventures.
  • Cascade Gardens: Kick back and relax in spacious suites that have a kitchenette, laundry facilities, and even complimentary cribs. Spend a day at the outdoor pool or explore Esplanade Lagoon just a short walk away.

How do I get to Cairns from the airport?

That’s a good question. Lucky for you, we have the answer. Once you land at Cairns Airport (CNS), 7km from the city centre, you can either take a taxi, a bus or book car hire in order to make your way from CNS to the city centre. Simple as that.

What kind of hotels are in Cairns?

There’s all sorts of hotels in Cairns. From boutique to luxury, follow along below for some of our favourites.

  • Mantra Trilogy: This great apartment hotel is located on the waterfront Esplanade, and offers panoramic views of the Coral Sea. There’s also an on-site gym, a lagoon pool and barbecue pits so you and your mates can throw as many shrimps on the barbie as you want. If you don’t feel like cooking for yourself, grab a meal at one of the two on-site restaurants or just order up some room service.
  • Shangri-La Hotel: How do you spell luxury? Shangri-La Hotel Cairns is how. This grand establishment is located right on the marina, so the views from your balcony will be nothing short of spectacular. The amenities here seem endless; you can work up a sweat in the health club, get a rubdown at the spa, and get a steak and lobster meal delivered right to your room. And when you’re ready for some sun, hang by the pool and enjoy a few Victoria Bitters.
  • Waterfront Backpackers Hostel: If you’re looking for accommodation in Cairns that’s on the lighter side of the price range, this is it. Located directly on the Esplanade, this traditional hostel is perfect for putting your feet up at the end of a long day while sipping a cold one.

Where should I stay if I’m visiting Cairns?

Hey, we don’t mind all the questions—we have all the answers. Especially when the questions are about little enclaves throughout the city, like Parramatta Park, where the Cairns Central Shopping Centre is. Then you got Cairns North where the Ocean World Seafood Market is located. And don’t forget about Bungalow, where there are even more bars than people. These neighbourhoods are all home to great places to stay in Cairns. Check them out below.

  • Park Royal: Parramatta.
  • Cairns Tropical Gardens: Bungalow.
  • North Cove Waterfront Suites: Cairns North.

What are some things to do in Cairns?

The number of things you can do on Cairns holidays is absurd. There’s too many to count, so we made a short list of things you must do when you’re visiting.

  • The Great Barrier Reef: No one likes when people beat around the bush: This by far is the biggest attraction in the area. Get yourself a spot on one of the many dive charter companies and spend the day exploring the world’s largest coral reef system. This natural wonder is too incredible to describe, so we won’t even try. We’ll leave that part to you.
  • Cairns Wildlife Dome: You can’t go to Cairns without cuddling a koala. But there aren’t just koala encounters here—wait until they bring out the wallabies. The Cute-O-Metre will skyrocket right through the roof of that glass dome overhead…well, assuming it dodges the tropical birds like lorikeets and cockatoos that fly around freely.
  • Rafting on the Tully River: RnR White Water Rafting will take you on an unforgettable journey down one of Australia’s best and most famous rivers. Those water log rides at amusement parks can’t hold a candle to these rapids. You’ll rest easy in one of our Cairns hotels after a wet and wild day.

Have we rambled on enough? We think we have. Now it’s time for you to take advantage of one of Wotif’s Cairns hotel deals and get going on your holiday now. Seriously, leave now!

And if you want to see the land of Tasmanian devils, check out the deals on our Hobart accommodation and make the five-hour flight south. Trust us, it’s worth it.

Which hotels in Cairns have the best views?

  • Pullman Reef Hotel Casino: With all rooms featuring large balconies overlooking the city skyline or the iconic Trinity Inlet, this five-star hotel offers a front-row seat to the best views in Cairns. Toss in a rooftop pool, spa baths in each room, a nightclub and the Reef Casino, and you’ll be dazzled by more than just the views. Book with Wotif and we’ll find you the lowest prices on these fancy digs.
  • Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside: Right on The Esplanade, you can sit on the private balcony of your stylish room and enjoy stunning views of Trinity Bay or the surrounding mountains. The tropical vistas from the outdoor pool are pretty epic too. Satisfy your stomach at on-site Harbourside Bar & Kitchen or take advantage of this four-star hotel’s 24-hour room service.

What are the best luxury hotels in Cairns?

  • Luxury meets art at Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel and Residence. Innovative design, dedicated art spaces and stunning skyline views are just the start here. Lounge by the pool then relax in your room with touch-controlled blackout blinds, free movies, 24-hour room service and more. Later, head to CC’s Bar and Grill or Pachamama for Latin-inspired drinks and dining. Want the best deal? Book with Wotif!
  • Pullman Cairns International: With all rooms featuring luxury décor and amenities, and private balconies with harbour or hinterland views, this place will tick your fancy holiday boxes. Get a relaxing treatment at the full-service spa, then kick back at the pool and sundeck. Don’t miss Coco’s Kitchen + Bar for some amazing local seafood.

Which resorts in Cairns have a swimming pool?

  • With three lagoon-style pools and a man-made beach, Cairns Colonial Club Resort is the place to stay if you’re keen to spend your holiday in your swimmers. When your fingers start getting pruney, dry off and hit the Thirsty Flamingo poolside bar and restaurant for chilled music and chillier drinks. Another highlight? The modern and spacious rooms nestled among tropical rainforest gardens.
  • You won’t want to get out of your cossies at Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort either. This luxurious spot features a lagoon pool complete with a sandy beach, a pool for the kids, a swim-up bar and loungers just made for sipping piña coladas. Later, feast alfresco under swaying palms at MOKU Bar & Grill before heading back to your stylish room. Flexibility matters to us. That’s why we offer free cancellation on select hotels.

Which Cairns hotels are close to the airport?

  • Located on the Esplanade, Pacific Hotel Cairns is just a short drive from Cairns Airport. Highlights at this luxury stay include an outdoor swimming pool, a terrace, tour and ticketing assistance and the on-site Bushfire Flame Grill Restaurant. You won’t be stuck staring at hangars and concrete either. This hotel boasts views over Trinity Inlet estuary.
  • Offering affordable luxury, Cairns Sheridan Hotel puts you in the heart of Cairns and close to the airport at the same time. Amenities like Palms Restaurant and cocktail bar, a café and a pool will keep you happy here. When it’s time to take off, the tarmac is just 4 km away. With our local expertise, we’ll find you the best price on your Cairns stay.

Which 5-star hotels in Cairns are good for couples?

  • Right on the beach and with an adults-only pool and complimentary drinks and canapes each evening, The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery is heaven for couples. Spend your days soaking up the sun at the beach or around one of the two pools. A full-service spa, on-site Reef House Restaurant and cocktail-making classes are other great ways to sneak in some “us time”. Book a king spa suite to really get the romance bubbling.
  • Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore: Set against the backdrop of swaying palms and turquoise waters, this tropical hideaway will make you fall in love all over again. With direct beach access, you can lounge on the sand with your sweetie. Or, chill by the three pools or get a massage at the day spa. Our local experts reckon this one’s a winner in the romance stakes, but don’t just take our word for it. Check out our trusted reviews!

Why book with Wotif?

We’ve got some of the best travel deals on the market, plus nobody knows Australia (and what Aussies want) like Wotif. We also offer free cancellation on select hotels and 24/7 support, so you can book your Cairns escape with confidence.

Found only 2 kilometres outside of the city centre is Cairns North. It has 35 available accommodation options. If you're happy to stay in this area, you should book a few nights at 181 The Esplanade and Coral Towers. Another area, just 0.08 kilometres from the town center is Cairns CBD. You'll be overwhelmed here, with 21 available accommodation options for you to pick from. A few great examples of these options are Mid City Luxury Suites and Il Palazzo Boutique Apartment Hotel.

Many Wotif travellers who visit Cairns like to stay near Esplanade Lagoon, Mount Whitfield Conservation Park or the Centenary Lakes Botanic Gardens. Hotels close to Esplanade Lagoon include the Cairns Luxury Apartments and the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. The Cairns Luxury Apartments is 0.4 kilometres from Esplanade Lagoon, while the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is 0.4 kilometres away. The Lakes Cairns Resort & Spa is situated a kilometre from Mount Whitfield Conservation Park. The Getaway On Grafton is also located within a short walk. And finally, the Tropic Towers Apartments and the Mantra Trilogy are within walking distance of the Centenary Lakes Botanic Gardens. The Tropic Towers Apartments is located a kilometre away and Mantra Trilogy is 3 kilometres away.

After an energetic afternoon of seeing the sights, go on a relaxing walk on Cairns Esplanade. If you want to see this attraction and would like to stay nearby, check out Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina and Hilton Cairns. Visitors hoping to try their hand at a game or two may want to visit Reef Hotel Casino. You can spend time at this site often, especially if you're based at Pullman Cairns International and City Terraces Cairns.

If you're flying into or out of Cairns International Airport and would like to stay nearby, try the 201 Lake Street Apartments or the City Plaza Apartments.

How much is a hotel room in Cairns?

Hotels in Cairns start at AU$65 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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