A hotel that mixes refined opulence with tropical ease, all 128 rooms feature a spa bath, timber ceiling fans and plantation shutters, evoking a laid-back Queensland vibe.
Enviably positioned between two World Heritage-listed natural wonders – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics – Cairns has understandably evolved into the Grand Central Station of tropical Queensland. Home to just 150,000 people, it has one of the busiest ports in the nation and over 600 tours depart every day taking visitors from the city to the region’s multitude of attractions; from the fertile farmlands of the Atherton Tablelands, to the ancient rainforest of the Daintree, to the world-famous reef.
Over the years, outside influence has added cosmopolitan sophistication to the laid-back, outdoorsy town and it’s now possible to go from bungee jumping before breakfast, to an exhibition at an innovative rainforest arts space, to dinner at an award-winning restaurant. With so much on offer, it's worth stopping to enjoy this unique city before jumping aboard that boat to the reef.
Where to stayView all
A self-contained amusement park jam-packed with facilities, this family-friendly accommodation is much more than a place to rest between tours.
Located 30 minutes outside of Cairns, this beachfront boutique hotel delights with Balcony Pavillions where you can lounge in an infinity pool overlooking the ocean.
Where to eatView all
Picture this: flawlessly executed food served up with uninterrupted views of a tropical beach. Nu Nu has always been at the top of the dining game in Far North Queensland, but since moving to their new digs at the Alamanda Palm Cove, they now have the peerless “absolute beachfront” setting to match. Here, it's a tropical celebration underscored by sophistication. This means modernist interiors peppered with jungle green and an all-day menu running from banana hotcakes with coconut sorbet to pickled squid served with ink noodles and young coconut. A private meal amongst the palm trees can also be arranged.
This Cairns institution mixes rainforest ingredients with fine dining to create a unique culinary celebration of tropical Queensland. For over 21 years, the grand corner establishment on Shields Street has been a beacon of the dining scene, drawing locals and visitors looking for a taste of truly local produce. You’ll encounter native ingredients woven into well-known dishes, like a chicken terrine with the addition of buttery macadamia nuts or Queensland scallops served with a relish made from indigenous Davidson plum.
A firm local favourite, C’est Bon is one of the most romantic restaurants in town thanks to the Gallic charm of owner Nicolas and his team of French floor staff. A strictly classical menu maintains the seductive romance of bistro dining. Beef tartare could lead to duck confit finishing with crepe suzette. It’s French sophistication brought down to earth with a breezy tropical ease.
Sure, it’s not exactly a restaurant, but this semi-open air market in the heart of the city is a must-stop on the foodie trail. Stalls piled high with produce sourced locally or from the nearby Atherton Tablelands ensure that nobody leaves without the full tropical-bounty immersion. Visit the coconut stand for a refreshing drink, then hit the food trucks for Vietnamese, Japanese or Pacific Island fare. The markets run from Thursday to Sunday, with live music creating a particularly festive air on the weekends.