Taxi is the way to go if you are needing a ride to your restaurant and home.
We have drink drive laws in Australia and the police do hang out on the roads at anytime day or night.
I can assure you that in Cairns they are there 24/7. It isn't worth driving if you are going to drink, even if you think you will only have one beer!!Why spoil at good night/day out for the price of a couple of beers.
Taxi's are readily available here. The waiting time is excellent, they come pretty well straight away, you may have a wait if there is something big on in Cairns, example, if it's a big race meeting.
There are a number of Taxi ranks in the city area.
OR you can ring them, just make sure you have an address to give the operator, stand in front of a restaurant or pub and give that name to the operator, they don't like picking up from random areas, like a phone box!!!!
If you need one from the restaurnat you have been at, they will ring for you.
If you are going to the airport, book a cab ahead. It would be best if you are outside to meet this cab, remember to book a time that will give you plenty of time to travel to the airport and allow you the hour before bookin that is required for domestic, and also whatever time you need for International.
WICKED CAMPERS is one hire company that has become very popular with the backpacker person.
These colurful campers can be seen all over this area and beyond. You can see these vans all around Australia.
Each van is painted with humourous paintings and writings ( some may offend!!!) I think they are very clever little ditties that they have painted on them:)
They have different levels of prices. All depends on what you need. Basic upwards.
My son has used this firm and was very happy with them. They must be OK as there are so many using them!!!
This is one way to have the ability to go and do as you please in your own time frame.
There are many, many car hire places in and around Cairns.
You can hire from the Airport or you can organise them to bring the car to your accommodation. The Northern Beaches also have car hire outlets.
Remember it is more expensive from the airport, Cairns isn't that big, so you can taxi to your accommodation and then organise the car.
If you are coming in the High season, June/July/ August/September it would be advisable to book before you get here, this way you can have what you want.
I highly reccommend REDSPOT car hire, they can be found at the Domestic Airport, in the Qantas arrival area, their price includes all insurances. They also have an web site.
If you are from overseas and are a little hesitant, don't be, Cairns is an easy place to drive around, good roads, just follow the signs etc, common sense.
Cairns is located in Far North Queensland and is a long away drive from any of the major cities, hence most people arrive by plane. The airport has been expanded recently and is now the 5th busiest airport in the country for international arrivals and the 6th busiest airport overall in Australia.
There are several domestic flights a day to Cairns from each of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with fewer from other centres such as Perth and Darwin. International flights arrive directly into Cairns from places like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea.
Once you arrive in Cairns, you can catch an airport shuttle bus into town, or up to one of the northern beaches (including Port Douglas). Many people hire a car from the airport, as you will really need one to explore this part of Queensland.
I arrived in Cairns by Greyhound from Cardwell. There are 4 daily buses travelling all the way up from Brisbane and an additional one from Mackay. The buses they use aren't the newest ones, but they are still quite comfy.
The bus terminal for long distance buses in Cairns is at the Reef Fleet building on the Esplanade.
When on holiday we love our freedom and if possible we try to travel by (rental) car. We feel it is much more convenient and flexible. We drive and stop when and how long we want and not when a tour guide does. And self driving allows to take minor roads and to visit ‘off the beaten path’ sights.
And often it is not more expensive (with 2 persons) than visiting sights by guided tours.
We rented our (small) car from Cruising Car Rentals; this company offered a free pick up and delivery from our accommodation. And indeed they were exactly on time to bring us to their office to pick up the car. When we dropped off our car we got a free transportation to the airport.
Friendly and helpful staff; no problems with the car during our 400 km’s around Cairns.
Office: 196A Sheridan St, Cairns
The domestic terminal in Cairns is rather small and we had no problems getting our luggage. There is an ATM and Currency Exchange in the arrival hall and also desks of the main car rental companies.
For transportation to Cairns or your accommodation there are two possibilities:
- a shuttle bus, servicing the city centre and the hotels (AUD 8,- per person);
- taxi’s to your accommodation (the fare to the city is about AUD 15,-). We had to take a taxi, because our accommodation was quite outside the city centre and could pay with a credit card.
After check-in and customs the domestic terminal has a departure lounge, where passengers for all airlines have to wait till their plane is leaving. This lounge has several shops (for your last shopping), a news agent and some food outlets.
We were arriving in Cairns from New Zealand (part of our around the world trip) and had to change flights (and company) in Brisbane. Just a warning to be sure you don’t miss your connecting flight to Cairns (the same may happen if you enter Australia in another airport and have to change from international to a domestic flight).
In our case we were entering Australia in Brisbane, had to pick up our luggage and to pass customs (passport and luggage) and Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (to prevent the entry into Australia of exotic pests, diseases and weeds). Both checks were very time-consuming.
In Brisbane are two terminals, which are located on quite a large distance from each other. There is an ‘Airtrain Service’, but it is running just every 15 minutes. Because we were running out of time we had to take a taxi and could catch our plane just a couple of minutes before the check-in desk closed.
Be aware and be sure you have enough time between your flights. In Brisbane you need at least two hours !!!
The easiest way to get from Cairns International Airport into Cairns is to grab an airport transfer from the airport coach booth.
I bought a 2-way transfer for about A$20, I think (circa Jun 2003)
You can book the airport transfer through its Internet website.
If you are travelling with more than 2 people, your best bet is to rent a vehicle. Since most of the attractions are a large distance from the central business district of Cairns, then you have two options, rent a vehicle or take an organized tour.
We had three people on the trek this week, so it was worth it to rent the vehicle. The rough cost of this was 600 dollars for the week, and this was a 4 wheel drive vehicle. You will definitely want to get the 4 wheel drive if you are headed anywhere other than the main roads of Cairns, and if you are headed up in the wet season.
Most of the hotels provide free transports from/to airport. And if you decide to join local tour, most of them will also provide pick up and drop off from hotel. So car might not be needed if most of the case.
We flew directly from Port Moresby, PNG on an Air Niugini Fokker F-28 jet - a nice little craft that took an hour to get to this nearest 'civilized' getaway! Once there, we rented a car for our local touring needs. Photo of the Chrysler 'boat' that I ended up with through no particular choice of my own - plenty of room at least!
To get to Cairns I flew with Virgin Blue airlines. They have very cheap and competitive flights. If you want anything to eat or drink on the flight you have to pay for it (and headphones if you want to listen to music - good music channels too, plus a great comedy station), but the prices are reasonable.
The best thing about flying with Virgin Blue was the staff, they were fun and friendly... especially when it was announced our co-pilot was 'Ben Dover' (aka bend over... get it?)
Virgin Blue has entered the Australian market a couple of years ago and is a serious competitor for Qantas, Australia's number one airline.
By booking in advance you can get a good price to Cairns coming from all kinds of destinations.
It's the same concept as Easyjet in Europe: no free food and drinks on board.
Most people travel the east coast of Oz, going from Sydney to Cairns. A cheap and flexible way of travelling is by taking the McCafferty's Greyhound-Pioneer bus. This huge bus company serves the whole east coast, with up to eight services a day.
When you wanna take your time to stop over in some places (very recommendable cause there's heaps to see and do between Sydney and Cairns, 3100 km on the bus) you should consider buying an 'Aussie Pass'. The one I bought costed AU$250 (with backpacker discount), going from Sydney to Cairns (unlimited stops) and it was valid for 3 months. There's also passes that are valid for 1 month or 6 months, at a different price of course.
The good thing about this bus pass is the fact that you don't have to book that far in advance, sometimes you can just walk up to the bus stop and ask the driver if there's a seat. Another positive thing is the amount of buses that run every day. This makes the planning of your travelling very easy, cause there's buses in the morning, afternoon, evening and night.
Sometimes you can save money by travelling overnight (no need for accommodation and you don't loose time by travelling). All in all a good way of transportation.
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