Cairns Cairns – Image courtesy of Skyrail.com.au

How to get to Cairns

Cairns is located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula in Far Northern Queensland, around 1700km (1056mi) north of Brisbane.

The most convenient route to Cairns is by air to Cairns Airport (CNS), located about 7km (4mi) north of the city centre.

From some international destinations this may require first flying into Brisbane Airport (BNE) – or Melbourne or Sydney – followed by a connecting flight to Cairns Airport.


Flight times to Cairns

The following are the most convenient flights to Cairns Airport (CNS).

Within Australia: Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar operate daily nonstop flights to Cairns.

Adelaide to Cairns is 3 hrs, direct flight
Brisbane to Cairns is 2 hrs 25 min, direct flight
Darwin to Cairns is 2 hrs 30 min, direct flight
Sydney to Cairns is 3 hrs 10 min, direct flight
Melbourne to Cairns is 3 hrs 20 min, direct flight
Perth to Cairns is 4 hrs 10 min, direct flight

Canberra to Cairns is 5 hrs, connecting flightˆ


From New Zealand: Air New Zealand offers the most convenient flights to Cairns.

Auckland to Cairns is 5 hrs 35 min, direct flight


From Singapore: SilkAir offers the most convenient daily flights to Cairns.

Singapore to Cairns is 6 hrs 30 min, direct flight


From China: Air China, Hainan, China Eastern Airlines, SilkAir, Qantas and Cathay Pacific offer the most convenient flights to Cairns.

Shenzhen to Cairns is 7 hrs 25 min, direct flight

Beijing to Cairns is 12 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ
Hong Kong to Cairns is 11 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ
Shanghai to Cairns is 11 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ


From United Kingdom: Singapore Airlines and SilkAir offer the most convenient daily flights to Cairns.

London to Cairns is 20 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ
Manchester to Cairns is 20 hrs 35 min, connecting flightˆ


From France: Singapore Airlines and SilkAir offer the most convenient daily flights to Cairns.

Paris to Cairns is 21 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ


From Germany: Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Lufthansa offer the most convenient flights to Cairns.

Berlin to Cairns is 21 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Dusseldorf to Cairns is 21 hrs 20 min, connecting flightˆ
Frankfurt to Cairns is 20 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Hamburg to Cairns is 22 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ
Munich to Cairns is 20 hrs, connecting flightˆ


From United States: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia offer the most convenient daily scheduled flights to Cairns.

Atlanta to Cairns is 23 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ
Boston to Cairns is 25 hrs 5 min, connecting flightˆ
Chicago to Cairns is 23 hrs 17 min, connecting flight
Dallas-Fort Worth to Cairns is 22 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ
New York to Cairns is 24 hrs 25 min, connecting flightˆ
Los Angeles to Cairns is 17 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
San Francisco to Cairns is 19 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ


From Canada: Air Canada, Qantas, Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia offer the most convenient daily scheduled flights to Cairns.

Toronto to Cairns is 24 hrs 20 min, connecting flightˆ
Montreal to Cairns is 25 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Vancouver to Cairns is 18 hrs 20 min, connecting flightˆ

(ˆincludes transfer time.)


Flying in

Cairns Airport (CNS) is located about 7km (4mi) north of Cairns.


Transfer between terminals

The terminals are located 250m (820ft) apart, and are connected by a covered walkway.


Public transport

Taxi: Several taxi companies serve the airport including Cairns Taxi (tel:+61 131 008; www.cairnstaxis.com.au).

Cairns International and Domestic airports are only 10 minutes drive from the Central Business District. The fare into central Cairns is about AUD$25-30 depending on time and day, and cabs can be pre-booked online.

Courtesy telephones for ordering taxis are located in the arrival halls, and the taxi ranks are located immediately outside the arrivals area of both terminals.

Shuttle: Sun Palm Express (tel: +61 7 4099 1191) operates an airport shuttle bus service to hotels and the city centre (fare: AUD$15.00), as well as routes to the Northern Beaches, Palm Cove and Port Douglas.

These minibuses are available at the front of the arrivals areas of both terminals and can also be pre-booked online.

Note: Most of the hotels in the region operate their own courtesy shuttle bus services to and from Cairns Airport.


Car rental

Car hire companies located at Cairns Airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Red Spot and Thrifty. Desks for these operators are located in the arrivals halls of both terminals.

The parking area for hire cars is at the northern end of the car park opposite Terminal 2.


Terminal facilities

Money: ATMs are located in the arrivals area of the international terminal and the check-in, departure and arrival areas of the domestic terminal.

Currency can be changed at booths in the baggage reclaim area of the international terminal and the departure lounge of the domestic terminal.

Food: There is one café in the public area of the international terminal and an additional eatery after security. The domestic terminal has a handful of places to eat and drink, including a bar, a pizza restaurant and a burger outlet.

Shopping: The departure areas of both terminals provide shops offering a choice of items from jewellery, souvenirs and local products to fashion clothing, designer surf wear, sunglasses and equipment for trips to the outback. Duty-free items can be purchased at an outlet in the international terminal.

Wi-Fi: Paid-for Wi-Fi is available throughout Cairns Airport, and internet kiosks are also available within the departures areas of the terminals. Additionally, postboxes are available in both terminals.

Other: Showers, first-aid rooms and baby change facilities are located in both terminals.


Disabled facilities

Facilities for people with physical disabilities include lifts, designated toilets and hearing loops.

There are disabled parking spaces in each car park, as well as dedicated pick-up and drop-off areas at the entrances to both terminals.

Any passengers who may require additional assistance are advised to contact their airline before travelling.


Entry requirements

UK, USA and Canadian nationals must have a passport valid for intended period of stay. A visa is required, except for those with Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). New Zealand citizens are granted a Special Category Visa on arrival.


Getting Around

On foot and by bicycles, which are easily hired. Buses, taxis and hire cars are all available. Tours operators provide a variety of transport options.


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More about Cairns…


Latest update: How to get to Cairns: 11 February, 2020


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