Where to stay in Cairns


Cairns City, the gateway to Australia's Great Barrier Reef, is a tropical hub bustling with urban vibes and a laid-back beach town aura. It's a place where adventure meets relaxation, with plenty of opportunities to explore natural wonders or enjoy the local culture. When it comes to deciding on a place to stay, it's important to consider the different flavors each district offers. Whether you're in Cairns for the nightlife, proximity to natural attractions, or soaking in the local way of life, choosing the right neighborhood can enhance your experience. Our guide will help you navigate the characteristics of each area so you can select the spot that aligns perfectly with your travel preferences without any sugar-coating.

  • Esplanade / Center

    • ๐Ÿท nightlife
    • ๐Ÿ food
    • ๐Ÿ›๏ธ shopping
    • ๐Ÿ“ธ touristy

    The Esplanade is Cairns' lively waterfront hub, renowned for its scenic promenade, lively lagoon, and abundant dining and entertainment options. It is ideal for those who want to immerse themselves in the hustle and bustle of the city and prefer easy access to amenities and nightlife. However, this popularity means the area can be crowded and noisier, especially during peak tourist seasons or weekend nights. Accommodations range from upscale hotels to hostels, catering to diverse budgets.

  • Trinity Beach

    • beachfront
    • relaxing
    • ๐ŸŒ… scenic
    • isolated

    Trinity Beach is about a 20-minute drive from Cairns City center and is favored for its laid-back beach town vibe and stunning natural scenery. This area is perfect for holiday-goers seeking a beachside retreat away from the city's bustle. Accommodations range from luxury resorts to holiday rentals. Keep in mind that staying here requires transportation if you wish to visit the city frequently, and amenities are not as plentiful as in other areas.

  • Cairns North

    • ๐Ÿ˜๏ธ residential
    • ๐Ÿง˜ quiet
    • ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ family-friendly
    • ๐Ÿก suburban

    Cairns North is a residential neighborhood marked by its relaxed atmosphere and proximity to the Cairns Hospital. It's a great choice for visitors looking for an authentic suburban experience or those requiring access to medical facilities. Alongside its residential offerings, there are a few beachfront accommodations that boast beautiful sea views. However, dining and shopping options are more limited here compared to the city center.

  • Parramatta Park

    • ๐Ÿ˜๏ธ residential
    • authentic
    • relaxed
    • budget-friendly

    Parramatta Park is a residential suburb that offers a quieter alternative to the Esplanade while still remaining within walking distance of the city center. Known for its heritage-listed sites and rustic charm, it provides a slice of tranquility close to the action. Accommodation options typically include guesthouses and mid-range hotels. Some may find the area a bit dull in the evenings as it lacks the vibrant nightlife of other districts.

  • Bungalow

    • industrial
    • ๐Ÿฌ commercial
    • budget-friendly
    • practical

    Bungalow is an industrial and residential area situated just south of the Cairns Central Business District. Due to its industrial vibe, it's a less typical choice for tourists but can offer some budget accommodation options. The area has limited attractions and is best suited for someone needing quick access to the industrial precinct or looking for lower-cost lodgings. It may not provide the quintessential Cairns experience compared to staying in the city or by the sea.

  • Portsmith

    • industrial
    • non-touristy
    • marine industry
    • realistic

    Portsmith is primarily an industrial estate with sparse accommodation options and is not a common tourist stay. The area is heavy on commercial and industrial activity, making it convenient for business travelers with related interests. However, for the leisure traveler, Portsmith lacks the typical Cairns flair with minimal tourist attractions, eateries, and shopping opportunities.