Cairns General Information

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Cairns is the heart of the Tropical North, and as such provides an ideal base for exploring and enjoying the rich, varied pleasures of this region.

Australian Currency

As of July 1 2000 a Goods and Services Tax came into effect in Australia. You will notice the GST stated on receipts from your purchases.

Travellers cheques can be cashed at most banks, hotels and motels. Major credit cards are acceptable in most establishments. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport, and at various Bureau de Change and foreign currency bureaus around the city, many of which are open 7 days a week. In many cases you will need to produce current, suitable identification to conduct financial transactions. The currency denominations in Australia are: $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 notes and 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2 coins.

Post offices are open 8.30am until 5pm Monday to Friday. In Cairns, the main Post Office is on the corner of Grafton and Hartley Streets opposite the Cairns Convention Centre. Another central city post office, Orchid Plaza, is also open on Saturdays. Stamps may also be obtained from some hotels and motels as a guest service. Post offices or agencies operate in all towns.

Shopping hours

While many shops trade 7 days a week, the general opening hours of most shops in the Cairns city area tend to be Monday - Friday 8.00am - 9.00pm. Saturday trading is usually 8.00am to 5.30pm and Sundays 1.00pm - 8.00pm. Some shopping plazas such as The Pier are open later and trade 7 days a week, and there are many convenience stores dotted around the Far North that are open late hours. There is ample shopping to cater for all your needs, from general grocery and necessities to clothing, art and crafts. Visit the Cairns Central Shopping Complex or take in a night at the markets at The Pier. Whatever you need, you will be sure to find it.

Cairns Nightlife

Cairns has much to offer after dark - whether your style is theatre or movies, discos or karaoke bars. There are the pubs and bars where you can have a casual drink, enjoy great live entertainment, or visit the exciting world of the new Reef Casino and try your luck on the tables. For real life entertainment there are street buskers and a variety of performing artists in and around the taverns, clubs and bars where you can relax with the locals.


Most religious denominations are represented in Cairns, and services are frequent and accessible. Further details are easily available from your hotel concierge or accommodation reception.

Medical services

Cairns is well represented with medical services, with major hospitals capable of administering advanced and specialised medical care. An in-hotel general practitioner (GP) is available for visits by a local phone call, however it is recommended you consider purchasing travel insurance for your holiday.


Our local power supply is 240 volts at 50 Hz, and uses a 3 pin plug connection. Many appliances have 110/240V switches, however it is advisable that overseas visitors bring their own plug adaptors. If you seek further information contact the Far North Queensland Electricity Board.

Dangerous Marine Life

In the summer months, from November to April, sea swimming outside of swimming enclosures is highly dangerous as the box jellyfish is active off our beaches. These creatures are not known to live on the Outer Reef, and generally only exist within about 1-2 kilometres of mainland beaches. Fully protected swimming enclosures are provided at the beaches and are well sign posted.

Both freshwater crocodiles (dangerous) and saltwater crocodiles (extemely dangerous) inhibit our waterways. Inhabited areas are well sign posted so be sure to aware of these before you take a dip.

What to bring to Cairns

It is best to consider the climate you are anticipating when packing for your Cairns holiday. Remember to minimise your sun exposure and bring a good sunscreen (30 plus). Pack loose, light comfortable clothing, good walking shoes, hats, swimwear and sunglasses. Dress standard at venues is casual tropical wear, neat and tidy with footwear. You may need a coat for the cooler nights.

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