24 Hours In Cairns
Cairns is usually pretty high up on most travellers “to do” list. This small, but busy town is a backpacker and tourist hub, and acts as the gateway to some of Queensland’s, and Australia’s, greatest tourist attractions.
The town itself is very small, but for those wanting a break from the myriad of day or multi day trips on offer, there is enough in this little town to keep you occupied for at least a day.
Getting to Cairns
There are two main ways to get to Cairns; by road, or by plane. All the major and budget airlines in Australia fly to Cairns. I arrived in Cairns via the Greyhound bus using my Brisbane – Cairns mini traveller pass.
24 Hours in Cairns
Morning – Cairns Botanical Gardens and the Tanks Art Centre
The gardens are an extremely pleasant place to wander around in. There are several themed gardens as well, such as the Aboriginal gardens which showcase plants used by Aboriginals for food or medicine. Another garden of interest are the stages of evolution gardens which show plants that have changed little since the days when Australia was part of Gondwana, and dinosaurs roamed it’s lands instead of kangaroos.
Admission – Free
The next door Tanks art centre is an art centre created inside old concrete fuel tanks. The tanks is a great place to explore the contemporary art of the region. Exhibitions are always changing, so check their website to see what is on.
Admission – Most exhibitions Free
Noon – Picnic Lunch At The Esplanade
The Cairns Esplanade is a great public space and swimming lagoon which is maintained by the Cairns council. The esplanade includes a large grassy area which is perfect for relaxing on or picnicking, a safe swimming lagoon, and occasional other events such as markets.
Afternoon – Cairns Regional Art Gallery
The Cairns Regional Art Gallery is a small art gallery, easy to visit in an hour or two. It hosts the usual rotation of national and international exhibitions but it also features some interesting local exhibitions which highlight the cultural identity of Northern Queensland.
When I was there they had an exhibition on the top floor of art created from fishing nets that had washed up onto shore. These discarded fishing nets present a massive environmental problem and end up killing much of the marine life in the areas where they are found. The local aboriginal communities have been collecting these nets, and using it to create unique sculptures which reflect their cultural identity. This was easily my favourite part of the gallery.
Entry to the gallery costs $5, but is free on the first Saturday of every month
Evening – A night on the town
Cairns is known as being a bit of a party town, due to it’s high backpacker population. If you want to have a crazy night on the town, then this is the place to be.
Heading Further Afield
Cairns is a great base for exploring the Daintree rainforest as well as the Great Barrier Reef. Plenty of day and multi day trip options are available. Or read about a day trip we took to the Kurunda markets and rainforest here.
My mini traveller pass was provided complimentary by Greyhound Australia, but all opinions remain our own.