Where to Stay in Cairns

There is a huge range of accommodation options in the city of Cairns and surrounding areas, from inner-city 5-star luxury hotels to beachside escapes, self-catering motels, and camping. The content of options is similar but smaller in popular seaside destinations Palm Cove and Port Douglas.


Cairns CBD is home to most accommodation properties. The Esplanade strip along the waterfront features the newest and most prominent hotel and apartment options, where prices vary according to season.

The mix also includes smaller 2- to 3-star options, boutique hotels and backpacker accommodation. All are convenient to shopping, dining, the Casino and Reef Fleet Terminal.

Many visitors to the Great Barrier Reef choose to stay in accommodation in Cairns because it is the hub for a wide range of tours to the Great Barrier Reef.

Cairns also offers a vast arrange of tour options to the Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tablelands.

Port Douglas

The accommodation profile of Port Douglas is similar to Cairns.  Port Douglas is a little more laid-back. Iconic 5-star accommodation properties hug the main road into Port Douglas and compete with an eclectic selection of mid-range and backpacker properties.

All are within cycling, walking or easy drive distance from the Macrossan Street shopping, entertainment precinct.

Palm Cove

Palm Cove is a classy hamlet with several up-market stay options which suit the relaxed, trendy profile of the place where the beach is at your front door.

Waterfront apartment complexes offer holiday stays, and reef cruises leave the main pier. There are many good restaurants and water activities.

Island Getaways

The family-friendly islands of Fitzroy Island and Green Island offer the benefits of proximity and regular ferry services from Cairns.

Outbound air services can get visitors to the exclusive luxury islands of Bedarra Island, Lizard Island, Magnetic Island and Haggerstone Island.

Liveaboard vessels cater to early morning and night dives and more time to explore the Great Barrier Reef.

Even more adventurous or romantic souls might opt to ‘camp’ overnight on pontoons out in the middle of the Reef.