Cairns is a vibrant coastal city and the gateway to many of Australia’s natural attractions including the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest. The 165,000 Cairns residents are situated between the Coral Sea to the east and the Atherton Tablelands to the west. This tropical city is located approximately 1700km north of Brisbane and feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Cairns is the jewel in the crown of Australia’s environmental attractions—there is something for everyone to enjoy. The city is a short distance from pristine rainforests, stunning coral reefs, lush island getaways, arid outback adventures and the Great Dividing Range. Your senses can be stimulated by taking part in a wide range of adrenaline—charged adventures such as diving, white water rafting and bungy jumping, or indulged by more gentle pursuits like bird watching, hiking, cultural tours, tasting local cuisine or just sitting under a palm tree sipping a cocktail.
Cairns offers visitors excellent accommodation choices – everything from five star resorts to backpacker accommodation or camping grounds. The city is north of the tropic of Capricorn, making August a beautiful time to visit. Visitors can expect sunny skies, fresh sea breezes and tropical temperatures ranging between 17.4°C (63.3°F) and 26.6°C (79.9°F).
To assist with planning your visit to Cairns for the Dioxin 2012 Symposium, we suggest you explore the wonderful travel opportunities available in Cairns and Queensland. General information regarding accommodation, events, popular destinations, surrounding towns and nearby attractions can be found online for the Cairns region. General information can also be found for Queensland and for the rest of Australia for other destinations in the land down under.
Cairns attractions and the Local tourism network are sites with lots of information on things to see and do in and around Cairns and the Cairns business directory has details of local Cairns businesses, including accommodation, transport, activities and entertainment, restaurants and retail stores.
In Cairns, tourist information can be found in town at the Cairns Tourist Information Centre located at 51 The Esplanade, Cairns (+61 7 4041 0007).
Cairns is a short distance from two World heritage listed sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.
The Great Barrier Reef is undisputed as one of the world’s most important natural assets with over 2,800 individual reefs and 616 islands. Enjoy snorkelling, diving, fishing, boating or visit one of the palm fringed tropical islands. For those delegates interested in taking a diving course, you will able to find lessons in just about any language.
The Wet Tropics Rainforest that surrounds Cairns is one of the most diverse and beautiful examples of native, old growth rainforest. It is home to many rare and threatened plant and animal species, for example the southern cassowary, the spotted-tailed quoll and the musky-rat kangaroo. More than 50 animal species are unique to this area, which is home to 30 per cent of Australia's marsupial species, 25 per cent of its frogs and reptiles, and about 60 per cent of its bat and butterfly species. Almost 30 rainforest communities occur here with the highest concentration of primitive flowering plant families in the world.
The original inhabitants of the Cairns region were the Walubarra Yidinji and Kuku Yulanji (Mossman area) Aboriginal people. Before Europeans settled Australian shores, there were over 200 clans living across the nation, each with their own language, instruments, knowledge and customs. Indigenous Australians have a strong connection with ‘Country’, their home land and the land that provides resources, and believe everything is inter-connected.
If you are interested in immersing yourself in Aboriginal culture, local tours will introduce you to Dreamtime legends and activities like didgeridoo playing, discovering medicinal values of bush tucker and experiencing traditional ceremonies. It is also possible to enjoy a traditional meal and watch a live cultural performance.
Cairns is home to world class restaurants reflecting the diverse influences of its residents and visitors. Seafood and fresh locally grown produce are always menu features with prawns, crabs, reef fish and indigenous flavours such as kangaroo, emu and crocodile available for your enjoyment. The Australian Good Food and Travel Guide and UrbanSpoon are great websites that provide information on Cairns restaurants.
After dinner why not visit the Cairns Night zoo, experience ancient Tjapukai culture by night, take a gentle cruise on Trinity Inlet or stroll through the Cairns Night Markets.
The Dioxin 2012 Symposium runs in parallel with the 51st Cairns Festival. This annual festival celebrates the culture, tropical lifestyle, rich and lush landscapes and creativity of the community in and around Cairns, fusing together aspects of Indigenous, Asian, European and South Pacific cultures. The 2012 festival runs from 17 August to 2 September and includes music, dance, theatre, film, literary arts, and new collaborations built on a foundation of local identity.
A 2012 festival program will be available soon, so visit the Cairns Festival website for more information.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday don’t miss the spectacular farmers markets at Rusty's which is renowned for fresh produce, flowers, homemade crafts, jewellery, local wines, clothing and just about anything else you can think of.
Cairns Night Markets open every night and the Lagoon markets each Saturday are home to colourful craft and art products. If venturing in the Tropical North, don’t miss markets at Kuranda, Port Douglas and Yungaburra.
Cairns has a tropical climate, with generally warm, wet summers and mild, dry winters. August is the dry season in Cairns, with an average of 27.3 mm rain for the month. The temperature is warm and ranges between 17.4°C (63.3°F) and 26.6°C (79.9°F) with humidity around 70%. Daily weather updates can be found online.
Dress is informal and relaxed and smart casual clothes are acceptable almost universally with possibly a light jacket for evening wear. Warmer attire will be required if you wish to travel around Australia’s temperate cities (including Canberra, Melbourne or Adelaide).