Endless options along the Esplanade
Feast your senses on the focal point of Cairns by booking your stay on the Esplanade. The stretch of parkland and Coral Sea mudflats sees a constant stream of joggers pounding the pavement, families lounging around the man-made lagoon and locals barbecuing in the tropical breeze.
There are plenty of Cairns hotels within walking distance of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues off the Esplanade, including the 5-star Hilton as a shining beacon of sustainable tourism, the comfortable Holiday Inn and the ocean-view Mantra Trilogy resort. A little further along resides the Rydges Tradewinds, with rooms ranging from standard to executive, and the spacious apartments at Breakfree Royal Harbour.
Nip out to the Northern Beaches
Cairns' northern beaches are a favourite hangout for both locals and visitors to the region. Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Holloways Beach and Machans Beach are all less than half an hour from the heart of Cairns, the latter being particularly close to the Cairns International Airport.
Halfway between Cairns and Port Douglas, Palm Cove is an idyllic coastal escape complete with swaying palms, warm tropical water and unspoiled sand. Honeymooners and luxury-hounds can choose from a number of 4 and 5-star stays, including Angsana, Peppers, Mantra Amphora and the Novotel, while Trinity Beach is a good option for the budget-savvy.
Save or splurge on Spence Street
At both ends of the spectrum, Cairns is covered in both cheap and cheerful backpackers hostels and a selection of 5-star hotels. Cairns backpacker accommodation is found along the Esplanade and nearby streets, the most well-known being Gilligans on Grafton Street which has been known to party well into the wee hours.
If marina views and king-size beds are more your scene, check into the Shangri-La Hotel just near the Pier shopping and dining centre, or the luxurious and awarded Hilton Cairns. The Pullman Cairns International and Pullman Reef Hotel Casino (formerly the Sebel and Sofitel respectively) sparkle in 5-star style, with resplendent spa suites and fine dining on site.