Accommodation in Cairns is as diverse as its landscape, so you can afford to be choosy on your next sojourn to Tropical North Queensland.
Ready to plan your next getaway? The laid-back city of Cairns is a convenient landing pad to explore the rest of Tropical North Queensland at leisure. If you prefer to stay in the heart of the action rather than in the surrounding coastal suburbs, the general Cairns City Centre Area is for you.
Whether you’re looking to bunker down in a luxury, full-service resort where you can lounge around all day in the sunshine or you prefer a simple yet stylish budget-friendly address that’s just a place to lay your head, here are the best accommodation options in and around Cairns.
Cairns hotels and resorts
For something truly special, there are plenty of hotels and resorts in Cairns to base your adventure from. A popular spot is Cairns Esplanade as it is brimming with world-class dining options and gorgeous views.
Just one of the three Crystalbrook Collection properties, Flynn is a five-star boutique bolthole that’s raising the bar on the Cairns accommodation scene. The emphasis is as much on the shared facilities as it is on the stylish rooms.
The suites at Crystalbrook Flynn evoke elegance and style.
Here you can relax poolside in one of the cabanas, dine on elevated classics at gastropub Boardwalk Social, enjoy a sundowner with friends at the super suave Whiskey and Wine bar, or just kick back after a day spent exploring the region and gorge on your room’s harbour, ocean or city views.
Relax by the pool.
Address: 85 Esplanade, Cairns City
Price: $295 – $1015 per night
Best for: Fun and flair
Another member of the Crystalbrook Collection is Riley where understated luxury is the name of the game here in its spacious, elegantly appointed rooms – most of which have balconies.
Sink into your suite’s bathtub at Crystalbrook Riley.
When it comes to food and drink, there are three options: a rooftop bar and restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine, a casual modern Asian kitchen, and a clean eats cafe.
Crystalbrook Riley where understated luxury is the name of the game.
Guests can bliss out at the onsite day spa, swim in the huge lagoon-style pool or man-made beach or hire some of the eco bikes to explore the city.
Bask in pure bliss at Crystalbrook Riley.
Address: 131/141 Esplanade, Cairns City
Price: $295 – $1650 per night
Best for: Sustainability
Pullman Cairns International
Offering the perfect combination of comfort and convenience in the city, Pullman Cairns International reflects the architectural style and grandeur of the city centre’s rich past and has the largest hotel accommodation rooms in Cairns at over 40 square metres.
Settle into the stylish rooms at Pullman Cairns International. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Our pick is the light-filled Deluxe Room Harbour View with a soothing neutral palette and stunning views over the harbour where you can watch the boats return from a day of adventuring on the Great Barrier Reef.
Experience luxurious comforts at Pullman Cairns International. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Take some time to enjoy a relaxing treatment at Vie Spa and dine on the best local seafood at Coco’s Kitchen + Bar.
Enjoy a wide selection of food and drinks at Pullman Cairns International. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Address: 17 Abbott St, Cairns City
Price: $295 – $650 per night.
Best for: Large rooms
Oaks Cairns Hotel
Oaks Cairns Hotel is ideal for those who don’t care for extra trimmings, such as a pool, or guest room balconies, but don’t want to sacrifice style when it comes to room design. And if you don’t have the budget (or inclination) to stretch to a spacious suite or views, then you can opt for the internal hotel rooms. While they may be smaller than your average, the streamlined design and amenities on offer are just the same as the property’s deluxe options.
Oaks Cairns Hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant has fast become a local hangout thanks to its stellar panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, taking in the Coral Sea and the neighbouring hills draped in greenery.
Address: 59 – 63 Esplanade, Cairns City
Price: $239 – $479 per night
Best for: Simple luxury with rooftop drinks
Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns
The grand old dame of Cairns, the Shangri-La has been part of the local cityscape for the last two decades, but following a total revamp, the look and feel of the rooms are now uber-contemporary and fresh in design.
Soak up waterfront views with a cold drink in hand. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
With views of Trinity Bay, modern furnishings, and lashings of natural light, the Deluxe Sea View Room is our pick of the guestrooms. But each one boasts a balcony, some with views of the city, some with views of the hotel’s tropical gardens, and others with views of the marina or Coral Sea.
Get yourself a bubbly bath at Shangri-La The Marina. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Shangri-La The Marina has all the trappings you might come to expect from this high-end hotel brand (think pillow menus, white Egyptian cotton linens, a business centre, a gym, a pool and poolside bar and a casual dining restaurant) and it occupies some prime real estate on the Cairns marina too.
Sunbathe by the pool at Shangri-La The Marina. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Address: Pier Point Rd, Cairns City
Price: $295 – $620 per night
Best for: Sprawling seascape view
Cairns caravan parks and camping
For those searching for affordable accommodation alongside a wide range of onsite activities, caravans and campsites are an excellent solution and are an especially great option for families.
BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut Resort
Only a short seven-minute drive from Cairns town centre, the multi-award-winning caravan park BIG4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut Resort is a peaceful oasis set among beautifully landscaped grounds.
The park offers a wide variety of accommodation options including spacious condos and villas, cabins, ensuite sites, and powered and unpowered sites.
Enjoy a range of facilities onsite including a water park, tennis court, mini golf, basketball court, adventure playground, restaurant, and plenty of other fun-filled activities for the whole family.
Address: 23/51 Anderson Rd, Woree
Price: $200 – $600 per night. A three-night minimum stay is required for some villas
Best for: Family accommodation
Tasman Holiday Parks – Cool Waters Holiday Park
Cool Waters Holiday Park is a welcome retreat from the city bustle. From open-plan cabins and picturesque caravan and camping sites with a backdrop of mountains and rainforest trees bordering the creek, it’s a lovely little spot in a natural setting for all ages – and your furry friends too.
In particular, the Daintree Cabin is situated next to the swimming pool for easy access. When you’re not taking a dip or bathing in the adjoining spa, look out for turtles and platypuses in the sparkling freshwater creek.
Address: 2/14 Shale St, Brinsmead
Price: $40 – $320 per night. A three-night minimum stay is required for some cabins
Best for: Pet-friendly accommodation
Cairns Sunland Leisure Park
Another wonderful option close to the city centre is Cairns Sunland Leisure Park offering various types of budget-priced self-catered villas and cabin accommodations. You’ll find a large resort-style swimming pool, a fully equipped camp kitchen, and free barbeques for the guests to use. You can even hop on the local bus directly outside taking you to Cairns Esplanade.
Address: 49-61 Little Pease St, Manoora
Price: $50 – $200 per night. A three-night minimum stay is required for some villas
Best for: Close to the city centre
Cairns Airbnb & self-contained accommodation
For more spacious accommodation options that offer far more flexibility with cooking and sleeping arrangements, or if you’re planning on staying for a while, get to know some of the dreamiest self-contained apartments and Airbnbs in Cairns to call home.
Waters Edge Cairns Luxury Apartments
A stay at Waters Edge Luxury Cairns Apartments is a luxury lifestyle experience. Each apartment has its unique distinctive style, with a gourmet kitchen, a large living-dining area, and spacious bedrooms as well as a large balcony overlooking Cairns Esplanade.
The luxe apartment extends to a balcony overlooking Cairns Esplanade. (Image: Bradley Cox)
Want your unique swim-out deck? Choose the ground-floor apartments. And if you’re eager to learn more about what else there is to explore in Cairns, check out the free tour desk services onsite to book your next tour.
Waters Edge Cairns Luxury Apartments comes with a pool. (Image: Bradley Cox)
Address: 155 Esplanade, Cairns City
Price: $320 – $520 per night. A three-night minimum stay is required
Best for: Five-star luxury self-contained apartments
Bay Village Tropical Retreat
Looking for a touch of Bali in Cairns? Located just a short stroll from the esplanade, Bay Village Tropical Retreat is a Balinese boutique-style resort with one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.
As well as two pools in the complex, you’ll also find the award-winning in-house Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant serving authentic Balinese cuisine.
Address: Lake St & Gatton St, Cairns North
Price: $140 – $330 per night. A three-night minimum is required for the two and three-bedroom apartments
Best for: A touch of Bali
Cairns City Palms
A 20-minute walk from the city centre, Cairns City Palms offers family-run self-contained apartments. With one or two-bedroom options to choose from, a fully equipped kitchen, and all the small comforts you need, you’ll feel right at home.
Best of all, freshly made scones with jam and whipped cream are served daily in the communal lounge for in-house guests to enjoy with their preferred morning beverage.
Address: 199-205 Sheridan St, Cairns North
Price: $170 – $255 per night
Best for: Attentive and friendly service
Cairns Beach Resort
Set next to the sand and sea of Holloways Beach, Cairns Beach Resort provides a quiet and relaxed stay and is the closest beachfront accommodation to the city. With either sea view or garden views, the apartments are spacious and have a separate living/dining area, as well as a kitchen, laundry and bathroom.
Address: 129-135 Oleander St, Holloways Beach
Price: $310 – $360 per night
Best for: Closest beachfront accommodation to the city
You never know what you’ll discover in an Airbnb property but Cairns has plenty. One of our favourites is Sky High where you’ll be greeted by views of Cairns City the moment you walk through the door.
Dine with overlooking views of Cairns city skyline.
Equipped with a full kitchen, laundry facilities and two bedrooms, the main attraction is your very own hot tub on your private balcony.
Bed down at Sky High.
Address: Bayview Heights
Price: $200 per night. A three-night minimum stay is required
Best for: City skyline view and private hot tub
Cairns backpackers and hostels
With so much beauty to explore in Cairns and beyond, sometimes you just need somewhere cheap and cheerful to lay your head – and if that place comes with live music and happy hour too, it gets extra points.
YHA Cairns Central
YHA Cairns Central is a fun and friendly option with both co-living and private rooms. When you’re not hanging out at the social BBQ area, the hostel is conveniently located in the middle of town where you’re surrounded by local cafes, restaurants and pubs.
YHA Cairns Central has an outdoor pool where you can enjoy the sun. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Address: 20-26 McLeod St, Cairns City
Price: $40 – $130 per night
Best for: Central location
Gilligan’s Hotel and Resort
If there was a glitzy backpacker award, it’d be given to Gilligan’s as you’re spoilt for choice with various shared dorms and private hotel rooms.
Gilligan’s Hotel and Resort is perfect for group travellers.
You’ll also find a resort swimming pool, several bars, a sports arena, two nightclubs, a restaurant and a gaming lounge.
Go frolicking at the expansive pool area.
Address: 57/89 Grafton St, Cairns City
Price: $40 – $160 per night
Best for: Live music and nightly activities
Summer House Backpackers Cairns
Another central location is Summer House Backpackers with an epic lagoon-style swimming pool that has its own drinks and food service, so you don’t even have to leave your sun lounge.
As well as mixed dorms or a private room, there’s a female-only dorm option, a water volleyball setup, hammocks and plenty of lounge chairs for those looking to relax and unwind.
Address: 341 Lake St, Cairns City
Price: $40 – $160
Best for: Poolside drinks
Global Backpackers Cairns
With its amazing location on the esplanade opposite the lagoon, Global Backpackers Cairns is a unique, modern hostel with a waterfront view.
Stay for a night at Global Backpackers Cairns.
Choose between a shared dorm or private room, and make sure to head up to the communal rooftop deck for drinks overlooking the Coral Sea.
Global Backpackers Cairns has plenty of rooms to choose from.
Address: 67 Esplanade, Cairns City
Price: $22 – $120 per night
Best for: Waterfront view
All that lounging around got you peckish? Check out the best restaurants in Cairns to dine at right now.
This article was originally written by Carla Grossetti but has been updated by Jemma Fletcher.