I don’t know about you but I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce Cairns. Carns? Cons? Canes? Turns out, the correct way to say it (with the Aussie accent) is, “Cans.” Pronunciation aside, let’s be real. There is not much to do in Cairns. Tourists only use it as a port to get to the Great Barrier Reef. Port or not, here are a few things you should know about this small town:
- February is wet season. It rains a lot and it is EXTREMELY humid. However, it might be okay if you’re planning to snorkel somewhere along the reef. Most spots on the reef are two hours out from Cairns. So it might look ominous when you wake up but don’t worry – your snorkeling destination might be completely sunny. If you join a reputable tour company, they’ll know about the weather conditions and whether or not it’s safe to sail out.
- February is also box jellyfish season. Thankfully I didn’t encounter any while snorkeling (though I did feel like I was getting stung by really tiny jellyfish quite a few times) but if you get a wetsuit, it could help prevent/lessen any stings.
- Last thing about February – I’m actually not sure if it’s just this month or if it’s year round, but there are a lot of bats in Cairns. They don’t bother you but they are really loud and do gather in groups – so that could be kind of freaky.
- The Esplanade is a really great place to catch the sunset, weather permitting
- Cairns Night Markets is a good place to buy some souvenirs/gifts. The shops are open from 5pm – 11 pm, 365 days a year.
- There aren’t really any chain stores in Cairns. You will find a Target and a Macca’s though but that’s about it.
- A taxi from the airport is a lot cheaper here than it is in Melbourne or Sydney. Four of us with four big suitcases AND four duffel bags only paid $25 altogether (not including tip). It’s only about a 10 minute drive to the city centre. (extra tip – when they say check in is two hours before your flight, they really mean two hours. They won’t let you check in even if you’re a minute early!)