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  • Writer's pictureIndy Escapes Crew

Getting to Cairns

Updated: Nov 24, 2021


There are several visas options available for travellers to enter Australia. Each visa has a unique set of conditions that must be met prior to it being awarded but the most common and easiest to attain is the Australia Tourist Visa. We recommend heading straight to the Department of Home Affairs which is the official government website and has up to date information as Australia's visa eligibility rules change regularly and sometimes with little warning. Another option is to engage with the services of a registered migration agent but this will come at an additional cost and you must make sure that you do your own due dalliance.


Due to the abundance of endemic fauna and flora in the country, Australia has some of the strictest border security in the world. Gererally, most Australians both indigenous and non indigenous are proud and protective of their native wildlife. The federal government highlight what you can and cannot bring into the country on your immigration forms but were recommend doing your research before you go, so you dont end up lugging goods half way around the world, to have to throw them out (and face a possible fine), once you land in Australia. This also goes for certain medicines and medical devices.

Embassies and Consulates

In the event, that something unforeseen happens and you get in trouble, lose your passport or visa and need to reach out to your Embassy or Consulate, make sure that you know where it is and have a copy of the number handy. After living through a pandemic, I think that we all understand the importance of being able to connect with your own government whilst abroad.

Insurnance and Healthcare

We never, ever, in any circumstances recommend travelling without health insurance. Found of Indy Escapes, Lucas Chesterton can vouch for this first hand after breaking multiple bones in a snowboarding accident in Sweden, where he was helicoptered off the mountain. You never know what life is going to throw at you so always take out cover before you travel. Some people may also be eligible for a second layer of insurance thought the reciprocal health care agreements between international govenerments.

Cairns By Air

Cairns Airport is equipped with international, domestic, and general aviation terminals. Major international, local, and regional airlines service the airport. International travelers have several direct flights to New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Guam, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore through Darwin. Cairns Airport is Australia's sixth busiest international airport by passenger volume.

Domestic and international flights are available from Cairns Airport. The airfield is open 24 hours a day, and terminal activities, including stores and cafés, are open per aircraft schedules at pre-and post-immigration points.

Driving in Australia

Some foreigners are permitted to drive in Australia, however each state has different laws and driving regulations so it is best to check the official government website for more information. Most states will require for you to hold an International Licence along with your current foreign licence. In Australia there is strict punishment for alcohol, drug and speeding impediments, so if you do choose to drive, please do so safely! And just remember that in Australia, they drive on the LEFT hand side of the road (the same as the UK), so this could be confronting for someone who has never done this before.

Duration of Stay

A lifetime is insufficient to explore and appreciate all of Cairns' and the Great Barrier Reef's incredible natural treasures. However, if you cannot spend your whole life on vacation, we recommend spending at least a week days in Cairns to see the city's major attractions. If you have additional time, fantastic! You can explore the reef, the beaches, the islands, the mountains and still not touch the sides, so make sure you try and get out and see as much as you can!

Trips for the Day

Day tours to the Great Barrier Reef are an excellent alternative if your time in Cairns is limited. Take a boat ride to outer reef spots to observe an incredible assortment of marine life, including giant clams, starfish, and clownfish. With 3 – 5 hours of snorkeling time, depending on the trip you choose, you'll get a taste of life beneath the Great Barrier Reef's surface.

Island Vacations

Apart from tours to snorkel or dive the outer reef, day journeys to some of the Great Barrier Reef's 900 islands are another option to see this magnificent natural marvel. Fitzroy and Green Islands are readily accessible from Cairns via a short boat ride. Snorkel the nearby reefs, lounge on stunning white-sand beaches, or explore the surrounding jungle before returning to Cairns in the afternoon.

Away from the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is far from the sole attraction in Tropical North Queensland, and any visit to the region should include a stop at one of the terrestrial sights. The Daintree Rainforest is at the top of the list, where tourists may trek through the deep tropical rainforest and bathe in beautiful freshwater swimming holes. From a boat tour down the Daintree River, spot crocodiles and keep a watch out for Australia's dinosaur bird, the cassowary.

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