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At only four miles from Cairns CBD, Cairns Airport is a well-located transport hub and the seventh busiest airport in Australia. Car hire in Cairns Airport is an ideal way to navigate Cairns, areas close to the Great Barrier Reef and the rest of northern Queensland.
Who to Book With
Car rental offices at Cairns Airport can be found at the Domestic Terminal's northern end and in the International Terminal's Arrivals hall. Hirers can choose between Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following identification at vehicle collection:
- UK driver’s licence (both parts)
- International Driver's Permit
- Credit card used for the reservation
- Printed confirmation of the booking
- Valid passport to confirm ID
The Bruce Highway, which spans just over 1,000 miles, connects Cairns to the state capital Brisbane. This journey can take up to three days if stops are made along the way. While big towns and cities in Australia are well-connected by roads and highways, travelling inland between small destinations usually requires advance planning. Foreign drivers must hold an International Driver’s Permit. Although the city centre of Cairns is small enough to walk around, its low population density means that finding parking spaces is usually straightforward.
Self-drivers usually use the Captain Cook Highway to reach the airport from the city centre. Other options include taxis, buses and shuttles provided by hotels in Cairns. Trains don’t connect with the airport directly but Cairns city offers rail links to other Australian locations.
Cairns Airport is without any rail links, although Queensland Rail trains depart from Cairns Station in the city centre for Brisbane and Kuranda. Services are slow and infrequent.
Taxi ranks can be found outside the International Terminal and the Domestic Terminal. Service is mainly supplied by Black & White Taxi, one of the most active companies in the area.
Cairns Airport to Cairns CBD is about £15
Cairns Airport to Holloways Beach is about £20
Cairns Airport to Trinity Beach is about £30
Sun Palm Transport Group operates shuttle buses from the airport to Cairns CBD, the Northern Beaches, Mission Beach, Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas and Palm Cove. It costs around £6 one-way to be transferred to the CBD for an adult and around £3 for a child.
Cairns Airport has two main terminals – International and Domestic - that receive around four million passengers per year. Airlines operating here mainly provide transport to and from Australian and Asian destinations. Travel between the two terminals is possible via a covered walkway.
Parking at Cairns Airport is possible at the Budget Long Term, the Long Term Domestic, the Short Term Domestic and the Covered Car Park. A stay of one week in the Long Term Domestic lot costs around £45.
Wi-Fi service is available in Cairns Airport but must be paid for. Typical rates stand at around £1.80 per hour, around £3.50 per 24 hours or around £20 per seven days.
Two information desks are located in the Arrivals hall of the International Terminal and one is located near Baggage Reclaim in the Domestic Terminal.
Main office: +61 7 4080 6703
The two terminals each have a drop-off and pick-up area for those with reduced mobility. Airlines operating at the airport can provide pre-arranged wheelchairs or crutches. All car parks at Cairns Airport have disabled persons’ parking spaces.
Restaurants and Bars
The International Terminal is home to the Landside Café in the Arrivals hall and the Airside Café in the Departures lounge. The Domestic Terminal features Hungry Jacks, La Porchetta and Healthy Habits. Drinks may be consumed at the Blue Sky Brewery, the Coffee Club or the Skybury Café.
Money and ATMs
A single ATM can be found in Arrivals in the International Terminal, while there are three bureaux de change booths – one in Baggage Reclaim, one in Departures and another in Arrivals. The Domestic Terminal has an ATM in its Departures lounge, where there is also a single currency exchange booth.
The Domestic Terminal is laden with shops, such as BeachCulture and Sunglass Hut, which both sell products for relaxing by the sea. Electronics are available from Tech To Go and stationery is provided by Smiggle. Shops such as Discover, Purely Merino, Australian Produce Store, Australian Made and World of Chocolate sell locally-made products and handicrafts. Branches of most of these outlets can also be found in the International Terminal, where JR Duty Free also has a branch. Travel essentials, newspapers and magazines can be found at Hub or Newslink in the Domestic Terminal and at Relay in the International Terminal.