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Recent reviews

Average rating: 8.7 / 10
Number of reviews in Cairns: 7
Phillip Peters Cairns Airport
“Quick and Easy”

“Quick, easy and the prices in pounds rather than local currency, so no hidden credit card charges.”

02-05-2016 15:34

Cairns Guide

Car Hire

Cairns, northern Queensland's main city, has it all. Whether you wish to enjoy world-class beaches and the Great Barrier Reef, tropical jungles or mountainous terrain, you are always spoiled for choice here. Having a car helps tourists see all there is on offer in this beautiful part of Australia.

Who to Book With
Car hire companies in Cairns are mainly located near the airport or in the town centre. Cairns Airport Rentacar, East Coast Car Rentals and Mini Car Rentals are all located on Sheridan Street. In the town centre, Avis, Hertz and A1 Car Rental Cairns can all be found on Lake Street. These companies generally accept online bookings, which is the cheapest way to secure a vehicle.

Best time to go
Winter, which runs from June to August, is generally considered to be the best time to visit Cairns, as this is when temperatures are at their coolest. From December to March, the town endures its wet season and days are often humid before the rain takes over in the evening. Those that wish to visit during winter should check that there are vacancies available at local hotels and that renting a vehicle is still possible.

Need to Know Essentials
Before collecting a rental car, visitors to Cairns should makes sure they have the following with them:

- A valid British driving license or an International Driving Permit
- A secondary photo ID
- The debit or credit card used for the booking
- Printed rental confirmation

For more info read our FAQ's.

Driving
Traffic is a lot less hectic in Cairns than in other Australian cities such as Sydney or Melbourne. Cairns Central Shopping is a good place for parking in the CBD, as is The Pier shopping centre close to the Reef Fleet Terminal. Generally speaking, the CBD in Cairns is small enough to be navigated on foot. For trips through the suburbs and to the outdoor areas of interest away from the centre, however, having your own vehicle is practically essential. Most companies advise the rental of a 4WD that will be able to handle rough terrain.

See our guide to Australia for more information on driving in this country.

Transport

Cairns is without a metro system, but does have buses and taxis that are available around the clock. Getting to the city by rail is possible by travelling directly to the station in the city centre. As mentioned, getting out of the city on daytrips really does require a car, as taxis often charge astronomical rates and some destinations aren't covered by public transport.

Trains
Although there are no trains around the CBD or the suburbs, there are a few options for those that wish to head to the city by rail. Queensland Railways supplies transport between Cairns and Brisbane while making stops at Townsville and Rockhampton along the way.

Taxis
Several taxi companies operate in the Cairns CBD and offer transport around the clock. Reputable firms include Cairns Taxis, CoolRides and Black and White Taxis. Those looking to travel in style or celebrate a special occasion may wish to acquire the services of Palm Cove Limousines or Southern Cross Stretch Limousine Services. These companies usually offer fixed fares only.

Buses
Buses around the Cairns CBD and the suburbs are supplied by the main company in Queensland – Sunbus. Most services leave from the market square or the northern beaches. Tickets that last a full 24 hours can be purchased on board and will be stamped by the driver.

Exploring

The attractions in the CBD mainly revolve around Cairns's natural beauty, with the Flecker Botanic Gardens one of the main draws. Opposite the gardens is the rainforest environment of the Centenary Lakes Boardwalk, perfect for an afternoon stroll. Fine dining and shopping can be enjoyed around the Reef Fleet Terminal. Once all the attractions in the city have been exhausted, head out to the wider region on some fabulous daytrips.

Recommended Drives

Kuranda - This is a unique market town, close enough to Cairns for a daytrip for those with car rental. Once arrived, tourists can take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, hike around the Nature Park and visit the Koala Gardens and Butterfly Sanctuary.

Mareeba - Fantastic scenery can be enjoyed on the way to Mareeba, known for being one of Australia's main coffee producers and boasting endless sunshine for most of the year round. Adventurous types can take advantage of Mareeba's location on the edge of the Outback and explore into the wilderness past the town if they wish.

Cooktown - Perfect for those that like to mix learning with relaxation. The area is laden with attractions related to the history of both Queensland and Australia, and is also packed with parks and beaches. A pleasant three-hour cruise from the Carins CBD will bring motorists here.

Frequently asked questions

Is Carrentals.co.uk the cheapest? Yes, we offer a guarantee of the lowest price - because we compare various retailers, we can always offer you the best price in town. What do I need to do when picking up a car? To pick up your car, you will need your voucher, passport, driver's license and a credit card. It is very important that your driver's license and credit card are in the same name as the main driver. Keep in mind that the local rental company will reserve a certain amount on your credit card as a deposit. This requires the PIN code for your credit card. If your driver's license is foreign (for example, in Chinese), you must bring a translation with you. Only your original passport and driver's license will be accepted - a copy is not sufficient. Are there any additional costs? In general, our rates are all-inclusive. Should there be any additional costs, our booking department will get in touch with you before issuing the invoice. Should you object, you can always cancel your reservation with no obligations attached (at least 48 hours in advance). What kind of insurance is applicable to my car rental? In general, Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance, All-Risks Insurance and Theft Insurance are included in the cost of your rental car. What is a worry-free label? This label indicates that a rental car satisfies the following requirements: Unlimited kilometers, no excess liability (and no excess cover available), sustainable energy policy, and that the car rental company has a good reputation. Availability of cars satisfying these four requirements will speed up the selection of a suitable vehicle for you. How can I change or cancel my reservation? You can cancel your reservation through "My Account". We recommend contacting us by phone if your changes to your booking or cancellation takes place at short notice (48 hours or less). When will I get a confirmation of my booking? Most reservations will receive confirmation within minutes after payment takes place. We recommend contacting our Booking Department for last minute reservations (pick-up within 48 hours). Which car rental companies are compared by Carrentals.co.uk? at this location
  • Ace Rental Cars
  • Alamo Rent a Car
  • Apollo Car Rental
  • Avis
  • Bargain Car Rentals
  • Britz Motorhomes
  • Budget
  • Eaglerider
  • East Coast Car Rentals
  • Enterprise
  • Europcar
  • FireFly Car Rental
  • Hertz
  • Keddy By Europcar
  • Mighty Cars & Campers
  • Red Spot Car Rental
  • Thrifty

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