Getting to Cairns - Queensland<

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef for day cruises and extended cruises including the very best opportunity for world class snorkelling and scuba diving. Cairns is also a magnificent tropical destination for many land based activities such as the fabulous Atherton tablelands, waterfalls and much more.

Whitsunday Scuba Centre has been in operation since 1980 and we are Great Barrier Reef specialists. If you are travelling to Australia from overseas or from within Australia, you will want to visit and indeed, experience, the very best reef experience from Cairns. Our many years of experience and thousands of satisfied customers bear testimony to the quality of our cruises and PADI diving courses. Cairns is a bustling International destination for world travellers wanting to experience the Great Barrier Reef. You should select your cruise well in advance because during busy periods our most popular dive/snorkel cruises can be fully booked up to to 2 months in advance.

Cruises and PADI Scuba Diving courses that we offer on our website departing from Cairns, include but are not limited to:

  1. Spirit of Freedom Coral Sea:arrowright dive liveaboard cruises - select from 3 different options
  2. 3 day 2 night Great Barrier Reef:arrowright dive/snorkel liveaboard cruise
  3. Day cruise plus scuba dive or snorkel: arrowright on the Great Barrier Reef
  4. Cairns 5 day PADI Open Water Course: arrowright including 3 day 2night Great Barrier Reef liveaboard
  5. Cairns PADI Advanced Course arrowright including 3 day 2night Great Barrier Reef liveaboard

Remember to book early.

Getting to Cairns


Cairns By Air

Cairns Airport is the main gateway to Tropical North Queensland. It boasts international, domestic and general aviation terminals. It is serviced by major international, national and state air carriers. There are many direct flights for international travellers: New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Guam and Papua New Guinea as well as Singapore via Darwin. Cairns Airport is Australia's fifth busiest in terms of international passengers.

Cairns Airport offers both domestic and international flights. Airfield operations are 24 hours, and terminal operations including shops, cafes at both pre and post immigration points are open in accordance with flight schedules. Domestic flights from capital cities are available from Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin.

A new low cost airline, Bonza, has recently commenced operations. Bonza provides flights to Cairns from the Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton and Mackay.

If you're arriving in Cairns by plane then you might need an airport transfer to get you to your accommodation.

Domestic Airlines to Cairns from Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney

From Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane you can fly with Qantas, Virgin or Jetstar

Cairns by Train - The Sunlander

Offering passengers a comfortable and scenic way to view the inland coast of Queensland, the Sunlander travels return from Brisbane to Cairns three times per week. The Sunlander meanders its way through the scenic, lush countryside of inland coastal towns of Bundaberg and Gladstone through to the sub-tropical region in Mackay, Proserpine and Bowen, until reaching its final destination of Cairns.


Passengers can travel in first or economy class sleeping berths and seating is also available. Waterways Restaurant also provides an excellent array of sumptuous meals accompanied with quality Australian wines, as well as a licensed buffet car.

For a totally relaxing and unwinding experience, this multi award-winning train offers the passenger, an ideal way to experience the picturesque coastal stretch between Brisbane and Cairns, in comfortable, fully air-conditioned lounge cars, club cars and dining facilities.

Making for a leisurely 31-hour journey, The Queenslander offers first class travel with comfortable single or double sleeping berths, overhead reading lights, washbasins, fresh crisp linen, stationery packs, toiletries and bathrobes are provided in each cabin. Sumptuous meals are presented in the fine dining atmosphere of the Coral Cay Restaurant, while the Daintree Lounge provides the perfect place to wile away the hours with a cool drink and live entertainment.

Cairns by Train - Spirit of Queensland

Queensland Rail's brand new Tilt Train fleet was launched in October 2013 and focuses on relaxation, comfort and modern facilities. Connecting visitors to major tourist destinations from South East to Central Queensland, the new Spirit of Queensland train boasts an Australian first, the revolutionary seats that convert to a lie-flat bed.


As Australia's fastest train, this service operates in each direction between Brisbane and Cairns and is outfitted with state-of-the-art facilities and catering. Providing a smooth and comfortable ride, the Spirit of Queensland is perfect for day trips and awonderful choice to explore any of the amazing spots along the Capricorn and Coral Coasts including Fraser Island, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton or the Whitsunday Islands.

Offering the same journey as the Sunlander, only within 24 hours.

Cairns By Road

The distance to Cairns by the most practicable direct route is:

  • 1700 km from Brisbane
  • 2700 km from Sydney
  • 2800 km from Darwin
  • 3100 km from Melbourne

You could hire a car from another city and depending on whether the facilities are available you can drop it off to the same provider when you arrive in Cairns.

Coach travel is an efficient and pleasurable way to see the countryside. Major coach companies operate luxury, air conditioned vehicles with express services between major Australian cities and Cairns.

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