Australia is home to several beautiful regional cities that are big draws for tourists apart from the major metropolises. Cairns is one such city that has also been carving a niche for itself on the global tourist map with its natural beauty and multiple attractions. Cairns was founded in the year 1876 and mainly consists of several townships in the northern outskirts of Queensland. The city derives its name from William Wellington Cairns who was the former governor of Queensland. The city was originally built to offer miners a retreat while going towards the Hodgkinson River goldfield. However, the city later transformed into a major port and railhead for the export of items like metals, gold, sugar cane, agricultural products and minerals from several adjoining coastal belts and the Atherton Tableland area.
The city lies around 1700 kilometres away from Brisbane and is a charming and quaint destination with a lovely tropical climate. The city is also a gateway for all tourists who wish to embark on journeys across Far North Queensland and also check out the Greater Barrier Reef. The city is majorly provincial in layout and location and stretches till Edmonton and Ellis Beach at two ends. The city is home to several urban townships that have been constructed on land that was earlier used for the production of sugarcane. The Northern Beaches is one coastal hub of Cairns and consists of several beach based communities that extend along the lovely coastline. Every beachside area or township is located off the Captain Cook Highway. Some of the major beaches here include Trinity Beach, Machans Beach, Trinity Park, Holloways Beach, Palm Cove, Yorkeys Knob, Kewarra Beach and the Ellis Beach among others. The Smithfield suburb lies in close proximity to the Great Diving Range and is a hub for the entire beach community. There is a highly popular shopping arcade located here which is known as the Smithfield Shopping Centre.
There are several important suburbs in Cairns including Kamerunga, Caravonica, Stratford and Freshwater among others. The Freshwater Valley area and Brinsmead are other important areas along with Crystal Cascades and Copperlode Dam. The city centre lies next to Parramatta Park, Cairns North, Portsmith, Bungalow, Manunda, Edge Hill, Manoora, Westcourt, Whitfield, Earlville and Bayview Heights. Southside Cairns lies between Trinity Inlet and the Lamb Range which includes Bentley Park, White Rock, Edmonton and Mount Sheridan. The lovely climate in Cairns has always attracted several tourists from all over the world and Australia in large numbers every year along with its natural beauty and innumerable attractions.
Cairns has multiple sites that are listed as heritage venues including the Dr EA Koch Memorial, Cairns Customs House, Barrier Reef Hotel, Cairns City Council Chamber, Cairns Court House Complex, WWII RAN Fuel Installation, School of Arts, Cairns, Flecker Botanical Gardens, St Monica's War Memorial Cathedral, Central Court, World War II Volunteer Defence Corps, Cairns Control Room, Bolands Centre, St Monica's Old Cathedral, Masonic Temple, Cairns War Memorial, Cairns Wharf Complex and the Jack and Newell Building among countless others. It goes without saying that many of these heritage buildings showcase magnificent and wide ranging architectural styles and are huge draws for tourists as well.
Cairns is a major regional base for several governmental organizations and departments. There are several government offices located in the city and it is also recognized as an important commercial centre for the Cape York Peninsula and Far North Queensland areas. Tourism contributes hugely to the economy of the city as this is the fourth most popular tourist spot after Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The city attracts innumerable tourists from across the globe including Chinese cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. The city lies near the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Great Barrier Reef and the Atherton Tableland. The Cairns esplanade is home to several swimming lagoons with barbeque areas. This area is where tourists can go topless while sunbathing and is a cultural and recreational hotspot of sorts. There are multiple shopping centres in the city including the Cairns Central shopping centre which is located in the heart of the central business district. Stockland Cairns is another major shopping centre which is located at Earlville.
There are several other shopping complexes which are located at Clifton Beach, Mount Sheridan, Smithfield and Redlynch. The government has also opened the popular William McCormack Place in Cairns, a building that cost A$80 million to construct. This is the first ever green rate, 6 star office building in the entire city. Cairns has a thriving media sector which consists of The Cairns Post and The Cairns Sun. The Courier-Mail and Australian newspapers are also circulated in the city. There are several commercial television stations which are affiliated to all major Australian broadcasting networks. There are several radio stations which broadcast some path breaking programmes in Cairns as well. Sugarcane farming is still a major economic activity in the city while the Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station offers immense green energy for the needs of the city's residents.
The Cairns International Airport lies around 7 kilometres away from Cairns City and is located between the Northern Beaches and the Central Business District. This is one of the busiest airports in all of Australia and handles innumerable global and domestic passengers on a regular basis. The domestic terminal has been revamped extensively by the government and there is a general aviation area and international terminal. There are several flights to all major cities in Australia and other tourist hotspots in Northern Queensland. The Royal Flying Doctor Service also uses the Cairns Airport as a base.
The sea port also bustles with everyday freight services and commerce. There are several catamarans which can carry up to 300 people or more together along with smaller vessels operating here. Several cruise ships dock here and there is a Royal Australian navy base present here as well. Cairns is a beautiful city and is steadily gaining importance as one of Australia's most charming, quaint and historically significant tourist destinations. There is a lot to see and do in this lovely city.