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About Cairns

Cairns is the northern-most city in Tropical North Queensland and is renowned for its unique environment. It’s the only place in the world where two world heritage areas meet- the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. 

Population: 155 000 (2014)
Founded: 1876
Weather: Tropical summers reaching up to 31°C, and milder winters with daytime temperatures of 26°C.

The Studying and Living in Cairns Guide for international students provides potential students with practical information about moving to and living in Cairns.

Community services

There are a variety of services available to the Cairns community from multicultural groups to health care services. 

Some services include:


Cairns is a thriving city with a variety of cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the city and along the beachfront. Cairns Dining provides some inspiration, or head to the city centre or the Cairns Esplanade to explore the options for yourself. Ask other students for their recommendations.


Shopping centres and supermarkets:
Shopping in Cairns has a list of great shopping locations in Cairns from the latest fashions to souvenirs to fresh produce. The closest shopping centre to the Cairns JCU campus is Smithfield Shopping Centre .

Markets are held regularly in Cairns and are great places to buy affordable local produce, woodcraft and handmade goods.

Cairns Markets: this list will direct you to the markets closest to your location.  
Cairns Attractions: includes Cairns Night Markets (retail, food, goods) and other markets around the region.
Rusty’s Markets: for an abundance of food and speciality products head to this popular market.

Second-hand shops: There are a variety of second hand shops in Cairns that may be useful for buying goods such as furniture, clothes, kitchen utensils and books.

Postal service

Locations and hours on the Australia Post website will show you where all post offices in Cairns are located.


Cairns has a vibrant music, arts and cultural scene. To find out what’s on around Cairns, visit Entertainment Cairns.

See what’s on:

All cinemas offer student concession prices when you present your JCU student identification card.

Proof of age

In Australia, you must be over the age of 18 to enter venues that sell alcohol. When entering a bar or nightclub Queensland State Law requires venues to sight identification for age verification before allowing you on the premises. Your JCU student card or International Student Card (ISIC Card) are not acceptable as proof of age.

If you have a driver’s licence that has your photograph, date of birth and is in English you can use this as proof of age. By carrying your passport as your only form of identification you can risk it being stolen or lost. To prevent this apply for an Adult Proof of Age Card (18+ Card) through the Queensland Government.