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Frequently Asked Questions
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Our Beautiful Country
- 1. How safe is Australia?
How safe is Australia?
Australia is one of the safest places in the world. Because of this people often relax and become complacent and can be subject to petty crime. We recommend you keep personal possessions in a safe place and exercise a sensible amount of caution. However when it comes to deadly creatures we have more than anywhere else in the world so always read up and follow warning signs when travelling to Australia. Always treat Mother Nature with respect and you should be fine.
- 2. How hot does it get in the summer?
How hot does it get in the summer?
Australia’s clear, unpolluted atmosphere and the fact we have a large hole in the ozone produces sunlight stronger than much of Europe or North America. As a result people generally burn quicker than at home, so be prepared to wear hats and sun block if you plan to be out in the sun for more than 15-20 minutes. Most people carry sun factor 30+ as a minimum sun block cream. SLIP on a shirt SLOP on sunscreen and SLAP on a hat. However if you are travelling to the southern states eg: Victoria, be prepared for sudden weather changes. It is said that Melbourne can have 4 seasons in one day.
- 3. What time is it in Australia?
What time is it in Australia?
Australia has several times zones. Please click here to view the different times zones.
- 4. What size is Australia?
What size is Australia?
Lying southeast of Asia, between the Pacific and Indian oceans, Australia, the world's smallest continent, is almost completely surrounded by ocean expanses.
Australia is slightly smaller than the United States, with a total area of 7,686,850 sq km (2,967,909 sq mi). The five mainland states are:
New South Wales, 801,600 sq km (309,500 sq mi)
Queensland, 1,727,200 sq km (666,900 sq mi)
South Australia, 984,000 sq km (379,900 sq mi)
Victoria, 227,600 sq km (87,900 sq mi)
Western Australia, 2,525,500 sq km (975,100 sq mi).
The island state of Tasmania has an area of 67,800 sq km (26,200 sq mi)
The Northern Territory, 1,346,200 sq km (519,800 sq mi)
The Australian Capital Territory, 2,400 sq km (900 sq mi)
The country, including Tasmania, extends about 4,000 km (2,500 mi) E–W and 3,180 km (1,980 mi) N–S.
Australia is bounded on the N by the Timor and Arafura seas, on the NE by the Coral Sea, on the E by the Pacific Ocean, on the SE by the Tasman Sea, and on the S and W by the Indian Ocean, with a total coastline of 25,760 km (16,007 mi). Neighboring areas include Irian Jaya (part of Indonesia) and Papua New Guinea to the north, New Zealand to the southeast, and Indonesia to the northwest.
Australia's capital city, Canberra, is located in the southeastern part of the country.
- 5. What is the population of Australia?
What is the population of Australia?
Approximately 22 million people live in Australia.
- 6. What is the population of Cairns?
What is the population of Cairns?
Approximately 130,000 people live in Cairns permanently and tourists arrive by the thousands every couple of days.
- 7. Do I need a passport or visa to enter Australia?
Do I need a passport or visa to enter Australia?
All visitors to Australia must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. One year Work visas are relatively simple to obtain and can often be extended if you have a workplace that is willing to sponsor you. Visit Australian Immigration for more information.
- 8. What about Driving in Australia?
What about Driving in Australia?
Australians drive on the left and give way to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right. The speed limit is 100 km/h on the open road and 60 km/h in built up areas.
Most foreign driver licences are acceptable in Australia (check with your travel agent). Both drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times. We have a Blood Alcohol Level of .05 so don’t drink and drive.
- 9. Are there any banks?
Are there any banks?
Yes there are plenty of banks and cash machines in Cairns. The cash machines are open 24 hours. Be sure to check with your bank before travelling to Australia to ensure your cards will be accepted. In general, any cards with Visa, MC, Maestro, Cirrus or Plus on them will be accepted at ATMs. Most banks are open 9am - 4pm, they can change foreign currency and travellers cheques at competitive rates. All shops accept major credit cards but you can't use your overseas eftpos card so you will need to get cash out from an ATM.
- 10. Will my electrical appliances work?
Will my electrical appliances work?
Electricity is supplied throughout Australia at 240 volts (50 hertz), although most hotels and motels provide 110 volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. For all other equipment, an adaptor/ converter is necessary. You can purchase these at the airport, supermarkets and chemists shops in Cairns and throughout Australia.
- 11. Where are the foreign exchange offices?
Where are the foreign exchange offices?
Most airports and hotels have currency exchange facilities. In the town centres you are best to change your money at a bank as they do not charge commission and usually offer the best rates. We recommend buying enough Australian dollars to cover your expenses for the first few days.
- 12. How much is a cup of coffee / breakfast / dinner?
How much is a cup of coffee / breakfast / dinner?
Coffee - AUD$ 2.50 - $4
Breakfast - AUD$8 - $15
Send a postcard overseas - AUD$1.50 - AUD$2
Phone call - from 50c (you can buy international calling cards from most shops in town)
Parking – AUD$2 for 60mins (parking meters).
Beer - AUD$5-8 for a pint
(All above prices are approximate and can vary from those listed above).
- 13. What is the currency?
What is the currency?
Check out the Currency Exchange Rates
- 14. Is the water safe to drink?
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, Australia’s tap water is amongst the best and tastiest in the world and very safe to drink. Be aware in some states there have been droughts so water restrictions may apply, check with your accommodation
- 15. What is the minimum drinking age?
What is the minimum drinking age?
18 years. Proof of age is often required if you look under 25 so don't be offended if you get asked.
- 16. Is there any departure tax when leaving Cairns?
Is there any departure tax when leaving Cairns?
When leaving Australia there is a departure fee of approximately AUD$40 but by law this will have been included in your ticket price.
- 17. Are there any Supermarkets?
Are there any Supermarkets?
Woolworths and Coles are the largest supermarket s in Cairns they open from 8.30am - 8.00pm seven days a week. There are also a number of small convenience stores called Night Owls located around town.
- 18. Is there much accommodation / should I book in advance?
Is there much accommodation / should I book in advance?
There are hundreds of places to stay in Cairns; the problem is there are thousands of people wanting to stay here! Book several months in advance if possible. Unlike deciding which activities to book, finding a place to stay is usually pretty damn boring and often takes up way too much of your time. As a result, we have decided to simplify things and take the hassel out of booking your accommodation by using Booking.com Simply click on the link located on the accommodation page and you will be redirected to the Booking.com website which offers real time availability and instant confirmation. If you're still not sure where to stay once visiting the website then please contact us and we'll be happy to offer our suggestions.
- 19. Is there any public transport? Do I need to hire a car?
Is there any public transport? Do I need to hire a car?
No, you don't really need to hire a car. There is a lot of public transport and plenty of taxis in Cairns that you can hail from the roadside or book over the phone. Cairns is a very small, compact town with most things only a short walk away.
If you need to get out of town (ie to the airport, or maybe your hotel is a few km out of the centre), there are a several buses called the Sun Bus, they cost around AUD$3 and operate at least once every hour back and forth from around 7am – 11 pm. Many hotels and Hostels offer a free shuttle to and from town.
If you really want a car or campervan then we recommend booking with Maui or Backpacker.
- 20. What Great Barrier Reef trip is the best for me?
What Great Barrier Reef trip is the best for me?
With so many reef trips to choose from it can be a little daunting and overwhelming trying to decide which one to book. Rest assured, if its listed on our site then we reckon it's ok. Some reef boats offer great dive sites for scuba divers in particular, some offer lower prices, some offer later or earlier departure times, some are better suited to snorkellers, some are more luxurious and some boats are quicker and pierce through the waves offering a smoother ride.
The basic rule of thumb, like anywhere, is 'you get what you pay for'! So if you want the best dive sites, tasty food, a comfortable boat ride without huge crowds and the best equipment then dont go for the cheapest option. On the other hand, if you're on a budget and all you want is to get out to the reef to go for a relaxed snorkel then choose the cheapest boat.
Either way, if you need some help deciding just contact us and we'll recommend the most suitable boat for you.
- 21. What type of weather can I expect?
What type of weather can I expect?
For most of the year the climate in Cairns is 'beautiful one day and perfect the next' with blue skies, warm weather and gentle breezes. The average temperature varies between 20 and 30 degrees celcius (68F to 90F) all year round however there are two distinct seasons, the wet and the dry. The exact dates of these seasons change from year to year but in general, the wet season runs from November to April.
Nearly all reef tours and adventure and sightseeing activities are available all year through both the wet and dry season although the vast majority of tourists visit Cairns and the reef between May and October.
For a more detailed look at the weather please visit our Cairns Weather page
- 22. How much does it cost to stay in Cairns?
How much does it cost to stay in Cairns?
Cairns has hundreds of places to stay ranging from around $15 for a dorm bed to over $2000 for an exclusive luxury resort or apartment. There is something to suit every accommodation need in Cairns. Check out our accommodation section for great deals with Wotif or contact us for some assistance and local recommendations.
- 23. Are there any good restaurants?
Are there any good restaurants?
Yes, there are so many restaurants and bars in Cairns you won’t know where to start we are known as the party capital. There is a price and taste to suit everyone; Sushi bars, Indian, Chinese, Thai, fast food, fine dining, bar meals, steak houses, stylish café's, family restaurants you name it, Cairns has probably got it. Please contact us for suggestions.
- 24. Is there much nightlife?
Is there much nightlife?
There are an abundance of bars to choose from in Cairns, all located within the space of a small city block. Many have late licences till 5am. Be aware of the curfew you must be inside a club by 3.00 am or you will not be permitted to enter after this time (this is to keep the street noise level down because of the accommodation around town). The best nights to go out in Cairns are between Monday and Sunday. Yes thats right, no matter what the night there is always a great nightlife. There are also a few night clubs, and many of the bars have live bands and of course karaoke! The Casino in Cairns is pure luxury and popular with the locals and tourists. Cairns also has a fantastic cultural arts programme with many plays, concerts, art galleries etc.
- 25. Do shops / activities close at the weekends?
Do shops / activities close at the weekends?
No, Cairns is very much a tourist town. Living here you often forget what day it is! The only real difference with the weekends is that most banks are closed. All activities, restaurants, buses and shops are open 7 days a week. Most shops stay open as long at the weekends as during the week with many open as late as 10pm.
- 26. What is the shopping like?
What is the shopping like?
Cairns has a huge shopping mall (Cairns Central) right in town next to the Train station; full of fashion, other retail stores and 2 major supermarkets. On the outskirts of town there is a factory outlet shopping Mall D.F.O. where you will also find many retail stores selling their goods at huge reductions. There are a great range of shops in town from designer brands to cute little local outlets. Stroll down the mall, check out the souvenir shops, art galleries and clothing stores, Take a breather in one of the many cafés or restaurants for a coffee and a bite to eat or wander down to Esplanade where you will find a man made lagoon. Here you can take a dip in the pool while looking out over the inlet of Cairns, there are BBQ's everywhere which are free to use.
- 27. Are there any internet cafes?
Are there any internet cafes?
There are internet cafes everywhere and most of the hostels have a travel desk, which also have many computers. Prices are very competitive. You can expect to pay around AUD$1-4 per hour, you can also purchase a global gossip card and put money on this to use in most internet outlets, they can also be used as a phone card.
- 28. What clothes should I take?
What clothes should I take?
Leave your suits and ties at home, Cairns is a casual, relaxed town. Shorts, t-shirts and sandals for during the day and of course the mandatory sarong and swimming gear. It’s not unusual to see people in the street in swimwear or shirtless. For night time most clubs and restaurants have a casual dress code but you can dress up to the nines as well if you wish.
- 29. When is the best time to visit Cairns?
When is the best time to visit Cairns?
All reef tours and activities operate 365 days a year. Unlike other tourists destinations Cairns is an amazing place to visit no matter what time of year. There is however a rainy season which occurs during the summer months (Nov - March). This brings showers daily, although the temperature rarely gets below 20 degrees celcius.
- 30. How far away is the airport?
How far away is the airport?
The airport is 10km away from central Cairns. There are shuttle buses available and they cost about AUD$12 one way from town to the airport. You can also get a taxi for around AUD$20.
- 31. Are there many petrol stations?
Are there many petrol stations?
Cairns has several petrol stations just out of the centre of town and a few on the outskirts.
- 32. Do the activities operate all year round?
Do the activities operate all year round?
Most activities do operate all year round. Rafting, jet boating, bungy jumping, skydiving, plane and heli flights operate all year, The weather can sometimes be a factor so if unsure always check with the tour company the day before you trip.
- 33. Is there a casino in Cairns?
Is there a casino in Cairns?
Yes, the Reef Hotel Casino is located at 35-41 Wharf street in central Cairns. The Casino is open 7 days a week. Sunday to Thursday (10am to 3am) and Friday and Saturday (10am to 5am) Neat, clean attire and suitable footwear must be worn at all times. Entry to the Casino is restricted to persons 18 years of age and over.
- 34. Which Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tours depart in the afternoon?
Which Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tours depart in the afternoon?
Arriving later in the day and want something to do? There are quite a few activities that don't start until the afternoon. Simply type 'afternoon' in the search window at the top of the page and press 'Go'. A list of afternoon activities will be displayed.
- 35. Can you drive to Cape Tribulation from Cairns?
Can you drive to Cape Tribulation from Cairns?
The drive north from Cairns past Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation takes just over 2 hours. About 30 minutes past Port Douglas you will come to the Daintree River which can only be crossed using the car ferry. The ferry runs all day between 6am and midnight and costs around $20 return per car.
The road is fully sealed the entire way so no need for four wheel drive vehicles as standard sedans can easily make the journey.
- 36. Things to do in Cairns at night.
Things to do in Cairns at night.
Cairns is alive at night time with thousands of tourists arriving back from their great barrier reef diving and snorkelling trips. Most dive boats get back between 4pm and 5pm. There are hundreds of great bars and restaurants to choose from but if you are after some fun things to do that doesnt involve food or drink then there are still plenty of activities available. Here's a list:
- The Cairns Wildlife Dome (at the top of the casino)
- Harbour Dinner Cruise
- Habitat evening cruise
- The Cairns Night Zoo (near Palm Cove)
- The Cairns Night Markets on the Esplanade (open 5pm - 11pm 7 days)
- Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Show
- 37. Are there any bus transfers from Cairns to Port Douglas?
Are there any bus transfers from Cairns to Port Douglas?
Yes, there are a number of bus transfer companies that offer regular transfers to and from Cairns and Port Douglas and also Mission Beach and Cape Tribulation. Sun Palm Transport are reliable and cost effective option.
- 38. Why should I book before I arrive in Cairns?
Why should I book before I arrive in Cairns?
We highly recommend you book your activities and accommodation in advance.
We don't charge any booking fee and all activities and bookings are the same price as those offered by the operator directly.Cairns has become a very popular holiday destination for both adrenalin seekers and sightseeing enthusiasts. As a result many activities get booked up and accommodation places are full many months in advance.We see so many frustrated tourists spending much of their time in Cairns struggling to find a bed for the night and being disappointed when an activity is full.
We want you to enjoy and experience as much of Cairns as you can in the time you have here that's why we are here. Let us take the stress out of arranging what to do. If you are not sure what you want to do after reading our website, simply contact us and tell us a little about what you are interested in, how much time you have in Cairns and we can arrange it all for you.
- 39. Once I have received my E-ticket will my trip definitely go ahead?
Once I have received my E-ticket will my trip definitely go ahead?
Once you receive your e-ticket it means your trip has been booked and your payment has been taken, you must ring the activity company the night before to reconfirm your booking. This is done to ensure the they have enough people on the trip for it to go ahead. The activity company reserves the absolute right to cancel any service as a result of weather conditions, insufficient reservations or any other unforeseen event or circumstances. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.
- 40. What happens if it's bad weather?
What happens if it's bad weather?
Many activities such as scenic flights, ballooning and other air activities are weather dependent. This is the reason we ask you to ring the activity company on the day and the specified time to check the weather conditions. If your trip is cancelled by the activity company due to bad weather, you have the option of rescheduling your trip for another time or day directly with them, if this is not possible for you or you simply don't wish to go at another time please email us and we will arrange a refund back onto your credit card.
- 41. Is there a booking fee?
Is there a booking fee?
NO. Everythingcairns.com does not charge you for the services we provide. All prices quoted are the same as those offered by the operators directly. We pride ourselves on offering a service to you at no additional cost.
- 42. Can I change my booking?
Can I change my booking?
Activities can be rescheduled provided you give at least 48 hours notice and if consent is given by the activity company. You can re-schedule by calling the respective company directly using the phone number provided on your e-ticket. If you are changing a booking several weeks or months in advance you can simply email or call us and we'll be happy to sort it out for you.
- 43. Can I cancel my booking?
Can I cancel my booking?
Once you have received your e-ticket via email, you can only cancel your activity if it has been authorised by the activity company. In general, cancellations cannot be made within 48 hours of the commencement of your activity.
- 44. What happens if I lose my ticket?
What happens if I lose my ticket?
No signed e-ticket = NO ACTIVITY. If you don't have your ticket then you can't do the trip. If you do lose the ticket email us and we can resend your e-ticket.
- 45. Is it cheaper if i book direct?
Is it cheaper if i book direct?
No. The Everything Travel group does not charge you for the services we provide. All prices quoted are the same as those offered by the operators directly. We don't even charge you any credit card fees so in many instances it will actually be cheaper to book with us.
96% of new customers that used Everything Cairns to provide advice and securely book their Cairns activities have let us know they've had a good or excellent experience with us. Thank you.