Cairns Airport Guide
In this section you will find traveller airport reviews as well as our Cairns Airport Guide with info on WiFi, lounges, facilities and services....and yes, even the names of nearby airport hotels in case you decide that sleeping in the airport is not for you!
Plenty of big comfy sofas! If you put 3 of them in a row you end up having a bed.
photo credit: LecomteB / Wikimedia
To help you plan your layover or overnight sleepover, we are here to give you the low-down on what travellers have reported back to us during their time at Cairns Airport.
What to Expect
- There are two terminals at the Cairns airport, International and Domestic. The terminals are connected by a covered walkway.
- Free WiFi is available. See WiFi information in the airport guide below.
Both the International and Domestic terminals close at night (see more info below under Airport Hours).
A few reviewers mentioned that the Domestic terminal is newer and has better shopping and dining options.
Places to Sleep
- Since the airport is closed at night, sleeping here is not recommended.
- Sleeping options for napping also appear limited. Several reviewers mentioned hard chairs, but no benches.
- There is no on-site hotel. However, there are other hotels nearby. See Airport Hotels in the airport guide below.
Good to Know
- Economy class passengers can pay to use one of the first class lounges. See Airport Lounges below for locations and rates.
For more information about the services and facilities available, scroll down to continue exploring our Cairns Airport Guide. Send us your airport tips to help us keep this information up to date.
In this guide we may refer to locations as "landside" and "airside". Landside is the public area of the terminal located in the non-secure zone, before security. Airside is the secure area of the terminal that you must reach by going through security.
If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Cairns airport with a membership. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):
- Qantas Club - Location: Second level, via escalators. Showers are available. Lounge Access: Qantas Club Membership.
- Reef Lounge - Location: Airside, near Gate 2. Showers are available. Hours: 4:00AM - 7:00AM & 9:00AM - 2:00PM (Mon - Fri) • 4:00AM - 7:00AM & 9:00AM - 1:00PM (Sat) • 9:30AM - 1:30PM (Sun). Lounge Access: Priority Pass.
- Virgin Australia Lounge - Location: Domestic Terminal, Airside, Level 1. Lounge Access: Virgin Australia Membership.
Free WiFi is available at Cairns Airport. Passengers in T1 (International) can access the internet free for up to 1 hour per 12-hour period, while passengers in T2 (Domestic) can access the internet free for up to 30 minutes per 12-hour period. Additional time/data can be purchased at the following rates (in AUD): $3 per hour/60MB, $6 per 24 hr/160MB or $30 per 7 days/1.2GB. If you don’t have a device for connecting to the internet, you can use one of the airport’s internet kiosks at the same rates listed above.
If sleeping in Cairns Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:
- Calypso Inn Backpackers Resort - (5 min from the airport) Free airport, bus, and city transfers available.
- The Lakes Cairns Resort & Spa - (5 min from the airport) Airport transfers available ($).
- Comfort Inn Discovery Cairns - (7 min from the airport) Airport transfers available ($).
To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Cairns Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.
- Airport Tours - available on request. Reservations must be made in advance.
- ATMs / Cash Machines - ANZ and Commonwealth Bank have ATMs in the T2 Departures Lounge. For ATMs that dispense foreign currency, read the Currency Exchange section below.
- Baggage Trolley - Free of charge for passengers arriving on International flights. If you are arriving on a Domestic flight or departing on International/Domestic, there is a AU$3.50 fee to use.
- Currency Exchange - Currency exchange kiosks can be found in these locations: T1, landside, baggage reclaim • T1, landside, Public Arrivals Hall • T1, airside, Departures •T2, airside, Departures). ATMs that dispense foreign currency are available in the following locations: T1, landside, Pre-immigration/Security • T1, airside, Departures & Arrivals Hall • T2, landside, Check-In • T2, airside, Departures •T2, airside, Arrivals Hall.
- Duty-Free & Shopping - Duty-free shopping is available, along with a wide variety of shops selling clothing, souvenirs, books, cosmetics and more!
- Food & Drinks - There are no 24 hour food and/or beverage concessions at the airport. While there are few options that are open according to flight schedules the majority of restaurants are open 5:00AM - 8:00PM.
- Luggage Storage & Lockers - Luggage Lockers are located adjacent to the T2 Car Park Service Kiosk, self serve/pay, prices range from $5.00 - $13.00 depending on size and length of rental.
- Showers - Showers are available in the Qantas Lounge [ see Airport Lounges above ].
The doors to the International and Domestic terminals are closed at night. An employee told us on our Facebook page: "Every night I see people resorting to sleeping on the hard metal benches outside the terminals getting eaten my mosquitos. On Thursday and Sunday nights you can get to stay inside the International until 2:00AM but once the Guam flight departs it's all shut down. The only exception is Intl to Intl transit pax who stay airside inside the departures lounge."
Terminal 1 Hours: 3:00AM - last flight
Car rental desks are located in the Arrivals area at the northern end of T2 (Domestic) and the Arrivals Hall at T1 (International). The following agencies are located onsite in both terminals: Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Redspot and Thrifty.
Several area hotels provide airport transportation service to their guests either for a fee or as a courtesy. Here are a few hotels offering airport shuttle service: Calypso Inn Backpackers Resort • Comfort Inn Discovery Cairns • Reef Palms • Rydges Tradewinds Cairns • The Lakes Cairns Resort.
Sun Palm operates a shared-ride door-to-door shuttle service between the airport and Cairns city center, including major hotels. Service is also offered to Northern Beaches, Port Douglas and areas even further north. Fares start at AU$15 per person, with discounted rates available through arrangements made with select backpacker hostels. Sun Palm also offers Airport Connect shuttle service, which runs between the airport and Tobruk Pool Bus Stop on the southbound side of Sheridan Street. Connection to the Translink public transportation system is available here, where passengers can take the bus to/from Cairns city center and the Northern Beaches for a single-trip ticket price of AU$2.20. Passengers heading to the airport can hail an Airport Connect bus from the C9 bus stop on the northbound side of Sheridan Street. Airport Connect costs AU$4 for a one-way fare or AU$6 for return-trip fare.
To book a ride, go to the Sun Palm welcome desks located in the Arrivals area of either terminal. No reservation is required. Shuttles pick-up and drop-off at designated stops in front of each airport terminal.
Cairns Taxi is the office taxi service provider for the airport. You can pre-book their services, or hail a taxi from the sheltered taxi ranks located in front of each terminal. Taxis operate within the Cairns Taxi District, which includes the CBD and destinations as far north as Ellis Beach and as far south as Wrights Creek, Edmonton. Maxi taxis (capacity 10 passengers) and wheelchair-accessible taxis are available, and all taxis accept credit cards. From 7:00AM - 7:00PM on weekdays, flag drop is AU$2.90 with AU$2.26 per km charge. Flag drop increases at all other times, and can go as high as AU$6.30 plus AU$2.26 per km charge for late night runs. An AU$4 surcharge is added to fares for trips from the airport.
Last Updated: 09 September 2016
The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airports and their web sites. The information above is subject to change without notice. Use it for informational purposes only to help you during your stay. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.