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Cairns Airport Guide

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.
- Enrico

Featured Review

cairns airport
photo credit: LecomteB / Wikimedia

by guest
I feel the need to submit a complaint about the poor service situation at Cairns airport. We have arrived here after 0030 from Brisbane for a connecting flight later in the morning to Alice Springs.

Un be-known to us we have been locked  out of the entire terminal building!  Both the arrival and departure as are closed and there are 4 people including ourselves having to sit outside for another 2 hours until it opens again. After speaking to an available overnight airport staff this is a common occurrence and a cause of much dissatisfaction for travellers.

The airport does actually advertise as being an international airport and open 24 hours a day on its website. This is false and Cairns airport should make his clearly known. There are not even signs here that state this.

I am her with my child and we have found ourselves in a most uncomfortable and potentially unsafe situation, extremely tired and unprepared without food or snacks. At no point was I told by Qantas when booking flights even as a qantas club members that  this would be the case and needed to book accommodation. Given the few hours stop over we felt their was no point in booking a hotel for a short period when we could wait in a lounge area until check in.

Why a lounge or sitting area is not available is beyond belief. Not good enough and very disappointing Cairns airport lift your game.

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Cairns Airport Information

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.

Airport Lounges

If you are an economy class traveller, you can enter these lounges at Cairns airport either by purchasing a day pass or through a membership program. Visit the individual lounge page for more details (ie. facilities, hours, pass and membership information):

  • Qantas Club - Location: Second level, via escalators. Hours: Open daily one hour prior to the first Qantas service until the last Qantas departure. Lounge Access: Qantas Club Membership.
  • Reef Lounge - Location: Airside, near Gate 2. Showers are available. Hours: varies. Lounge Access: Priority Pass.
  • Virgin Australia Lounge - Location: Domestic Terminal, Airside, Level 1. Hours: 45 minutes before the first flight departure - Last Flight. Lounge Access: Pay at the Door (AUD 65) • Virgin Australia Membership.

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Airport WiFi / Internet

WiFi is available at Cairns Airport for a fee. Rates: $ 3 per hour/60MB • $ 6 per 24 hours/160MB • $30 per week/1.2 GB. Additionally there are Internet Kiosks located airside that offer WiFi for the same rates.

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Airport Hotels

If sleeping in Cairns Airport does not appeal to you, there are hotels near the airport:

To find a cheap room, there is a list of hotels near Cairns Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price.

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More Services, Facilities & Things To Do On A Layover At The Airport

  • Airport Tours - available on request. Reservations must be made in advance.
  • ATMs / Cash Machines - ATMs are available in the International Terminal (arrivals area) and Domestic Terminal (departure lounge).
  • Baggage Carts - 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 fee to use.
  • Car Rentals - Avis • Budget • Europcar • Hertz • Redspot • Thrifty. Location: Domestic Terminal, arrivals, north end • International Terminal, arrivals. You can compare car rental rates on the Auto Europe web site.
  • Currency Exchange - International Currency Exchange has offices in the following locations: International Terminal, Airside, Departure Lounge (Hours: according to flight schedule) • Domestic Terminal, Airside, Departure Lounge (Hours: 5:00AM - 8:00PM). Select ATMs dispense foreign currency.
  • Food & Drinks - At the time of this update it was not known if there are any 24 hour food or beverage concessions at the airport.
  • Information Desk - information not available
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Luggage storage is available at Wilson Car Park. Rates: from $7.00 (small - 0-3 hours) to $ 15 (large: over 3 hours).
  • Showers - Showers are available in the Domestic and International Terminals (landside and airside).

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Airport Hours

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 2am 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: 3am - last flight

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We Need Your Feedback!

The SleepingInAirports community depends on travellers, like you, to share their airport experiences through airport reviews and survey responses. If you had a good or bad experience at Cairns Airport, tell us about it!

  • Complete the 2015 Airport Survey - Your responses to this short (and easy!) questionnaire will help us determine the Best and Worst Airports of 2015.
  • Write a Review - Please take a few minutes to write your airport review. Whether you provided a quick tip or a detailed review, you will be helping other travellers in a similar situation. Leave a guest review OR register for an account.

Thank you for helping the Community!

Cairns Travel Resources

  • Cairns Hotels - search for deals, check availability and read reviews

Last Updated: 13 May 2015

The information in this Airport Guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airport's 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 quoted in the guide, email me.

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