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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

It is not possible to stay overnight inside the airport. You will be evicted.

Airport Overview

cairns airport

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.


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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

  • 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).
  • Virgin Australia Lounge - Location: Domestic Terminal, Airside, Level 1. Lounge Access: Virgin Australia Membership.

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Airport WiFi / Internet

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.

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Airport Hotels

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

To see more options there is a list of hotels near Cairns Airport on Tripadvisor that can be sorted by price, distance, traveller rating and popularity.

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

  • ATMs / Cash Machines - ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, and China Construction Bank have ATMs in T2. Foreign currency ATMs are also available in the airport. Travelex ATMs dispense foreign currency at these locations:
    • T1: Departures Hall • Arrivals Hall • Pre-Immigration & Security
    • T2: Check-In • Departures Hall • Arrivals Hall.
  • Baggage Trolley - Available for use, free of charge, from T1 Arrivals (pre-Customs), and for a $3 fee throughout the rest of the airport.
  • Car Rentals - Yes, see our Airport Transportation section below.
  • Currency Exchange - Travelex currency exchange kiosks are open from 4:00AM - 8:00PM in these locations:
    • T1: Departures lounge (airside) • Baggage Reclaim (airside) • Arrivals Hall (landside).
    • T2: Departures lounge (airside).
  • Duty-Free & Shopping - Duty-free shopping is available, along with a wide variety of shops selling clothing, souvenirs, books, cosmetics and more!
  • Food & Drinks - Food concessions throughout the airport operate on varying schedules, with many open as early as 5:00AM. At the time of this update, there are no 24-hour dining options, but there are a couple of restaurants open until “late”.
  • Luggage Storage & Lockers - Self-service luggage lockers are available at the airport, cash payment only. Rates range from $6 - $10 for up to 3 hours or $10 - $14 for up to 24 hours (and per 24-hour period after). Locker sizes available are small (75cm x 33cm x 44cm) • medium (75cm x 33cm x 61cm) • large (75cm deep x 33cm wide x 93cm). Location: next to the T2 Car Park. Hours: Open 24 hours.
  • Showers - Showers are available in the Qantas Lounge [ see Airport Lounges above ].

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Airport Hours

The airport is open at 4:00AM, or two hours before first flight of the day, and closes after the last flight of the night. Overnight stays are not permitted in this airport. 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."

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Airport Transportation: Getting To/From The Airport

Car Rentals

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.

Hotel Shuttles

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.

Shuttle

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.

Taxi

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.

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Last Updated: 09 March 2017

This guide is for informational purposes only to assist with your planning and is subject to change at any time. The information in this airport guide is based on information collected and/or received from the airports, lounges, hotels, transportation providers and their web sites. We are not representatives of any of the above mentioned service providers. To report errors, or to add/change any items mentioned in the guide, please contact us.

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