Best Places to Stay in Cairns
Accommodation in Cairns is spread across three main hubs: central Cairns for its ease of access to tours and city vibes; Palm Cove village, around a 20-minute drive north, which has more of a resort feel. So let’s see the best places to stay in Cairns
Cairns Harbour Lights
The most modern of Cairns’s waterfront properties, which include the Hilton and the Shangri-la hotels, the Harbour Lights hotel has 94 self-contained apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms. Each has views over the Cairns marina from balconies and easy access to the city’s range of shops, restaurants and parklands. The hotel is also perfectly situated for the various tour boats heading out to the Great Barrier Reef leaving from the harbour and for walks along the esplanade. The complex features pools, a fitness centre and the independently run Dundee’s restaurant on the waterfront.
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
It might seem an unusual choice to stay at a casino hotel close to two of the natural wonders of the world (the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park) but the rooms here provide close to the ultimate in luxury for Cairns. That’s especially so if you are lucky enough to stay in its top-level Presidential Suite, which provides decadence and romance with its four-poster bed, oversized spa bath and sweeping views over Cairns and the ocean from a wraparound balcony. The Reef Hotel Casino is also a social hub of sorts and is strong on facilities such as the Asian-fusion restaurant Tamarind, Café China for seafood and several bars, including the Vertigo cocktail lounge.
Of the island resorts a short distance from Cairns, Fitzroy Island, a 45-minute boat ride away, has much to recommend it, above all for holidaying families. Its self-contained apartments are serviced daily, have fully equipped kitchens and spacious balconies, many with ocean views. Facilities include a beachfront bar and bistro, an a la carte restaurant and a small cinema for the odd rainy day. The rest of the time you’ll be busy with snorkelling and glass-bottom boating on Fitzroy’s fringing reef, taking walks through the island’s national park to shell-strewn Nudey Beach (not as clothes optional as it sounds) and with visiting the nearby turtle-rehabilitation centre that has rescued hundreds of marine turtles.
Attractively set around landscaped pools behind the beach at Palm Cove, north of Cairns, the Sea Temple Resort & Spa provides relaxation from the moment you set foot inside the door. Staff members are personable and attentive and the resort’s studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments are spacious, elegantly decorated and modern. Add to this great restaurants and a spa with superb organic treatments and this boutique, resort-village is the ideal place to come back to after a day exploring the World Heritage-listed reef and rainforest not far away.
Peppers Beach Club & Spa
Set right in the bosom of Palm Cove’s vibrant village, known locally as the “Riviera of Tropical North Queensland”, Peppers is boutique apartment accommodation with plenty of style and substance. Rooms look out across the Coral Sea or over three resort pools and tropical gardens full of melaleuca trees. This is an excellent place in which to hang loose, shoot the tropical breeze or get regally pummelled at the Salt Spa. Lime & Pepper restaurant, under executive chef Thomas Ege makes it easy to stay “home” for dinner but Peppers is also a short stroll to plenty of other great cafes and restaurants.
Article First appeared in Qantas Travel Insider – by DANIEL SCOTT, Writer