Cairns has a tropical climate perfect for those who wish to get away from the cold weather, with hot and humid summers and average temperatures between 25º and 32º C. The winters are dry and not cold, with average temperatures ranging from 19º to 26º C. Storms are very common during the summers.
Relaxed, tropical and casual.
With dangerous reefs for navigation, dense vegetation and a debilitating climate, Cairns was not at all inviting to Captain James Cook's fleet when he, with great difficulty, landed in the region in 1770. The city was only officially founded in 1876, driven by the gold rush, which had begun four years earlier, and was named after the colony administrator Sir William Wellington Cairns. Following the decline of the gold rush, Cairns development was boosted by the construction of the first railway lines in the region, which made agriculture possible, especially sugar cane planting.
During World War II, Cairns played an important role in serving as the operational base for the United States and Australian Air Forces, which fought at the famous Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. After the war, Cairns was establishing itself as a tourism destination, especially after the opening of the international airport in 1984, and having some of its natural beauties listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, also in the 1980s.
Cost of Living
Cost of Living
Information not available
Cairns public transport system includes bus and train, extending north to Palm Cove, to the south to Gordonvale and to the west to Redlynch, in addition to Cairns and surrounding suburbs. In this area, international students pay only half the ticket price. Sunbus is the bus concessionaire that operates from the northern beaches to the southern suburbs, going through the centre of Cairns. Queensland Rail regularly operates train services between Brisbane and Cairns on The Sunlander and the Tilt high-speed train. For those who prefer walking or cycling, there are more than 450 km of bicycle paths or shared paths for cyclists and pedestrians.
Study and Work
One of the entrances to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, both listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, Cairns is the main city in the far north of Queensland, the largest region of the state, covering about 54% of the territory. Cairns provides a very relaxed and casual lifestyle for its residents with bars, restaurants, active nightlife and also access to incredible places like islands and tropical rainforests, national parks, wetlands and, a bit further up, Asia, with direct flights to destinations such as Japan, China and Hong Kong, as well as other locations in Oceania such as Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Guam.
1) Why study in Cairns
Abundant in tropical rainforests and marine life, starting with the Great Barrier Reef, it’s not surprising that northern Queensland is recognized worldwide as a reference in tropical and marine sciences. The hub of this knowledge is centered in James Cook University, which has two of its largest campuses in Cairns and Townsville.
Another important teaching institution is TAFE Queensland North, in the Manuda suburb, just a few minutes away from the city center. Cairns City, as it’s known, combines the commercial district, including English language schools, the Reef Fleet terminal, which is the main starting point for tours in the corals, as well as the train station, located within Cairns Central Shopping Centre. For public transport commuters, international students pay only half the ticket price.
2) 11 reasons to study in Cairns
- International students can work 40 hours per fortnight (and full time during vacations)
- International students pay only half the cost for public transportation tickets;
- The region is a world reference in tropical and marine sciences;
- The region is home to James Cook University, ranked among the 400 best universities in the world and among the 21 best in Australia according to the academic ranking produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University;
- Cairns has a TAFE unit;
- Tropical climate
- Gateway to World Heritage Sites such as Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest;
- Casual and relaxed lifestyle;
- Cairns is close to a multitude of islands and beaches that are great for scuba diving;
- Several extreme sports options;
- It has an international airport with direct flights to Asia.
3) About Cairns
Cairns doesn’t have beaches, but in the heart of the city, there is an immense lagoon called Cairns Lagoon, with a crystal-clear saltwater pool for tourists to sunbathe and get refreshed, several public barbecue grills and a large picnic area, as well as bars and restaurants all around. Nearby, in the Reef Fleet terminal, that the boats leave for the main attractions of the region, including the several areas to dive in the Great Barrier Reef.
With the constant flow of tourists due to the many attractions in the region, Cairns is a city of great cultural diversity and much sought after by foreigners to live in. Not surprisingly, more than 30% of its population was born outside Australia, with more coming from England (4%), New Zealand (3.1%), Papua New Guinea (1.5%), Philippines (1.2%) and Japan (1.1%). The most common ancestry in Cairns is English (25.2%), followed by Australian (24.9%), Irish (8.3%), Scottish (6.8%) and German (3.9%).
4) Accommodations in Cairns
When researching a place to live in Cairns, it’s very important that it be close to your school or that you can easily get there by public transport. We divided the accommodations into two types, according to the duration of the trip:
The hostels are good options for those who want to save money with accommodation. The rooms in general are shared, but there are also rooms for couples and private options. Preferred by young travelers, they have quite relaxed environments, with lots of socialization and therefore are very sought after during high seasons.
They are kinda like hostels but offer private, couples and group rooms. The environment is less busy and more private than hostels, the prices are a bit more expensive, but still cheaper than hotels.
WEST 1 recommends that, at least for the first few weeks, students stay in a homestay, which are homes of Australian families or immigrants who have been in the country for many years. It’s there that the student begins to have contact with the Australian culture, put into practice what they learn at school, get to know the city and ask questions. To participate in this type of program, families are accredited by the Australian government, which guarantees total safety for the student.
After the homestay period, the student will already be more familiar with the school and the city. Feeling more independent, the next step is to share an apartment or a room with other students, many of them of different nationalities, which is a great experience and great for improving the language. The rent is usually paid weekly, and before moving you must deposit the famous “bond”, which is nothing more than an advance that ranges from two to four weeks of rent.
5) Work In Cairns
In Australia, as soon as classes begin, the student can work 40 hours per fortnight (and full time during vacations). In order to do that, it’s important to open a student account at a bank and make the Tax File Number, a record on the Australian Taxation Office that will allow you to get paid by the employer and have your income tax in order. With the Great Barrier Reef attracting more than 2 million visitors annually, tourism is Cairns' main industry, resulting in job opportunities in the various areas within the hospitality, bars and restaurants, as well as diving activities.
6) Attractions in Cairns
The Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef on the planet, with over 2000 km long, is the most important attraction in the region, with Cairns being one of its main accesses. Dive, swim, sail or take a scenic flight over the reef. Do you want some peace? Whitsundays, with its 74 idyllic islands with white sand in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, is the perfect getaway. Also ideal for sailing, swimming and snorkeling, some of these islands have luxury resorts and national parks, while most are uninhabited. The main access to Whitsundays is the coastal village of Airlie Beach, with its seaside parks, bars, restaurants, cafes, lively nightlife, grocery stores on Saturday and live music on Sundays. The atmosphere is a bit like Cairns Lagoon in the centre of Cairns with its crystal clear saltwater pool, public barbecue grills that local and international students love, as well as bars and restaurants. A little north of Cairns there’s a sequence of beaches, called Northern Beaches, which combine Holloways Beach, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity Beach, Clifton Beach and Palm Cove, and makes the locals rejoice. Continuing north, about two hours from Cairns, Daintree Forest is another attraction listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The oldest tropical rainforest in the world, Daintree is the natural habitat of the largest variety of animals and plants on the planet and provides walking, cycling or four-wheel drive trails, boat trips on the Daintree River and even visits to Aboriginal communities.
Did you know?
The Great Barrier Reef is bigger than the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland combined.
Comprising more than 2,900 individual reefs and more than 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometers, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world.
'Great, not huge!'
The Great Barrier Reef is larger than the states of Tasmania and Victoria combined
It’s so large that it can be seen from outer space.
The Great Barrier Reef attracts more than two million visitors a year, generating approximately AU$ 5 to 6 billion per year
Cairns served as an operational base for the United States and Australian Air Forces that operated in the famous Battle of the Coral Sea, in May 1942, during World War II.
The city of Cairns grew up on a slug field, since the discovery of gold in 1876.
Daintree Forest is the oldest tropical forest in the world, having been through more than 135 million springs.
The wild beaches near Cape Tribulation, north of Cairns, is the only place in the world where there are two World Heritage sites, the Daintree Forest and the Great Barrier Reef.