Accommodation - Shelter

Cairns has seemingly endless places to stay, but they do book out during high season (June to September) so book ahead.


Cairns is the backpacker capital of Northern Queensland and there are over 20 hostels, all offering basic bunks in the $14-$25 range.

  • Asylum Cairns Small dorm beds (no bunks!) are $18 for one night or $15 per night if staying two nights or more. It's not particularly clean or well maintained, but it has free internet, very friendly and helpful staff and is within easy walking distance of the city.
  • The Bellview A hostel on The Esplanade with dormitory beds from $20 per night, budget single rooms from $35 per night and budget double rooms from $47 per night.
  • Bohemia Resort Cairns Close to the centre of Cairns with four-bed dorm rooms, singles, twins and doubles, as well as ensuite and family rooms. It's spotless and well maintained, with a pool, kitchen, bar and shuttle bus service. Prices start at $23 per person, per night.
  • Cairns Central YHA Backpackers Hostel Bunk beds in shared rooms $23-$25 per night, double and twin rooms from $54 per night.
  • Cairns City Backpackers Small, quiet and friendly, and located in a quiet back street a short walk from the heart of Cairns. It has laundry and kitchen facilities.
  • Calypso Inn Backpackers A nice hostel with a pool and chilled atmosphere; dorm beds are $22, double room are $56.
  • Floriana Guesthouse An older style Art Deco 1930's guesthouse on The Esplanade the front rooms look out to the coral sea. It is 15 minute walk to town and offers rooms with share facilities and self contained flats. Rates from $69 a night.
  • Gilligans Backpacker Hotel & Resort It has beds starting from $18 a night and some private rooms, but the best bit is they provide a free meal every night! It's a clean, safe, fun hostel with loads of activities and a massive swimming pool.
  • Nomads Esplanade Backpackers Hostel Centrally located right opposite the Lagoon on The Esplanade with a 24 hour reception and dorm beds from $22.
  • Nomads Beach House Backpackers Hostel A relaxed hostel with fun and friendly staff, a great onsite bar and dorm beds from $21.
  • Nomads Cairns Backpackers Hostel A very clean hostel with a huge swimming pool, dorm beds from $14 a night, a free shuttle bus and free meals every night.
  • Njoy Travellers Resort A very clean, safe, funky and friendly hostel with chilled out reception and pool area. Dorm beds from $15 a night.
  • South Side Inn Three kilometres from the City Centre with rooms from about $70.

Mid Range

If you need a softer pillow:

  • 181 The Esplanade Located next to Cairns Base Hospital, a 15 minute walk from town. They have one or two bedroom apartments from about $135 in low season, and up to $245 in high season.
  • Amaroo At Trinity Located on Trinity Beach, a 15 minute drive north from Cairns, with ocean view studio accommodation. Rooms from $115-$230.
  • Brinsmead Studio Apartments Two self-contained apartments available for hire in an old Queenslander home on an acre of gardens. Facilities include a laundry, kitchen, air-conditioning and a pool. The minimum stay is four nights, from $61 per night.
  • Grosvenor in Cairns An affordable fully self-contained apartment; good value at $80-$150.
  • Holiday Inn Cairns Double rooms approximately $150 per night.  
  • The Lakes Cairns Resort and Spa A 4.5 star resort offering a relaxed village atmosphere set amongst 11 acres of lush landscaped gardens, lakes and beach lagoon pools. Rooms from $120 but go much higher!
  • Margaret House Holiday Apartment These two appartements, one three bedroom and one four, make up the bottom and top levels of a lovely old Queenslander house. It's situated in the centre of Redlynch Village and you can rent one from $165 per night, or the whole house from $285 per night.
  • Marlin Cove Holiday Resort A Trinity Beach reort with four star, affordable, self-contained apartment accommodation. Perfect for families; rooms at about $150 a night.
  • Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort Located a block from the centre of Cairns, with king rooms and twin rooms (with two doubles) approximately $150 per night.
  • Rockford Esplanade Apartments These nice apartments are set amongst thriving melaleuca trees on the beach front, just a short stroll from the relaxed buzz of Palm Cove Village. Ranges from $150-$400.
  • Quality Hotel Sheridan Plaza A modern four-star boutique-style hotel five minutes drive from the city centre, and easily accessible to public transport and tour routes. Rooms from $99.
  • Queen's Court Offers budget rooms from $69 per night, motel-style twin rooms from $103 per night and family suites.
  • Reef Retreat Resort A Palm Cove resort nestled between an idyllic coconut palm fringed beach and lush, tropical rainforest. It's a lovely place with rooms from $130.
  • Rydges Esplanade Resort Hotel Amenities include pools, tennis courts, health club, aerobic classes, spa, sauna, and masseuse services. You can get a room for around $120 but they will generally be more expensive.
  • Rydges Plaza Cairns A hotel close to the city with rooms from about $140.
  • Villa Vaucluse Apartments of Cairns Offers self-contained apartment units from $150.
  • Wilks Holiday House A house for rent in Bungalow with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two sitting rooms, indoor and outdoor dining, wireless internet, free local calls and air-conditioning. Minimum stay four nights at $232 per night.


For a few more dollars, you can enjoy all the finer things in life at these places...

  • Cairns Harbour Lights Apartments with water and park views.
  • Clarendon on Spence Two and three bedroom apartments with balconies, kitchens and master bedrooms featuring en suite with corner spa. Located in the heart of Cairns near The Esplanade, the Reef Fleet Terminal and restaurant strip.
  • Hilton Cairns A large hotel on The Esplanade with a pool and the good service you'd expect from a large chain.
  • The Sebel Cairns Offers spacious rooms and suites in the heart of Cairns, all with balconies overlooking the harbour and the city. Accommodation rates from $200 per room per night.
  • Shangri-La Hotel A fancy hotel overlooking the marina with rooms from about $280 a night.
  • The Reef Hotel and Casino Located in the same building as the Reef Casino and with views over Trinity Bay. Rooms from $220.

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