Cairns Harbour, Queensland

Cairns Harbour, Queensland 4805

Cairns Harbour is a stylish, upmarket part of the city with spectacular views out to sea. All around this small part of the coast, huge, elegant vessels languish on the water, bobbing away in the heat of the midday Australian sun.

Cairns Harbour

As well as regular fishing trips and luxury boat-watching, there are plenty of things to do around the harbour.

History of Cairns

  • Cairns’ Aboriginal Times

    Back in ancient times, the Cairns region was owned by the Yirrganydji tribe. An indigenous rainforest and coastal community that belonged to the Djabugay language group of Far North Queensland. The community has a fierce bond with the land, with great knowledge about the plants and animals. They dwelled between the rainforests and the coast, moving between them depending on the season to hunt and gather materials. They lived in small sub-groups, made up of married couples, children, and older relatives.

  • Cairns’ European Discovery

    The first European to discover the region was Captain James Cook and his crew. During his first voyage in 1770 aboard the HM Bark Endeavour. However, Cairns did not have the dearest welcome for Captain Cook, with the sharp coral of the Great Barrier Reef making for a treacherous path.

    In contrast to the Aboriginal inhabitants of Cairns, Europeans found the Cairns region a harsh and ungiving land. With the thick rainforest land and hot climate too hard to penetrate. However, once the gold fever lured the fortune hunters of the world to Australia, things soon changed. Discovery of gold in the region commences, with a large portion found in the Palmer River in 1872. Soon construction and deforestation commenced. Cairns was soon named after its final discoverer, Sir William Wellington Cairns-who officially founded the region in 1876.

About the Cairns Harbour

The Cairns Harbour, otherwise known as the Cairns Marlin Marina, is the main gateway to the ocean attractions of Cairns. Providing first-class floating marina home to not just boats and yachts, but next door to hotels, restaurants, shopping, and more! There are 261 berths along the harbour, allowing for a number of tour boats, fishing fleets, and privately-owned yachts to set upon.

What you can do at the Cairns’ Harbour

  • Admire the Architecture

    The architecture in this part of Cairns is super stylish. Modern delights rise up on the waterfront in a flurry of glass design and sleek shapes. All along the esplanade, grand hotels offer respite from the harsh heat and the superyachts go hand in hand with the contemporary architecture. Just take a stroll around the harbour and you’ll be exposed to a futuristic skyline that seems to sparkle in the sun.

  • Enjoy the Food and Drink

    All around the harbour there is a delicious selection of restaurants and bars. Keeping in tune with the luxurious, stylish characteristics of the area, many of the eateries are high-end affairs with extensive, designer menus and incredible views out across the sea. The bars are designed in a similar vein, with luxury in mind and a hearty dose of relaxation. But even if you’re travelling on a budget, there are still numerous places to grab a table and enjoy a drink. In fact, just head to one of the coffee shops that span the esplanade and watch the world go by for a couple of hours.

  • Enjoy a night with Marvellous Views

    If you’d rather stay the night, the Cairns Harbour is right near a number of hotels. Stretching up to skyscraper heights, these hotels offer luxury rooms with balconies overlooking the waterfront. Showcasing the region’s extraordinary ocean views.

  • Try the Shopping and See the Sights

    Just as there are a number of restaurants and bars around the harbour, there is also a great collection of shops that run all along the esplanade and around the point of the harbour. If shopping is right up your street then dip into the array of designer clothes shops and souvenir stores, or simply browse the glass-fronted, stylish outlets as you stroll.

  • Take a tour

    Instead of simply staying nearby the Cairns coast set off to the unknown. Cruising out to the deep sea where the Great Barrier Reef is nestled. Spend a day snorkelling along the ocean surface, or dive down below in scuba diving gear, coming face to face with some of the extraordinary creatures living within. Otherwise, you can take a trip out to one of the many tropical islands, such as the famous Green Island. Enjoying both the reef and the rainforest before trekking back to the city.

  • Take a cruise


    The harbour is one of the best points to kick off from on a cruise of the area. Here, you’ll cruises, boat rides, and fishing trips that weave through the collection of designer yachts and out into the open sea. This is a great way to enjoy the fresh air of Cairns and enjoy the city from a new, different perspective.

In addition to these great things to do in Cairns Harbour, you can also hit up the local casino which overlooks the waterfront and kick back and relax in the nearby park.

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