Cairns is a major port city located on Trinity Bay, in northern Queensland, Australia. It is one of the coastal cities along the Great Barrier Reef. By annual cruise shipping traffic, Cairns is currently ranked Australia's 4th largest cruise port - after Sydney NSW, Brisbane QLD and Melbourne Victoria.
Cairns is the southern gateway to the sparsely inhabited Cape York Peninsula. Queensland's wet tropics and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a couple of World Heritage Sites, are close to the city. Before 1879, when the city was established, the only inhabitants of this area were the Aborigines. The historic museum of Cairns reveals the traditions of this old Australian tribe. From Cairns, tourists can visit the Great Barrier Reef, take the rainforest train up to Kuranda, then return skimming over the trees below by Sky Train.
In 1770, the British navigator Captain James Cook (1728-1779) named Trinity Bay after the Trinity Sunday (first Sunday after Pentecost). The region where is now Cairns was settled by Europeans in 1876 as a port for Hodkinson River goldfield 60 ml (100 km) inland. The settlement was named after William Wellington Cairns (1828-1888), a British colonial administrator (governor of Queensland in the mid 1870s).
In 2016, for the first time ever, a large cruise ship (the P&O Cruises Australia vessel Pacific Eden) was homeported in Cairns. In 2017, the ship's 3-month long (August-November) turaround season included a total of 113 ships and 11 roundtrip departures. The estimated impact on the region's economy was AUD 6 million (USD 4,8 million).
In 2018, the cruise port had scheduled a total of 134 ship calls. For season 2018, the number of roundtrips was reduced to 7.
Cairns cruise terminal
Cairns is a major Queensland cruise port serving international (Australia and Asia based) cruise ships but also a huge fleet of Australian reef cruise vessels offering regularly scheduled departures each day. The cruise ship terminal is at a short walk distance from the downtown dining and shopping area.
The cruise port has max berthing capacity of 2 vessels at a time. Docking wharves are numbered 1 and 5, while the cruise terminal building is on wharf 2. Larger-sized cruise ships can't enter the port due to the Entrance Channel restrictions - avrg width of 90 m (295 ft), length of 10 km (6 ml), and max draft of 8,3 m (27 ft). Bigger ships anchor in open sea and their passengers are transported to the port's wharves via the ship's tender boats.
Cairns Airport serves both domestic and international flights. The airport is located approx 5 ml (8 km) from the city.
Larger cruise ships anchor in Trinity Bay, and their passengers are transported via the ship's tender boats. By year 2031, Port Cairns plans to finish the USD 127 million shipping channel expansion project (deepening and widening). After project's completion, the expanded waterway will allow port access to bigger-sized ships (with max LOA length 300 m / 985 ft), with expected ~150 cruise vessels annually.