Live and Learn in Cairns

Cairns, the international gateway to tropical Far North Queensland, is a fantastic choice for international students. Known as the “sunny garden city where the Great Barrier Reef meets the Wet Tropics Rainforest,” Cairns holds the reputation as being the “safest tropical city in the world”.

Cairns has a vibrant and exciting energy yet is a manageable city that is easy to get around. It has a moderate population of approximately 150,000, the weather is great, the cost of living is low, the people are friendly and the seasonal job opportunities are high. Cairns is the most northern city located in the eastern state of Queensland. Known as the ‘Sunshine State’, Queensland it is the second largest state in Australia. Cairns is well known for its close proximity to the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage listed rainforests which are both within 30 minutes of the city. Over the ranges to the west are the Savannah lands of the Australian Outback and to the north the frontier wilderness of Cape York.

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Things to do in Cairns

Explore the
Great Barrier Reef

Discover the Pristine
Daintree Rainforest

Meet our
Friendly Wildlife

Enjoy a
Scenic Railway Ride

For more must see destinations and experiences in Far North Queensland visit or

Getting to Cairns

By Air

Cairns Airport has daily flights to and from most key international and Australian destinations, including direct flights to and from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Airlines include: Qantas, Virgin Blue, JetStar, Continental Airlines, Cathay Pacific and JAL. Taxis and shuttle bus services are available to and from the City Centre and the airport (approximately 7km).

By Train

The Cairns Railway Station is right in the centre of town, just a few minutes’ walk from the college. It connects Cairns to Queensland’s capital, Brisbane (1729 km to the south) and beyond on modern trains with both sleeper and seat options.

By Road

There are a number of coach services that travel to Cairns with regular services from Brisbane, Sydney and other major centres. Coach companies include: McCafferty’s, Greyhound and Oz Experience.

Excellent sealed highways link Cairns with the national road network. Brisbane is a 22-hour drive from Cairns. Most of the big car rental networks in Australia allow one-way car hire options.

By Sea

Splash out and arrive by cruise ship! Cairns is Australia’s busiest cruise port with over 200 international and domestic cruise ship visits a year.

Cairns Weather

Cairns is located in the Wet Tropics region, so it is hot and humid during the wet (summer) season with beautiful mild and dry (winter) seasons. The average annual temperatures are a minimum of 18°C and a maximum of 31°C.

The wet season generally occurs between January and March. The average rainfall is 1992mm on an average of 154 days of the year. The dry season runs from April to December and during these months it is usually warm and sunny every day with fantastic blue skies. Sea temperatures vary from a minimum 23°C in July to a maximum of 28°C in February.

Cairns Culture

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Cairns is a good example of this as it is home to more than 150,000 people from all corners of the world and has a long history of immigration.

People in Cairns are generally cheerful and positive and the city has a very relaxed, easy-going culture. Many people in Cairns are on holiday or work within the tourism industry so the whole city has a very holiday-like feel. Many of those who come to Cairns choose to make it their permanent home making Cairns a diverse, multicultural and welcoming city for international students.

Essential Services – Cairns

Australia’s local currency is the Australian Dollar. Money exchange facilities are located throughout the city and at the airport. Banks are open Mondays to Friday between 9.30am and 4.00pm. Most of them have automatic teller machines (ATMs) which can also be found at shopping centres throughout the city and region.

Postage and Freight Services
Australia Post the national postal service, is located within a 5 minute walk from the college. It offers helpful information on postage costs, freight times and customs / export requirements. Freight services are available to send packages to any worldwide destination by express, sea or air at very competitive prices.
Open Monday to Friday between 9.00am to 5.00pm.

All major international credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diners Club can be used in Australia and travelers’ cheques are accepted at hotels, banks and some stores. Tipping is not obligatory in Australia and there are normally no service charges at hotels and restaurants (except for public holidays). You can of course tip if you want to, usually to waiters or taxi drivers.

For a serious emergency in Australia the number to call is 000 for Ambulance, Fire and Police. This number is free from private and public telephones.

Cairns Base Hospital, Cairns Private Hospital, chemists, doctors and a 24 Hour Medical Service centre are all within a 10 minute walk of the college.

Australia’s Country Code is 61 and Queensland’s area code is 07. To place an overseas call you need to dial 0011 and then the country code, area code and number.
Phone cards for cheap international calls are available in most newsagencies and internet cafes. The cost for international calls with these cards starts from 0.03 cents per minute.
Besides having free wireless internet at the college, most of our accommodation options also have the internet available and there are a number of internet cafes within 2 minutes’ walk from the college.

Daily News
For daily news try the local newspaper The Cairns Post or the free weekly community paper the Cairns Sun.

Getting around Cairns

Even though Cairns is so compact and easy to walk around it also of course offers all the transport methods expected of a modern city.

A Local Bus Service links the centre of Cairns to the suburbs and the main city bus stop is right outside the college.

Taxis are available 24 hours a day to take you on short journeys. There is a taxi rank just outside the college.

Car Rentals
Car Rentals are another option if you have a driving license and want the independence of self- drive in, out, and around Cairns.

Bicycle Hire is great for those students who like to make their own way around the city. Cairns is mostly flat and has an easy city layout with wide pedestrian and bicycle pathways. Many students advertise their bicycles for sale when they leave so you can usually pick up a cheap one if you want easy transport. Make sure you wear your helmet! can call anytime if you need to.