Cairns is a regional city and Local Government Area located in Queensland, Australia. Originally settled in 1876, and named after William Wellington Cairns (the then Governor of Queensland) to serve miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield, the settlement declined when an easier route was discovered from Port Douglas. However, Cairns’ future was secured as it developed into a railhead and major port for the exportation of sugar cane, gold, precious metals and agricultural industries from the surrounding coastal and Tableland regions. The city is rapidly expanding, with a population of around 128,284 and is reliant on the sugar and tourism industries.
The City of Cairns lies about 1,720 kilometres (1,070 miles) from Brisbane and about 2,500 kilometres (1,600 miles) from Sydney by road.
Cairns is a popular travel destination for foreign tourists because of its tropical climate and proximity to many attractions. The Great Barrier Reef can be reached in less than an hour by boat. The Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Cairns, are popular areas for experiencing a tropical rainforest. It is also a starting point for people wanting to explore Cooktown, Cape York Peninsula, and the Atherton Tableland.
The city has used its natural surrounds to its advantage with the construction of several small theme parks for tourists. Among them are the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and the Kuranda Skyrail Gondola Cableway, which extends for 7.5 kilometres over World Heritage rainforest.