Cairns and Tropical Gardening with Rob Pyne

All About Cairns

All About Cairns

Champion of the Underdog » All About Cairns

What is Cairns known for?

Cairns is a coastal city in Far North Queensland, Australia. The area is known by the traditional owners, in the local Yidinji language as Gimuy. However, in colonial history, the city was discovered by the English in 1876 and named after Sir William Wellington Cairns. Today the city is the 5th biggest in Queensland, and 14th in Australia.

If one were asked what Cairns is best know for, the first two things mentioned would be the Great Barrier Reef and the Tropical heritage listed Rainforest.

Where is Cairns on the Map?

All about Cairns

Arts and Recreation

The city has many tropical gardens and parks. However, it also has a vibrant arts scene, with the Tanks Arts Centre and the Art Gallery.

Cairns Art Gallery in the heart of the CBD displays exhibitions from contemporary through to classic styles and offering a variety of classes for both adults and children.

NorthSite offers a cache of homewares, jewellery, fashion and artworks. Chic and cutting edge, it’s a strong person who walks out empty-handed. In addition you can find more contemporary works at the artist-owned Underart Gallery and an eclectic calendar of exhibitions at Bulmba-ja arts centre.

Cairns is a great city to enjoy. While public transport remains a ‘work in progress’, the region has developed a pedestrian and cycle network for all to enjoy. There are also numerous bush trails that are popular with walkers and mountain bike riders.

All About Cairns Tanks
All About Cairns Tanks

Cairns Esplanade

The section of the Cairns waterfront known as the Esplanade, stretches from Fogarty Park in the south all the way up to the Cairns Hospital in the north.

The local council has added sand to the northern end of the Esplanade, which they replenish from time to time. However, the mudflats remain as distinctive as ever.

Along the Esplanade there are green expanses, as well as many picnic benches, BBQs, exercise equipment and even a skate park. Indeed there have been numerous improvements to the Esplanade over the years.

However, the most significant and well patronised of all improvement to the area is the Cairns Lagoon. As a result, the lagoon is popular with locals and tourists alike and has good disability access located at the southern end of the facility.

Cairns Environment

This tropical city experiences torrential downpours and high humidity during the summer. Consequently, part of the city is flood prone and highly vulnerable to sea-level rise from climate change.

The city is a popular base for tourists to visit the region. Indeed the region is home to the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

Wildlife in the area include taipans (a deadly snake) and crocodiles, so be careful where you wander. After all, you would not like to come into contact with either of these nasty customers.

daintree rainforest
Daintree Rainforest

Tropical Gardens

Located in the heart of the tropics, the area has many beautiful gardens. The Cairns Botanical Gardens is certainly worth a visit as is the nearby Centenary Lakes precinct.

It is possible to grow many tropical fruits and vegetables in Cairns. Indeed, the city is the tropical gardening capital of Northern Australia. Some European vegetables will only grow during the winter or dry season, but there are many interesting tropical fruits and tropical vegetables that thrive all year around.


Cairns was established in 1876 to service the goldfields of Far North Queensland by providing a port to transport goods to and from the region.

Here we link to a number of pages and posts concerning Cairns history. Consequently this includes a history of white settlement or invasion, class struggle and the politics of the town. Indeed, looked at collectively, the images on this we have posted constitute a pictorial history. Hence, these images create feelings of warmness and nostalgia amongst many.

All About Cairns First People and Diversity

Cairns or Gimuy is the home of the Yidinji people. Indeed, the Yidinji are the traditional owners of the land from the Barron River to the south, including the southern suburbs. Today the city is home to not just the Yidinji, but many people from Australia’s two oldest cultures (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people).

Gimuy is also home to many new arrivals from overseas. Indeed Cairns was known from the start for the influx of a diverse range of migrants that settled in the area largely due to the initial discovery of mineral wealth and subsequently due to developing industries.

Most recently this includes members of refugee communities from around the world, including Bhutan and Africa. 22.3% of the population was born overseas compared to 18.4% born in Regional QLD.


Cairns lies on a narrow coastal plain at the base of the Great Dividing Range, specifically the Whitfield Range and the Lamb Range. The Cairns CBD is on the flat western shores of Trinity Inlet, where deep water provides a safe anchorage for ships.

As with most modern cities, there are a number of areas in Cairns. These include South, West, North and Central. Furthermore, there are a number of suburbs within these areas and we have attempted to cover them all extensively. You will see links at the bottom of this page.

In terms of geographical features, we look at some of the creeks and waterways. We also look at other local parks and precincts and we hope you find our coverage of interest. In addition we provide many other useful facts, with everything from the city’s parks and waterways to postcodes, latitude and longitude.

All About Cairns Future Growth

The current population is 172,272 people. The city is growing quickly, particularly in the south. Consequently, the council has prepared a priority infrastructure plan for the new area of Mount Peter, which is one of the fastest growing areas in regional Australia.

Climate change has emerged as the cities greatest challenge. The city experiences torrential downpours every wet season. When these are combined with sea level rise and storm surge, the city is highly vulnerable to flooding.

Like many cities Cairns has developed a ‘retreat or defend’ policy. This involves assessing low-lying areas and deciding whether to defend them (using engineering solutions such as levies) or to simply abandon them.

The Council has developed a coastal hazard adaption plan and a detailed climate policy. In this plan council has committed to zero net emissions by 2030.

The city is home to Champion of the Underdog founder Rob Pyne. In addition to his posts all about Cairns, Rob writes on tropical gardening, disability, climate change and the politics and people of Far North Queensland. The former MP and Councillor continues to pump out content, despite limitations imposed by his disability.

Thank you for reading.

Cairns Central

Central Cairns for our purposes includes the CBD and the nearby suburbs of Portsmith, Bungalow in Parramatta Park.

Cairns West

This area is a long established part of our region. It has a diverse population, with a high percentage of of aboriginal and Islander people.

South Cairns

I was born and raised in the South Cairns townships of Gordonvale and Edmonton in Far North Queensland.

North Cairns

The North Cairns area includes the suburbs of Aeroglen, Cairns North, Brinsmead and Stratford.

Cairns History

This page has some of the very best links to the finest accounts of our history. It also has cool pics from Cairns past and some useful links.

Mount Whitfield

Mount Whitfield Conservation Park is a forested range surrounded by Cairns suburbs

Cairns Parks

The region is known for its tropical green parks.

Cairns Creeks

Cairns Creeks and waterways are a big part of life in the far north.

Cairns Facts

Facts about Cairns. The home of the aboriginal Yidinji people, the traditional owners of country.

Relevant Material

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