CHEAP CAR HIRE CAIRNS AIRPORT
Why Book Your Hire Car Here?
Low price promise
No booking fees
No credit card fees*
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Famous brands & local fleets
Free cancellation on most cars
Free amendments on most cars
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* Some rental car suppliers may charge a credit card fee for amounts payable on arrival.
Cairns Airport Car Rental Tips
Cairns Airport is located approximately 7 kilometres from the CBD – and while this is a relatively short distance to travel by taxi, getting a rental car in Cairns has some very strong advantages. With numerous scenic routes around the wider city area, it’s a beautiful exciting place to explore from the freedom of your own vehicle.
There are 19 rental car brands at Cairns Airport competing for your business. If you want to find the best deal that's a lot of websites to check out...
Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Redspot, Thrifty, Firefly, Apollo and Auto Europe Car Rentals are all "on airport'" operators. The domestic terminal car rental offices are located at the northern end of the arrivals facility, while the international car rental offices are in the Arrivals Hall. Rental car parking can be found at the northern end of the domestic car park.
Other rental operators, such as Atlas, East Coast, and Ace Car Rentals, are "off-airport". Their depots are located close to the airport and these operators will transfer you between the terminal and their depot. Although this isn't as convenient, it is often the cheaper way to rent a car from the airport.
Before you go to pick up your vehicle, make sure you have your booking confirmation voucher, a valid driver's license for each of the drivers, a credit card or cash for the bond and suitable ID.
As you’d expect in a relaxed, laid-back town like Cairns, driving tends to be a low-stress affair. Parking isn’t a problem, traffic is light, and attractions are well signposted. It’s easy to take your time and take in the sights – lush rainforests, clear blue seas, and sandy stretches of coastline. The roads in and around Cairns have been rated among the best in the world, and it’s once you get out of town that you really start to see the advantages of car hire in Cairns. Numerous tourist attractions are located within an hour or two of town, including the gateway to the world-famous and wondrous Great Barrier Reef.
However, there are a few important things to note when getting a rental car in Cairns. While cars of all types and sizes are available, it’s a good idea to pre-book – particularly if you have specific requirements, or you’re travelling in the peak tourist season (July through to December). Additionally, if you’re visiting Cairns between November and March, temperatures tend to get extremely hot. If you park in the sun for any length of time, steering wheels and leather seats get hot enough to burn skin, and anything plastic left in the car may melt, so be careful!
When it’s time to return your rental car, it’s a good idea to hand it over with a full tank of petrol to avoid the hefty topping-up fee rental companies charge. There are plenty of petrol stations en route to the airport. Here's a Google Map showing locations of Cairns petrol stations – two close options are Edge Hill service station and Shell Cairns.
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A rental car gives you the freedom and flexibility to make the most of your time exploring Cairns and surrounding areas. Cairns has grown rapidly in popularity over the past few years with good reason. It’s a centre for adventure, backed by a strong dining and nightlife scene and ringed with enough coastal spots to satisfy any lover of sun and surf. The brilliantly warm weather and stunning natural attractions draw visitors from both greater Australia and all over the world. Here are four of the best places to visit and explore in Cairns to get you started.
The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Cairns’ claim to fame is being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – but there’s also plenty of stunning sights above the surface of the water. The surrounding World Heritage protected rainforest is hundreds of millions of years old, and home to an incredible array of natural wonders. To best appreciate their sheer scale and beauty of the rainforest, viewing from above is recommended – and Cairns’ Skyrail Rainforest Cableway offers the most accessible vantage point.
The ride begins at the base of the
Cairns SkyRail Cableway terminal is about 15 minutes outside of Cairns, and therefore most easily accessed by private rental car. Allow around an hour and a half each way for the journey up to
The Great Barrier Reef
Spanning 344,000 square kilometres, the Great Barrier reef truly is vast – and Cairns’ most well-known claim to fame. With almost 3,000 individual reefs to explore, it’s the perfect way to spend a day (or a week) in the region. Boats of all shapes and sizes are available for hire, from zippy runabouts through to large vessels with living quarters for longer journeys, so you’ll be catered for regardless of your preferred length of stay or comfort level. Scuba guides are available to guide you to the most vibrant spots, as are more relaxed snorkelling tours of the coral gardens. The reef positively teems with life – from neon-bright reef fish to graceful rays to towering coral structures. It’s weird and wonderful, and all waiting to be explored. Most operators are based in Port Douglas, just over an hour outside of Cairns, so having your own rental car makes the journey much less hassle.
If you’re not keen to get your feet wet, don’t let that stop you enjoying the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Scenic helicopter flights are available, and there’s certainly no shortage of things to feast your eyes upon – the reef is visible from outer space, after all! Many flights also travel over the Daintree Rainforest and
Tjapukai Cultural Park
If you’re looking for a taste of something different, Tjapukai can give you insight into a vastly different way of life – the world’s oldest culture. The park showcases the authentic Aboriginal culture of the local Djabugay people, with both day and night attractions to choose from. There’s a whole cultural village waiting to be explored, and by day the park is full of
As the sun sets and the moon rises, it’s time for Night Fire – an intense cultural experience surrounded by firelight and mystery. Tjapukai’s Aboriginal warriors invite attendees to celebrate Dreamtime stories and learn traditional songs – complete with face paint and the lighting of a ceremonial fire. Watch raw, entrancing cultural performances and listen to the haunting and distinctive sounds of the
Located 20 minutes from Cairns, Tjapukai is most easily and conveniently accessible via rental car. You’ll enjoy the freedom to spend as long as you want
White water rafting
Cairns is truly a water destination, and not all of the
When you’re deciding which river might be best for you, keep in mind that:
- The Barron River offers the easiest
ride,and is close enough to Cairns for a half-day trip. Allow approximately two hours of time on the water.
- The Russell River tends to be the least crowded, but water levels fluctuate – so check before leaving Cairns that you’ll be able to raft. It’s moderately difficult, and the trip takes the better part of a day with a break for lunch.
- The Tully River delivers both great views and more challenging rapids, and really requires a full day out on the water.
There are options to suit all experience and confidence levels, and whichever river you choose you’ll be fully briefed and equipped with safety gear. A range of checks and regulations mean the rafting industry in Australia is very safe, even though it’s likely you’ll take a spill into the water at some point!