Car Hire at Cairns Airport
This information is correct as of June 2015
Cairns Airport is the main transport hub for northern Queensland, acting as a gateway to the tropical rainforests, beaches and the Great Barrier Reef.
Where to hire a car in Cairns Airport
There are 6 different car hire providers in Cairns Airport – Avis, Thrifty, Budget, Redspot, Hertz, and Europcar. You can find these in the northern end of the Domestic arrivals in Terminal 2, and the Arrivals hall of Terminal 1. The car parks for rental services are at the northern end of Terminal 2.
Petrol stations close to Cairns Airport
Depending on your car rental agreement, you may need to hand your car back with a full tank.
The closest petrol station is 6km away from the exit of the airport. Exit on Airport Avenue, driving south, then turn right onto National Route 1 and continue for 3.4km. The petrol station is accessible via Arnold Street, on your right. If this station isn’t available, there is another petrol station – Stratford Service Station – on your left down Arnold Street. Continue down to the end of Magazine Street and turn right onto Rinks Close.
Driving around Cairns Airport
Cairns is one of the largest towns in northern Queensland, and you can easily book tours or diving trips from here. It’s easy to drive to from the airport as this is not a built up area – behind the airport, you’ll see the Barron Gorge National Park and Mount Whitfield Conservation Park. The Captain Cook Highway 1 is the easiest way to move north or south from the airport.
Popular destinations to drive to from Cairns Airport
Here for a dose of diving? Cairns is full of diving operators and tour companies that can take you for incredible adventures in the outback and the ocean. Of course, you could also start your East Coast road trip here too! Check out the top 10 adventures to try in Australia and New Zealand.
It’s pretty easy to reach the centre of Cairns from the airport, as it is only 3.6km away. Turn left onto National Route 1, and follow the signs for Cairns. There’s a 24 hour car park on Florence Street in the centre of Cairns, however many hotels will have their own private car parking spaces. If you’re staying on the outskirts, it’s easy to park up on one of the streets without a yellow line running down the kerb.
Clifton Beach & Palm Cove
This is an amazing resort for holidays, just 20km up the coast from Cairns. The beautiful beaches, apartments and tropical zoo make it a perfect tropical getaway.
To reach Clifton Beach, turn right onto National Route 1 when exiting Airport Avenue. Continue for 19km, merging onto Route 44. Turn right onto Endeavour Road for Clifton Beach, and continue north for Palm Cove and Ellis Beach.
This is where to come for a serious taste of the northern tropics. Port Douglas is much smaller than Cairns, but there are still bars and cafes to while away a few hours in when you’re not exploring this stunning part of the coastline.
Follow National Route 1 for 57km north when you exit Airport Avenue. Merge onto Port Douglas Road, and then follow onto Macrossan Street into Port Douglas. You’re able to park on some of the back roads here if there is no yellow line, however most of the holiday parks and hotels will have a designated spot for you.