A trip to Australia is simply not complete without a road trip, particularly a trip to the northern parts of the country. With a personal vehicle at hand, you can travel all over Queensland with Cairns as your home base. For instance, some of the great locales that are perfect day trips for visitors of Cairns include Port Douglas, Kuranda, and Palm Cove. Even better, all of these destinations are within an hour’s drive of Cairns.
Would-be car renters with flights to Cairns Airport will be happy to hear that rental car desks are available in both terminals of the airport. All rental car counters can be found in the respective Arrivals Hall of both Terminals 1 and 2.
Worried about rush hour putting a damper on your trip to Cairns? Fortunately for drivers, the congestion in Cairns is only a minor affair that is easily avoided. However, there is still some traffic during the peak hours of rush hour in the morning from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and in the afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Drivers should especially avoid the A1 during rush hour, as many drivers use it to go to and from work.
Make sure to never leave valuables in your car unattended in the summer months -- not because theft is a problem, but because the heat is. Cairns can experience extreme temperatures during the warmer parts of the year and sensitive items like food, electronics, and many other goods will not do well after having been left in a scorching car.
25% of our users found rental cars in Cairns for C$ 37 or less
Book your rental car in Cairns at least 2 weeks before your trip in order to get a below-average price
Intermediate rental cars in Cairns are around 28% cheaper than other car types, on average
FAQs about renting a car in Cairns
Some car rental companies in Cairns which have updated their car rental health and safety policies due to COVID-19 to make sure vehicles are clean and disinfected include Europcar, Hertz and Alamo
On average a hire car in Cairns costs C$ 45 per day.
Yes, automatic cars are available in most car renting companies in Cairns. As cars with manual transmission are more common in many countries, you might have to pay an additional charge for renting an automatic car.
The average gas price in Cairns is C$ 5.16 per litre over the past 30 days. Filling up a gas tank costs between C$ 62 and C$ 82, depending on the car size.
Compact (Hyundai Accent or similar) is the most frequently booked rental car type in Cairns.
A Compact car rental in Cairns costs C$ 44 per day, on average.
A Intermediate car rental in Cairns costs C$ 37 per day, on average.
A Standard car rental in Cairns costs C$ 50 per day, on average.
In Cairns, cars are most frequently rented at Apex 396 Sheridan Street, Cairns North, Qld (3 km from city centre ).
On average a rental car in Cairns costs C$ 312 per week (C$ 45 per day).
On average a rental car in Cairns costs C$ 1,339 per month (C$ 45 per day).
Cairns is not the biggest of cities, so drivers will find that most vehicles -- even large SUVs -- will be comfortable to drive in Cairns. However, sedans and compacts are certainly the most popular vehicles in both Cairns and Australia in general. So, perhaps it is best to follow common practice and stick to a smaller vehicle. Streetside parking will certainly be more manageable in a smaller vehicle.
Speed limits in Cairns, and in the state of Queensland in general, run between 40 km/h (25 mph) and 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up areas, unless otherwise specified. On rural roads the speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph) and on highways and motorways it is 110 km/h (68 mph).
Drivers will be sad to hear that gas prices in Cairns are slightly higher than the average prices seen in other cities in Australia like Melbourne and Sydney. For the most part, drivers will see an average cost of AU$1.60 ($1.16) per liter, which comes out to about AU$6.05 ($4.39) per gallon. It is also important to note that all prices will be posted in liters, not gallons.
Fortunately for visitors to Cairns, parking is widely available and easy to find throughout the city. Streetside parking is abundant, albeit more suited for smaller vehicles rather than large ones. There is also plenty of private parking in garages and lots. Drivers should have no issues finding parking, even in the central business district.