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Cairns is a spectacular place to live in, irrespective of which suburb in the city you choose to live in finally. With average temperatures between 25-30 degrees, the weather is pleasant and doesn’t get too uncomfortable. From the city, you can take several trips to many beautiful locations spread around the region.

Migrating to a new city is a stressful exercise, let alone moving countries. Even though many might have crossed the ditch before you, it never gets easier. There is so much to do and plan, and the biggest question you must be facing is where to live. When you arrive in an unfamiliar place, it can be tricky to find an area that is suitable for the lifestyle you and your family are used to.

There are a lot of factors which should influence your decision. If you have a family, then it’s advisable to buy a house which is near the city, within the catchment area of a school, and with a great shopping centre nearby. But if you are a bachelor, you’ll be looking for something quite different—maybe an inner-city apartment with no maintenance, gardens or worries.

Renting spaces short-term in a few neighbourhoods might be a good idea before deciding to stay in one. If you own a vehicle and love to be close to nature, places which are nestled farther from the city may be an excellent idea. This guide will also shed some light on the current real estate situation in Cairns.

The real estate market in Cairns

Although property prices in the country have started to go into a slump in the past couple of years, Cairns has been unaffected. Due to something called compositional variation, land prices have increased since 2018 but it hasn’t affected median house prices in the city. However, since March 2019, house prices are starting to reduce again as competitive pressures bite into the market. Currently in mid 2019, the average cost of a house stands at $409k, and $220k for a unit.

As far as rentals go, vacancies have seen better days. This situation is due to a slump in new housing constructions and reduced investor housing activities. However, real estate gurus say that this stressed situation is only temporary and rental market conditions are all set to improve shortly.

So where can you live in Cairns, and which is best for you and your family?


With a median house price of around $495k, Redlynch is the perfect suburb if you are moving with your family. Located about ten kilometres from central Cairns, the residential development has occurred primarily along the lower slopes of the valley. Winding its way up the north-eastern hills, you will also find the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which operates at Redynch’s two railway stations.

Right opposite the railway station, and on the corner of Redlynch Intake Road and Margaret Street, is the Redlynch Shopping Village. It gets quite lively on the weekends. Redlynch is also quite close to the city centre, with you being able to commute between them in under twenty minutes. You can get away from the hustle and bustle of the central city, and still be able to make it to work every day. There are a lot of migrant families in this neighbourhood who are raising families. Redlynch is also home to a few outstanding schools like St Andrew’s Catholic College and Trinity Anglican School, which is excellent if you have kids in the family.

However, if you are looking to rent a space, then you will be surprised to know that renting in the town won’t cost you much. The average rents hover around $260 per week, and more than 20% of homes are rented. Owners are quite happy to lease their places to newcomers as long as all the paperwork is in order.

So if you don’t want to live in the city and at the same time don’t want to commute for too long to work, Redlynch is the perfect place to call home.

Trinity Beach

If waking up to overhanging palm trees is something you fancy, then Trinity Beach is the perfect suburb for you. It’s a local favourite and has everything a tropical beach can offer. Calming waves, pristine sand, and palm trees describe the place perfectly. It is a much better place to live than Palm Cove for many reasons. Being quite close to the city, it takes about 25 minutes to commute by car with or without traffic, but there are public transport options.

Being a quiet neighbourhood, it’s a beautiful area to settle down in. The nightlife isn’t something to write home about, but there are some spectacular restaurants and cafes spread across the suburb. You will even find a lovely local pub at the beachfront if you like to enjoy a tipple after work. All restaurateurs are quite friendly and value the local business, and It is one of the best places to live on the Northern Beaches.

With median house prices floating around $488k at the moment, the rent isn’t that high either at $460 per week. If you have kids, then the town has some excellent schools with Trinity Beach State School and Holy Cross Primary School being the best.

Trinity Beach Cairns


Located about eight kilometres from the central business district of Cairns, Freshwater is considered by many as the better suburbs of the city. With a robust public transport network and its strategic location, you can get anywhere quite easily and quickly. The Freshwater Train Station is also part of the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which is the most popular departure point for both tourists and locals.

With a median house price of around $2.3Mn and average rent standing at $1,400 per week, there is a healthy mix of housing types available. The town also includes a range of community spaces and facilities. A great place to move to if picnic areas and parks are what you look for around a home. A waterway flows right through the city and feeds the Barron river located south of the suburb.

There are plenty of community facilities and spaces that serve the local populace, which includes a swimming hole. If you or someone in your family loves books, then Stratford library is barely five minutes away. The closest pool is Tobruk Memorial and is a fifteen-minute drive from Freshwater so you can pop in for a weekend swim or just hit the water after a hard day’s work.

The area doesn’t have any medical facilities located within it, but Stratford, which is an adjacent suburb, has a chemist and a general practitioner. The closest hospitals are Cairns Private Hospital and Cairns Base Hospital, which are again around a fifteen-minute drive from the town. There is also a bus service provided by Sunbus which connects Freshwater to the CBD and the northern beaches.


Located about fifteen kilometres to the north of Cairns, Smithfield is a beautiful suburb to plant your roots. It takes you about ten minutes to drive to all the surrounding beach suburbs like Palm Cove and around 20-minutes away from the central city of Cairns. You will have easy access to the Tablelands as Smithfield as positioned at the base of the Kuranda range. Today the town is pegged as the infrastructure and transport hub of Northern Cairns and has quite an exciting future ahead.

There are a few real-estate areas which are coming up including Northpoint, Canopy’s Edge, and Smithfield Village. There is a major shopping area situated about 5-10 minutes away from the town which itself is scattered with medical centres, swimming pools, sports grounds, and gyms. There are quite a few good schools located inside the town as well including Smithfield Middle School, South Smithfield Elementary School, and Smithfield Selma High School.

There are also quite a few attractions which might interest you and your family as the town itself is a tourist spot. You can visit Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park, which are excellent places to spend some time with your friends and family over the weekend.

Houses are quite affordable in the town with the median house price standing at $440k and rent at $460 per week.

Parramatta Park

Just west of the city centre, this suburb has a range of accommodation styles and great inner-city living. There’s a great selection of apartments and the iconic ‘Queenslanders’ to choose from. It’s also got plenty of parts and recreational facilities. There are a range of good schools including a Catholic primary school and an all-boys Catholic boarding school called St Augustines.

It’s close to Cairns Performing Arts Centre, the convention centre and has plenty of restaurants and bars. Average rental is around $500 a week for a home and $300 for a unit.

There are plenty of options to choose from

Every suburb or neighbourhoods has its pros and cons. The best (and probably the most expensive) areas are in the older parts of Edge Hill and upper regions of Whitfield. These places have high-density housing and good schools and facilities nearby. Most of the suburbs, which include Redlynch, Kamerunga, and Freshwater are on the northern side of the city. Avoid the three M suburbs - Manoora, Mooroobool, and Manunda which are humorously known to the locals as Manure-a, Manundapants, and Mirrorball respectively. They have developed a reputation for housing old buildings and potentially a less-than-desirable crowd. However some of these are becoming gentrified, so don’t tar every street with the same brush.

Make your move today

If you think you are ready to make a move and settle down in Cairns, you will not regret it—everyone from Australia wants to live there, and everyone in the world wants to visit. However, if you feel you need some time before making a permanent move to a neighbourhood, there are enough houses in charming suburbs which you can rent.

Contact us to talk about how to move to Cairns. We can take care of shipping your possessions, cat, dog, boat and car… leaving you to look after your family and enjoy the process of moving. Moving to Cairns offers an amazing lifestyle and it’s affordable housing is a welcome change from the skyrocketing rents in

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Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

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Should you wish to add or remove any items, we will adjust our fixed quote accordingly. Hence, no nasty surprises at the end of the move process.

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Our Service Promise:

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Free In-Home Consultation:

Free In-Home Consultation:

If you are moving the majority of your household items from New Zealand to Australia, one of Ausmoves experienced relocation consultants will visit your home to establish your specific packing requirements and any unique moving needs. Learn more about moving to Australia from NZ.

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