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Cairns is a great place that offers you a good lifestyle, work opportunities as well as some brilliant things to do in your free time. You will never, ever get bored here.

Located on the east coast of Far North Queensland of Australia, Cairns is a city with a population of just over 150,000 people. Cairns was founded by Europeans in 1876 and derived its name from William Wellington Cairns who was the Governor of Queensland in the late 1800s.

Cairns served as a route for miners going to the Hodgkinson River gold field up until Port Douglas was found. It then moved on to becoming a railhead and served as a major port for the export of sugarcane, gold as well as minerals and agricultural products. Today, it is the 5th most populous city in Queensland and ranks 14th in Australia. It is a popular tourist destination thanks to its tropical climate as well as the presence of a rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, which features among the wonders of the world.

Job Market 

Cairns has an incredible job market with the unemployment rate at just 4.1% as of June 2019. The market right now is great for those looking at management level positions as well as those with professional skills such as engineers and those in information technology. There is a lot of movement happening in the middle to upper management levels too. Other sectors that are seeing a significant uptick are education and training, the construction industry as well as information and media. Interestingly, healthcare is the sector that is seeing a decline.

job search in Cairns

Housing in Cairns

Finding yourself a good place to live in Cairns will be on top of your priority list. Some of the factors you should base the decision on include being in an area that is suitable to your lifestyle, which works well in terms of commute to all the important places in your day-to-day living and a place that gives you enough to do in your free time. Of course all of this in a budget that is best suited to you - irrespective of whether you choose to rent or buy.

Here is a look at some of the popular suburbs and what makes them good choices:

Redlynch: A popular place among migrants to the region, looking for homes with their families. It is located close to Cairn's city at just a 20-minute drive. It gives you the joy of living in a quieter area while being close to work at Cairns. It has some lovely natural landscaping and spending time outdoors here is a pleasure. It has some great schools and malls as well.

Trinity Beach: For the beach lover in you, this is the locality you want to be in. The beach is a hot favourite among locals, with its white sands, lots of palm trees for shade and some great beachside grub. It also known as the new Palm Cove (after a popular spot in north of Cairns city).

Edge Hill: For those who prefer to be closer to the city and enjoy its fast pace, Edge Hill is the ideal place. Besides great spots for dining and entertainment, it is also home to the Cairn's Botanic Gardens. It is well known to be the ideal mix of a city life and one that is in the lap of nature.

Smithfield: Students, especially those looking at James Cook University will want to live here. It’s a short drive from Cairns, comes with all the amenities you need and is a small drive away from beaches.

Freshwater: A great place in terms of a location – it is close to the airport as well as the beaches. It is also home to the Kuranda Scenic Railway and hosts a number of Australian cultural elements at the markets it hosts.

If you are looking to rent, here is what you should keep in mind

  • Narrow down on neighbourhoods and research average prices for the kind of home you are looking for.
  • Make it a point to attend home inspections.
  • Plan for the time it will take to process tenancy checks after you make an application. Have all your paperwork ready to go—it’s a busy market.
  • Also plan for payments such as the advance rent that will be held as bond.

If you are looking to buy, make sure to consider the following:

  • Narrow down on localities, research market pricing and attend open homes.
  • Ensure you are aware of the asking price for homes you are interested in to help make the right decision.
  • Try and have a valuation of the property done so you can have a neutral opinion on it.
  • If you can, get a buyer advocate to help you buy. They are experts in the market.
  • Do ensure you have finance in place before starting your search
  • Ask for building and pest control reports
  • Have a solicitor look through the purchase agreement and have a title search done

Cost of Living

When you compare the cost of living in Cairns to a city like Melbourne, you will find that you can enjoy the same standards of living at a significantly lower cost.

Rent per month can be approximately AUD$1200 for 1 bedroom in the city centre, to AUD$1500 outside of the city for a 3 bedroom space. Utilities along with Internet will come at approximately AUD$300. Gasoline is AUD$1.44, a one way local transport ticket is around AUD$5 and taxi fare starts at AUD$2 per kilometre. Buying a new car can set you back by around AUD$26,000. An average meal for two in a restaurant is AUD$17.50 and a cappuccino is around AUD$4.69. Fruits, vegetables and milk are all in the AUD$1 to AUD$5 range but are cheaper than in NZ in general.

Schooling in Cairns

Cairns has many good local public and private primary and secondary schools. In Queensland, the school system takes a student from Prep right till year 12. Each school year has 4 terms, with school holidays in between that closely align with NZ’s. On completion of year 12, students have a choice to get a job, continue studying at university or sign up for TAFE (technical courses) or any other form of higher learning.

As far the kind of schools go, most children attend State Primary and High Schools which have a great quality of education. These schools offer accessible public education which is high in quality. For those who may prefer it, Cairns also offers private or religious schools. There are several options for University and Tertiary Education. Cairns is quite the hub for international students who want to study English as well as become professionals in the tourism industry.

Healthcare in Cairns

The family doctor is where you head to for health issues and annual check-ups. They are the first point of contact before you are referred to specialists. These doctors work out of medical centres. It is always a good idea to ask for references before settling on a doctor that you are comfortable with. Citizens can use Medicare facilities and Kiwis too, to a lesser degree. You can find specific clinics for child and youth health as well as adult health care. There are also centres for population health services that offer assistance with alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse, cancer screening, lifestyle management and sexual health.

Transport in Cairns

Cairns offers a number of options for commute in the city. The public bus and coach services connect the city from the northern beaches all the way to the southern suburbs, through the CBD. There are also private buses that cover important areas such as Port Douglas, Mossman, and even Mission. All long distance buses begin at the Reef Fleet Terminal on the Cairns Esplanade. For those wanting to try it, the Spirit of Queensland train travels from Cairns to Brisbane, a long 1681 km stretch, five times a week. The Cairns Airport is the 6th busiest in Australia. Tourist craft and personal boats as well as international cruises operate from Ports North.

What to do for Fun

As a tourist destination, Cairns is among the most popular when it comes Australia. It has a wonderful tropical climate, rainforests and of course, the Great Barrier Reef. It has something for adventure seekers as well as for those who love nature or the fun of a night market. Here are some of the great things you can do for fun in Cairns:

Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef: For those who may not know, there are 2900 individual reefs here and it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The best way to experience it is to go snorkelling and discover an amazing underwater world of marine life. Adventure seekers should consider skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef.

Visit the Kurunda Village: This is a village surrounded by rainforests. It has several attractions including an aviary, a wildlife park as well as the Tjapukai Aboriginal Park. The best way to get there is the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Ride in the Gondola for a scenic view.

Zipline through Daintree Rainforest: This is one of Cairns’ biggest attractions and you can see up close and personal a lot of the rainforest’s wildlife. Choose from a range of platforms that are 7 to 16 metres off the ground and zip past this forest’s amazing canopy.  

Consider Bungee Jumping: This is an exciting thing to do in Cairns where you can jump from the height of 50 metres in the rainforest. Or perhaps sit on the Minjin Jungle Swing that zips past at a little over 100 miles an hour. Go alone or go with friends, it is an experience in itself.  

Spend the evening at a night market: The night markets open at around 5PM and have a wide range of things that will appeal to every kind of shopper. Look for souvenirs, clothing, organic food, jewellery and more. Besides the several night markets you may also want to check out Rusty’s Market.

There are also a lot of fun free things you can do at Cairns, like the free fitness classes at the Esplanade. All the art galleries have free entry too. You could also spend the day at the Lagoon, where you can relax and swim. Consider driving to Walsh’s Pyramid and hike to the top for some spectacular views.

Cairns has a lot to offer folks with every kind of interest there is. It is a great place to make a home and live a good life. Contact us here at Ausmove to find out how we can make you move to Cairns as easy and stress-free as possible.

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Our Fixed Price Guarantee:

Unlike many other movers, we will provide you with a fixed quote based on your specific list of items.

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.

Our Service Promise:

Our Service Promise:

  • We will listen to your individual needs and requirements.
  • We will provide a prompt, competitive quote with in one working day.
  • We will provide you with the highest level of service.
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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