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Snag a Great Deal on Car Hire in Cairns

Beautiful view of the beach in Cairns, Australia

The best car hire deals in Cairns can be found on VroomVroomVroom. Our car rental experts have negotiated with Australia's leading rental car companies including Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Thrifty and Enterprise so we can provide you with reliable and affordable rental cars.

Cairns is the vibrant capital of Tropical North Queensland. The popular city is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and miles of the surrounding rainforest. Aboriginal tribes lived in the region for thousands of years before European settlement, and visitors can take tours and visit cultural centres to learn about history. To take full advantage of this vast, diverse landscape, search for a hire car with VroomVroomVroom and start planning your adventure in the tropical north.

Location Overview

Cairns, located in north Queensland, is known for its tropical climate and as the gateway to some of Australia’s most scenic beaches. Some of our favourite places to visit in and around Cairns include:

30 Minutes Drive From Cairns

Kuranda: Take a ride on scenic railway train or if you prefer the view from up high, the Skyway Rainforest Cableway runs gondola rides with ocean and nature views. Kuranda is full of natural beauty and the Barron Gorge National Park has great walking trails and observation decks for all ages.

Palm Cove: Palm Cove is to the north of central Cairns and is known for its famous palm tree-lined beach. The family-friendly locale is also home to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures where you can see live crocodiles, cuddle a koala and immerse yourself amongst the wildlife.

1 Hour Drive From Cairns

Port Douglas: The town of Port Douglas is a great spot to relax with beautiful beaches and many resorts. There is a Wildlife Habitat zoo with koalas, kangaroos and other native animals nearby and plenty of boutique shops and cafes to enjoy too. Port Douglas is also a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef with snorkelling, diving and boat trips on offer year-round.

Daintree National Park: A must for nature lovers, the national park has expansive trails amongst the rainforest and is home to the beautiful Mosman Gorge watering hole, the perfect spot for a swim.

Further Afield

Cape York: Cairns is a great starting point for the longer journey up to Cape York (the tip of Australia). The drive is a little over 1,000 kilometres and 24 hours of driving one way with many interesting stops along the way including Cooktown, Fruit Bat Falls, Weipa and Lakefield National Park.

Which Car Hire Locations are Open Early Or Late in Cairns City/CBD?

Need to pick up/drop off a hire car early morning or late evening? These depots have extended hours.

Avis logoAvis Cairns Downtown: 153 Lake Street, Cairns
Monday to Friday 7:30am - 5pm.
Saturday and Sunday 8am - 12noon.
Budget logoBudget Cairns Downtown: 153 Lake Street, Cairns
Monday to Friday 7:30am - 5pm.
Saturday and Sunday 8am - 12noon.
ECCR logoEast Coast Car Rental Cairns: 411 Sheridan Street, Cairns
Monday to Sunday 7am - 10pm.
Enterprise logoEnterprise Cairns Downtown: Shop 2, 51 Sheridan Street, Cairns
Monday to Friday 7:30am - 5:30pm.
Saturday and Sunday 7:30am - 12:30pm.
Hertz logoHertz Cairns Downtown: Shop 1, Cairns Square Shopping Centre,
Corner of Abbott & Shields Streets

Monday to Friday 7:30am - 5:30pm.
Saturday and Sunday 8am - 4pm.

Need an even earlier pickup or drop off?

Try picking up at Cairns Airport​​

(It's about a 9 minute drive from Cairns CBD, depending on traffic)

Unlike airport rental depot locations, city rental locations are often open for shorter hours during the weekends or public holidays such as Cairns show holiday, Queens Birthday, Christmas, Labour Day and Boxing Day. You can use our search map feature when booking a rental car to find the depot closest to your location that is open when you plan to pick up and return your rental car.

Customer Reviews and Feedback for Renting in Cairns

​The best way to get an idea of renting a car is to read about fellow traveller’s real recent experiences. Our team have reached out to some of our customers who recently rented from Cairns and their experiences are shared below.

Karen (July 2019): I collected a compact car from Budget at Cairns Airport. The pickup and drop off was a quick and convenient experience as I was in Cairns for a business trip. The condition of the Hyundai Accent was 9/10.

Jacqui (July 2019): Collecting a compact car from Thrifty Cairns Airport was an easy process. I received a Hyundai Accent and give the condition of the car a 9/10. I was in Cairns for a holiday.

Rohan (June-July 2019): I've picked up a full-size car from Avis at Cairns. The condition of the Camry is 10/10. My experience collecting and returning the rental car is good and I recommend using the same service.

Why Book a Car Rental in Cairns With VroomVroomVroom?

  1. We give you the option to book your rental car from the airport to get your adventure off to a flying start. Start comparing rental cars at Cairns Airport now.
  2. You have the flexibility to start your journey in a location like Brisbane and end your journey in Cairns with one-way rentals.
  3. Get a wide selection of vehicles. If you are interested in hiring a campervan, VroomVroomVroom also lets you compare the best motorhome rentals in the region.
  4. Our price promise allows you to enjoy great rates.
  5. Trusted since 2001. We are the expert in rental cars so feel free to contact us if you have any query or need assistance.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Cairns?

Cairns has very distinct seasons, so it is advisable to check the weather while planning your trip. The winter months are considered the best time to visit Cairns because of the milder temperatures and dry weather.

During the summer months, Cairns experiences heavy rainfall and hotter days. If you do visit Cairns during this time you will benefit from seeing the full force of the waterfalls in the area.

Throughout the year Cairns hosts numerous events. Athletes from around the world challenge themselves to compete in the Cairns Ironman event, which involves swimming, cycling and running through the beautiful landscape of Tropical North Queensland. In August the Cairns Festival involves exhibitions, activities, light projections and a Grand Parade along the esplanade with fireworks.

Driving Tips in Cairns

It is a good idea to check the live traffic in Cairns here to help decide your route. If you are interested in seeing the rainforest village Kuranda, you do not have to drive up the range. Consider taking the Skyrail, which offers beautiful views of the rainforest canopy. Conveniently leave your hire car in the car parks provided at the base of the mountain and head off for an unforgettable adventure through world heritage rainforest.

FAQs About Hiring a Car in Cairns

What is the speed limit in Cairns?

The speed limit in the Cairns city centre is 40km/hr .This is the area around Spence, Florence, McLeod Streets and the Esplanade. Urban areas further out are 60km/hr.

Can I drive from Cairns to Brisbane?

Yes, it’s possible to drive from Cairns to Brisbane. The journey is just short of 1,700 kilometres one way and best driven over at least 4 or 5 days for driver safety and comfort.

The majority of the drive is on highways with a speed limit of 100km/hr however, you may choose to drive along the coast or inland roads to visit towns such as Townsville, Airlie Beach, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay during your journey.

Is it safe to drive long distances in Australia?

Yes, most major roads are kept to a high standard being sealed and well marked in Australia. For longer or more remote trips, we suggest you check the road conditions​ before commencing your journey.

Is it difficult to drive in Cairns traffic?

No, Cairns traffic is very light compared to larger cities. Traffic lights, give way signs and stop signs at intersections help to keep traffic calm and moving freely.

How do I find my nearest petrol station in and around Cairns?

The Vroom fuel price compare app will show you the cheapest place to refuel your rental car based on your current location. You can check it out here​.

Do I have to pay tolls when driving in Cairns?

No. There are no tolls in or around Cairns.

How do I find a carpark in and around Cairns?

All parking is sign posted with plenty of free street parking around the city fringe and suburbs. In the city centre, there is paid parking with parking metres for around $1 for 2 hours.

What is the freeway speed limit from Cairns to Port Douglas?

On the outskirts of Cairns the speed limit is 60km/hr however, once you are on the freeway, the speed limit rises to 100km/hr.

Explore Cairns Attractions and Have a Memorable Time

Cairns is fortunate to have the Great Barrier Reef as its front yard and the Daintree Rainforest as its backyard. Having an international airport, the city welcomes tourists from all over the world. Tours run from the city centre daily for both the rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Skyrail is a popular tourist attraction that will introduce you to the ancient rainforest. The skyrail runs across the Barron Gorge National Park. This tour takes in the best of the rainforest and can be done as either a one-way or a return trip. If you have a hire car, then you can do it all on your own time schedule and may even cap off the night by having a drink at any of top Cairns nightclubs. To help you plan your itinerary, VroomVroomVroom has listed down some fun activities that you can do in Cairns.

Attractions | Accommodation | Restaurants & Bars


Wait a While Rainforest Tours

Address: Cairns, 4879 Q.L.D. Australia

wait a while cairns rainforest tours

Established in 1982, Wait–a–While Rainforest Tours is Cairns' original environmental and wildlife spotlighting tour company. Over the years, they have obtained National Park and State Forest permits to visit what they have found to be the best places. Wait–a–While Rainforest Tours offers small group rainforest and wildlife experiences within the Wet Tropics World Heritage area of Tropical North Queensland. Their day/night wildlife tours visit restricted access mountain rainforest at night, giving the best chance of seeing nocturnal animals in their natural environment. For online bookings, you may visit their website.

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Address: 126-144 Bunda St, Cairns City QLD 4870

This amazing scenic train journey takes you through the thousand-year old and UNESCO World Heritage-listed tropical rainforests of North Queensland. Witness the beauty of its waterfalls, mountains, flora and fauna.

The original Kuranda Scenic Railway offers you the old world charm of travelling in authentic timber carriages, gently meandering past breathtaking scenery and waterfalls. Each year this world famous railway is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors and locals alike. However in 1886 railways were not built as tourism attractions. Taking five years to complete, this railway officially opened in 1891 to service the bustling gold fields. It soon attracted more sightseers than prospectors. During your journey, learn more about the history of this enchanting railway from your complimentary trip guide and onboard commentary. You can choose to travel on Heritage class, Royal service or Gold class. Tickets are available for one-way and return.

Cairns Square Shopping Centre

Address: Cairns Central, 1 - 21 McLeod St, Cairns City QLD 4870

Whether you are looking for some retail therapy or simply just want to enjoy window shopping, Cairns is no short of places where you can go shopping. Drive your car hire to Cairns Square Shopping Centre where you can find an array of stores ranging from fashion to food. Another place where you can drive your car hire is the Cairns Square which is located on the corner of Shields and Abbott Streets.

Interested in finding our more things to do in Cairns? Check out these awesome tours from

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Park Regis City Quays

Address: 6 Lake Street, Cairns QLD 4870

park regis city quays in cairns

If you want to get closer to where all the action is, then Park Regis City Quays is the place to be. The hotel is within walking distance to the Esplanade, night markets, Marlin Marina, Reef Casino, harbour foreshore as well as an array of restaurants and shops.

After checking out the nearby attractions, you can take a dip at their rooftop pool or relax in your choice of room or apartment. You can also book any of their long stays apartments in case you decide to extend your holiday or business trip.

Park Regis Piermonde Apartments

Address: 2-4 Lake Street, Cairns QLD 4870

Offering breathtaking views of The Great Barrier Reef, Park Regis Piermonde Apartments is the ideal accommodation for those who want to sail away, dive, and go water rafting on Tully and Barron Rivers.

This hotel is also perfect for business travellers because of its convenient location across the Cairns Convention Centre. Choose between two or three bedroom apartments and take advantage of their top-class facilities including an outdoor pool and BBQ area.

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Restaurants & Bars

Waterbar and Grill Steak House

Address: Pier Shopping Centre Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870

Located in The Pier which provides panoramic views of the marina and surrounding hills, Waterbar & Grill is a multi-award winning steakhouse, also renowned for its consistency in preparing and cooking grilled meats. Open 7 days a week from 11.30 am, this is a must if you want to enjoy a memorable dining experience, excellent food, friendly staff and an unbeatable location.

Tha Fish

Address: Pier Shopping Centre, G7b Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870

If you love seafood, then this is the place for you. Situated in Cairns premier dining precinct at the Pier, Tha Fish restaurant offers you a relaxed dining experience, as you sit outside overlooking the marina watching the boats pass by. Open for lunch from 12 pm - 3 pm and dinner from 6 pm-late, The Fish is a must visit in Cairns.

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