Cairns seaport is the busiest cruise port in Australia and was voted `Most Efficient Port Service` at the 1997 Dream World Cruise Destinations Awards.

Cairns is the capital of tropical north Queensland and gateway to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest.

Cairns cruise terminal is located in the city heart close to the Esplanade, which features playgrounds, picnic tables, barbecues and an array of alfresco dining.

Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding islands are available via fast catamaran, helicopter or seaplane. Once there enjoy snorkelling, bush walking or one of the many other activities on offer.

Half an hour north of Cairns by road are the northern beaches with warm seas, water sports and kilometres of sand with a backdrop of rainforest mountains.

Within 20 minutes drive are three world-class tourist attractions: Skyrail, the world`s largest cableway offering exceptional views of the Wet Tropics Rainforest, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, which helps you experience the dreamtime with its hi-tech theatre and outdoor Aboriginal dance troupe.

Or visit one of the many wildlife parks displaying a variety of Australian animals.

An hour north along a magnificent coastal drive you will find Port Douglas, a village with long white sands and popular resorts that still retains its community character.

Spend some time exploring the Daintree rainforest and Cape Tribulation or take a cruise up the Daintree River.

Cairns can be easily navigated by limousine, taxi, rental car, bicycle or organised bus tour. Cairns International Airport is the first point of entry for many visitors and has regular flights to all major Australian cities and regional Queensland cities.



Half Day Touring:

  • City
  • Hinterland
  • Green Island
  • Port Douglas

A variety of wildlife parks are located within 30 minutes drive of the port, with kangaroos, koalas, birds and crocodiles. Other activities such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, kayaking, parasailing, jet ski and jet boat tours, hot-air ballooning and golf are available.

Full Day Touring

  • Daintree/Cape Tribulation area
  • Cooktown
  • Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef and islands via catamaran, sailing vessel, helicopter or seaplane.
  • Scenic rail trips through the rainforest to the village of Kuranda with butterfly sanctuary, and craft markets.
  • Minutes from Cairns Seaport is the worldメs most beautiful rainforest experiences : a 7.5 kilometre rainforest cableway, Skyrail and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

Best Beaches

  • The northern beaches are made up of nine separate townships located along 26 kilometres of beautiful coastline.
  • Or relax at Cairns Lagoon on the Esplanade

Best Shopping Areas

  • Pier Marketplace is a waterfront shopping complex and leisure centre with over 100 retail outlets as well as live entertainment, restaurants and bars, open from 9.00am to 9.00 pm every day of the year.
  • City centre is within 5 minutes walk of the Cairns cruise terminal.
  • Cairns Central shopping complex is also within walking distance.

Specialty Products

  • The stores cater for all needs including clothes, jewellery (especially opals) Aboriginal artefacts to general pharmaceuticals.



Working hours

Customs Officers 24 hours
Quarantine Officials 24 hours
Immigration Officials As for Customs

Customs and Immigration

Passenger Manifest Three copies at the first port of call with one copy to Immigration with the passengers card one copy to Customs and the third copy to remain on board the ship.
Embarking Passenger Manifest 3 copies - 1 to Customs 1 to Port 1 stays
Crew Manifest 2 - 1 at first port to Immigration 2nd stays.
Stores List 2 (Aust. Customs Service and Sydney Ports Corporation
Customs Declaration (Ship) 1 (Australian Customs Service)
Customs Declaration (Crew) 2 (Australian Customs Service)
Forms Comments All forms listed above are produced at the first Australian port of call and then one copy of each form travels on board the ship to be produced at subsequent ports.
Customs Declaration (Passengers) One at first Australian port of call only.

Port health

Health Declaration One (pratique) at first Australian port of call only


Ground Operations

The following Ground Handlers are ACA members and supply superior ground handling services throughout Australia.

Port Approach


Arrival Departure Restrictions Yes
Tidal Variation 3 metres
Prevailing Currents Approximately 2 knots
Prevailing Winds
Length of Channel 6.47 nautical miles (12 kilometres)
Depth of Channel Design depth of 8.3 metres Lowest Astonomical Tide
Comments N/A

Depth and breadth of turning basin

Location of Turning Basin Adjacent to Wharf No. 2
Diameter 400 metres

Under keel clearances over 90,000GT UKC 2m in the channel and 0.6m in swing basin, over 40,000GT UKC 1.5m in the channel and 0.6m in swing basin, up to 40,000 GT UKC 1.3m in the channel and 0.6m in swing basin, up to 30,000 GT 10% of draft or
a minimum of UKC 0.9m whatever is greatest in the channel and 0.6m in swing basin or on actual squat figures (Provided for a channel similar to Cairns at 10 Knots) plus 0.6m All Vessels, Berth Pocket UKC of 0.3m is to be maintained at all times 

Other points


Pilotage Name Department of Transport Division of Marine and Ports
Pilotage Address Tingira Street Portsmith QLD 4870
Pilotage Phone No 61 7 4052 7411
Pilotage Fax No n/a
Is Pilotage Compulsory Yes - for vessels over 35 metres length
Position of Pilot Pickup The pilot boarding ground is approximately four kilometres seaward of the Fairway beacons, at position latitude 16ᄚ48.7
Distance from Berth 5.94 nautical miles (11 kilometres)
Pilot VHF Channel 16 (then to 6)
Description of Pilot Boat White hull, Yellow Cabin top, with the word PILOT written in black. Call Sign: Tribulation
Pilot Hours As required
Pilotage Fees 8.7 cents per GRT for the first 20,000 GRT
  5.4 cents per GRT over 20,000 GRT to 40,000 GRT
  3.4 cents per GRT over 40,000 GRT
  Minimum charge $312


Port Services



Address 9/189 Kent Street
Telephone +61 2 9439 7223
24 hour contacts +61 416 189 760
Fax +61 2 9439 8587
Services Contact: Greg Coopman.
For details of services see the Barwil entry under Members and Contacts- then scroll down to Shipping Agents.
Beaufort Shipping Agency Company
Address Level 8, 120 Sussex Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
  GPO Box 3988
Telephone +61 2 9364 8960
24 hour contact +61 411 123 013
Fax +61 2 9364 8999
Website N/A
Services Contact Ian McAllister
For details of services see the Beaufort entry under Members and Contacts- then scroll down to Shipping Agents.
Information on other Shipping Agents can be obtained from the Port Authority (see Port Operator).


Are tugs available Yes
Are tugs compulsory No - at pilot's discretion
Tug operator`s name North Queensland Marine Towage - Cairns agent: Patrick Sleigh
Tug operator`s fax 61 7 4051 5082
Ship or tug lines Either or both - at pilot's discretion. Cost $40 per tug line.
Tug working hours 0800 to 1600. Overtime rates apply after hours


Working hours 0830 to 1600
Port officials
Working hours 24 hours
Overtime 24 hours as required


Stevedoring Name or details of suitable stevedores, please contact the Shipping Agent
Stevedoring Address n/a
Stevedoring Telephone n/a
Stevedoring Fax n/a
Working Hours n/a


For details of several quality, competitively priced provedores please contact the Shipping Agent.
Telephones Yes
How many 1
Notice required Yes


Fuel Grades Diesel
Quay or barge Tanker truck on quay or barge
Suppliers BP/Caltex/Mobil/Shell/Ampol


Fresh Water Yes
Exquay or barge Quay
No of hoses As required
Capacity per hose/hour 12000 litres ph wharf 1 & 2 34-40000 lph at wharves 3 to 10
Tonnes per hour guaranteed 120000 litres
Type of connect Supplied by Port Authority (international fitting available)
Connect size in inches 64 millimetres

Dry garbage

Dry garbage Yes - with quarantine approval
Barge alongside Yes
Containers available Yes
Size of containers 200 litres
  Dump for deep burial










Port Operator

Port operator

Name Cairns Port Authority
Address Corner Grafton & Hartley Streets
  PO Box 594
Telephone 61 7 4052 3888
Facsimile 61 7 4052 1493
Web Site
Email Address

Berth details

Berth Trinity Wharf
Maximum draft 10 metres
Tidal variation 3 metres
Berth length 595 metres (continuous quay length)
Guaranteed berthing for cruise ships Yes
Are other ships able to dock Yes
Cargo ships at dock No
Security fences Yes

Nearest ports

Australia Townsville
Nearest Overseas Port Port Moresby



Terminal facilities

Terminal Building Yes
Meet and Greet Facilities Yes
Toilet Facilities Yes
Telephones Outside cruise terminal
Availability of Maps and/or Brochures Yes
Souvenir Shopping Within 200 metres walk
Money Exchange Within 200 metres walk
Is the US Dollar Accepted? No


Closest Airport to Pier Cairns Airport
Distance to Airport 8 kms
Transport to Airport Taxi (allow AUS$10.00)
Can Passengers Walk to Town Yes
Drive Time from Pier to Shuttle Stop n/a
Distance from Pier to Town Centre 200 metres
Are Shuttle Buses Necessary No
Suggested Shuttle Stop in Town City Centre
Availability of Taxis at Pier Yes
Availability of Public Transport at Pier No
Other Forms of Transport at Pier Yes

Tour buses

Distance from Ship to Tour Buses 50 metres
What is the Normal Coach Capacity Varies
Are Tour Buses Air Conditioned Yes
Are Refreshments Provided on Buses No
Are Cold Towels Provided on Buses No
Are Step Stools Provided on Buses No



Tourism operators in Queensland: