Cairns is one of the most picturesque towns in the Australian state of Queensland located in the northeast of the continent. Founded in the second half of the 19th century as a port town, Cairns is now highly popular among tourists, as the Great Barrier Reef runs near the city waterfront.
Scenic locations overlooking the ocean, cosy restaurants, excellent parks — these are certainly not all the things Cairns can impress tourists with. Some of the finest museums in the state of Queensland are situated in this city. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to Australia, it is certainly worth scheduling a museum tour in Cairns and immersing yourself in the history, art, and science of this unique country.
The name speaks for itself — it is the main museum of the city, situated in the very heart of Cairns. It is housed within the historic building of the School of Arts, and it is definitely worth a visit for those who enjoy studying the history and culture of other countries. You will be able to learn more about the history of indigenous peoples and immigrants who arrived in Australia, see a vast array of unique exhibits, and even become part of interactive displays.
The Cairns Museum consists of five galleries, each showcasing numerous artefacts and photographs from the past. Local guides will share insights about the region, the lifestyle of the Aboriginal people, and the role of sugarcane cultivation among the ancient inhabitants of these territories. They will also share interesting facts about local architecture and the history of Australia during the Second World War. Additionally, the Cairns Museum has an excellent souvenir shop. The prices are quite reasonable, so be sure to pick up something as a memory of this fantastic museum.
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
This museum will undoubtedly provide you with an unforgettable and unique experience. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is a living museum filled with interactive exhibits, captivating performances, and the spirit of Australia’s indigenous peoples. Immerse yourself in the history and traditions of the Tjapukai Aboriginal people and learn about the significant role they played in shaping Australian culture!
Visitors can enjoy atmospheric dance performances, sample dishes from the local cuisine, view exhibitions of traditional Aboriginal art, and even try their hand at activities like boomerang throwing. You will witness how the Tjapukai hunted wild animals, create souvenirs with your own hands, and experience the most fascinating part of the park — the nighttime activities. You can become a listener of mystical dreamtime stories, participate in a fire ceremony, and taste exotic dishes that hold sacred meaning for the local people. Unforgettable impressions from visiting the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park are guaranteed!
Cairns Art Gallery
Cairns Art Gallery is undeniably one of the most beautiful locations not just in the city but in the entire region. It houses an extensive collection of Australian and international art, including masterpieces by renowned painters, sculptors, and even contemporary designers. By the way, admission to the Cairns Art Gallery is free, though it is best to visit on weekdays, as the gallery has shorter opening hours on weekends.
The gallery frequently hosts educational seminars, lectures, exhibitions, and workshops. You can try your hand at painting, floristry, collage-making, and other engaging activities. The gallery premises also feature a cosy café and a vibrant shop where you can purchase original souvenirs, t-shirts, bags with unique prints by Australian artists, stylish home decor, magazines, posters, and fabrics with unconventional designs.
Australian Armour and Artillery Museum
Cairns’ museums truly impress with their diversity. After witnessing the ceremonial dances of the Tjapukai people and exploring the gallery exhibits, make sure to visit the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum. Believe it or not, even those guests who have never been interested in weaponry will find this museum fascinating. The entire military history of Australia is presented through a grand exhibition of armoured vehicles, artillery pieces, and firearms from various historical epochs, starting from the early 19th century.
The museum boasts numerous tanks, howitzers, grenade launchers, military trucks, rifles, and other specimens that allow you to view Australia from a different angle and learn more about the country’s role in global conflicts. A special emphasis is placed on World War II. By the way, the museum also has a shooting range with all necessary safety measures — for an additional fee, you can try your hand at shooting a rifle and experience the feeling of a soldier from the mid-20th century.
Tropical Queensland Museum
If you are travelling across Australia with children, this museum is an essential destination. It is situated in the town of Townsville, 350 kilometres to the south of Cairns, but the Museum of Tropical Queensland is well worth the visit. What is more, you can make use of car rental in Cairns and reach the location in just a few hours. Cars in Cairns can be rented on the website of a dedicated rental service, so the process will not take up much of your time.
This remarkable museum allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty and uniqueness of Australian nature. It features a vast array of interactive exhibits, samples of tropical plants, fish, reptiles, and insects. Museum visitors can take part in hands-on activities and witness captivating Australian animals up close. You will learn about the efforts of local eco-activists to preserve the region’s biodiversity. The museum also boasts a vast collection of Great Barrier Reef corals, with the total number of exhibits exceeding two million! By the way, be sure to visit the section dedicated to marine archaeology, where an astounding collection of artefacts from the sunken British warship “Pandora” (sunk in 1791) is displayed.
Cairns is not only picturesque but also a highly intriguing Australian city, rich in history and cultural heritage. Each museum here is unique in its own way, offering a captivating atmosphere that all travellers visiting Cairns should experience.
Block 2: How to Find the Time to Visit All the Museums in Cairns
In Cairns, there are numerous fascinating museums and other sites worth visiting. If your time is limited, managing to explore all of Cairns’ finest museums might prove quite challenging. Nevertheless, you can accomplish this task by following some simple yet highly effective tips.
Plan Your Itinerary in Advance
Before your trip, it is advisable to gather as much information as possible about the interesting landmarks of the Australian city of Cairns. Compile a list of the locations that interest you and locate them on the region’s map. This will assist you in devising an optimal route, taking into account the museums’ proximity to each other. Certainly, it is best to begin with Cairns Museum, the Museum of Tropical Queensland, the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, and the Art Gallery. Additionally, you could add the Rainforestation Nature Park and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to your list to diversify your cultural experience.
Calculate Your Time
Most Cairns museums feature a plethora of exhibits. The Museum of Tropical Queensland alone houses around 2.5 million specimens! This means that allocating sufficient time for each museum visit is necessary to thoroughly explore all exhibits, engage in interactive displays, and learn as much as possible about the history and culture of this Australian region. Also, bear in mind that some museums are quite distant from one another, so it is prudent to account for travel time as well as breaks, walks, beach relaxation, and other activities.
Purchase a Multi-Museum Pass
One of the prime advantages of Cairns’ museums is the opportunity to acquire a pass allowing entry to multiple distinct museums. For instance, with the Cairns Museum Pass, you can gain access to Cairns Museum, the Australian Armour and Artillery Museum, and the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. This will help you avoid unnecessary ticket queue waiting. Moreover, such passes often provide visitors with discounts, enabling you to save not only time but also money.
Rent a Car
Car rental in Cairns is highly developed. Opting for a rental vehicle allows you to navigate the city and its surroundings much more swiftly. This proves more cost-effective than taxi services, and the journey itself will be considerably more comfortable than public transportation, especially if you’re travelling with family or a group of friends. Cars in Cairns can be rented on the website of https://localcarrents.com/. You can book your car online and collect it from a location convenient for you. The contract process typically proceeds swiftly and effortlessly. Additionally, you will receive the car with a full tank, enabling you to embark on an exciting museum-hopping journey straight from the rental point.
Utilise Audio Guides
To manage seeing all the intriguing exhibits, it is advisable to make use of audio guides. Firstly, this allows you to bypass the time-consuming reading of information on exhibit labels. Secondly, audio guides enable you to explore museums at your own pace, without being constrained by a personal tour guide or a tourist group visiting the museum simultaneously. The average duration of tours often exceeds two hours. With an audio guide, you can shorten this time to ensure you can visit as many captivating museums as possible.
Cairns, an Australian city, is frequently referred to as the “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.” Yet, you are already aware that the vibrant nature of the oceanic coast is merely one of this city’s many advantages. Cairns boasts a wealth of astonishing museums, each captivating with thousands, sometimes even millions, of exhibits. Ancient artefacts, antique tools, household items, jewellery, samples of flora and fauna, armoured vehicles, artworks, and sculptures — the diversity of local museums is bound to astonish even the most seasoned traveller!
Hence, it is worth your while to explore as many Cairns museums as possible when you embark on your journey to Australia. To ensure you relish every moment of your time in the finest museums of this distinctive city, make sure to plan your route in advance, take advantage of car rental in Cairns, and acquire a multi-museum pass for multiple attractions. Above all — immerse yourself in every moment of your stay at Cairns’ best museums.