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Cairns CBD is small enough to walk around and is laid out in an easy grid pattern. If you start on the Esplanade outside the Pacific International Hotel, it will take you about 10 minutes to walk to the end of the Esplanade (near Minnie St) and 10 minutes to walk to Cairns Central Shopping Centre (which is also where the train station is located).
The Esplanade is the busiest thoroughfare for people - it contains many different shops, restaurants, places to stay and markets. On the corner of Shields St and the Esplanade is a tourist information centre which has brochures and information about all the different tours you can book. The junction of Shields St and Lake St is a pedestrian mall, so you won't be able to drive or get a taxi through there.
The Reef Terminal (where most of the boats leave from for the reef) is a 2 minute walk from outside the Pacific International - just head towards the water!
If you don't wish to walk, you can also take the Sunbus or a taxi (Black and White Taxis. Phone 131008). Your accommodation may also provide a courtesy coach so check with them before you book anything. There is also plenty of Car rental Companies along the main Street (Sheridan Street) Mini Car Rentals Will Match prices and provide you with plenty of local knowlege.
Cairns is the perfect destination to explore by bicycle. It's flat, and there's some great new cycle tracks running into the city. Many hotels, tour desks and hostels offer bicycle hire
click here for more info on cycle paths - http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/faciliti...