Cairns Museum
Cairns Museum
4.5
Architectural Buildings • History Museums
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10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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About
The Cairns Museum tells the story of Cairns, right in the heart of the city. Housed in the award-winning School of Arts building, the Museum contains five galleries that showcase the history of Cairns, including Aboriginal Traditional Owners, sugar cane history, WW II, tourism development, local architecture and cyclones, as well as the inside story of living in the tropics - amongst crocs, toads, jellyfish and snakes! Our friendly local guides are on hand to assist and give you genuine advice on what to see and do in Cairns. The Museum also offers free wifi on its tropical verandah and has a range of unique merchandise for sale at reasonable prices.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Admission tickets
from $10.64
All you need to step foot in the door.
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  • Rowan H
    Cairns, Australia1,332 contributions
    Not just for tourists
    I visited the Cairns museum on 27/6/2020 as a solo cairns local seeking something to do during these weird COVID-19 times. It's currently open 1000 - 1600 Monday to Saturday. Advanced bookings are apparently not required at time of writing as I was told they weren't getting close to the 20 person COVID limit. Cost was $15 adult and I believe it was less for concession card holders and children. The museum spans across three floors and is housed in the 'School of Arts building' which for memory was built in around 1917. A portion of it is a newer concrete model though. It's all air conditioned. The museum takes you through the history of cairns, from its creation as a remote mining port servicing the Hodgkinson mine to its subsequent industries of sugar cane, timber and finally tourism. It also presents the history of the Yirrganydji aboriginal tribes. I found the museum interesting and well presented. I spent around 2 and a half hours here. I don't think its a must visit for international tourists who are on a limited time frame unless museums interest them but I think its definitely worth visiting for locals, particularly those curious about the history of our city.
    Written June 27, 2020
  • Murphy002
    Bentleigh, Australia18 contributions
    Interactive displays a winner!!!
    Such a great place to visit during holiday in Cairns. Central location, Friendly and informative staff, 2 floors of fascinating displays containing a varied and historic items. Lots of hands on displays that kids would enjoy! Check out the verandah, amazing space to sit and relax. It is a bonus that you can leave museum to grab lunch or a coffee and then return to finish viewing. Lift to upper floors makes life easier too. Highly recommended.
    Written August 22, 2022
  • Danny L
    Cairns, Australia18 contributions
    Must do it
    Incredible and interesting tour, our tour guide, Lynn did a fantastic job explaining the Cairns History, it must be a place that you need to visit while you are in Cairns. It is a modern and historical museum located just in the heart of the city, it has to provide something to everyone: locals, tourists, international students, etc. I recommend having at least one hour and a half to do not rush and enjoy such interesting information.
    Written June 27, 2020
These reviews are the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor checks reviews for fraud.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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Karen F
London, Canada9 contributions
Dec 2022 • Couples
This is a gem of a place that has friendly and well-informed staff (ie: Shannon). Interactive displays for all ages...beginning with the original inhabitants, the arrival of Europeans, ensuing conflicts, and further settlement and exploration, up to the influx of tourism, in the Cairns area.
While only a couple of floors, it is doable in a couple of hours, but you may want to stay more.
Written December 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Besho K
1 contribution
Aug 2021
A beautiful and peaceful museum that displays out a brief history of Cairns. The information is interesting and new, especially for a first-timer who knows nothing about why Cairns is where and how it is today and also it was well spoken by one of the volunteering staff that tour us around the cairns museum. My favourite part of the visit to the cairns museum was the eye-catching verandah that was perfect to relax after a long tour halfway through the exhibits. All the staff there were very friendly and active.
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Caylie P
5 contributions
Feb 2022 • Couples
The Cairns Museum is incredibly inclusive and well curated, with the local Indigenous people having contributed to give a complete, accurate picture of the area that is now Cairns. The exhibits also include women who helped to build Cairns. I learned a lot and was impressed with the detailed information given as well as the value for money!
Written February 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hitchiker_bear
Country Victoria, Australia697 contributions
Jul 2022
The Museum in the old School of Arts building, encompasses an extremely wide-ranging image of Cairns City, the surrounding environment and development from a mangrove encircled backwater to a modern Aussie city.
Past residents who lived and grew up through the early development of the Township of Cairns, should also visit the miniature historical handcrafted display of old Cairns; this is located in the Pier Market Place on the Cairns Waterfront. The display of old buildings still remaining today and some gone forever, is hand crafted, painstaking detail and accuracy. Entry free as is the nostalgia this display provokes in older ex-residents .
Written August 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Travelgypsyisme
Cairns, Australia673 contributions
Mar 2022
As a local to Cairns I love our history. The museum has different exhibits so it's not always the same. If you are looking for something in particular make sure you ask the staff as there is a lot more behind the scenes that you don't see.
It's also a fabulous wet weather activity, which there isn't much of in Cairns.
Written September 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David W
Hobart, Australia5 contributions
Mar 2022 • Solo
A small but interesting museum well worth a visit. It details the history of Cairns and the surrounding region and is based in a lovely old building. The volunteers there are extremely knowledgeable. Tony showed me round which added to the experience.
Written March 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jenny D
Eaglemont, Australia763 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
This is a small, but interesting museum which opens one’s eyes to how Cairns has developed and who the major identities were and are. The little shop, at the start/finish of the museum has some wonderful items to buy too. The staff are friendly and very knowledgeable on the region. Worth a visit.
Written May 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Maya Lai
Kuranda, Australia3 contributions
Sep 2020
Had an amazing time at the Museum this morning with our enthusiastic and overall lovely guide Diane who knew every little detail of everything on display. A great place to go to learn about the history of cairns with some beautiful souvenirs covered by amazing artwork in the reception. Would highly recommend to anyone! and its even kid friendly :))
Written September 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BrissieJim
Brisbane, Australia242 contributions
Oct 2021
The three - level museum is beautifully organised, with ample artefacts, photos and descriptive text to bring various areas of settlement to life. The section on cane-cutting is interesting and adds a great deal of authenticity to the early Australian play about canecutters - Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Staff are extremely friendly and helpful.
Written October 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laura M
Melbourne, Australia120 contributions
Apr 2021 • Solo
Housed in a lovely old original building the museum follows the history of cairns from the aboriginal landowners, to the first settlers, early life, World War II and current times.

Lots of interesting personal stories and original artifacts to be seen.

Staff were very friendly and happy to answer questions.

All in all a nice way to spend a couple of hours
Written April 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Cairns Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Cairns Museum

Cairns Museum is open:
  • Mon - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

Cairns Museum admission prices can vary. Entrance tickets currently cost $10.67, while a popular guided tour starts around $16.11 per person. See all 11 Cairns Museum tickets and tours on Tripadvisor

Cairns Museum can be crowded, so we recommend booking e-tickets ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund. See all 11 Cairns Museum tickets and tours on Tripadvisor