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10 Awesome Reasons to Live in Cairns

Cairns, Australia is a unique and spectacular part of the East Coast, with the perfect mix of relaxed, coastal town energy and the joys of a bustling hotspot. From incredible nature to world-class education to superb employment markets, here are the top 10 reasons to live and study in Cairns

Be surrounded by breathtaking nature

Pristine rainforests, the Great Barrier Reef, stunning beaches – when you study in Cairns, you’ll be immersed in some of Australia’s most iconic natural landscapes. There’s no shortage of incredible things to do in Cairns, whether it’s snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters, trekking through the lush greenery or having close encounters with Australian wildlife. Plus, thanks to the region’s warm climate and year-round sunshine, there’s never a bad time to explore these amazing offerings.

Study at internationally renowned campuses

Those who choose to study in Cairns have their pick of some world-class education providers. Cairns boasts a well-rounded education sector, with two universities, multiple TAFE and private VET providers, English Language Colleges, and public and private schools. all of which offer study options to international students.

Cairns’ universities – CQUniversity and James Cook University – rank among the best in the world. In the  QS World University Rankings 2022, James Cook University came in at 424, while CQUniversity, which is Australia’s largest regional university, ranked in the top 650 (out of 1,300). 

Live the holiday lifestyle on a budget

Cairns’ cost-of-living estimates come in at an average of roughly $1,500-$2,100 per month, which is significantly lower than major Australian cities (such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) and on par with other major regional centres.

With more money left in your pocket, it will be easier for you to enjoy all the best parts of this idyllic coastal city in between classes. 

Excellent accommodation options 

Cairns offers an outstanding selection of accommodation options for students. Many of the education providers in the region offer safe, clean and affordable housing options to both domestic and international students. In fact, James Cook University even offers a guaranteed spot in its on-campus student accommodation for all first-year students. 

You can also explore alternative housing arrangements, such as homestays, share house accommodation or purpose-built student accommodation here. No matter your circumstance, you’re sure to find an accommodation style that suits you. 

Immerse yourself in rich Aboriginal history

Cairns and its surrounding districts are on the traditional lands of First Nations Gimuy-walubarra yidi country. When you live and study in Cairns, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about these communities and their rich cultural history. A great way to do exactly that is by attending a guided Indigenous cultural tour. You can explore some of the available tours here.

There are also several nearby regions with fascinating Aboriginal roots. For example, the Atherton Tablelands are an unmissable attraction just south of Cairns, the original custodians of which are the wadjanbarra Yidi. Affectionately known as the “rainforest village”, you can discover waterfalls, watering holes and hikes in this unique area.

Boost your resume with great employment prospects

Whether you’re hoping to make a start in a new career or advance your current one, the city of Cairns is a great place to further your professional life. Cairns’ location in Queensland’s tropical far north provides unique employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, including mining, farming, agriculture, tourism and hospitality (which we’ll explore in greater detail in the next section). 

There are also several resources to help Cairns-based students kick-start their careers, including the Cairns Student Hub, Study Cairns Business Projects and the Launch U Trade Accelerator program

A thriving tourism and hospitality industry

Cairns is a tourism and hospitality hotspot, making it an ideal study destination for students hoping to specialise in these sectors. Here, you’ll find an array of employment opportunities in hotels, resorts, bars, cafés and retail stores. Adventure-seekers can even search for jobs as travel consultants and tour guides, which can lead to unique outings and experiences you won’t find anywhere else. 

Play in paradise

Cairns’ nightlife is not to be missed. Every night of the week, there are great events taking place at local venues. From the famous Gilligan’s Hostel and Bar to The Woolshed to The Downunder Bar, there are plenty of places to dance the night away in the town centre. If you’re up for it, there’s even a party bus that will take you to the best spots every Wednesday and Saturday!

Cairns is the gateway to Far North Queensland

Cairns is the only major city close to Australia’s northernmost tip, Cape York. The gateway to beautiful rainforests, untouched landscapes and carefully managed Aboriginal land, there is no place in the world quite like Far North Queensland – and it’s all at your doorstep when you study in Cairns.

A tight-knit community

Because Cairns boasts a smaller population of roughly 150,000 people, you’ll never feel like just a number. Instead, you’ll benefit from the close-knit sense of community that comes from living in a smaller Australian city. Not only does this facilitate the process of making new friends, but it also makes professional networking much easier. Thanks to Cairns’ inclusive community, you’ll feel a sense of belonging throughout your study journey.

Read more about living in Cairns at the links below:

A Guide to Launching Your Career in Cairns

Discover Cairns in Pictures

Photos courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland.