Cairns Central YHA

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Things to do in Cairns Central YHA

YHA's Cairns Backpacker hostel is the perfect base to explore North Queensland.

The World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest fringes the Great Barrier Reef, with the outback around the corner.

YHA Travel staff at the hostel can organise many tours and activities, including scuba-diving courses, white-water rafting, bungy jumping, and Barrier Reef Cruises.

The hostel can also arrange daytrips to the Skyrail Cableway, Kuranda Scenic Rail, Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas, and Cooktown.

Cairns Backpackers' nightlife is legendary, from pub crawls and parties to cane toad races! All are just a short walk away from the hostel. On a budget? See the Cairns YHA's reception for nightclub discount vouchers! The Cairns Night Markets are on every evening from 5.00 pm to 11.00 pm.

At the hostel

Bbq night

Join us for our Friday night BBQ, not only do you get a delicious dinner but its also a great way mingle with other guests and share your amazing travel stories.

When:
Friday night
Where:
Courtyard
Cost:
$5

Movie night

Join us in the TV Room for a movie and free popcorn.

When:
Monday night
Where:
TV Room
Cost:
$0

Pancake breakfast

Start your day right with our amazing Free pancake breakfast.

When:
Daily
Where:
Courtyard
Cost:
$0

Tours & activities related to this hostel

$149
per person

Atherton Tablelands overnight waterfalls adventure

Waterfalls, crater lakes, 500 year old trees, and loads of fun! This overnight nature adventure to the Atherton Tablelands will be the one to make your mates jealous!

This adventure packed, fun filled trip takes you through the Gillies Range and onto the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. This trip is all about getting back to nature...

See the spectacular Mt Hypipamee Crater, be amazed at 500 year old Cathedral Fig trees and jump into the famous Millaa Millaa Falls and Dinner Falls. You'll also visit Lake Barrine National Park before a swim and lunch at Lake Eacham.

Spend the night in the village of Yungaburra and enjoying a delicious BBQ with your new friends on tour. Day 2 is completely free to explore the surrounding village, relax or take part in an optional tour including mountain biking or canoeing (extra cost).

What to bring: swimming clothes and towel, camera, hat, walking shoe, small bag with overnight clothes ad toiletries.

SAVE $14!

$169
per person

Budget Great Barrier Reef tour

Explore two stunning reef sites aboard this brand new luxury vessel. With meals and all your snorkelling gear included, this is one of the best value for money tours on the East Coast.

Step aboard a brand new luxury vessel that was introduced to The Great Barrier Reef for the 2016 season and is fully equipped with modern state of the art facilities. You are provided with unrivalled comfort as you visit some of the best dive and snorkel locations on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. 

With over four hours to explore the Outer Great Barrier Reef, you will visit two stunning reef locations, where you have the opportunity to snorkel or dive amongst superb coral formations and an abundance of coral and marine life! 

With underwater locals including Nemos, Turtles, Stingrays and Wally the friendly Maori Wrasse, you are guaranteed to make incredible memories that will last a lifetime! 

Snorkelers, certified divers, and introductory divers are all catered for. Please specify at time of booking if you wish to add a certified or introductory dive to your booking. Additional costs apply. 

What to bring: Hat, towel, sunscreen, swimming costume. 

Displayed price includes taxes and levies of $20 per person

$164
per person

Daintree Rainforest 1 day tour

Discover Tropical North Queensland's world heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest on this full day tour to Cape Tribulation departing from Cairns.

Discover Tropical North Queensland's world heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest on this full day tour to Cape Tribulation. Enjoy spectacular views as you travel by coach to Cape Tribulation on your fully guided day tour stopping at all the best locations. 

After morning tea cruise down the Daintreee River spotting wild crocodiles and learning about the surrounding ecosystem. You'll then visit Cape Tribulation for lunch before stopping to enjoy picturesque views at Alexandra Range Lookout. 

Spend the afternoon discovering the unique wilderness and rainforest at Mossman Gorge. Take part in a traditional Indigenous cultural experience learning about the culture of the local Aboriginal people. There's even time for a swim in the river before enjoying a scenic drive through the coastal village of Port Douglas on your way back to Cairns. 

What to bring:

  • walking shoes
  • swimming clothes
  • towel
  • hat
  • camera

Departs from Cairns YHA daily at 7:15am and returns at 7pm

$959
per person

East Coast Highlights

Travel Australia's popular East Coast and visit the 3 must-do attractions - Fraser Island, Whitsunday Sailing and Magnetic Island. Save even more by adding a 10 night YHA accommodation pack to use anywhere en-route!

East Cost Highlights package includes the most popular tours along Australia's East Coast. This saves you over $70 and also gives you peace of mind that you're on the best quality East Coast tours. 

Package includes:

  • 3 Day Fraser Island tour
  • 2 Day Whitsunday Sailing tour
  • 2 nights at Magnetic Island YHA, including ferry transfers and entry to Koala Sanctuary.



The East Coast Highlights package offers the flexibility to add Greyhound’s Hop on/Hop off coach pass from Sydney to Cairns or vice versa (valid 3 months from date of travel). You can also choose to add a 10 or 15 night YHA accommodation pack. (valid 3 and 4 months from date of purchase)


To help plan your trip, we have included a suggested Southbound Itinerary (Cairns to Sydney) and Northbound Itinerary (Sydney to Cairns) for you to download. This is simply a suggestion, the package is designed to be flexible so you can hop on and off wherever you like along the route.

It is recommended you pre-book dates, especially for the Fraser Island and Whitsunday tours, as they can be booked out during the peak season. Please put your preferred date for each of the 3 trips in the comments when making a booking as well as your YHA/HI membership number.

$779
per person

Fraser Island Whitsundays package

Experience the best of the East Coast with this great value Fraser Island and Whitsundays 6 day adventure package. Includes 1 FREE night at Airlie Beach YHA

Travel from Brisbane up the stunning East Coast to explore the magic of Fraser Island and the breathtaking crystal clear blue waters and white sand of the Whitsundays. Get ready, you are about to make some memories!

Day 1: Make your way to Hervey Bay, the Gateway to stunning Fraser Island. Hervey Bay YHA offers a free shuttle from the Greyhound and Premier bus stop to the hostel. Stay at Hervey Bay YHA

Day 2 and 3: Your 2 day/ 1 night all inclusive tour to the world's largest sand island, Fraser Island, begins! You will be picked up from your accommodation between 7.00 and 8.00am before boarding the ferry for the 50 minute cruise across the Great Sandy Strait. Look out for playful dolphins, turtles or the elusive dugong. Make sure you have everything you need for the day as your 4WD tour starts as soon as you arrive on the island. 

From here, you will spend two action packed days discovering shipwrecks, ancient rainforests, freshwater lakes and pristine white sandy beaches. This unforgettable trip takes in some of Fraser Island's most famous locations, including Lake McKenzie, The Pinnacles Coloured Sands, Maheno Shipwreck, Indian Head, and Seventy-Five Mile Beach. At the conclusion of your tour, you will be dropped back to Hervey Bay YHA around 9.30pm.

Day 4:After spending the day exploring Hervey Bay, it's time to board the night bus and get on the road north as you make your way towards Airlie Beach to embark on a once in a lifetime 2 day/1 night sailing adventure.

Day 5: Use your FREE NIGHT at Airlie Beach YHA to explore the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays. With breathtakingly scenic walking trails, a huge lagoon with free BBQs, and world famous backpacker beer gardens, Airlie Beach allows your holiday to be as relaxed or adventure-seeking active as you feel like!

Day 6: Your 2 chilled out days of sensational sailing around the unparalleled Whitsunday Islands starts at 8.30am from Abel Point Marina. Spend the next two days snorkelling, swimming and relaxing. Of course, no trip to the Whitsundays is complete without a visit to the postcard-perfect Whitehaven Beach! On a budget? No worries! Bring your own alcoholic drinks on board the boat (no glass). After sleeping on the Great Barrier Reef and making memories to last a life time, you return to Airlie Beach by approximately 4.00pm.

What to Bring:

1 small overnight bag with clothes and toiletries. Don't forget swimwear, hat, towel, sunscreen, and of course, your camera.

Important Information:

This itinerary is based on using the Greyhound Bus service but does not include transport between Hervey Bay and Airlie Beach. Ask us about our exclusive discounts on Greyhound's East Coast Hop-on Hop-off pass.

Please let us know if:

  • You have any dietary requirements
  • You need a different itinerary from the one listed above- just tell us what tour dates you need and we will do our best to make it happen;
  • You are travelling on and need any tips, or tours booked. We are here to help;

Are you travelling the opposite direction? No worries, contact us directly and we can personalise an itinerary that works for you.

$995
per person

Great Barrier Reef 5 day scuba diving course

Learn to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef with this 5 Day PADI Open Water diving course in Cairns. Includes 2 FREE NIGHTS at Cairns Central YHA.

Learn to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef with this 5 Day PADI Open Water diving course in Cairns. 

Your 5 day course consists of 2 days of theory and pool training, followed by 3 days and 2 nights on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Stay on board your premium liveaboard dive boat with all meals and equipment provided. 

What better place to learn to scuba dive than on the spectacular Great Barrier Reef? Enjoy 9 ocean dives at varying locations on the reef where you'll discover the amazing underwater world and marine life. 

What to bring:

Day 1 & 2 - Swimming clothes, towel, sunscreen, money for lunch and dive medical (if required). 

Days 3, 4 & 5 - Overnight bag and toiletries, swimming clothes, towel, sunscreen and hat. 

Please note: Some divers may require a medical certificate (AS 4005.1) if certain medical conditions exist (eg, asthma, pregnant, recent heart surgery, epilepsy etc.). For more information please download the Student Dive Medical Declaration Form (PDF).

$231
per person

Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tour

Step aboard one of the best day boats from Cairns to the Outer Great Barrier Reef where you will experience three stunning reef sites full of spectacular coral formations and vibrant marine life. This is a day full of fund and adventure, not to be missed!

Explore the beautiful Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland on one of the best day boat tours from Cairns!

Your luxury catamaran, designed for small groups, will travel to 3 different outer reef sites where you'll spend the day exploring the colourful underwater world and coral reefs. Learn about the spectacular array of tropical fish and marine life on your your guided snorkel tour, spending up to 5 hours at the reef. 

Enjoy a scrumptious buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea and complimentary WiFi on board. Your trip includes snorkel briefs at each reef site, lifeguard snorkel officers and all equipment hire. 

Capture it all on your own underwater camera and your memories will last a lifetime.

What to bring: Hat, towel, sunscreen, swimming costume.

Please note: To book a YHA Member rate you must present your YHA membership card upon check in.

$85
per person

Green Island Reef day tour

Full Day Green Island tour including snorkelling or a Glass Bottom boat tour. With several daily departures from Cairns, this is the perfect trip for those with limited time. Book now to SAVE 10%.

Discover the beauty of Green Island, a 6000 year old coral cay that sits within the Great Barrier Reef and boasts unique rainforests, surrounded by white sandy beaches and magnificent coral reefs with abundant marine life.

After just 45 minutes aboard a comfortable air-conditioned catamaran, you will arrive at Green Island. Here, you can choose between snorkel hire, glass bottom boat or semi submarine tour, and spend the rest of your time exploring the rainforest or lazing on the stunning white sandy beach.

What to bring: Hat, towel, sunscreen, swimming costume. 

Meals can be taken or purchased on the island.

$333
per person

Greyhound Bus Pass: Cairns-Brisbane

YHA DISCOUNT- SAVE $17.00! This great value hop- on hop- off bus pass is the perfect way to explore Australia's east coast. Create your own adventure, stopping as many times as you like between Cairns and Brisbane.

YHA Exclusive Offer: Book now and save $17.00

With unlimited stops and 3 months to complete your travel , this hop-on hop-off Greyhound bus pass is the perfect ticket to explore Australia's East Coast. 

Includes free onward travel to Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay. Travel must commence within 6 months from purchase date. Unlimited stops in one direction (south) only. 

There are also Melbourne to Cairns or Sydney to Cairns Greyhound passes available.

Save time and money by adding on a multi- night accommodation pack

$522
per person

Greyhound pass Melbourne - Cairns

Travel Australia's famous East Coast in comfort with this Hop on Hop off Greyhound pass. Exclusive discount, save $27 when you book with YHA!

Travelling Australia's East Coast is a popular route for backpackers and using this hop-on hop-off coach pass is a perfect way to do it!

Greyhound makes travelling easy with daily departures so you can travel when it suits you. Once your pass is issued, you have the flexibility to reserve seats up until 24 hours before each departure either online or by phone. Greyhound coaches are safe, comfortable and offer free WIFI and USB chargers at every seat.

Stop at all the must see destinations; Sydney, Byron Bay, Hervey Bay and Airlie Beach! 

Why rush? Take your time to discover some of Australia's best kept secrets along the way… Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Lennox Head, Townsville or Mission Beach.

BUY NOW AND SAVE. You have 6 months from date of purchase to start travelling. Once you start you have 3 months.

Pass is valid:

  • For 3 months (90 days) from the date of first departure from Melbourne or Cairns
  • For use on Greyhound Services on the East Coast between Melbourne and Cairns
  • Hop-on hop-off unlimited times in one direction only
  • Please state which direction you would like in the comments when making the booking. eg. Melbourne to Cairns or Cairns to Melbourne as passes must be issued in the right direction.

There are also Sydney to Cairns or Brisbane to Cairns Greyhound passes available.

$423
per person

Greyhound Pass Sydney-Cairns

Travel the East Coast with this popular Greyhound hop-on hop-off, 90 day bus pass from Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney. Save $22 with this exclusive YHA price. BUY NOW, TRAVEL LATER!

Australia's East Coast is a popular route to travel, and using this hop-on hop-off coach pass is one of the best ways to see it. With multiple departures daily you can travel when it suits you, even overnight on some journeys. 

Once your pass is issued, you have the flexibility to reserve seats up until 24 hours before each departure either online or by phone. Greyhound coaches are safe, comfortable and travel along the Pacific Highway via the popular destinations of Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Hervey Bay (for Fraser Island) and Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays).

Why rush? Make sure you take the time to stopover at Australia's best kept secrets… Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Townsville or Mission Beach.

BUY NOW AND SAVE.

You have 12 months from date of purchase to start travelling. Once you start you have 3 months to use your pass. 

Check out our East Coast package where we have bundled Fraser Island Tours, Whitsunday Sailing and Magnetic Island.

Pass is valid:

  • For 3 months (90 days) from the date of first departure from Sydney or Cairns
  • For use on Greyhound Services on the East Coast between Sydney and Cairns
  • Hop-on hop-off unlimited times in one direction only
  • Please state which direction you would like in the comments when making the booking. eg. Sydney to Cairns or Cairns to Sydney as passes must be issued in the right direction 

    There are also Melbourne to Cairns or Brisbane to Cairns Greyhound passes available.
$381
per person

Rainforest skyrail and great barrier reef tour

YHA DEAL: FREE introductory scuba dive! This great value 2 day package includes the unforgettable Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, and a once in a lifetime trip to the Great Barrier Reef aboard one of our favourite boats.

Enjoy the best of Cairns with this Kuranda Scenic Railway journey, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway experience and full day tour to the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 1:
Head out to the Great Barrier Reef on your full day tour to the popular Reef Magic Marine World and enjoy a day of snorkelling and relaxation. YHA members receive a FREE introductory scuba dive, worth $125! Learn about marine life on board with presentations and guided snorkel tours, including fish feeding demonstration. Your day trip includes a delicious buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea and all equipment hire. 

Day 2: Travel from Cairns along the Kuranda Scenic Railway on one of Australia's most unique railway journeys. This historic train winds its way through majestic tropical rainforest past tall flowing waterfalls providing scenic views and plenty of photo opportunities. 

Next, experience World Heritage Rainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway taking you over and through the ancient rainforest. Your 90 minute experience includes time at two rainforest stations where you can enjoy a ranger guided boardwalk and view the Barron Falls and CSIRO Interpretive Centre. At the end of your journey, your coach is waiting to transfer you back to your accommodation.

Departs daily. 

What to bring: Swimming wear, towel, camera, hat and sunscreen on your trip to the reef. Scuba divers should also bring their log books.

Please note: To claim your FREE introductory scuba dive, please quote your YHA or Hostelling International membership number in the booking comments. You must present your YHA membership card upon check-in. This package is unavailable until 5th June 2017 due to Skyrail Rainforest Cableway not being operational. Please contact the hostel directly to book one of their fantastic alternative tours.

$557
per person

Ultimate Cairns skydiving, reef and rainforest tour

This package is the ultimate Cairns adventure! Skydive from 14,000ft, snorkel the Outer Great Barrier Reef and chase waterfalls through World Heritage Listed tropical rainforests.

This package is the ultimate Cairns adventure! Skydive from 14,000ft, snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and explore lush tropical rainforests. A trip to Tropical North Queensland would not be complete without a little adventure!

Skydive...
Jump into paradise from 14,000ft to experience 60 seconds of life- changing freefall at up to 200km/hr. When your parachute opens soak up the breathtaking views of rainforest and the largest coral reef system in the world.

Tropical rainforests...
Your full day guided rainforest tour will take you over the spectacular Gillies Range and onto the Atherton Tablelands. After lunch, go swimming at the famous Millaa Millaa Falls, one of Australia's most photographed waterfalls, and walk through the magestic rainforest to Dinner Falls in UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Hypipamee National Park. You may even spot a platypus! Enjoy afternoon tea in the picturesque countryside village of Yungaburra before travelling back to your Cairns accommodation.

Visit the reef...
Your visit to Cairns isn't complete without discovering the underwater beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Your full day trip to the outer reef includes a guided snorkelling tour, scrumptious buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea, all equipment hire, and even the chance to try your hand at scuba diving. 

What to bring: Walking shoes, swimwear, towel, small backpack, hat, sunscreen and camera.

Departs daily.

FREE things to do in 20-26 McLeod Street, Cairns, QLD

  1. Walk along the Esplanade to the Botanical Gardens then do the Red Arrow and reward yourself with the a cool drink at the Botanical Gardens Cafe afterwards.
  2. Rustys markets - Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (check out Billys Coffee...rumoured to be the best coffee in Cairns).
  3. Join the Cairns locals for free zumba, yoga and fitness classes on the Esplanade.
  4. Have a swim in the lagoon pool and then soak up some rays while you listen to the local bands who often provide free entertainment on the grassy area by the pool.
  5. Cairns night markets - open daily 4-10 PM.
  6. Take a drive out to Crystal Cascades and enjoy a refreshing dip under a beautiful waterfall.

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