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.

Friday night

Movie night

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

Monday night
TV Room

Pancake breakfast

Start your day right with our amazing Free pancake breakfast.


Tours & activities related to this hostel

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

per person

Skydive Cairns

Want the best 60 seconds of your life?! Get the ultimate rush of adrenaline as you skydive 14,000ft above the lush tropical rainforests and stunning coastline of Cairns. Save $30!

For an adrenaline rush that can't be beaten jump out of a plane above one of Australia's most stunning destinations - Cairns!

A massive 14,000ft above the lush rainforest and beaches of Cairns, the experienced tandem skydive instructors will help you overcome your fears as you head back to the ground at a whopping 200km/h! 

Once the freefall is over (the longest 60 seconds of your life!) and the parachute opens enjoy the gliding to really soak up the stunning views.

Clothing - Wear comfortable loose clothing as you would normally dress for the weather on the day. Wear sports shoes, or runners. Photo and Video packages can be purchased for $129

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).

per person

Greyhound Bus Pass: Cairns-Brisbane

Travel Australia's famous East Coast in comfort with this Hop on Hop off Greyhound pass. Exclusive discount, save $17 when you book with YHA!

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

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!

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.

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.

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!

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 Cairns

  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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