One of Australia's most popular destinations for the laid-back lifestyle, Queensland's Cairns started life as a town housing gold miners. Today, tourism makes up the bulk of the gross domestic product of this small city, which is the hub for trips to see the 1,600-mile-long, 900-island Great Barrier Reef. Sitting on the Pacific Ocean, this is the tropics of golden beaches, azure seas, and impressive mountain ranges, with a wonderful climate (most of the year), scenery, and a vibe that is perhaps what is responsible for its being the fourth most-visited place in all of Australia, after Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Cairns MICE venues are fun, to say the least.
Cairns Airport (CNS) is four miles north of the city centre and has service to many cities in Australia, as well as to 20 international destinations, including Guam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Chief among MICE venues, Cairns Convention Centre has 22 meeting rooms and space for events of up to 5,000 persons, cocktail receptions of 1,800, and banquets of up to 1,300. MICE hotels include the 321-room Pullman Cairns International, which has 11 meeting rooms and a maximum capacity of 700 persons; the 263-room Hilton Cairns, which has seven meeting rooms for up to 600 persons; the 255-room Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns, which has 16 meeting rooms, the largest able to host 400 persons; the 173-room Mercure Cairns Harbourside, which has four meeting rooms for up to 200 persons; and the 128-room Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, which has 11 meeting rooms and capacity for events of up to 800 persons.
MICE venues in and around Cairns include The Venue at AJ Hackett, a wonderful base inside a World Heritage tropical forest and which has the area's only bungee jump, as well as covered areas, potential for hosting gala dinners, and all manner of palms, trees, and tiki torches. Similar—but also different – is Flames of the Forest, which has a stunning marquee with chandeliers, as well as tropical foliage and space for 850 guests. Cairns Wildlife Dome, which sits on the roof of the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, has a zipline course and lots of event space. Salt House, which espies the ocean, has a relaxed, trendy vibe, entertainment, a restaurant, bars and is next to the new Cairns Yacht Club. And for something truly tropical, rent out an entire Great Barrier Reef island with the Quicksilver Group, which can host events, incentives, and charters, including a very popular one on Green Island.
Restaurants from which to choose include Dundee's Restaurant on the Waterfront, which can host sit-down dinners of up to 80 persons and receptions of up to 120; Barnacle Bill's Seafood Inn, which has an understated deep-sea motif; Wink II Restaurant & Wine Bar, which serves fine cuisine in an informal atmosphere and lots of outdoor space beside the ocean; The Raw Prawn, another mostly seafood establishment, one with a private function and dining room for up to 50 seated persons or 80 for a reception; and Kani's, with a surf & turf menu and a terrace.