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Cairns History Walking Tour

Cairns Urban Walking Tours

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Cairns may be a pretty face but its history is also rich and deep, going back at least 40,000 years. Explore beyond the rainforest and reef to the ancient and recent history, complete with stories and photographable architecture, art and landmarks.

We look at buildings of significance from the early colony, including architectural styles, as well as indigenous outdoor artworks. You will learn about the importance of the natural features of Cairns (reef and rain forest), the oldest living culture in the world and the pre-colonial lifestyle. We talk about the challenges of colonisation, pirates and opium trade, and the early gold rush, farming, business, and the cultural melting pot that makes Cairns what it is today.

Historic buildings highlighted include Cairns Museum, Cairns Art Gallery, Mulgrave Shire Office, Telegraph Office, Post Office, Chambers, Boland's Department Store, the Adelaide Steamship Company, Central Hotel, Chinatown, and Hides Hotel.

About This Deal

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Cairns Museum, City Pl Shields St School of Arts Building, Cnr Lake and Shields Streets, Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia

Discuss the historic meeting place for traditional owners and colonial settlers.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Cairns Art Gallery, Cnr Abbott & Shields Streets, Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia

Discuss the Shields Street traditional aboriginal shields street art by Paul Bong as well as the gold rush and establishment of the colony. The history of the Public Curators building, now the Cairns Regional Gallery, is explored.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, 52 - 54 The Esplanade Opposite Mantra Esplanade, Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia

The history of the reef and rainforest as World Heritage Sites is discussed. The history of early settlers, including pirates, is discussed.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Cairns Tourist Information Centre, Cnr Shields St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

The history of early government in Cairns is discussed in front of Mulgrave Shire building, the original local government headquarters for the colony.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: The Reef Hotel Casino, 35-41 Wharf St., Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia

The war memorial next to the Casino is visited and the role of the wars in Cairns life, especially World War 2, is explored.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: The Chambers, 21 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

From this position, the historic Bolands Centre as the first department store in Cairns is discussed. The Adelaide Steamship Company and the Central Hotel are also discussed from this vantage point.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Crystal Ball Bookstore, 91 Grafton St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

The Chinatown exhibit infront of the bookstore is visited to discuss the important role of the Chinese in Cairns history and the history of Grafton Street as the heart of Chinatown.

Duration: 5 minutes

Stop At: Hides Hotel Cairns, 87 Lake St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

Return to location of start of tour in front of Cairns Museum. Discuss the role of the School of Arts in the founding colony. Discuss the history of Hides hotel and the role of historic hotels in early colony life. Discuss the Trocadero Dance Hall across the road from Hides and role in World War 2 life for soldiers.

Duration: 5 minutes

Additional Information

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Surfaces are wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
  • COVID-19 vaccination required for guides
  • Tour Guide

1 hour 30 minutes

Return Details
Returns to original departure point

Voucher Info
You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

The tour identified in this promotion is made available through Viator. Groupon is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Cairns Urban Walking Tours in connection with this deal. Please contact Groupon customer service for all inquiries related to this offer. Inquiries placed to Viator will be directed back to Groupon.

This offer is not eligible for promo codes.

Fine Print

7-day cancellation rights do not apply; no refunds or exchanges permitted. Voucher valid only for date and time listed; may not be exchanged or redeemed for other dates. Purchaser name and phone number must be provided at checkout; this information will be shared with Viator and the tour operator for purposes of order fulfillment. Groupon promo codes may not be used for this offer. Groupon voucher Terms of Sale do not apply. See the tour operators terms and conditions for this offer here.