The Cairns Regional Council area is located in Far North Queensland. The Council area encompasses a total land area of over 4,100 square kilometres and features significant areas of national park and state forest, rural areas and growing urban areas. The main urban centre is Cairns, with smaller urban areas in Babinda, Bramston Beach, Cooya, Gordonvale, Mossman, Newell, Port Douglas and Wonga. Urban areas include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, entertainment and tourist land uses. Rural land is used predominantly for sugar cane farming. The population of the Council area has grown rapidly since the 1970s, particularly in the urban areas. Rural land is used predominantly for sugar cane farming.

The key employment sectors are tourism, retail, education, health and manufacturing. Major retail centres include the Cairns CBD, Cairns Central and Stockland Cairns, with a number of other significant centres (Mt Sheridan Plaza, Raintrees, Redlynch Central, Smithfield, The Pier and Westcourt Plaza). Cairns features two tertiary institutions (James Cook University and Central Queensland University) and a vocational training provider (Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE), and two major hospitals (Cairns Base and Cairns Private). The main industrial areas are located in Bungalow, Edmonton, Portsmith, Stratford and Woree. The Region is home to the Cairns International Airport in Aeroglen, and the Port of Cairns (Australia's busiest cruise port).

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NOTE: The land use shown in the map is derived from ABS Mesh Block categories. Mesh Blocks broadly identify land use and are not designed to provide definitive land use. It is purely an indicator of the main planned land use for a Mesh Blocks. For more information please refer to ABS Mesh Block categories.

Transportation Networks

  • Bruce Highway
  • Captain Cook Highway
  • Cairns International Airport
  • North Coast railway line
  • Port of Cairns


  • Brisbane CBD 1700km
  • Townsville CBD 350km
  • Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby) 840km

Major Industrial Precincts

  • Bungalow
  • Edmonton (north-eastern part)
  • Portsmith
  • Stratford (northern part)
  • Woree

Cairns Regional Council

economic profile