Flights to Cairns

Find our cheapest flights to Cairns from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Reef, rainforest and relaxation are compelling reasons to visit Cairns, the captivating gateway to Tropical North Queensland.


per person one way from Auckland

1 July 2019
17 Jul - 25 Sep & 9 - 27 Oct 2019 valid on outbound flights from New Zealand only.
Card payment fee may apply Fare conditions

Terms and conditions: *$75 domestic connections are not available for travel Singapore in Premium Economy & Business Premier and travel to Australia. Advertised fares are based on travel originating in New Zealand. For airfare only bookings paid with credit, debit or charge card, a fee of $6 per person per one way Australia and Pacific Island journey, $12 per person per one way Bali journey and $17.50 per person per one way long haul journey applies. For airfare only bookings made through our Contact Centre a non-refundable service fee of $60 per person, per one way long haul journey applies. Customers who purchase fares using Airpoints Dollars™ online will be required to pay the government and airport charges which are included in this fare by internet banking or credit card. Taxes on return sector will vary from those on the outbound journey. Travel is via Air New Zealand operated non-stop services ex Auckland to Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Buenos Aires & Vancouver. Flights to New Caledonia, Tahiti, Singapore, San Francisco or Hong Kong may be operated by partner airlines. Non-stop flights to Seoul commence on 23 November 2019, travel prior to this is via Taipei and beyond on partner airlines. Fares to beyond USA, South America and Canada destinations are available at an additional cost. Travel ex Wellington or Christchurch is via Auckland on Air New Zealand domestic flights. Connections from provincial New Zealand points requiring an overnight break in the journey will be at the passenger's own expense. Flight and routing restrictions may apply. For travel to Australia, an additional $10 per one-way journey will apply for Economy class travel from NZ-AU on Thursday-Friday and from AU-NZ on Sunday-Monday with the exception of Auckland-Cairns, Auckland-Sunshine Coast, Christchurch-Gold Coast, Wellington-Melbourne and any routes which include these non-stop services. For travel to the Islands: an additional $10 per person per one way journey will apply for travel on Friday-Sunday in both directions. For travel to Asia, Vancouver & The UK & Europe, an additional $30 per one-way journey will apply for Economy class travel Friday-Sunday in both directions. For travel to the USA, an additional $30 per one-way journey will apply for Economy class travel from NZ to USA: Friday-Sunday and from USA-NZ: Thursday-Saturday. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights or on all dates. Prices correct as at 20 June 2019. Offer is valid for new bookings only. New deals may be released at any time.

Cancellation/changes: Air New Zealand's conditions of carriage, general terms and conditions, long haul fare rules, Aussie Smart Saver fare rules, Islands Smart Saver fare rules and Airpoints™ terms & conditions apply. See further baggage information. All promotional offers advertised on this website are correct at time of publishing, however Air New Zealand reserves all rights to modify, amend or withdraw any promotion offer advertised at any time, without further notice. TTY assistance is available for deaf and hearing impaired via NZ Relay on 0800 4 711 711.

If you love an active holiday intermixed with lazy days, Cairns is your kind of destination. From easy going to extreme, there are all kinds of adventures within easy reach of the city, or you can hire a car and venture north or south to some of Australia's most beautiful tropical beaches. Nature will play a major part in your experience, whether you're snorkelling spectacular locations on the Great Barrier Reef, paddling up a river or rejuvenating body and mind at a rainforest retreat.

About our flights to Cairns

Air New Zealand flies non-stop from Auckland to Cairns during New Zealand's autumn and winter. At other times you can fly to Cairns via Brisbane or Sydney. On non-stop flights to Cairns from Auckland you have a choice of Seat, Seat + Bag, Works and Works Deluxe fare types. The Auckland to Cairns flight time is five hours and 35 minutes.

If you're interested in cheap flights to Cairns from NZ, we run regular special offers. You can sign up for low fare alerts to receive early notice of these offers. You can also sign up to receive regular email updates about cheap airfares, packages, competitions and exclusive offers.

South from Cairns, Air New Zealand also flies to the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Queensland's state capital Brisbane.

The Cassowary Coast is where you can blend beach, hinterland and reef experiences for a relaxed Australian holiday that's big on originality.

Highlights of Tropical North Queensland

Australia at its most exotic - that's what you'll discover in Tropical North Queensland. This region has the stuff Aussie legends are made of, from the immense Great Barrier Reef and deepest rainforest jungles to acclaimed seafood restaurants and indulgent spa resorts. Whatever you choose to do on land or sea, there's always a degree of adventure involved. But it's also easy to do next to nothing, flopped beside a deliciously cool pool with a book or making footprints in the sand along a wilderness beach.

In and around Cairns

Born in 1876 as a goldfields port, Cairns is a tropical business and tourism hub where beach wear rules supreme. But while the city's vibe is laid back, there's plenty of smart-casual sophistication to be found in the bars, clubs and restaurants.

Before you head north or south on your Queensland adventure, stay a few nights in Cairns to discover the city and nearby attractions. In fact, there are enough things to do and places to go in Cairns to make it your sole destination - especially if you throw in a couple of day trips.

You can get around the city using the Sunbus public transport service, which operates as far as Palm Cove in the north. Cycling is another transport option; the 450km network of tracks is a fun way to access the Esplanade, nature areas and sporting venues.

Easy day trips from Cairns

Just 45 minutes offshore, Green Island and Fitzroy Island are part of the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns you can visit the islands by fast catamaran to discover idyllic beaches and beautiful areas of coral. There are all sorts of tours and packages available to make the whole experience super-easy.

One of the best things to do in Cairns is an expedition to Kuranda, where you'll find the Tjupakai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Rainforestation Nature Park and a fabulous butterfly sanctuary. You can make the day even more enthralling by catching the scenic railway from Cairns, then gliding back down from the mountains on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Inland from Cairns is a highland area called the Tablelands, where the locals go to picnic, camp, swim and bush walk. You'll find waterfalls, rock wallabies, wetlands, historic villages and beautiful countryside scenery. A driving circuit via Smithfield, Mareeba, Atherton and Goldsborough can be easily completed in a day, or book a night's accommodation along the way for a more relaxed journey.

Port Douglas, Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef

Tropical North Queensland targets all your senses, particularly your sense of wonder. If you venture as far north as Cape Tribulation you can discover an orchard that's devoted to rare tropical fruit trees. Visitors are welcome to taste whatever's in season, which is often something weirdly delicious like grumichama, durian, ice cream bean or salak. The Dubuji Boardwalk up here is also much-loved by travellers.

Another far north highlight is jungle surfing through the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest. This activity involves zooming between platforms high up in the forest canopy, helped along by the world's first human hamster wheel cable lift.

If you stay in Port Douglas for a few nights, you can combine restaurant and shopping pleasures with reef and river adventures. The town is a major base for day trips to the Low Isles, a protected coral cay that's fabulous for snorkelling and beach lazing. For a different kind of watery fun, try stand up paddle boarding through rainforest on the Mossman River - it's a serene green experience.

The Cassowary Coast for beaches and islands

An easy drive south from Cairns is an area of Queensland called the Cassowary Coast. It's where you can blend beach, hinterland and reef experiences for a relaxed Australian holiday that's big on originality.

In the centre of the region is gorgeous Mission Beach - a series of beach towns linked by 14 kilometres of beautiful sand and surf. From here it's easy to launch marine adventures, including sea kayaking around Dunk Island and small-group cruises to the outer Great Barrier Reef, where you can get into snorkelling and whale watching.

A special experience near Mission Beach is Paronella Park, which is listed as a National Trust treasure. Staged within 13 acres of lush rainforest, it's a man-made wonderland of meandering walkways that lead to bridges and mossy staircases, ponds and secret gardens, rustic structures, waterfalls and the ruins of a Spanish castle. This park was completed in 1935 by José Paronella, a visionary Spaniard who wanted to create a fairy-tale on earth.

Find the perfect place to stay

Cairns Queens Court
Cairns Queens Court
167-173 Sheridan St
per night
Cairns City Sheridan
Cairns City Sheridan
157 Sheridan Street
per night

Essential information

Best time to go icon.

Best time to go

Typical of many warm destinations, Tropical North Queensland has a wet season (December to April) and a dry season (the rest of the year). If you're planning a trip to Cairns, New Zealand's coolest months are the best time to visit - you'll enjoy maximum sunshine, daily highs of up to 28°C and comfortable evenings that drop to about 20°C.

How much will it cost icon.

How much will it cost?

This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about AUD $150 to $200 a day per person for food and entertainment.

Health icon.


There are no mandatory vaccinations required for visitors to Australia.

Visas icon.


All visitors to Australia must obtain a visa before they arrive. The only exception is New Zealand citizens, provided they meet specific health and good character requirements. To find out more, check out the handy visa finder on the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Cheap flights to Cairns

Auckland (AKL) to Cairns (CNS) 

5h 35m







Find flights

Wellington (WLG) to Cairns (CNS) 

8h 20m

via Auckland 


: Seasonal



Find flights

Christchurch (CHC) to Cairns (CNS) 

7h 50m

via Auckland 


: Seasonal



Find flights

*Flight times are based on the fastest route available.
**Indirect flights may also be available for this route.

Get the most out of your trip with Seats to Suit

Search and book Cairns flights
Condé Nast Best Airline in the World Award 2017 logo.

Air New Zealand voted the 'Best Airline in the World'

Air New Zealand has been named the 'Best Airline in the World' in the latest Condé Nast Readers' Choice Awards for its innovative and customer-focused travel offerings. Read about the Best Airline of the World award.

Did you find this page helpful?