Is Cairns Safe At Night?

cairns police

Cairns is just as safe as Sydney or Melbourne at night. Statistically speaking, it’s much safer. If you go for a walk and stay in the main areas, then yes, you will be safe.

What makes Cairns Safe?

Police are everywhere in Cairns and all pubs and clubs have their own team of security guards. While it is still possible to get into trouble in Cairns, chances are actually pretty slim.

Here is a quick guide to staying safe in Cairns City.

  • Stay on the main streets
  • Party with friends
  • Catch an Uber or Taxi
  • Avoid getting too drunk
  • Be inconspicuous
  • Don’t offend the locals

Let’s explain those points.

Stay on the main streets

Cairns has a few popular streets to visit at night, and a whole bunch of other streets you could wander down. If you stick to the well lit, heavily policed streets that are filled with like-minded night owls, you will be fine. Just like in the movies, trouble finds people down dark alleys.

Party with friends

This one seems pretty obvious, strength in numbers. Bad people will most likely not attack a large group of people for fear of being overpowered. On the other hand, 5 badies versus just you, makes an easy target.

Catch an Uber

Cairns pubs and clubs can be separated by some distance, depending on where you are going. For example, walking along Shields Street from The Salt House to Gilligans is a 15 min walk along a street that is quite dark in some areas. Uber in Cairns is cheap and probably worth it if you are alone.

Avoid getting too drunk

Alcohol fuels courage and stupidity. We all lose some of our inhibitions when we drink too much, in the comfort of a friends house this is fine. Though if your inebriation takes you down the wrong street then you may be in for a little more than a hangover.

Be inconspicuous

This simply implies to keep your voice down and breeze through without making people take notice of you. Save the singalongs for behind closed doors and don’t approach everyone you see and ask them to join your party.

Don’t offend the locals

This goes for inside and outside the pub. Making trouble in a different town is never a good idea. You can almost guarantee you will be outnumbered.

Is Cairns safe for tourists?

Yes, Cairns is to be considered for tourists. The majority of unsafe activity that happens in Cairns, occurs in the non-tourist parts of the city. Most notably, Manunda and Mooroobol. Cairns locals have a saying, ‘Avoid the Ms’.

Cairns City Homeless

While it is true that you will most likely encounter homeless people in Cairns. Generally, they are harmless. More often then not they are just telling stories to each other and drinking whatever they can get their hands on. You will almost certainly be asked for some money or cigarettes if you do walk around Cairns City at night, though don’t take it as a threat.

Cairns City Aboriginals

There are lots of Aboriginal people that hang out in the City Center and yes, they will normally be screaming at each other and making quite a scene.

We need to respect that these people were displaced by white colonists and still to this day racism is present. These people have had a very hard life, which is obvious to tell if you happen to catch one of their conversations.

The struggle they face on a daily basis is something that I personally could never imagine. Don’t be afraid of the local Aboriginals, the large majority are just going about their daily lives. Obviously, if there is a fight happening though, you would be best to walk the other way

Youth Crime In Cairns

This is where the real trouble is in Cairns. Groups of youths, both black and white, are frequently being arrested for assault, theft and all the other petty crimes you can think of. Car theft in Cairns is actually quite staggering with 3 vehicles on average being stolen per week. The offenders are almost never caught and the cars are generally found the next day with nothing more than a busted lock, steering column and a heavy scent of urine.

Make sure you lock your car and if you have the option of secure parking, take it.


Is Cairns safe at night? Yes, it’s safer than the larger cities in Australia and 99% of the time is warm, welcoming and rememberable.

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