December is the start of the summer season in the southern hemisphere, which makes Cairns and Far North Queensland an ideal place to visit in order to escape the cold winters on the northern half of the globe. Cairns is located in the tropics and has a warm humid climate with hot days and mild nights. The wet seasons begins to build up around December and occasional tropical rainfalls are expected.
Average Temperatures for December: 31.4C (88.5F) maximum, 23.6C (74.5F) minimum
For more accurate Cairns weather information visit Weatherzone.
Cairns is located in Queensland, which observes the Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), corresponding to GMT+10.
The easiest way to get cash away from home is from an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) with an international network such as Cirrus (Mastercard) or PLUS (Visa). Australian ATMs use a four-digit code, so check with your bank and make sure you change yours before you leave home.
Business hours are most commonly 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with a small variation either side.
Government offices often close at 5pm, or even 4.30pm.
Shops may stay open later, particularly on Thursday and Friday evenings, and most will be open on Saturdays and Sundays as full weekend trading hours apply in Cairns.
Typical hours are:
9am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday
10am – 4pm, Sunday
Typical trading hours for supermarkets:
8am – 11pm, Monday to Friday
7am – 9pm, Saturday and Sunday
There are a variety of markets operating in Cairns and its surrounding region. For instance, the Cairns Esplanade Markets take place every Saturday, 8am – 4pm, at the Esplanade Lagoon, and the Cairns Night Markets are open every day of the year, 5pm – 11pm, located at 71-75 The Esplanade.
Further information, and details of other markets, can be found here.
Australia has a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10 per cent. You may be able to claim a refund of the GST paid on certain goods bought here; conditions apply. Tourist Refund Scheme facilities are located in the departure area of international terminals. For more detailed information see Australian government information on the Tourist Refund Scheme.
Tipping is not customary in Australia but is at your discretion.
Australia’s national currency is the Australian dollar (AUD) which comes in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins come in $2, $1, 50c, 20c, 10c and 5 cents.
Credit cards such as American Express, Bankcard, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in Australia. Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted everywhere credit cards are accepted. American Express and Diners Club are accepted at major supermarket and department store chains and many tourist destinations.
Merchants may impose credit card surcharges in some places.
Smoking is actively discouraged and governments collect huge taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products.
Smoking (including the use of electronic cigarettes) is prohibited on all international and domestic airline flights, inside all Australian airports, on all forms of public transport and on tourist coaches, as well as at public transport waiting points and within a 5 metre buffer zone beyond the waiting point. It is also prohibited at outdoor pedestrian malls, skate parks (also within 10 metres thereof), public swimming pools, commercial outdoor eating or drinking areas, on patrolled beaches, artificial beaches, major sports facilities and within 5 metres of building entrances.