Cairns is a great place to visit and to live in and most backpackers love the place. But just like anywhere else in the world there are things you need to watch out for and places you have to be careful about.
Bedbugs love warm humid places such as Cairns and they can be very hard to get rid of so unfortunately there are still bedbug problems in Cairns. You should check your room and your bed on arrival to make sure you won’t be eaten alive during the night. What you need to do is look at your bed - you probably won’t see any bedbugs as they hide during the day but they do leave telltale signs. Check out the underside of the mattress and any seam lines of the mattress-look for:•Any bedbugs dead or alive. •Any bedbug eggs•Bedbug faeces.If you do get bitten you will end up with bite marks over your body- they may be bite marks from sandflys (little mosquitos) so don’t jump to conclusions.
Muggings/attacks at night
Cairns is basically a very safe place but just like anywhere else in the world the chances of being mugged/assaulted increase late at night/early in the morning. You can minimise the risk by taking the following precautions:•It is better to walk home with a friend whenever possible late at night. This is especially so if it is after say 2 am. •If you are staying outside the CBD then try to always walk home with a friend anytime at night. Consider taking a taxi if it is after 2 am and you aren’t staying in the CBD.•Try to avoid known danger spots such as certain parts of Manoora and Manunda after dark. See the Qld police crime stats website for more info.
•Box jellyfishand irukanji jellyfish are probably the most dangerous creatures in Cairns. They are only a danger during the summer months Nov- April/May (dates are variable) and . During this time do NOT swim on the beach without a full protective lycra/jellyfish suit unless you are in one of the jellyfish safe nets installed by the authorities. On the reef there is a much lesser chance of being stung but it is still recommended to wear a suit just in case. See this webpage for more info. •Crocodiles- keep a safe distance from salwater estuaries (rivers) and river mouths at all costs. Most beaches that are not close to a river mouth are fine but keep your eyes open- crocs are sometimes seen along the beach as they migrate from river to river. •Snakes-No discussion of dangerous creatures in Australia would be complete without mentioning snakes- in short there are many very venomous snakes that can kill you in Cairns (not of course the CBD). If you see any just leave them alone and they will leave you alone. If you get bitten apply a pressure bandage and get medical help asap •Bats/flying foxes. There are many flying foxes nesting in the trees in the CBD area- they are beautiful creatures and watching them as they head out on their nightly feed can be an inspiring experience. However, they can carry viruses such as Rabies- so do not pick them up or try to touch them- that includes any babies that may have fallen out of the trees. For more discussion on where to see the bats check out our free things to do page.
Bat poo and your car
Along Aplin street- near the library under the large fig trees. If you park your car under these trees then you will certainly have a big white mess to clean up when you come back. You will know where not to park by looking for the bat poo on the ground.
Dodgy employers that don’t pay you the legal rate.
Some employers in Cairns take advantage of the abudance of backpackers by paying them far less than they are entitled to by law. The minimum rate varies depending on the job but as of October 2016 the minimum rate was $17.70/hr (+ 25% if you are casually employed). To get the latest minimum pay rate or to complain about being underpaid go to to the Fair work tribunal website.