Facts & Figures


The Cairns Regional Council local government area encompasses 1687 km2 of land on a narrow coastal strip between the Great Dividing Range and the Coral Sea.  It extends from the Eubenangee Swamp (near Mirriwinni) in the south to the Macalister Range (near Ellis Beach) in the north.

The region is part of Australia's Wet Tropics and is framed by the lush World Heritage listed Wet Tropics rainforest to the west and north and the Coral Sea and World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the east. These attributes make the region a world renowned tourist destination.

Cairns city is the principal centre of the region and is centrally located along the coastal strip with sub-regions to the north and south consisting predominantly good quality agricultural land and areas of high ecological significance. The region is an important gateway to the nearby Atherton Tablelands, Daintree and Wet Tropics rainforest, and the outback Savannah region beyond the Great Dividing Range.

The Russell, Mulgrave and Barron Rivers are the main river systems within the region. The region also includes a number of offshore islands: Snapper, Fitzroy, Green and the Frankland Islands.


Cairns Regional Council was created in March 2008 following the amalgamation of the former Cairns City and Douglas Shire Councils.  Douglas Shire de-amalgamated from Cairns on 1 January 2014. Read more about the history and heritage of the Cairns region. 


The estimated residential population of the Cairns region as at 30 June 2012 was 154,820 (preliminary data February 2014). The region has experienced an average annual growth rate of 2.8% over the last 10 years.

It is predicted that two thirds of Tropical North Queensland's population growth (approximately 70,000 people) will be accommodated within the Cairns region, with up to 50,000 ultimately accommodated within the Mount Peter Master Planned Area.

Our Community Profiles webpage contain more information about region's population and socio-demographic characteristics.

New Residents' Guide

Council has produced a handy guide to living, working and playing in the Cairns region.  You can view an e-book version of the New Residents' Guide online.  Hard copies are available from Council's Customer Service Centre in Cairns, at all Cairns Library branches and at many local real estate agents in the Cairns area.  You can also request a hard copy by phoning Council on (07) 4044 3044 or email marketing@cairns.qld.gov.au.