The Sister Cities program aims to develop meaningful and long term links with cities and communities in other countries to achieve a greater level of international understanding and goodwill between peoples, and to share economic, community, cultural and social interaction.
General information about the Sister Cities overall program is available at the Sister Cities Australia website.
Sister Cities Ambassadorship
Mrs Sim Hayward, previous chair and longstanding member of Council's former Sister Cities Advisory Committee, was appointed as Cairns' Sister Cities Ambassador at the August 2016 Council meeting. The Ambassadorship was adopted following the completion of the Sister Cities Advisory Committee's term in March 2016. in line with local government elections.
This position champions the interests of Cairns from an economic, educational, tourism and community perspective.
Sister Cities activities
Delegations to Cairns
Cairns Regional Council welcomes delegates from around the world who wish to explore our region and the vast array of opportunities it presents.
Individuals or groups seeking to visit Cairns for purposes relating to Sister City relationships, trade and investment, or technical knowledge sharing should complete and submit our online application form at least one (1) month prior to visiting the region. A Council representative will contact you to discuss your visit.
Cairns Says Hello video
As an initiative of the Cairns Sister Cities Advisory Committee, a short film (8 minutes) was created to send to all of our seven Sister Cities that depicts our lifestyle, environment, culture and people, all of them saying "Hello". The Cairns Says Hello film was given Special Recognition at the 2014 Sister Cities Australia Conference Awards ceremony. Read more about it or watch the video on YouTube.
Council recognises the importance of supporting our region's youth to promote international understanding and friendship and to give them a chance to experience another culture first-hand. This is achieved through support for youth exchanges via existing partnership arrangements between schools in Cairns and those in our Sister Cities.
Our Sister Cities
Cairns has sister city relationships with seven cities:
Hiwasa became Cairns' first sister city in 1969. In 2006, Hiwasa and neighbouring town Yuki merged and were renamed Minami. The relationship was sparked by the Mayor of Hiwasa's interest in the Loggerhead turtle and the decision by Cairns to send an example for display at the Hiwasa museum. Minami has approximately 10,000 residents and is located on the island of Shikoku in the south east of the Japanese archipeligo. More
The second largest city in Papua New Guinea, Lae shares a similar history to Cairns, being founded on gold mining and then agriculture. Located on the central east coast, the city is home to Papua New Guinea's largest port and acts as the entry point to road travel into the central highlands. It is considered the industrial capital of the country. Lae has a population of approximately 100,000. More
Like Cairns, Sidney is a year-round tourist destination with an extensive waterfront and artificial reef. Associated industries include fishing, ocean science and marina operation. It is located on the northern end of Vancouver Island, at the extreme south west of Canada and has a population of approximately 11,500 residents. More
Scottsdale, in the desert state of Arizona, is considered one of the world's premier golf and resort destinations. The population of approximately 227,000 swells dramatically during the North American winter, when its year-round warmth and sunshine make the city a popular annual destination for Americans and Canadians escaping the cold. Consequently, almost 40 per cent of residents are employed in the tourism industry. The city is steeped in Native American culture and cowboy lore, and is officially "The West's most western town". More
The mayors of Riga and Cairns forged their sister city relationship at the International Sister Cities Convention hosted by Cairns in 1988. The capital and largest city in Latvia, with approximately 645,000 inhabitants, Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. This history is recognised in UNESCO World Heritage status for its city centre. Riga lies on the central western coast of Latvia and provides an important port on the Baltic Sea. More
Surrounded by centuries-old rice fields and industrial mega-factories for some of Japan's biggest companies, Oyama is well known for its mix of traditional and contemporary lifestyles. Located in the central region of Honshu Island, the largest of the Japanese island chain, the city has a population of approximately 164,000 people. More
One of China's four major sugarcane areas, Zhanjiang has a lot of parallels with Cairns. The most recent city to forge a relationship with Cairns, it is also the largest with approximately 7 million residents. On the South China Sea, Zhanjiang is China's southern-most port, part of the Southern Economic Zone and close to Hong Kong, making it a hub for mining, mineral explorations, the petrochemical industry, off-shore oil exploration, agriculture and marine products. More