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There are 5 ways to get from Melbourne to Cairns by plane, train, bus or car

Select an option below to see step-by-step directions and to compare ticket prices and travel times in Rome2rio's travel planner.

Recommended option

Fly  •  5h 55m

  1. Fly from Melbourne (MEL) to Cairns (CNS) MEL - CNS

$114 - $431

4 alternative options

Train  •  2 days 3h

  1. Take the train from Southern Cross to Central Station 622 / ...
  2. Take the train from Central Station to Brisbane 31
  3. Take the train from Brisbane Roma Street to Cairns Central Station

$290 - $565

Bus  •  2 days 11h

  1. Take the bus from Melbourne to Sydney
  2. Take the bus from Sydney to Brisbane Roma Street
  3. Take the bus from Brisbane to Cairns

$248 - $441

Bus Premier Motor Service  •  2 days 13h

  1. Take the bus from Melbourne to Parramatta
  2. Take the bus from Hornsby to Brisbane
  3. Take the bus from Brisbane to Cairns Central Station

$260 - $435

Drive  •  33h 56m

  1. Drive from Melbourne to Cairns 1823.9 miles

$260 - $380

Questions & Answers

The cheapest way to get from Melbourne to Cairns is to fly which costs $160 - $650 and takes 5h 55m.

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The quickest way to get from Melbourne to Cairns is to fly which costs $160 - $650 and takes 5h 55m.

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No, there is no direct bus from Melbourne to Cairns. However, there are services departing from Melbourne and arriving at Cairns via Sydney and Brisbane. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 2 days 11h.

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No, there is no direct train from Melbourne to Cairns station. However, there are services departing from Southern Cross and arriving at Cairns Central Station via Central Station and Brisbane Roma Street. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 2 days 3h.

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The distance between Melbourne and Cairns is 2324 km. The road distance is 2918.3 km.

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The best way to get from Melbourne to Cairns without a car is to train which takes 2 days 3h and costs $400 - $800.

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It takes approximately 5h 55m to get from Melbourne to Cairns, including transfers.

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Melbourne to Cairns bus services, operated by Firefly Express, depart from Melbourne station.

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Melbourne to Cairns train services, operated by XPT, depart from Southern Cross station.

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The best way to get from Melbourne to Cairns is to fly which takes 5h 55m and costs $160 - $650. Alternatively, you can train, which costs $400 - $800 and takes 2 days 3h, you could also bus, which costs $350 - $650 and takes 2 days 11h.

Mode details

Map of how to get from Melbourne to Cairns.
Launch map view
  • Distance: 1452.7 miles
  • Duration: 5h 55m

What companies run services between Melbourne, VIC, Australia and Cairns, QLD, Australia?

Jetstar, Qantas and two other airlines fly from Melbourne to Cairns hourly. Alternatively, you can take a train from Melbourne to Cairns via Central Station, Brisbane, and Brisbane Roma Street in around 2 days 3h.

Airlines
Qantas
Website
qantas.com
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 20m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$120 - $650
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns via Sydney
Ave. Duration
5h 15m
When
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Estimated price
$170 - $750
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns via Brisbane
Ave. Duration
5h 20m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$170 - $750
Jetstar
Website
jetstar.com
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 20m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$95 - $550
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns via Sydney
Ave. Duration
5h 20m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$95 - $550
Tigerair Australia
Website
tigerair.com.au
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 25m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$95 - $550
Virgin Australia
Website
virginaustralia.com
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 25m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$140 - $650
Flights from Melbourne to Cairns via Sydney
Ave. Duration
5h 20m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$140 - $650
Train operators
XPT
Phone
132 232
Website
ptv.vic.gov.au
Train from Southern Cross to Central Station
Ave. Duration
11h 8m
Frequency
Twice daily
Estimated price
$60 - $170
Book at
transportnsw.info
Economy
$60 - $80
First
$80 - $110
Sleeper
$140 - $170
Transport NSW
Phone
131 500
Website
transportnsw.info
Train from Central Station to Brisbane
Ave. Duration
14h 12m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$90 - $130
Schedules at
Transport NSW
Economy
$90 - $130
1st Class
$120 - $180
Queensland Rail Travel
Phone
1300 131 722
Email
reservations@qr.com.au
Website
queenslandrailtravel.com.au
Train from Brisbane Roma Street to Cairns Central Station
Ave. Duration
24h 20m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$140 - $270
Book at
Queensland Rail Travel
A-Choice
$262
B-Quick
$145
Bus operators
Firefly Express
Phone
1300 730 740
Website
fireflyexpress.com.au
Bus from Melbourne to Sydney
Ave. Duration
11h 35m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$40 - $55
Website
fireflyexpress.com.au
Bus from Melbourne to Parramatta
Ave. Duration
10h 40m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$40 - $55
Website
fireflyexpress.com.au
Greyhound Australia

Greyhound Australia is the country’s only long distance bus operator running services in all states and territories. Greyhound Australia has been operating for 110 years and is the leading bus company in Australia. The extensive network now covers most of the Australian mainland and services more than 5 million passengers every year. Buses are equipped for the long journeys, with free WiFi, air-conditioning, full disability access, USB chargers in every seat and an on-board restroom.

Contact Details
Phone
1300 473946
Website
greyhound.com.au
Bus from Sydney to Brisbane Roma Street
Ave. Duration
16h 45m
Frequency
5 times a day
Estimated price
$80 - $140
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Saver
$80 - $120
Flexifare
$95 - $140
Bus from Brisbane to Cairns
Ave. Duration
29h
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$140 - $250
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Saver
$140 - $210
Flexifare
$170 - $250
Premier Motor Service
Phone
+61 2 4423 5233
Email
reservations@premierms.com.au
Website
premierms.com.au
Bus from Sydney to Brisbane
Ave. Duration
18h 35m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$65 - $130
Website
Premier Motor Service
Bus from Hornsby to Brisbane
Ave. Duration
17h 45m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$65 - $130
Website
Premier Motor Service
Bus from Brisbane to Cairns Central Station
Ave. Duration
29h 30m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$150 - $250
Website
Premier Motor Service

Want to know more about travelling around Australia

Rome2rio's Travel Guide series provide vital information for the global traveller. Filled with useful and timely travel information, the guides answer all the hard questions - such as 'How do I buy a ticket?', 'Should I book online before I travel? ', 'How much should I expect to pay?', 'Do the trains and buses have Wifi?' - to help you get the most out of your next trip.

More Questions & Answers

The quickest flight from Melbourne Airport to Cairns Airport is the direct flight which takes 3h 20m.

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Melbourne to Cairns bus services, operated by Greyhound Australia, arrive at Cairns station.

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Cairns is 1h behind Melbourne. It is currently 1:32 PM in Melbourne and 12:32 PM in Cairns.

Melbourne to Cairns train services, operated by Queensland Rail Travel, arrive at Cairns Central Station.

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Yes, the driving distance between Melbourne to Cairns is 2918 km. It takes approximately 33h 56m to drive from Melbourne to Cairns.

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Tigerair Australia, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas offer flights from Melbourne Airport to Cairns Airport.

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There are 492+ hotels available in Cairns. Prices start at $67 USD per night.

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The best way to get from Melbourne to Melbourne Airport is to bus which takes 20m and costs $18.

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