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There are 5 ways to get from Sydney 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  •  4h 35m

  1. Fly from Sydney (SYD) to Cairns (CNS) SYD - CNS

$159 - $504

4 alternative options

Train  •  39h 57m

  1. Take the train from Central Station to Brisbane 31
  2. Take the train from Brisbane Roma Street to Cairns Central Station Spirit of Queensland

$266 - $507

Bus via Brisbane  •  47h 5m

  1. Take the bus from Sydney to Brisbane Gx244
  2. Take the bus from Brisbane to Cairns Central Station Pm16

$286 - $489

Bus  •  2 days 0h

  1. Take the bus from Sydney to Brisbane Pm12
  2. Take the bus from Brisbane to Cairns Central Station Pm16

$226 - $340

Drive  •  28h 20m

  1. Drive from Sydney to Cairns 2412.4 km

$270 - $400

Sydney to Cairns by train

The train journey time between Sydney and Cairns is around 2 days 1h and covers a distance of around 2641 km. The fastest train normally takes 2 days 1h. Operated by NSW TrainLink and Queensland Rail Travel, the Sydney to Cairns train service departs from Central Station and arrives in Cairns Central Station. Typically four trains run weekly, although weekend and holiday schedules can vary so check in advance.

Train route overview

Average train time:
2 days 1h
Fastest train time:
2 days 1h
Trains per week:
4
Cheapest price:
$266
Carbon emissions:
139 kg CO2

First and last trains

First train departs at:
14:41
Last train departs at:
14:44

The schedules shown below are for the next available departures.

Sydney to Cairns train schedules

Sydney → Cairns
Partially open

Travel safe during COVID-19

Rules to follow in Australia

1.5m

Regional advice

Travel within Australia

Regional restriction measures in place
Domestic border crossings may be subject to approval, testing and quarantine

COVID-19 help in Australia

If you need help, visit the national COVID-19 website or call the COVID-19 Helpline 1800 020 080

Frequently Asked Questions


There are currently travel restrictions within Australia.

Explore options for future travel

Domestic travel is not restricted, but some conditions may apply

  • Face masks are recommended
  • There is a social distancing requirement of 1.5 metres
  • Regional restriction measures in place
  • Domestic border crossings may be subject to approval, testing and quarantine

Explore travel options

The national COVID-19 helpline number in Cairns is 1800 020 080.

Wearing a face mask on public transport in Cairns is subject to regional advice.

The social distance requirement in Cairns is 1.5 metres.

Make yourself known to an official member of staff and/or call the national coronavirus helpline number on 1800 020 080.

Last updated: 21 Jun 2021
Exceptions may apply, for full details: Department of Home Affairs.

We're working around the clock to bring you the latest COVID-19 travel updates.
This information is compiled from official sources. To the best of our knowledge, it is correct as of the last update.
Visit Rome2rio travel advice for general help.

Questions & Answers

The cheapest way to get from Sydney to Cairns is to fly which costs $150 - $550 and takes 4h 35m.

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The quickest way to get from Sydney to Cairns is to fly which costs $150 - $550 and takes 4h 35m.

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No, there is no direct bus from Sydney to Cairns station. However, there are services departing from Sydney and arriving at Cairns Central Station via King George Square, 1F and Brisbane. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 47h 5m.

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No, there is no direct train from Sydney station to Cairns station. However, there are services departing from Central Station and arriving at Cairns Central Station via Brisbane Roma Street. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 39h 57m.

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The distance between Sydney and Cairns is 1961 km. The road distance is 2412.4 km.

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The best way to get from Sydney to Cairns without a car is to train which takes 39h 57m and costs $260 - $550.

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It takes approximately 4h 35m to get from Sydney to Cairns, including transfers.

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Sydney to Cairns bus services, operated by Greyhound Australia, depart from Sydney station.

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Sydney to Cairns train services, operated by NSW TrainLink, depart from Central Station.

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The best way to get from Sydney to Cairns is to fly which takes 4h 35m and costs $150 - $550. Alternatively, you can train, which costs $260 - $550 and takes 39h 57m, you could also bus via Brisbane, which costs $280 - $490 and takes 47h 5m.

Mode details

Map of how to get from Sydney to Cairns.
Launch map view
  • Distance: 1960.5 km
  • Duration: 4h 35m

What companies run services between Sydney, NSW, Australia and Cairns, QLD, Australia?

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia fly from Sydney to Cairns hourly. Alternatively, you can take a train from Sydney to Cairns via Brisbane and Brisbane Roma Street in around 39h 57m.

Airlines
Qantas
Website
qantas.com
Flights from Sydney to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 5m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$180 - $700
Flights from Sydney to Cairns via Brisbane
Ave. Duration
5h 5m
When
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
Estimated price
$220 - $800
Flights from Sydney to Cairns via Gold Coast
Ave. Duration
5h 10m
When
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Estimated price
$150 - $650
Flights from Sydney to Cairns via Canberra
Ave. Duration
5h 15m
When
Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday
Estimated price
$220 - $800
Jetstar
Website
jetstar.com
Flights from Sydney to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 5m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$150 - $650
Flights from Sydney to Cairns via Brisbane
Ave. Duration
5h 10m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$150 - $650
Flights from Sydney to Cairns via Gold Coast
Ave. Duration
5h 10m
When
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Estimated price
$150 - $650
Virgin Australia
Website
virginaustralia.com
Flights from Sydney to Cairns
Ave. Duration
3h 15m
When
Every day
Estimated price
$160 - $700
Flights from Sydney to Cairns via Brisbane
Ave. Duration
4h 50m
When
Monday to Saturday
Estimated price
$160 - $700
Train operators
NSW TrainLink
Phone
131 500
Website
transportnsw.info
Train from Central Station to Brisbane
Ave. Duration
14h 12m
Frequency
Twice daily
Estimated price
$95 - $140
Website
NSW TrainLink Train
Economy
$95 - $140
First Class
$130 - $200
Queensland Rail Travel
Bus operators
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, although service is limited in Western Australia with just a single route to Broome. Buses are equipped for long journeys, with free WiFi, air-conditioning, full disability access, USB chargers, reclining seats and an onboard bathroom.

Contact Details
Phone
1300 473946
Website
greyhound.com.au
Bus from Sydney to Brisbane
Ave. Duration
16h 30m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$140 - $270
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Early Bird
$140 - $210
Advantage
$170 - $250
Premium
$180 - $270
Premier Motor Service
Phone
+61244235233 (call 13 34 10 within Australia)
Email
reservations@premierms.com.au
Website
premierms.com.au
Bus from Brisbane to Cairns Central Station
Ave. Duration
29h 30m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$140 - $220
Website
Premier Motor Service
Bus from Sydney to Brisbane
Ave. Duration
17h 35m
Frequency
Once daily
Estimated price
$85 - $120
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 Sydney Airport to Cairns Airport is the direct flight which takes 3h 5m.

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Sydney to Cairns bus services, operated by Premier Motor Service, arrive at Cairns Central Station.

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

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Yes, the driving distance between Sydney to Cairns is 2412 km. It takes approximately 28h 20m to drive from Sydney to Cairns.

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

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There are 263+ hotels available in Cairns. Prices start at $125 AUD per night.

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The best way to get from Sydney to Sydney Airport is to train which takes 22 min and costs $18.

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