Key Industries

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef attracts thousands of thought leaders, innovators and high achievers who influence and inspire colleagues across a range of diverse industries. The diversity of the surrounding natural environment frequently attracts the attention of a range of various professions.

Agriculture

Tropical fruits, sugar, coffee, fishing, grass-fed beef, free-range pork and dairy have long been part of the agriculture industry in Tropical North Queensland, while new exotic crops include cacao and vanilla. Food processing is also innovating with banana flour the newest food product in a region producing smoked meats, charcuterie, and award-winning spirits.

 

Tourism

Tourism management and training in environmentally sensitive areas is an area of expertise in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef. Innovative programs like the Savannah Guides and the Master Reef Guides provide focused training for guide interpretation in our World Heritage areas. Tour operators also assist in managing the environment they work in with scientific monitoring and by assisting in research.

 

Marine Services

Cairns has a thriving marine precinct, including three shipyards as well as HMAS Cairns naval base and Defence contractors. In addition to servicing the needs of defence, Cairns is home to a large and diverse marine sector that includes a world-renowned tourism reef fleet, commercial fishing and shipping and plays host to superyachts and cruise ships.

 

Renewable Energy

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef have abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and biomass. As a result of this resource the region has over 100 businesses operating in the renewable energy sector. The renewable energy industry includes household, commercial and industrial, and utility-scale project expertise.

Education and Training

From primary to tertiary, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is perfectly positioned for education. The region boasts world-class facilities including James Cook University, ranked in the world’s top 4% of tertiary institutions, Central Queensland University, Great Barrier Reef International Marine College and TAFE North. Apprenticeships, traineeships, industry-based training and courses for domestic and international students cover a wide range of topics and areas of expertise.

Aviation

Aviation is an emerging sector for the region due to its strategic location in Asia Pacific and excellent infrastructure. Several international and national companies have major service centres in Cairns including Jet Aviation, who are an official Bombardier service centre and have the largest avionics workshop in the southern hemisphere, and UK owned Cobham Aviation Services. Cairns Aviation Skills Centre and CQUniversity Aviation Campus are both located at Cairns Airport, delivering vocational and Bachelor Qualifications.

Tropical Health and Life Sciences

Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is the ideal location for tropical forest science, biopharmaceuticals, tropical health, tropical foods, and natural resource management. James Cook University, home of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, the Australian Tropical Forest Institute and the Australian Tropical Herbarium, conducts internationally acclaimed research encompassing public health, bimolecular, clinical, and translational health systems. Research is conducted across several James Cook University centres exploring key areas including tropical infectious diseases, health security and biosecurity, chronic disorders with high prevalence in the tropics, genetic diseases and health services in regional and remote communities.

What’s this? Well right now you’re looking at the world’s first ‘off-grid-on-reef’ 100% electric boat 🙌🐠

@sailawayportdouglas has upped the anti on reef sustainability with this project and are leading the solar charge for more sustainable boating in the tropics ⛵️

Who’s adding this to their bucket list? 🪸☀️ 

🎥 @sailawayportdouglas #exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr #portdouglas #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Sorry TLC, chasing waterfalls is a Tropical North Queensland favourite 🌴🩵

📍 Millaa Millaa Falls, @athertontablelands

📸 @travelsbyjam #exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr #athertontablelands
@LizardIsland coming in hot with some epic dolphin acrobatics 🐬

Have you ever spotted a dolphin on your travels to the tropics? Tell us where in the comments 👇

🎥 @pablocogollos_photography #exploreTNQ #exploreCairnsGBR #lizardisland #capeyork #greatbarrierreef
Hey @taylorswift your fans up north are literally jumping for joy that you made it to @australia 🙌 

We heard you had some free time this week, so why not spend it with another icon - the Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland? We’re only a quick 3 hours away ✈️🌴

#TSTheErasTour #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR
We 🩵 waterfall season!

No matter how many times you see it, a beautiful snap of the famous #EnllinjaaFalls is undeniably breathtaking 💦🍃 This @wettropicsworldheritage listed plunge is just one of the incredible stops along the Waterfall Circuit 🚘🌴 While you’re here, don’t forget to explore the other gems of the @athertontablelands - #MillaaMillaa & #ZillieFalls just to name a few 💫

📸 chloe_purchase.x #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #ThisIsQueensland #SeeAustralia
Where else would you rather be this weekend? 💁‍♀️ For arts, culture and incredible lush rainforest, set your sights on @MossmanGorge 🌴✨

🎥 @sarahjanegriffiths #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #PortDouglasDaintree
In the wise words of our friend Dory, "I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine and he shall be my squishy" 🪼🪼

🎥 @reefencountercairns #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR
Michaelmas Cay isn’t just a picture perfect sand cay, it’s also a significant breeding site for many species of birds including noddies, boobies (yes, really) and terns with up to 20,000 breeding pairs on the island at one time 🐦✨🏝️

📸 @theverticalpixel #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR 

Note: Filmed under permit. Outside the cay/reef area. Image cropped and zoomed. @theverticalpixel has GBRMPA permit.
Would you dare to swim with the crocs? 🐊

While you definitely shouldn’t try it in the wild, here at @wildlifehabitat you can get up close and personal safely at the CrocArena 🤩

🎥 @mish_loves_fish #exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr
Where better to kick back and relax than in a real-life volcanic crater (aka #LakeEacham) 🌴✨ 

🎥 @passaporte_portugues #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR