How to travel from Alice Springs to Cairns, Australia

The distance between Alice Springs and Cairns is around 2,335km (1,451 miles) and the quickest way to get there is to fly which takes around 5h 45m.

5 routes found

We've found 5 different ways to get from Alice Springs to Cairns by plane, bus, train and car. The recommended routes, which include information on duration, ticket price, and level of difficulty, can be found below.

👋 Also check out CairnsAlice Springs if you're planning a return trip.

🚀 Fastest
💰 Cheapest
1
plane
+

Fly

Fly from Alice Springs (ASP) to Cairns (CNS).

  • Duration5h 45m
  • Flight time5h 10m
  • Typical cost
    A$435($290)
Operated by

Virgin Australia

+ 2 others
2
6 x bus
+

Bus

Take the bus to Adelaide, Broken Hill Town Coach Stop, Dubbo Station Coach Bay 1, Tamworth Station Coach Stop then Brisbane and then to Cairns Central Station.

  • Duration3 days 6h
  • Departstwice a week
  • Typical cost
    A$820($550)
Operated by

Multiple bus operators

3
5 x train
+

Train

Take the train to Adelaide Parklands, Mount Victoria, Strathfield Station then Brisbane and then to Cairns Central Station.

  • Duration3 days 13h
  • Departsonce a week
  • Typical cost
    A$1,270($855)
Operated by

Multiple train operators

1 similiar route

We’ve grouped similar routes together, click the arrows to see the other options.

4
car
+

Drive

Drive to Cairns.

  • Duration24h 15m
  • Distance2,335km (1,451 miles)
Get turn-by-turn directions

Frequently asked questionsabout travel between Alice Springs and Cairns

There are several options for getting from Alice Springs to Cairns by plane, bus, train and car. The cheapest option is to fly which costs around A$435 ($290) and will take around 5h 45m.

The distance between Alice Springs and Cairns is around 2,335km (1,451 miles). In a direct line (as the crow flies), the distance is 1,450km (901 miles)

It takes around 5h 45m to get from Alice Springs and Cairns by plane. If you are travelling by car it will take around 24h 15m to drive there.

The quickest way to get from Alice Springs to Cairns is to fly which takes around 5h 45m and will set you back approx A$435 ($290).

The cheapest way to travel between Alice Springs and Cairns, if you exclude driving, is to fly which will typically cost around A$435 ($290) for a standard one-way ticket.

Train travel

Yes there is a train service that runs between Alice Springs and Cairns. It typically takes around 3 days 13h and departs once a week.

There are no direct train services that runs from Alice Springs to Cairns. However, you can instead can take several connecting trains with a changeover in Adelaide Parklands, Mount Victoria, Strathfield Station and Brisbane. These services run once a week and will take a minimum of 3 days 13h.

Great Southern Rail - The Ghan, Great Southern Rail - Indian Pacific, Transport NSW, NSW TrainLink, Queensland Rail Travel and Great Southern run train services between Alice Springs and Cairns. Trains depart once a week and will take around 3 days 13h, however, this may vary depending on the particular service and whether it runs express or stops all stations.

Bus travel

Yes there is a bus that runs regularly from Alice Springs and Cairns. It typically takes around 3 days 6h and departs twice a week.

There are no direct bus services that runs from Alice Springs to Cairns. However, you can instead can take several connecting buses with changeovers in Adelaide, Broken Hill Town Coach Stop, Dubbo Station Coach Bay 1, Tamworth Station Coach Stop and Brisbane. These services run twice a week and will take a minimum of 3 days 6h.

Greyhound Australia, NSW TrainLink, Crisps Coaches and Premier Motor Service run regular bus services between Alice Springs and Cairns. Buses run twice a week and take around 3 days 6h on average but will vary depending on you book with.

Flights and Airlines

Yes you can fly from Alice Springs and Cairns. Flights depart from Alice Springs (ASP) and arrive at Cairns (CNS) - via Brisbane (BNE). The flight takes around 5h 10m.

There is no direct flight from Alice Springs to Cairns. There is however a flight that goes via Brisbane (BNE). This services will take at least 5h 45m (not including layover time).

The flight from Alice Springs to Cairns typically takes around 5h 10m. Flights depart from Alice Springs (ASP) and and arrive into Cairns (CNS).

The closest major airport to Cairns is Cairns Airport (CNS) (CNS) which is approximately 5km (3 miles) from Cairns. Cooktown Airport (CTN) (CTN) and Palm Island Airport (PMK) (PMK) are also nearby and might be a better alternative airport depending on where you are flying from.

Drive yourself

Yes it is possible to drive from Alice Springs and Cairns. The distance is around 2,335km (1,451 miles) by road and it will take around 24h 15m in normal traffic conditons.

If you don't have a car, the easiest way to get from Alice Springs to Cairns is to fly which takes, on average, 5h 45m and will usually cost around A$435 ($290).

How do I get from Alice Springs to Cairns

Compare travel optionsbetween Alice Springs and Cairns

Transport options from Alice Springs to Cairns
Transport optionDurationCostFrequencyDistance
Fly
5h 45m
A$435($290)
5 times a day3,381km (2,101 miles)
Bus
3 days 6h
A$820($550)
twice a week5,708km (3,547 miles)
Train + 1 similar
3 days 13h
A$1,270($855)
once a week5,858km (3,640 miles)
Train via Adelaide Parklands4 days 9h
A$745($500)
once a week5,831km (3,623 miles)
Drive
24h 15m
A$310($210)
on demand2,335km (1,451 miles)

Top Carriersoperating between Alice Springs and Cairns

Train operators

Bus companies

Airlines

Airports near Cairns

The following major airports near Cairns offer regular flights to various popular destinations within Australia and internationally.

CNS
Cairns Airport (CNS)
International Airport
Distance
5km (3 miles) from Cairns
CTN
Cooktown Airport (CTN)
Domestic Airport
Distance
176km (109 miles) from Cairns
PMK
Palm Island Airport (PMK)
Domestic Airport
Distance
221km (137 miles) from Cairns