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Cairns is a regional city and Local Government Area located in Queensland, Australia. Originally settled in 1876, and named after William Wellington Cairns (the then Governor of Queensland) to serve miners heading for the Hodgkinson River goldfield, the settlement declined when an easier route was discovered from Port Douglas. However, Cairns' future was secured as it developed into a railhead and major port for the exportation of sugar cane, gold, precious metals and agricultural industries from the surrounding coastal and Tableland regions. The city is rapidly expanding, with a population of 122 731 (as of 2006) and is reliant on the sugar and tourism industries. and It is a popular travel destination for foreign tourists because of its tropical climate and proximity to many attractions. The Great Barrier Reef can be reached in less than an hour by boat. The Daintree National ParkCape Tribulation, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Cairns, are popular areas for experiencing a tropical rainforest.

It is also a starting point for people wanting to explore Cooktown, Cape York Peninsula, and the Atherton Tableland. The city has used its natural surroundings to its advantage with the construction of several small theme parks for tourists. Among them are Rainforestation nature park, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and the Kuranda Skyrail Gondola Cableway, which extends for 7.5 km (4.7 mi) over World Heritage rainforest. A major attraction in Cairns is the lagoon. Cairns Mayor Kevin Byrne declared in May, 2003 that topless sunbaking is permitted here as this area is a gathering point for people from around the world who may wish to do so.  An oceanway allows pedestrians and cyclists to move along the foreshore from the Lagoon in a sustainable manner. View the Cairns Webcam

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