Sunny Cairns in far north Queensland was not the place we thought we would stumble onto – or into – an amazing independent bookstore! We lucked out finding Cairns Books in the air-conditioned glory of the Cairns Shopping Centre. Independently owned and operated by a small but dedicated team, the store reflects the interests of its local customers with its well stocked local history and natural history sections, books on the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef and an expansive Indigenous books collection.

They even have charts to identify different kinds of fish – a unique and wonderfully locally-flavoured step removed from the usual non-book items on sale at indie stores in the southern states. Cairns Books focus on the local area and the interests of its community doesn’t detract from the broad selection of more mainstream titles available, so if you’re looking for the newest release or even a classic, don’t fear, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

The store has been up and running for 5 years, and has a strong outlook with the team in charge (who are all very youthful!) having many years experience between them running successful independent bookstores that contribute to their community (we were also given the golden tip of checking out Petrarchs Bookstore in Launceston – we’ve added it to our list!). Cairns Books helps stock local school libraries and hosts ‘the Readers Cup’ –  a competition for local school kids – in addtion to rallying the local community in supporting ‘regional’ schools and providing donations to a school in Papua New Guinea.

Customers are the absolute focus for the Cairns Books team. They endeavour to find the perfect book for their loyal local following – proudly taking the extra step in ordering in second hand books for their customers if a requested hardcopy is no longer in print! While the store is in the Cairns Shopping Centre, it exudes the welcoming, inclusive and genuine atmosphere unique to all good independent bookstores – a wonderful credit to its hardworking team.

Definitely add this gem to your list while on your next tropical far north Queensland getaway to find a unique holiday read and support another great independent store giving some character and community to the tourist town around it.

You can check out their website here: