If you're a burger connoisseur you're in for a treat my friend, Cairns has a multitude of burger bars. Here's my pick for the top 5.

1. Cairns Burger Cafe


Ok usually I would start at number 5 and work my way up to 1, but I am just so excited to write about this place. CBC is one of my favourite things to do in Cairns. They've got an Eggs. Benny. Burger.

Deep breaths.

The menu is massive and the burgers are delicious and the place is on the edge of the city center - well worth the short walk. CBC is also a sustainable meal option - they use all paper and cardboard for their takeaway containers. Styrofoam burger clamshells make turtles cry.

Cairns Burger Cafe is on Aplin St in the City, literally right around the corner from the Lake St bus station. You can see the exact location of CBC on our handy map page.

2. Eat St Cafe

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Eat Street is my hot tip for an out-of-town, locals style spot. It's not a burger joint per se - rather a cafe/restaurant - but they do a killer hamburger on a delicious brioche bun that really hits all the targets for a burger craving. It's also off the beaten track for those who like to get out of the main tourism areas and see the lesser tourism'ed areas.

Eat St Cafe is in Edge Hill, which makes for a great trip from the city center. You have to pass through the Cairns Botanic Gardens which are themselves a great spot rarely visited by the backpacker crowd.

Eat St have recently (as of August 2019) added a full external garden area that is open to restaurant patrons - and their puppers! A dog friendly burger cafe? Gotta check it out.

3. Howlin' Jays


Somehow I always end up at Howlin Jays. After a few brewskis with with dudeskis someone always shouts "Tequila!" and we all scurry off to collect on the legendary Howlin Jays $4 tequila shots. You heard me. $4 Tequila shots.

Oh and they make burgers too.

The decor at Howlin is great - they've gone so overboard with garish fairy lights and greeble on the walls that they've successfully made a local institution even though they're one of the new kids on the block when it comes to bars in Cairns. Cheap drinks and tasty southern-style cooking combined with great vibes and good company, if you're looking for a good place to get beers and a burger in Cairns, Howlin Jays won't steer you wrong.

You can find Howlin Jays at the Pier, right in town.

4. Yankee D's



Yankee D's was originally way out of town and off the highway up at the far end of Manunda. Even though they were so far out of the way it was well worth the pilgrimage to get a belly full of their mouth watering, over-the-top, sloppy joe style burgers. Yankee D's prides itself on bringing big USA style heart stoppers to the Cairns culinary platter. And the best part? They recently moved closer to town.

You'll now find them here which, believe it or not, is half as far out of town as they used to be.

A word of warning - their new location has seen them go from a small hidden gem to a first-class meal choice with the locals so you may find them to be extremely busy when it's close to meal time. I highly recommend you call them first (4033 2299) because I recently heard of over an hour waiting times. For a burger. That's gotta tell you how good they are.

5. Jimmys Burger Co


Right in the center of town, Jimmys is a great spot for beers and burgers with friends. They have a fully licensed bar and are open til 9.30 weeknights, 10 on Friday and Saturday nights. The restaurant has a street-side outdoor area with a tropical vibe provided by palm trees, wooden benches and a cool breeze. The inside area is roomy with bench-booth seating and air conditioning.

The menu is short and sweet, and the sides are hefty. Jimmys is a great place to start a night out in Cairns - beers, burgers, buddies. What better?

Special Mentions

This list is far from exhaustive. Here's a quick rundown of some other places in Cairns you can get a burger, and my honest opinion on why they didn't make the cut:

  • Earlville Fish Bar
    Honorable mention goes to the classic Aussie family run side-of-the-highway takeaway joint. There is a special place in my heart for places like these. No frills, no fancy sales pitch, hell, not even any chairs. Just a big-ass burger with the lot wrapped in baking paper with a novelty-size side of chips, thanks. Of all the fancy pants places on the list above, Earlville Fish Bar is the most authentic Aussie burger joint in Cairns, hands down.
  • Grill'd
    I've gotta be honest with you, don't go to Grill'd if you're hungry. The burgers are disappointingly small and come with like seven chips as a side. And it's not even cheap as they're paying a ludicrous amount in rent just to claim their Esplanade storefront. They are delicious though, so they've got that going for them...
  • Evo Burger
    I'm not a big fan of Evo Burger either, but I have heard people raving. Of the handful of times I have been there I found the burgers bland and unexciting, and I didn't get that post-burger coma that you get from a really good fistful of grease. Maybe I'm wrong. they're certainly in a convenient location.
  • Apex Milk Bar
    Apex is a local institution, and a place rarely visited by backpackers and the like. They've come and gone a couple of times but their menu has fostered such loyalty among the locals that they've been operating in Cairns since the 60's. Worth a visit if you're really doing the burger rounds.