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Situated close to the popular James Cook University, Smithfield is often thought of as a haven for students but it’s also home to a thriving professional population that is seeing significant growth in numbers. It has a lot more to offer than many of the other suburbs of Cairns, especially if you are bringing up a family and want access to more amenities.

That includes high-quality schools and plenty of local facilities, including a cinema and shopping centre. With a population of just over 5,000, it’s a welcoming and busy suburb that also attracts tourists all year round as well as plenty of students.

Where is it?

Smithfield lies about 9 miles north of the main city of Cairns and is a great location to commute to and from. It’s served by the Captain Cook Highway and transportation links are good, whether you want to drive or travel by bus.


Smithfield is one of the oldest suburbs in the region and was first established in the late 1800s. It was named after prospector and adventurer Bill Smith who first set up a camp in the area (though he was most notorious for murdering a man and then killing himself in the main street).

The first school in the area was opened in 1900 and the population has almost doubled in the last ten years as it has become more popular as a place to set up home.

What’s So Great About Smithfield?

While some suburbs of Cairns can be short on local amenities for residents, Smithfield has plenty to offer. There are no primary schools in the suburb but it is home to both a large state high school and James Cook University.

There are plenty of amenities including a local library and the Smithfield Shopping Centre that caters for everyday needs and includes some major brands, restaurants and bars. Nearby Barron Gorge National Park is a big tourist attraction and lies directly on Smithfield’s back door while the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is also nearby.

In addition, Smithfield is close to some spectacular beaches including those from surrounding suburbs. If you want to move to an area that is continuing to grow and is currently having plenty of money being invested in it, then this suburb of Cairns ticks all the right boxes.

It is increasingly popular with professional couples and those wanting to start a family. From bars and restaurants to the local cinema and sports facilities, there’s a lot on offer in Smithfield and there’s always plenty to do. The growing population means there is always someone new to meet and its popularity also ensures that property prices are on the rise.

House Prices

If you are going to buy a home in Smithfield, the average price is around $500,000 which is lower than many other more exclusive suburbs. If you want to invest in a property and rent it out, perhaps to the student population, then you can expect to charge around $480 per week.