Cairns is located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula on a coastal strip between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range. The northern part of the city is located on Trinity Bay and the city centre is located on Trinity Inlet. To the south of the Trinity Inlet lies the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah. Some of the city's suburbs are located on flood plains. The Mulgrave River and Barron River flow within the greater Cairns area but not through the CBD. The city's centre foreshore is located on a mud flat.
Prior to British settlement, the Cairns area was inhabited by the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people, who still claim their Native Title rights. The area is known in the local Yidiny language as Gimuy.
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