The Polished Masterpiece of Decorative Concrete


Polished Concrete Floors Cairns Cruise Liner TerminalThe Restoration Project of the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal

Wharf Shed Number 3 at Trinity Inlet in Cairns has undertaken a multi-million dollar restoration that combines its rich historical features with contemporary design. All items of cultural legacy and significance in the heritage listed building, first constructed in 1912, have been retained and restored. The new look cruise liner terminal is to be a multi-function building, not only used as the welcome mat for cruise liner passengers, but also a functions and events centre. 

The demands placed upon the restoration and redevelopment of the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal went beyond aesthetics and cultural significance, with a large focus placed on choosing products that would carry the building through another 100 years of history. For this reason an array of decorative concrete flooring products have been chosen.

The decorative concrete flooring products used, both internally and externally, have been designed especially for this project. The volume of visitors, the harsh North Queensland climate, slip ratings, long life cycles and a desire for minimal maintenance are all objectives these concrete flooring products have fulfilled.

Polished Concrete Floors Cairns Cruise Liner TerminalPolished Concrete Floors Cairns Cruise Liner TerminalThe decorative concrete elements included in this project are as follows:

  • Transitions Polished Concrete
  • Transitions Honed Concrete
  • Decorative Shot Blasting
  • Polished Concrete Plinths and Seats
  • Honed Concrete Stair Cases
  • Honed Concrete Disability Access Ramps
  • Restoration of the Heritage Listed Railway Track with Transitions Honed Concrete Infills 

Internal Areas

Internally, the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal has three predominant features; the exposed timber and iron work, the large windows with views over Trinity Inlet and the concrete floors and plinth. 

Polished Concrete Floors Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal

Transitions Mechanically Polished Concrete is the chosen flooring product for the internal restoration, due to its high abrasion resistance, low maintenance, R9 slip rating and its long life cycle. In addition, this product has been modified to achieve an R11 slip rating in all bathrooms and wet areas.

The final concrete mix chosen for the internal flooring took months of careful planning and numerous test samples to ensure the colours and aggregate chosen complimented the historical features of the building. The floor featured grey concrete with Innisfail aggregate.  This represents the place with which the stones are quarried, Innisfail. They are predominantly black with a small percentage of brown to compliment the timberwork in the building. Innisfail also represents a chapter in the history of the Cairns Terminal, as sugarcane farmed here was carried into the terminal via the railway track and shipped out.

Transitions Mechanically Polished Concrete has also been chosen to cover a 120-metre plinth that spans the length of the building and is used to represent a timeline of the sheds history. 

Polished Concrete Floors Cairns Cruise Liner TerminalPolished Concrete Floors Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal








 External Areas 

The external flooring areas of the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal leave nothing to be desired. They are aesthetically appealing, rich in history and serve their purpose of functionality. New landscaping, feature pavements, covered walk ways, artwork and decorative shot blasted graphics formed part of the external redevelopment. 

The main flooring product used for the external areas is Transitions Honed Concrete. This product has been used extensively throughout the project, forming a seamless border around the large timber viewing deck, down the access ramps and along the long sweeping walkways. The honed concrete blends to form a seamless transition between the many components of the project. Stretching from the southmost point, along the face of the shed, to the old cargo crane, forming a perfect transition between old and new. Whilst aesthetics are important, the ability to meet the climatic and code requirements is critical.  

Transitions Honed Concrete is slip tested to an R13 slip rating, which is important due to its installation on all access ramps and staircases leading into the building. In addition, the sealers used on the honed concrete need to withstand continual exposure to the suns UV light.

The restoration of the external landscape would not be complete without paying homage to the history of the land it was built on and the people that were involved in its development. To do this, decorative shot blasting has been used to encrypt the history of the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal into the landscape.

A collection of historical images has been shot blasted into the external concrete areas. Spread around the landscape, these images have been intricately installed, using template design and contrasting aggregates, to ensure that the finer details of each image are clearly represented.

To allow visitors of the terminal the full cultural experience, an elevated viewing deck has been constructed overlooking the beautiful landscaping project.

Without a doubt, the crown jewel of the external redevelopment is the restoration of the original railway track. This railway track has served the Cruise Liner Terminal for some 100 years. The restoration of the track included removing the old concrete and bitumen toplace a new design mix of concrete and install Transitions Honed Concrete. Spanning over 200 metres, the rail track is now rejuvenated and will be sure to send off and welcome all those that enter the establishment. 

The overall restoration of Wharf Shed Number 3 at Trinity Inlet, 
Cairns is nothing short of spectacular. The flooring products used throughout the project are a masterpiece and illustrate just how flexible concrete floors can be. They have enabled the rich history of the building to be remembered whilst introducing a contemporary feel and logical functionality. It is certain that the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal is a highly polished masterpiece of decorative concrete and will continue on in history for the next 100 years.

Project Photo Gallery

Polished Concrete


Honed Concrete