Cairns in Far North Queensland is a beautiful tropical paradise with plenty of fun and exciting things to do to keep the kids entertained. Whether you’re looking for some outdoor adventures or just time to relax and recharge, Cairns has something to offer all families.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Cairns why not consider Fitzroy Island as your island getaway that’s perfect for entertaining both parents and kids.
Below is a list of 7 family fun activities to do while you’re in Cairns:
1. Cairns Esplanade
The Cairns Esplanade is always buzzing with excitement and activity. It features a beautiful boardwalk which is the go to place for walkers, joggers and cyclists, as well as a man made lagoon, playgrounds, exercise equipment, a Skatepark and Climbing wall, Volleyball nets, Markets and plenty of spacious grassy areas to relax on and watch the numerous street performers. You can spend hours making your way along the esplanade taking in all it has to offer.
Two of the most popular places for families to visit along the Cairns Esplanade is ‘The Lagoon’ and ‘Muddy’s playground’.
2. The Lagoon
Situated on the foreshore in Cairns and the go to place for locals and tourists to cool down is “The Lagoon”. It is a 4,800sq metre salt water filtered swimming lagoon surrounded by a boardwalk on one side and a sandy beach on the other. Your little ones can play in the shallow water and soft sand under the shade sails while older children can enjoy splashing around under the fountain.
There are plenty of shaded grass areas to enjoy a picnic for lunch or you can utilise one of the many undercover free BBQ’s. Lifeguards are on duty during opening hours and entry to the lagoon is free. There are toilet and shower facilities close by, including a parents room.
3. Muddy’s Playground
Hailed as one of the best playgrounds in Australia, Muddy’s is a children’s wonderland! It is a huge playground on the Cairns waterfront just north of the Lagoon with multi level equipment to cater to all age groups, including a flying fox and rope climbs. It also has a gated area exclusively for younger children. One of the most popular features of Muddy’s is the water park consisting of jumping jets and a shallow wading area where the kids (and adults) can cool off from the tropical heat.There are BBQ facilities available as well as a cafe situated in the middle of the playground or you can choose to bring your own picnic.
There are BBQ facilities available as well as a cafe situated in the middle of the playground or you can choose to bring your own picnic.
4. Great Barrier Reef
A trip to Cairns wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. Tour boats to the reef leave every day from the Marlin Marina and there are numerous tour companies to choose from. A day trip out to the reef is an amazing experience but can be a long and tiring day for young kids. An alternative to a full day reef trip is to visit one of the Islands just off Cairns, Green Island and Fitzroy Island.
Fitzroy Island is more suited to families and the most popular with locals. There are plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained including snorkelling amongst the tropical coral, taking a trip on a glass bottom boat, letting out some energy on the sea trampoline, kayaking and visiting the Turtle Rehab Centre. There are different accommodation options to choose from if you wish to have an extended stay from 4-star resort suites to bungalows and basic rooms. Fitzroy Island also offers camping facilities for those looking to give the kids a real Island adventure.
5. Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Adventures
Located 40 minutes north of Cairns, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure is probably the best place to experience wildlife in Cairns. The look on the kids’ faces when they get up close with a real crocodile will be one of the many highlights of the day. This is a full day of adventure including crocodile spotting on the boat cruise, the crocodile attack show and learning all about sustainability and conservation on the Crocodile Farm Tour.
Other activities Hartley’s offers are Koala and Wallaby feeding, the Snake Show and the rare opportunity to feed a Cassowary. Hartley’s has a cafe which offers the unique experience of eating lunch while watching the crocodiles casually cruising by in the lagoon below. You can also bring your own packed lunch.
6. Skyrail Cableway and Kuranda Railway
The Skyrail Cableway takes you on a breathtaking gondola experience over the World Heritage Listed Wet Tropics Rainforest. The trip takes 90 minutes from Smithfield up to Kuranda, the “Village in the Rainforest”. The trip includes 2 stops where you can get off and take in the amazing views and natural beauty.
You can upgrade to a Diamond View Car featuring a glass floor allowing you to watch as you float above the rainforest canopy below which is an unforgettable experience for the kids. For the return trip from Kuranda to Cairns, you can choose to take the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Built more than 120 years ago the Kuranda Scenic Railway is a two-hour journey taking you past the mountainous walls of the Barron Gorge National Park, through 15 hand carved, solid granite rock tunnels, 37 bridges and past tumbling rainforest waterfalls.
Once you have arrived in Kuranda there are so many fun and interesting things to do and see that one day just won’t seem enough. The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is always a favourite with kids. It’s home to over 1500 butterflies and if the kids can manage to calm their excitement and stay still long enough a beautiful electric blue Ulysses might even land on them to say hello.
Kuranda is also home to Australian Venom Zoo, the Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the famous Kuranda Markets. After a full day of taking in all Kuranda has to offer you can treat the kids to a Kuranda’s delicious tropical homemade ice cream.
8. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is located at Smithfield north of Cairns at the base of the Skyrail Cableway. A visit to the Tjapukai is the best opportunity for your kids to learn about and experience the local Aboriginal culture. It is run by the local Djabugay people who happily share and demonstrate different aspects of their culture.
A day visit consists of numerous activities including boomerang and spear throwing, learning about bush tucker and watching performances that tell stories about their history and way of life. A highlight for the kids is the Cultural Creations which gives them an opportunity to paint a boomerang and make jewellery with some of the local Aboriginal people which they get to take home.
8. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome
Located in the heart of Cairns above the Reef Hotel Casino, the Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome is the world’s first challenge ropes course set in an indoor rainforest wildlife park. A day out gives you the opportunity to cuddle a koala, hold a snake and watch feeding time with Goliath the 4-metre saltwater crocodile.
After the kids have had their animal encounter it’s time for some adventure. There are 4 Zoom activities to participate in including the challenging ropes course with different challenge levels, a 15-metre power jump and the opportunity to zip line over Goliath the crocodile. Children need to be at least 6 years old to participate in the Zoom activities.
So whether you’re planning your first family holiday to Cairns or a local looking for some school holiday fun with the kids these activities are sure to be a hit with the whole family.