Top 10 Things to do in Cairns in no particular order J
1. Duck about Tours
Jump on board Regie and ‘Ride the Croc’, first take in a tour of the Cairns city sights before the bus transforms into a boat and splashes into the Cairns Harbour. All kids will love this, great fun!
2. Cairns Esplanade & Swimming Lagoon
The Cairns Esplanade is a beautiful area with a boardwalk along the water’s edge, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars to have breakfast, lunch and dinner or if you prefer there is plenty of lawn space & tables under big shady trees to have a picnic or BBQ. The Swimming Lagoon is also there which is free to use, surrounded by timber decking and on one side there is a man-made beach. The water is crystal clear and is always packed with tourists and locals. Life Guards patrol the Lagoon daily & there are plenty of toilet facilities. Kids will have a ball here.
3. Muddy’s Playground
A free, fun, safe activity to entertain the kids is visiting Muddy’s Playground which is situated right in Cairns by the waterfront. There is something for kids of all ages. The modern play area features water play as well as swings, flying fox, slides, see saws, puzzle games and plenty more. The park is fully fenced and there is a Café also there. This park will definitely let kids burn a lot of energy off! Lots of fun!
4. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure is one not to be missed. Located 25 minutes south of Port Douglas and 40 minutes north of Cairns the park is really a great way to get up close and personal with Far North Queensland wildlife, including crocodiles!! There are entertaining and educational live shows, showcasing snakes, koalas, cassowaries just to name a few. You can take a boat ride out onto the Lagoon, try and spot a crocodile lurking beneath the murky water, then watch as the crocodiles jump out of the water to grab a chicken being dangled on the end of a pole. There are plenty of boardwalks and pathways to explore the Hartley’s provides hours of fun for the whole family!!
5. Skyrail & Train to Kuranda
Kuranda is a beautiful village up in the mountains surrounded by World Heritage Rainforest, it is full of vibrant shops and markets. There are plenty of lovely cafes and restaurants & is full of history. Some of the main attractions include the Barron Gorge, Birdworld, The Butterfly Sanctuary (make sure you where bright colours so the butterflies are attracted to it and will land on you), Australia Venom Zoo, watch an Aboriginal cultural performance. These are just a few things you can enjoy on a day trip to Kuranda. Getting there is also part of the fun!! There are 3 options – The Skyrail, Railway or you can drive.
The Skyrail is a cableway spanning 7.5km starting at the bottom of the mountain, you go up in a Gondola. It offers panoramic views as you glide over the rainforest before you descend through the canopy layers to 2 rainforest station stops, you can get out and explore the rainforests by walking along the boardwalks & take in the breathtaking Barron Falls. The final stop is up in Kuranda. It is well worth the experience, it is a must do!!
Kuranda Scenic Railway winds its way through the rainforest as it enters the Barron Gorge with spectacular views of waterfalls & mountains. The railway was built over 120 years ago & there is commentary on the train with detailed stories of its history. It is very interesting & highly recommend.
6. Great Barrier Reef
One of the first things that comes to people’s minds when they think about Cairns is of course the Great Barrier Reef – a once in a life time experience, it is so beautiful with thousands of fish and other amazing marine life to see. It is the largest reef in the world. Tours go from either Cairns or Port Douglas. Green Island and Fitzroy Islands are also family friendly places to explore. Keep an eye out for Nemo!!
7. Bally Hooley Train – Port Douglas
The Bally Hooley is a historic train that runs between the Port Douglas Marina & St Crispins Station. Mowbray, Speedy or Bundy will take you on a leisurely 1 hour trip that kids will love. The ride begins by passing by the Port Douglas Harbour, before going through tropical mangroves with views of the beautiful Daintree mountain ranges. The train ride ends at St Crispins where the Choo Choos café is located, enjoy a refreshment overlooking the picturesque lake view before boarding the train for the return trip! A great little adventure – All Aboard!!!!
8. Mossman Gorge
Located in the Daintree National Park, Mossman Gorge is a beautiful place to visit. With its river surrounded by giant granite boulders creating cool, clear, fresh swimming holes. Mossman Gorge is home to the Kuku Yalanji people, the area’s traditional Aboriginal landowners who share the rainforests unique history & relationships they have with it. It is estimated to be over 60,000 years old. It is a place to enjoy a swim, explore the walking track upstream to the suspension bridge that goes over Rex Creek, join a Dreamtime walk conducted by the local indigenous people or just enjoy the scenery while having a picnic.
9. Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome
Cairns Zoom is situated in the Dome on top of the Reef Casino, it consists of a high ropes course amongst a wildlife exhibit. This is for older kids, minimum age is around 6 years old. It consists of a Mid-Zoom adventure which is an easier level, suitable for younger kids and initial training. Then there is the Hi-Zoom which is a series of complex crossing and ziplines including zip-lining over a 4 metre crocodile called Goliath!!! There is a power jump or if you would prefer you can do the Dome Climb which is one of the best ways to see Cairns City, it’s an easy walk around the outside of the Dome. There are daily interactive wildlife shows that include koala & bird feeding, Saltwater Crocodile talk & feeding & a python presentation. The older kids will love it!!
10. Jungle Surfing – Zip Lining – Cape Tribulation
Get your adrenaline pumping! Jungle Surfing is for all ages from 3-103!! Situated out at Cape Tribulation, flying fox ziplines will have you gliding through the canopy of the Daintree Rainforest. There are 6 tree platforms ranging from 3.5m to 19.5m high, the longest span is over 75m. It is both exhilarating and educational, the guides will share some very interesting facts with you. This is well worth doing and would definitely be one of the highlights of your Cairns holiday.