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Guide to Cairns for Families

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Cairns is a natural paradise with many attractions suitable for the whole family. From the amazing outdoor swimming pool at the Esplanade — complete with BBQ areas — to thrilling activities like hot air ballooning or discovering a hidden villa in the rainforest, it's easy to keep kids big and small entertained in Cairns.

Good for
  • Family
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

8 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome

Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks

Muddy's Playground

Playgrounds

Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon

Beach & Pool Clubs

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Scenic Railroads

Green Island

Destinations

Esplanade Boardwalk

Hiking Trails

Reef Magic Cruises

Boat Tours, Helicopter Tours, Scuba & Snorkeling

Hot Air Balloon Cairns

Balloon Rides, Private Tours

Monica U's City Tips

  • Cairns is the perfect destination to explore by bicycle. Most hotels will have these for hire.
  • You can find a lot of discounts on family activities in Cairns through the website "Oz Bargains."
  • The tourist information booth is a great place to plan your family activities, and get more advice, during your stay in Cairns.
  • Save
    Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome
    Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    Imagine entering a rainforest inside a huge glass bubble, situated on the rooftop of a casino, where you can interact with birds, frogs, turtles, pythons, and crocodiles in their native environment! Head to this dome for plenty of animal encounters, including complimentary shows scheduled throughout the day.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • For kids and adults alike, harness up and explore up to 38 different "elements," and three levels of difficulty along the Zoom Line.
    • Make sure you wear long trousers to avoid any painful rope burns.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #49 of 160 Tours in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Out competed by similar attractions 05/12/2017
    • Nellie the Koala! 05/12/2017
    • Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome
    Address:
    35 - 41 Wharf Street
    The Reef Hotel Casino
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4031 7250
    Hours:
    Sun - Fri
    09:00 - 18:15
    Sat
    09:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Muddy's Playground
    Playgrounds
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    As a child I always enjoyed running around my grandfather's fountain. At Muddy's Playground, kids can run around and splash in puddles of water, climb inside a playhouse, or listen to a story while adults fire up the barbie or set up a picnic.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If you are traveling in a big group you can hire a BBQ at the southern end of Muddy's.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Surprise Gem 06/12/2017
    • nice place to swim 21/11/2017
    • Muddy's Playground
    Address:
    The Esplanade
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4044 3715
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon
    Beach & Pool Clubs
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    This lagoon is without doubt, the 'jewel' of Cairns. Located in the middle of the CBD, here kids and adults can cool down, relax, or play with the fish that squirt water. There are several restaurants around the area, and the view is spectacular.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you are driving, try to get there early as parking is sometimes hard to find.
    Plan to stay:/
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Love it here 07/12/2017
    • Nice place to cool down 04/12/2017
    • Cairns Esplanade Swimming Lagoon
    Address:
    52 - 54 The Esplanade Cairns
    Cairns, Queensland
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4044 3715
    Hours:
    Wed
    12:00 - 21:00
    Thu - Tue
    06:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Kuranda Scenic Railway
    Scenic Railroads
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    If you want to take the kids on a spectacular train ride that will be remembered for years to come, hop aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway for an epic two-hour journey to a forgotten villa in the middle of the rainforest. You will pass bridges, mountains and go through fantastic tunnels along the way.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Make sure to go to the ATM before you get on the train. Locals at your destination prefer cash.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Scenic ride, seat choice matters 12/12/2017
    • Awesome views 12/12/2017
    • Kuranda Scenic Railway
    Address:
    Bunda Street
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4036 9333
    Other:
  • Save
    Green Island
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    Green Island is one of the best places to take the kids snorkeling. The coral reef is amazing and they will be delighted with all the different kinds of fish they'll spot! You can take the ferry and enjoy either a half day or a full day excursion here. Paradise, plain and simple.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Pack some snacks like fruit and nuts to eat during the day.
    • Don't forget to bring your own towels!
    • At Green Island you can hire a locker to keep your valuables safe.
    • A glass bottom boat ride is a nice alternative to snorkeling.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    • Green Island
  • Save
    Esplanade Boardwalk
    Hiking Trails
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    Want your kids to learn more about aboriginal history, and the native flora and fauna of Cairns? Take a family walk along Cairns boardwalk. There are many places of interest to stop at along the way, including spots to fire-up a BBQ or enjoy a picnic.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring your swimsuits and cool down at the free lagoon.
    Plan to stay:/
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 126 things to do in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great walking and Exercise Area 12/12/2017
    • The Boardwalk. 11/12/2017
    • Esplanade Boardwalk
    Address:
    The Esplanade
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4044 3715
    Other:
  • Save
    Reef Magic Cruises
    Boat Tours, Helicopter Tours, Scuba & Snorkeling
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    If you only pick one tour to take the kids on, Reef Magic Cruises should be it. It is one of the best snorkeling experiences in Cairns, taking you to the Outer Reef where the whole family can spend up to five hours snorkeling in crystal clear waters, interacting with multi-colored fish, and watching life flourish around the beautiful coral reef.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Helmet diving is available, where you can scuba dive with a helmet around your face.
    • This is also one of the best places to try scuba diving in the world. The teachers are very patient and the rewards are enormous.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 70 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wally loves the camera and to play!! 02/12/2017
    • The best company to see the reef!!!! 28/11/2017
    • Reef Magic Cruises
    Address:
    1 Spence St
    Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4031 1588
    Price range:
    US$122 - US$122
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Hot Air Balloon Cairns
    Balloon Rides, Private Tours
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    Yes this does take waking the kids up before dawn, but oh the breathtaking views of the Cairns highlands seen from aboard a floaty dream-like balloon is an experience they will never forget!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Couples
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Book online in advance.
    • Make sure to bring extra layers as it can be cold in the early morning.
    • The tour operator will pick you up at the hotel and drop you off about four hours later.
    Plan to stay:/
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #39 of 160 Tours in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Brilliant 05/11/2017
    • Celebrating 13/09/2017
    • Hot Air Balloon Cairns
    Address:
    1 Spence St
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4039 9900
    Price range:
    US$148 - US$148
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    03:30 - 05:30
    08:00 - 20:00
    Other:
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