child running along kewarra beach

Blog Post

What to do in Cairns With Kids

Kate Richards

TNQ Writer

Looking for what to do in Cairns with kids? This natural adventure playground is jam-packed with activities that are perfect for the whole family.

Cairns mum blogger @adventuremumma shares her must-do list for what do in Cairns with kids.

If Cairns is your destination and you have a kids in tow then you’ll find a heap of activities for that will entertain your family and guarantee fond memories for years to come.

Explore Cairns Esplanade

Splash into free family fun at Cairns Lagoon

Muddys playground offers even more free fun

It’s a fun recreational strip that follows the city’s shoreline that you can easily explore on foot. First stop should be the Cairns Lagoon for its sandy beach, shade sails, fountains, and plenty of shallow sections for kids to play.

Two playgrounds worthy of a visit are Muddies, which has a splash park, climbing frames, swings, and a flying fox and the Figtree playground, an expansive treehouse located under a massive fig tree.


Munch on tree-fresh fruit from Rusty's Markets

Say ahoy to fresh seafood at Prawn Star

Photo by @adventuremumma

There is no lack of family friendly eateries around Cairns. On the weekend check out Rusty’s Markets for its diverse range of eateries plus the opportunity to purchase some fresh tropical fruit.

Dundee’s at the Cairns Aquarium has a large saltwater aquarium as its backdrop and down at the Cairns Marlin Marina are the Prawn Star Cairns trawlers, where you can channel your inner pirate and enjoy some fresh Aussie seafood.

Tropical Island Fun

Pull into paradise on Fitzroy Island

Search for turtles off Green Island

Just off the coast lie a couple of islands that are only a short boat ride away. Pick Green Island and you can relax on the sandy beach, spot turtles off the jetty and explore Marine Melanesia which has one of the biggest crocodiles on display.

Fitzroy Island has a coastal rainforest walk that will take you to Nudie Beach, a turtle rehabilitation centre and a resort that is perfect for a family stay.

Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Choo choo choo-se the Kuranda Scenic Railway

Soar over the rainforest canopy

Photo by @adventuremumma

The iconic Kuranda Scenic Railway meanders up the range to Kuranda with views of Cairns and beyond, Stoney Creek Falls and Barron River Falls.

To complete the journey, hop onboard Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and cruise above the ancient rainforest canopy. Don’t forget to hop off and join a ranger-guided boardwalk tour.

Travel to the Outer Barrier Reef

Sunlover's pontoon features its own water slide

Photo by @adventuremumma

With a semi-sub, glass bottom boat and more, it's great for kids of all ages

Pontoons on the Outer Barrier Reef are a great place to visit if you have kids in tow. Sunlover Reef Cruises pontoon has a water slide that loops from their sun deck into the sea below. There’s also has an underwater observatory, a touch tank and a lunch menu catered by award-winning Palm Cove based, Nu Nu Restaurant.

Skipper on your own boat

Play captain for a day and hire your own boat

Photo by @adventuremumma

Down at the Marlin Marina is Cairns Boat Hire where you can hire out a pontoon boat and explore and fish the Trinity Inlet. These boats don’t require a boat license, have BBQ’s onboard and can easily fit up to 8 people.

Bike the Northern Beach Trail

Peddle your way from Palm Cove to Yorkey's Knob

Explore the sandy beaches north of Cairns at your own pace and hire some bikes and eScooters from Biked at Palm Cove. From here you can head south and follow the Northern Beaches Leisure Trail all the way to Yorkeys Knob.

Explore Cairns CBD

Enjoy a high ropes adventure at Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome

Photo by @adventuremumma

Meet marine life at Cairns Aquarium

There’s plenty of activities for families to do within a few blocks of Cairns CBD. The Cairns Aquarium features fishes of the Great Barrier Reef, and those living in the mangrove habitats and freshwater river zones.

For families that like a bit of a challenge check out the rope course at the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome. Here you can zipline over their resident crocodile, enjoy a birds-eye view of Cairns and experience interactive wildlife shows.

Stay at a resort within walking distance of the sea

The large lagoon pool at Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort will be a hit with the little 'uns

Stay anywhere along Palm Cove Esplanade or Trinity Beach and you’ll have direct access to a tropical sandy beach. The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is a winner for its sandy lagoon and swim up pool bar (for parents).

Check out Bransfords Fishing Store

Cast a line off Palm Cove Jetty

Photo by @adventuremumma

Drive north to Palm Cove and you can’t miss the tail of a giant marlin on the roof of Bransford’s Fishing Store. Inside you’ll find the rest of the marlin’s impressive body and learn about the history of Cairns fishing. Purchase a family fishing kit and throw a line in at the Palm Cove jetty or off the fishing jetty near the Cairns Figtree playground.

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