accessible travel itinerary cairns city

Plan Your Trip

2 Days in Cairns Accessible Itinerary

Cairns city offers a wide variety of day activities and a large choice of accessible dining and entertainment options. From aquariums to markets, here’s two days of accessible activities in Cairns City.

This article was produced in partnership with Spinal Life Australia’s Accessible Australia

Get Directions


Day 1

Cairns city

Cairns Esplanade aerial

Cairns Esplanade

Meander along the Cairns Esplanade from the Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre south towards the city centre to Cairns Aquarium (5 Florence St, Cairns) – a 2.2km journey along flat, paved walkways. Or, to save time and energy, catch one of Cairns Cabs’ fleet of maxi taxis (5 min drive). 

Main in wheelchair looking at wildlife in Cairns Aquarium

Cairns Aquarium

Cairns Aquarium is Australia’s newest and most spectacular aquarium! Spend an hour or a day exploring the world above and below the water. The Cairns Aquarium is a fully accessible facility with elevators, ramps, accessible bathrooms and they welcome accredited guide/service dogs. Wheelchairs are available for loan, just ask on arrival. Please note the Marine life encounter is not possible for those with disability.

After enjoying seeing and interacting with the incredible animals and eco-systems within the Cairns Aquarium, continue your journey along the Esplanade toward the Cairns Lagoon and Marina, located 550m away.

didgeridoos cairns nights markets

Cairns Night Markets

Running between the Esplanade and Abbott Street is the Cairns Night Markets. In addition to a multitude of stalls, the market has a large food court with multinational cuisine for those looking for a quick and cheap meal. The food court is well laid out making it easy to navigate. The food vendors are all located against the southern wall. The market is a combination of souvenir, food and local craft stalls. The aisles are wide allowing easy access throughout.

Man and woman in wheelchair on verandah in the Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre


Sleep soundly on the Cairns Esplanade at the Spinal Life Healthy Living Centre. All apartments feature ceiling hoists in the main bedroom, an electric hi-lo bed, height adjustable benches and shower head and a smart tablet console to operate the doors, lights, blinds, air conditioning and TV.

Day 2

Cairns city

Colourful fruit and vegetable stalls at Rusty's Markets in Cairns city

Rusty’s Markets

Over the last years 30 years, Rusty’s Markets has earned a rightful place as the unofficial cultural heart of Cairns—a meeting place where people come together. Tourists from all over Australia and around the world visit the market as part of their Cairns ‘must do’ agenda. With the widest possible selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, step free entries, wide aisles and enthusiastic vendors, this is a must see for visitors to Cairns.

Rusty’s Market is one of the most successful and well-known markets in Australia and abroad. From modest beginnings in 1975 of only half-a-dozen stalls, Rusty’s has grown into a bustling three-day event, renowned for it’s carnival atmosphere and colourful stallholders.

Man in wheelchair in front of Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Cairns Lagoon

The iconic Cairns Lagoon is patrolled daily by lifeguards. The depth ranges from 32 inches to 5 feet and the Cairns Lagoon features underwater seating benches making it easy for all to enjoy. At the southern end of the facility, the lagoon provides level entry into the water for beach wheelchairs. A beach wheelchair is provided in the lifeguard room. It can be obtained by contacting the lifeguards at the tower on the eastern side of the lagoon. The eastern side of the lagoon is beach, providing addition level access into the water. Shade is provided at regular intervals. The western side of the lagoon has a series of jetties with shade pavilions. An accessible toilet and a shower are provided in the main building, on the southern side of the lagoon. Access is via an MLAK key or by contacting the lifeguards on duty. Lifeguards are on duty from 6am – 9pm Thursday to Tuesday and 12pm – 9pm Wednesday.

Cocktails at Salt House

Sundowner drinks by the Marina

On the inlet side of the point, the boardwalk continues along the edge of the harbour. It is a wide boardwalk made of recycled material. Access to each jetty is wide with the slope varying on the state of the tide. At extreme low tides, the ramps will exceed 1:14 and may provide difficult to navigate. The jetties give access to the charter fishing fleets, boat hire and water sports operators. Additional dining options are available on the outside of the nearby Reef Fleet Terminal.

More Accessible Activities

Four Mile Beach Port Douglas
Port Douglas
Accessible travel in Port Douglas

Chic, relaxed and full of charm, Port Douglas is Far North Queensland’s gateway to the Australia’s oldest tropical rainforest. The nature here may be wild, but there’s a realm of accessible activities for everyone to enjoy. Filled to the brim with a plethora of restaurants, bars and activities for every kind of traveller, it’s the perfect place to disconnect, relax and pull up a chair in the sunshine.

Read more
accessible travel cairns palm cove
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Accessible Travel in Cairns & Palm Cove

As a region, Tropical North Queensland offers an array of experiences that will engage your senses and immerse you in its natural wonders. From the rainforest to the reef, you’re sure to find an abundance of accessible adventures for all tastes.

Read more
sunset mission beach
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
Accessible travel in Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast

With lush, ancient rainforest on one side, and the world’s largest coral reef on the other, Mission Beach and the Cassowary Coast boast a spectacular hidden world. Donning some of the region’s best accessible adventures, there’s more than one way to explore this off-the-beaten-track slice of paradise.

Read more
curtain fig tree accessible travel
Atherton Tablelands
Accessible travel in the Atherton Tablelands

From rolling green pastures, to endless blue skies, the Atherton Tablelands is the Far North’s most underrated answer to pure adventure. The cooler-climate makes its stunning array of landscapes a treat to indulge in, no matter how you choose to do it. Discover accessible travel in the Atherton Tablelands with this guide.

Read more
daintree rainforest boardwalk
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Walk on the wild side with these rainforest boardwalks

From wandering through the top of the rainforest canopy, to venturing to thundering waterfalls, these rainforest boardwalks are short on distance but big on experience.

Read more
nectar port douglas
Port Douglas
Port Douglas breakfast & brunch spots to tuck into

If your holiday hobbies include eating and thinking about the next time you’ll be eating then this list of bucket list breakfasts is worth waking up for. From mouth-watering breakfasts to boozy brunches, brekkie in Port Douglas is anything but your standard bacon and eggs.

Read more
Friends enjoying seafood platter at Prawn Star Cairns
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Seafood lovers’ guide to Cairns

As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is teeming with an abundance of restaurants offering fresh, local catches and exceptional seafood. Find the stand-out seafood dishes in Cairns below.

Read more
Lukure Caff Paninis
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Your guide to vegetarian & vegan friendly restaurants in Cairns

You’ll find most cafes and restaurants around Cairns include quality meat-free dishes. The following eateries however, hero plant-based food. Here’s where to eat vegan and vegetarian food in Cairns.

Read more
Sing Sing Espresso coffee cafe
Cairns & Northern Beaches
10 Cafes in Cairns for great coffee

With such a vibrant foodie culture, finding the best cafes in Cairns can be overwhelming. Fuel your caffeine addiction with these local favourites for a guaranteed quality cup of coffee.

Read more