Looking for fun things to do with the kids in Cairns? There are so many great things to do as a family in Cairns. Whether it’s a rainy day, a sunny day, you fancy a trip to the Great Barrier Reef or if your kids are more active than most, read on to discover the best family friendly activities and best family things to do in Cairns.
1. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome
It goes without saying that Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome is one of the best family friendly activities in Cairns. Located in the roof of the Cairns Casino (yes really), Cairns Zoom is a high ropes and wildlife park found right in the city of Cairns. Get up close and personal with a variety of bird life, koalas and even crocodiles but not before you take to the rope course and find yourself swinging across the Dome.
2. Visit the Great Barrier Reef with Sunlover Reef Cruises
With so many options available, it’s hard to know what is the best option to visit the Great Barrier Reef with children. One highly recommended company is Sunlover Reef Cruises. This is a great day visit option as the boat is very large and spacious, you dock on a pontoon and to top it off Sunlover have even installed a slide to go from pontoon straight into the water.
3. Soar above the rainforest with Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
A journey into the home of the oldest tropical rainforest on Earth is an exciting day out not just for children but for adults as well. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is one of Cairns’ iconic attractions and provides an epic perspective of the rainforest from above by gondola and at the two dedicated rainforest floor stops below. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is also an epic thing to do on a rainy day in Cairns, as the rainforest looks just spectacular in the mist. You can read more Skyrail: The best photo spots at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Cairns.
4. Hike to Glacier Rock
If you or your children are the more active type, Glacier Rock is a great Cairns hike. About a 6km round trip, this hike takes you up through the rainforest for an incredible view over Cairns and out to the Coral Sea. This hike is definitely not for young children or those who haven’t hiked before but if you have an active family or older children, it’s a popular one! For more detailed information on this hike, read: How to get to Glacier Rock: The Ultimate Guide and for more great Cairns hikes see: The Best Hikes in Cairns.
5. Explore Kuranda Village
Found just 45 minutes outside of Cairns CBD, Kuranda Village is a famous rainforest village, overflowing with family friendly activities. From wildlife parks, to markets, mini golf and candy stores, Kuranda Village really has a lot to offer families in Cairns and can be accessed via Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a full day out. For more information on Kuranda, read: Things to do in Kuranda as well as Why you need to experience the Kuranda Wildlife Experience and Visiting the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda.
6. Discover Millaa Millaa Falls
Cairns is known for its waterfalls, from the easily accessible to the day long trek through an overground rainforest mountainside. One of the most easily accessible (and best for families!) is Millaa Millaa Falls on the Atherton Tablelands. This waterfall is equipped with large carparks, toilets and barbecue facilities and is an easy swimming spot, making it very family and kid friendly.
7. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, family friendly swimming spot!
If you’d prefer to stay closer to Cairns CBD, the Cairns Lagoon has you covered. Found along the Cairns Esplanade, this public swimming pool is spacious and has lifeguards during opening hours. There are also picnic and barbecue facilities, nearby cafes and toilet and change rooms.
8. Beach day at Palm Cove
Palm Cove is one of the most family friendly beaches in Cairns and a great spot to bring your children. There is plenty of shade to relax in, an easy walking path along the forefront as well as a playground. The beach fronts on to many restaurants, cafes and hotels and there should also be a stinger net present if you feel like a dip in the ocean.
9. Meet the animals at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas
Interact with Australian wildlife and wander through the habitat at the appropriately named Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. Feed kangaroos, hold a koala and don’t forget to test your nerves on the Predator Plank strung above the crocodile exhibit. You can learn more about what is on offer on Wildlife Habitat’s official website. Suggested read: Your Cairns to Port Douglas itinerary.
10. Cool off at Crystal Cascades
Crystal Cascades is a popular local swimming hole, found about 25 minutes from the Cairns CBD in the suburb of Redlynch. While it is still a natural waterway and the water flows freely down the rocks, there are a number of easier to access small swimming pools. There are also picnic facilities on site and a paved walkway along the cascades. Crystal Cascades is a great spot for a dip for families with older children.
11. Relax at Lake Eacham
Would your kids be impressed to swim in an extinct volcano crater? They can in Cairns. Lake Eacham is one of the beautiful lakes found in Atherton Tablelands in the Cairns region. About a 70 minute drive from the Cairns CBD, Lake Eacham boast picnic facilities, barbecues and spacious green lawn to spread out on. Stairs into the lake make it easy to get in and out of the water and it is a very popular spot for families.
12. Make family memories at Granite Gorge Nature Park
Whether you want to visit for the day or looking to set up tent (or caravan) and settle in for a little longer, Granite Gorge Nature Park is a great family friendly activity in the Cairns region. Situated near Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands, here you can hand feed a colony of rock wallabies – and aren’t they the cutest things ever?! Discover more things to do near Mareeba here: Cairns to Mareeba Road Trip Must Do’s.
13. Discover Fitzroy Island
Found just over a 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns CBD, Fitzroy Island is a popular Cairns activity and with hotel, bungalows and camping it also suits a range of family budgets. Book in for a few days for some r&r (or make the most of a day trip from Cairns) while keeping the kids entertained with sheltered beaches, rainforest walks and a turtle rehabilitation centre.
14. Take the family on a Yellow Arrow Hike
Another great Cairns hike, the Yellow Arrow is found in Edgehill, close to the city centre. While again, not a hike for very young children, the walk is unsealed but quite smooth and is a great introduction hike into the bush nearby. Plus you’re rewarded with a nice view across the airport and out to the ocean from the top. Depending on the age of your children, allow 40-70 minutes for a round trip.
15. Wander through the Cairns Botanic Gardens
Found within the suburb of Edgehill, just outside of Cairns City, the Cairns Botanic Gardens is a great family friendly spot in Cairns. Wander through the gardens, learn about the flora and fauna and grab a bite to eat at the restaurant cafe.
16. Play at Muddy’s Playground
Muddy’s Playground is found on the Cairns Esplanade and is a haven for parents. Rope bridges, splash playgrounds, flying foxes, slides, see-saws – you name it, Cairns’ largest playground Muddy’s probably has it. In addition there is a great cafe (Muddy’s Cafe), for a relaxed and tasty meal, overlooking the esplanade and ocean.
17. Explore Green Island
Another great island for the family, Green Island is located about an hour and 15 minute boat ride from Cairns. With sheltered beaches, snorkelling straight from the island, a crocodile exhibit, glass bottom boat tours, semi-submarine boat tours and multiple food options, Green Island is the go-to family destination in Cairns. You can read more about what a day at Green Island is like here: Why you need to visit Green Island right now.
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