Australia & NZ

10 Family Friendly Attractions in Cairns

There aren’t many places on earth where rainforests and coral reefs come together but in Cairns, part of the tropical coast of North Queensland in Australia, you’ll find just that. Both the city and beaches are astounding, offering enjoyment to visitors of all ages.

Milla Milla Falls, South of Cairns, Queensland, Australia

If you’re traveling with the family you’ll want to make sure you add at least a few of the following attractions to your itinerary.

10. Babinda Boulders

Devils Pool, Babinda Boulders, North Queensland

The swimming hole at Babinda Boulders is one of the most sought after swimming destinations in Cairns. The tropical creeks flow towards the rocks at Babinda Boulders and create large pools perfect for cooling down after a day in the sun. Even the mid-summer temperatures are refreshing.

9. Cairns Horse Riding

horse riding

What could be more exciting than strolling along Cairn’s beaches on the back of a beautiful horse? There are dozens of horseback riding outfits in the area offering half-day, full-day, and overnight adventures. Your tour guide will help you learn how to handle your horse as you explore the beaches, mountains, bushlands, and rainforests.

8. Kuranda Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway train

The Kuranda Railway tour runs for approximately 1 ½ hours and will gently carry you and your family through the tropical rainforests of Cairns and nearby Kuranda. One of the most popular attractions in Cairns, the trip provides families with some time to sit back and enjoy the scenery while embracing the area’s most beautiful waterfalls and – if you’re lucky – local wildlife.

7. Paronella Park

Tea House , Paronella Park, Cairns , Australia

Located in the heart of tropical Queensland is the Spanish Castillo. Revered for housing a grand castle in an enchanted forest, Paronella Park is an astounding destination full of history and intrigue. Visitors will get to tour the Spanish ruins and explore over 13 acres of rainforest gardens. If you are staying at the Rydges Tradewinds Hotel Cairns, or any local hotel, your concierge will be able to easily guide you to this amazing site.

6. Cairns Skyrail

Kuranda skyrail

The Cairns Skyrail is one of the hottest attractions in Cairns. This amazing cableway will carry your family in a secure gondola over the tropical waterfalls, rainforests, and gorges in Cairns and nearby Kuranda. If you’d like a special treat you can combine your trip to include rides on both the Skyrail and Kuranda Railway on the same day – extending the amount of time you can spend exploring the area’s natural beauty.

5. Cairns Fishing

View from our appartment in resort centre north of Cairns

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon, why not ask a local to direct you to some of the best fishing holes in the area? If you’re lucky you might catch a barramundi – an elusive fish that changes from male to female as it moves from freshwater creeks to saltwater estuaries. Those who opt to take the family out on a formal fishing cruise might even get to see the Cairns Black Marlin a bit further off the coast. Keep your eyes peeled for the Mangrove Jack, Flathead, Sweetlip, and Jungle Perch as well.

4. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Cairns

The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park celebrates the history of Aboriginal life. The park first opened in 1987 after a group of Australians wrote a play about the barna using traditional song and dance. The dance theater in Kuranda, which attracted a huge crowd, is now one of the largest cultural parks in the country and employs an incredibly high percentage of indigenous Australians as well.

3. Hot Air Ballooning

Cairns - Hot air balloon - Looking up into the balloon

Older children, or at least those not afraid of heights, will particularly enjoy a hot air balloon ride over gorgeous North Queensland. Most hot air balloon rides take place early in the morning, giving visitors the best view of the sunrise while at the same time ensuring the winds are still relatively calm. There are several different hot air balloon companies in Cairns and all are licensed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

2. Go Kart Track

go kart racing time!

The Cairns Go Kart Track is one of the most thrilling attractions you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy. The 450-metre circuit, formally known as the Cairns Kart Hire Track, is open 7 days a week and has ample lighting for nighttime driving as well. Drivers must be at least 11 years old (and no older than 80) to participate and there are double karts for parents who’d prefer to keep the kids close by.

1. Cairns Great Barrier Reef

Wally the Giant Wrasse, Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Families with older children will especially enjoy visiting the Great Barrier Reef located approximately 45 minutes off the coast of Cairns. The reefs off the shores of Cairns are a focal point along the northern cost of Australia. The colorful reefs are full of amazing aquatic plant and wildlife and families will enjoy exploring the reefs on either a diving or snorkeling adventure. Most hotels, including the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, are within minutes of the best snorkeling tour groups.

Enjoy all that Cairns has to offer. For many, a trip here is a once in a lifetime experience!

8 Comments for "10 Family Friendly Attractions in Cairns"

Donna Brown says on April 16th, 2010 at 7:51 am:

Nice post for top family attraction, you can do water rafting and Woolshed Bar is the good options to enhance the adventures in Cairns.

ella wood says on November 25th, 2010 at 2:43 am:

I just recently came home from Cairns, i went for a holiday there about two months ago and we visited the ” The Lakes Resort And Spa, Cairns”. It was Excellent, I would love to visit again sometime soon, we also visited “Green Island”, that was fun too!
We saw fish, crabs, sea turtles, dolphins and coral… luckily no sharks to be spotted hhahahahaha. Thankyou soooo much Cairns, i love you!!!!

ella wood says on November 25th, 2010 at 2:44 am:

I saw a massive crocodile at Cairns on the muddy bank in the mangrove bushes, it was scary!!!

Ella Wood says on November 25th, 2010 at 2:46 am:

Excellent holiday place for families or anytime really, thanks again Cairns!

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