Top family friendly activities in Cairns 2024

Top family friendly activities in Cairns 2024

Cairns, a gem in the crown of Australia’s tourist destinations, is an enchanting city that offers a plethora of activities for families. Known for its stunning natural wonders and rich cultural heritage, Cairns is more than just a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef; it’s a vibrant, family-friendly city teeming with unique experiences. This post highlights the best family activities in Cairns, ensuring every member of the family, from the youngest to the oldest, has an unforgettable experience.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon: More than just a swimming spot, it’s a community hub offering a safe, scenic environment with areas suitable for all ages. The surrounding parklands provide a perfect setting for a family day out.
  2. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef: An educational and exciting experience, with snorkeling, diving, and glass-bottom boat tours. These trips offer insights into the marine ecosystem, making them fun and informative.
  3. Rainforestation Nature Park: Situated in Kuranda, this park combines Australian wildlife, Aboriginal culture, and rainforest exploration in one place, offering an educational and interactive experience.
  4. Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway: These offer breathtaking journeys through the rainforest, with stunning views and stops for closer exploration, making them a hit with families.
  5. Cairns Botanic Gardens: A serene exploration of tropical flora, with themed sections and interactive activities that are both educational and enjoyable for children.
  6. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park: An immersive experience into Aboriginal culture, offering insights through music, dance, and storytelling.
  7. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome: A unique combination of a wildlife park and adventure activities, allowing close encounters with Australian wildlife and thrilling activities like ziplining.

1. Visit the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

The Heart of Cairns

The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is not just a swimming spot; it’s the heart of the city where families gather to enjoy the tropical climate in a safe and scenic environment. This 4800-square-metre saltwater lagoon offers a perfect respite from the heat, with shallow areas suitable for young children and deeper sections for adults and older kids. The lagoon is patrolled by lifeguards, ensuring a safe swimming environment.

More Than Just Swimming

Surrounding the lagoon is a lush parkland with plenty of shaded areas, perfect for picnics or a leisurely day out. The Esplanade features a range of free recreational activities, including a playground, skate park, and a bouldering park. There are also regular free fitness classes, cultural performances, and markets. The lagoon is illuminated at night, making it a picturesque spot for an evening stroll.

Family friendly activities in Cairns
Family friendly activities in Cairns

2. Explore the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most famous natural wonders in the world. Families can take a day trip to explore the reef, with many tours offering activities like snorkeling, diving, and glass-bottom boat tours. These tours are not only fun but also educational, as they often include presentations about marine life and the ecosystem of the reef.

Rainforest station kuranda
Rainforest station kuranda

3. Rainforestation Nature Park

Located in Kuranda, Rainforestation Nature Park is an all-in-one experience where families can learn about Indigenous culture, Australian wildlife, and the rainforest. The park offers the opportunity to see native animals like koalas and kangaroos and participate in interactive demonstrations of Aboriginal culture.

Skyrail Cairns to Kuranda
Skyrail Cairns to Kuranda

4. Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

This is a spectacular way to experience the rainforest. The Kuranda Scenic Railway offers breathtaking views on its journey to Kuranda, while the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway provides an amazing aerial view of the rainforest, complete with stops at rainforest stations for a closer look.

5. Cairns Botanic Gardens

A visit to the Cairns Botanic Gardens is a serene experience, showcasing the incredible diversity of tropical flora. The gardens have several themed sections, including a rainforest boardwalk, and often host interactive activities and educational programs for children.

Tjapukai Cairns
Tjapukai Cairns

6. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

This park offers an immersive experience into the world of the Tjapukai people, the traditional owners of the land. Through music, dance, and storytelling, families can learn about the rich history and culture of Australia’s Indigenous people.

7. Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome

This wildlife park located in the heart of Cairns offers a unique experience, combining a zoo with adventure activities. Children and adults alike can enjoy close encounters with Australian wildlife and participate in high ropes courses and ziplining.


Cairns is an extraordinary family destination that offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and adventurous activities. Whether it’s basking in the tranquility of the Botanic Gardens, learning about Aboriginal culture, or exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns provides families with an array of choices to create lasting memories. It’s a place where adventure meets education, and relaxation meets exploration, making it an ideal destination for a family vacation.


Is Cairns suitable for families with young children?

Absolutely! Cairns offers many child-friendly activities, such as the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon and the Rainforestation Nature Park.

Are there educational activities for kids in Cairns?

Yes, many attractions like the Great Barrier Reef tours and Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park offer educational experiences.

Can we experience Aboriginal culture in Cairns?

Cairns is home to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, where families can immerse themselves in Aboriginal history and culture.

What are some nature-based activities in Cairns?

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Rainforestation Nature Park, and the Cairns Botanic Gardens are excellent nature-based activities.

Are there any adventure activities for families in Cairns?

Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome offer adventure activities like high ropes courses and ziplining, suitable for families seeking thrills.

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