Cairns, the 14th largest city in Australia, is also the most popular tourist destination in Far North Queensland. Travellers who are touring the Australian East Coast always make a stop at Cairns to explore its many attractions.
Founded in 1876 by William Wellington Cairns, the city is considered as one of the most sought-after adventure travel destinations in Australia. Thanks to its tropical climate and its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, local and international tourists prefer to make Cairns their starting point when meaning to explore the world’s largest coral reef system.
Aside from being a major destination for scuba diving and extreme water sports, Cairns is also a popular family holiday destination. It offers a plethora of activities for the whole family. Plus, the great weather makes leisurely exploration the city and surrounding areas a far more enjoyable activity.
If you are taking the whole family to Cairns for the holidays, rest assured that there are so many attractions to keep the whole gang entertained that you will be spoilt for choices. And because there is so much to see and do in the city, here’s a short list of child-friendly attractions to include in your itinerary.
1. Esplanade Lagoon
The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is definitely a must-visit for families when visiting Cairns. The man-made lagoon is a major attraction especially during the months when Queensland’s beaches are awash with jellyfish. With its massive pool, sandy beaches, park, playground, safety and security personnel, picnic and barbecue areas, the Esplanade Lagoon is an awesome place for the family to enjoy a relaxing, fun-filled day.
The lagoon is open from 6am to 10pm. Admission is free.
2. Muddy’s Playground
Still within the Esplanade is another favourite family atrraction. Muddy’s Playground, a modern and safe playground for kids of all sizes, features lots of facilities that encourage kids to participate in active, interactive, and educational play. There’s a wet play area, a flying fox, slides, pretty playhouses, rope climbing areas, and even designated areas for storytelling and puzzle games. Muddy’s Playground also houses a café, shaded seating areas, and various picnic facilities.
Muddy’s playground is open from 9am to 7pm daily. However, some sections may be closed during Tuesdays and Thursdays due to scheduled maintenance work.
3. Flecker Botanic Gardens
Located in Edge Hill, the Flecker Botanic Gardens is the only wet tropic botanic gardens in the country. The 38-hectare gardens feature a huge collection of exotic flora from Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa. The property is divided into three areas: the Flecker Botanic Gardens, the Centenary Lakes, and the Mount Whitfield Conservation Park.
The Flecker Botanic Gardens is home to the Orchid House and the very popular Botanic Restaurant Cafe. The Centenary Lakes, on the other hand, is where you can find beautiful Amazon pond lilies, rainforest boardwalks, and lakes. It is also ideal for birdwatching.
If you and your family are in for a challenging hike, head to the Mount Whitfield Conservation Park where you can go for a nature hike while taking in spectacular views of Cairns.
4. The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is truly one of the greatest wonders of the world and a tourist attraction that demands to be visited. While not exactly the cheapest activity for the whole family, exploring the reef is really worth it. Depending on which family-friendly tour you join, you and your kids can spend the day swimming, snorkeling, coral reef viewing, fish feeding, reef walking, helmet diving, and even scuba diving.
5. Cairns Skatepark
Located in the Cairns Esplanade, the Cairns Skatepark is the largest park of its kind in Australia. Featuring 2,3000 square metres of space that promises challenge and fun, the skatepark has areas for rollerskating, longboarding, and for scooter rides. There are also landscaped shaded areas and several picnic spots ideal for lazing around and watching the skaters as they negotiate the challenging skate environment.
The Cairns Skatepark opens daily at 6am until late at night.
Ready to explore Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef? Check out these tours and excursions at Travezl.com.
By: Brendelyn Balaga