My favorite place for family travel – Cairns.

On a Cairns beach. Photo courtesy of Cheeky Monkey photography.


It will come as no surprise to people that have read this blog before that I think Far North Queensland and Cairns is pretty great.  It is the reason that one section of the blog is dedicated to sharing the amazing opportunities there are here for travelling families.  It did seem time however to tie some of the loose ends together and articulate exactly why Cairns is my favourite city to explore with my two young sons, and to encourage others of you to travel to our balmy shores and experience them with your own family.

Nature at its finest

While it may be a cliché to describe Cairns, a regional city located  north of Brisbane as a tropical paradise, it is a cliché that I readily embrace when describing where I currently live.  The juxtaposition of World Heritage reef and rainforest, coupled with the abundance of choice for how travelling families chose to experience this beauty is unique.  Options for immersing your family in the rainforest include exploring it by rail on the Kuranda Scenic Railroad, cable car on the Skyway, picnicking in the Cairns Flecker Botanic Gardens, or walking in the Barron River national park.   While many vacation activities are geared at keeping the children happy, exploring the rainforest is truly enjoyable for all family members. These options are are also suitable for families travelling with a baby as even the walks are negotiable with a stroller.

Slightly less accessible, but no less memorable is the Great Barrier Reef.  Boat trips to inner reef islands, such as Green and Fitzroy Island ideally cater to families with small children while older children will relish the adventure of a boat trip to the outer reef for snorkelling, and possibly a scuba dive.

Cairn’s palm lined northern beaches offer sheltered swimming in an ocean that is warm year long.  While stinger season is from October through to May, stinger nets are in place at a number of beaches including Palm Cove.

A plethora of free activities for families

The Cairns Esplanade precinct acts as a hub for both travellers and locals.  The Cairns Eslanade Lagoon is a community focal point, a man made, sandy-beached lagoon it is open for swimming into the night.  Free entertainment is the mainstay on the weekend and the Cairns Council offers a variety of free activities including aqua aerobics.

Muddies Playground, also on the Esplanade a little north of the Lagoon is, and I don’t say it lightly, possibly the best playground in the world.  Incorporating both water play (always pack the kids bathers, even if you plan only for dry play) and dry play that is well segmented into “little kids” and “big kids” areas it is difficult to imagine a place where children have more fun.

Up close wildlife encounters

Once again Cairns is spoilt for choice with a number of wildlife parks and experiences.  It is the norm for all of these to offer up close and personal encounters with wildlife, as well as first class educational presentations.  My family’s favourite is the Cairns Tropical Zoo, if only because my son shares a name with one of the resident crocs.

An excess of accommodation options

The GFC has pushed holiday accommodation prices down in Cairns meaning that it is among the most affordable in Australia.  Self contained accommodation is readily available at both the Northern Beaches and in town.  A little south of town the Cairns Coconut Resort offers camping facilities and cabins accommodation for families as well as a bounty of onsite activities including a water park, adventure playground and mini golf.  Near the northern beaches Paradise Palms Resort offers families an adventure playground and mini-golf onsite.

A rainforest discovery.

© Copyright 2012 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move