Cairns, the vibrant tourist town nestled on the coastline in between rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, is jam-packed with activities for young and old. The region is packed with local treasures and foodie hot spots, but it is also in a hot climate which could call for some adjustments to your packing list. We’ve compiled a handy list of top tips for families travelling to Cairns, including some spots you won’t want to miss, and some things to be aware of.
1. Watch the sunset from the Esplanade
Sure, the Esplanade is a popular spot for swimming, meals, and jogging, but any local will tell you that seeing the sunset from the Esplanade is something else. Kick back, relax, and watch the sky change colours. Some evenings Mother Nature really puts on a show and the sky turns all sorts of pink, orange, and yellow.
2. Visit the magical Fairy Falls
Escape to a dreamy spot in the rainforest and swim underneath a waterfall. Avoid the tourist-packed pools below and venture down a trail starting from the Crystal Cascades car park. The walk itself isn’t long, but does require good balance and fitness at times, making this walk unsuitable for prams, young children, or the disabled.
3. Life’s a beach
Another thing Cairns is known for is its pristine beaches lining the shore. Palm Cove and Trinity Beach are among the most popular with locals and tourists alike, but if you’re looking for a quieter beach, head to Ellis Beach, Clifton Beach, Kewarra Beach or Holloways Beach and get your feet into the sand.
4. Walk the Red Arrow
This walking track is frequented by locals on a daily basis and you’ll see why. Walking the Red Arrow Track rewards you with stunning views of Cairns City and the nearby Cairns Airport. See the planes take off and land from a whole new, unique angle.
5. Beware of the stingers
Dangerous jellyfish are often found close to the shores of Cairns between the months of November and May. During this time period, swimming nets will be present at popular Cairns beaches, although it’s safer to wear a stinger suit or avoid swimming at the beach altogether. Alternatively, opt for a freshwater swimming hole such as Crystal Cascades or a public swimming pool like the wonderful Lagoon at the Esplanade in the city.
6. Check out some local markets
You’ll find markets in various areas of Cairns, from the beachfront to the rainforest and everywhere in between. These markets are a fantastic opportunity to taste some delicious local produce or purchase souvenirs handmade with love. To name a few, Tanks Markets, Yungaburra Markets, Port Douglas Markets, and Holloways Beach Markets are definitely worth a visit.
7. Float around in Mossman Gorge
If you’re heading up to Port Douglas, take an extra few hours out to visit the stunning Mossman Gorge nestled in the the tranquil Daintree Rainforest. This is the perfect spot to take a refreshing dip or simply relax in the shade.
8. Pack plenty of clothes suited to the weather
Pretty obvious, this one. Cairns is warm pretty much all year round. Even the “winter” (if you can even call it that) averages at about 25 degrees during the day, although it can get chilly at night. Pack for warm weather, but bring a jacket or jumper too. If you are heading to the Atherton Tablelands in the winter, you’ll want to bring some more warm clothing.
Besides the obvious Daintree Rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and Atherton Tablelands, Cairns is full of gems just waiting to be discovered; you just have to look a bit harder!
Feature image courtesy of Tourism & Events Queensland. Photographer: Oliver Vegas Montero.