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There’s so much to do in Cairns these Christmas holidays that we’ve put together our top 22 recommendations for the festive period. Don’t forget to share your experiences and post a picture on the PakMag Facebook page – we’d love to know how many you tick off the list!

1. Sing Carols

There are a number of Christmas Carolling events around Cairns this year. Check out the council’s website for more information.

2. Get Wet

Cairns is a great place to splash about and with stinger season in full effect, why not take advantage of Cairns’ man-made pools and water playgrounds. Spend a day at the lagoon, get down to Muddy’s or check out Tobruk’s state of the art facilities including Toddler Splash Pool and Flow Rider for the bigger kids.

3. See Santa

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa and you can see him at a number of places in Cairns this December. All of the major shopping centres have Santa Arrival celebrations (check out our What’s On Guide) and have Santa photo sessions throughout the month too!

4. Island Hop

Cairns is beautiful, but sometimes it’s nice to leave the mainland and head for a tropical island. Fitzroy Island is our top pick for families. Whether you’ve never been or you’re practically a resident, you must take a trip this December!

5. Spot a Croc

In the wild or at the zoo, spotting a croc in this area is never too hard. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is a great experience for both kids and adults with their awesome shows and other great attractions. Looking to spot a croc in their natural habitat? Why not travel north to Daintree River Cruise Centre and see who can spot the most!

6. Get Out of Town

North? South? West? There’s plenty to explore in the greater Cairns area. Head up to Kuranda for a day of exploring the markets. Go north to enjoy a day out on Four Mile beach in Port Douglas. Go South to Mission Beach and take a plunge in the waterholes along the way. A road trip in any direction is perfect way to see more of the region and have fun whilst doing it.

7. Be illuminated

Twinkling fairy lights, flashing reindeer and even inflatable Christmas characters – Cairns certainly doesn’t disappoint in the Christmas light department.

Want to DIY your Christmas Light tour? Check out the ‘Christmas Lights Around Cairns’ Facebook Page for the best places to see Christmas Lights. Bryce Close in Gordonvale, Propeller Court in Trinity Park and Keirle Avenue in Whitfield are just a couple of addresses they recommend for the best light displays in town.

8. Beat the Heat

Our lives in this region are lived outdoors but sometimes it’s good to get out of the heat. Spend an afternoon taking out some pins at ‘Go Bowling’ or relax as the kids listen to exciting tales at Story Time at any one of Cairns’ libraries (check out http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/library/ for more details on times).

9. Donate

This month is a time for giving to our loved ones. But, this year, why not give to those less fortunate? There are plenty of great initiatives who would love to have you and your family give them a hand and many organisations who would be grateful of a donation. It’s a great way to teach your family about how not all families are so fortunate.

10. Have a picnic

Get back to basics – pack a picnic and go to the beach or use the free barbeques on the esplanade or one of the many parks around Cairns. You may have done it hundreds of times, but don’t forget, eating outside is still a novel idea to the kids!

11. Smell the flowers

Been to the Botanical Gardens recently? This is a great place for the kids to explore North Queensland’s amazing plant life and spend hours amongst the butterflies of the orchid greenhouse.

12. Get Theatrical

Get your youngsters involved in something new with The Young Company’s theatre classes and school holiday programs. Check them out at http://www.theyoungcompany.com.au for more information on keeping the kids entertained whilst learning a new skill.

13. Go to the Panto

Check out http://www.therondo.com.au/ and go to http://www.ticketlink.com.au to check out what is happening at Munro Martin Parklands.

14. Fall in Love

The waterfalls around Cairns are abundant. View the spectacular Baron Falls, slide down the natural slides at Josephine falls or take a plunge into the cool waters of Crystal Cascades for a refreshing day out.

15. Buy Local

This year, have a look in the local area to find the delights of local produce. Have the freshest and tastiest food this Christmas.

16. Get Sporty

Get the kids active this December. Why not get them involved in a fun sporting program such as Cairns Skating Centre (sports and recreational activities, indoor hockey, capture the flag, skating and more) or enrol in Jamie Gosling’s Football Academy (more details at http://www.jgfa.com.au)?

17. Boardwalk

Don’t just walk, board-walk! There are a number of stunning places to walk in Cairns but the Rainforest Boardwalk (from the Botanical Gardens) offers something extra special and is certainly a walk the kids will enjoy.

18. Go to the Park

Now we know that with all the bells and whistles surrounding Christmas and December events, going to the park can seem a bit boring. But Cairns really is full of great parks that you and the kids can relax in, take the cricket bat or play on the playgrounds. One of our favourites is Goomboora Park in Brinsmead – not only do they have free barbeques and a croc-free creek to swim in, you can also take your dog!

19. Watch a movie

Avoid the summer heat this month and get to the cinema for some air-conditioned relaxation! There are a number of family movies showing this month. Head to any Event cinema for fun you can’t say no to!

20. Seek Thrills

From calm to action-packed fun. If you have a family of thrill-seekers, take a spin on Bad Fishy’s Jet Boat or build up some friendly family rivalry at Cairns Laser Tag or Laser Fun Cairns.

21. Learn Something

There are so many activities in Cairns to keep little minds active whilst they’re on school holidays. Learning about regional art at the Cairns Regional Art Gallery or taking a trip out to Herberton Village are great ways to combine fun and education.

22. Have an Adventure!

Whatever you do this December, make sure you have an adventure that will help create wonderful memories for you and your family. From calm to thrill-seeking families, there’s something for everyone this December.