20 Things To Do In Cairns With Kids

Planning a trip to Cairns with family? No trip would be complete without the Great Barrier Reef, crocodiles or The Daintree Rainforest. Check out the rest of list to read about these, plus the other seven best things to do in Cairns with kids that suit families of all ages.

1. The Great Barrier Reef

One of the best things to do in Cairns with kids is seeing the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you take a boat, swim or snorkel through the reef, your kids will absolutely love seeing the myriad of colourful fish in the crystal clear waters. This is a great area to teach your children about the importance of wildlife conservation.


2. The Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands are one of the best attractions in Cairns for kids. With amazing geologic wonders like waterfalls, crater lakes, caves and lava tubes and wildlife such as the tree kangaroo. Kids will have fun getting active as you hike or bike through these amazing features.


3. Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

No trip is complete without some culture and history. The Tjapukai has some great kids activities, like boomerang making and lessons, that your kids will love while also learning about other cultures. The park serves some exciting traditional food for your family to try. The locals also put on some fun nighttime shows that will enthrall your children as they learn about the Aboriginal culture.


4. The Daintree Rainforest

There is so much to do in the Daintree Rainforest you may want to hire trip planners to help you plan your days. There are many tours you can take, hiking, biking and so many animals to see. Your kids will love going zip lining through the rainforest and visiting the wildlife parks and zoos. If your children want to see a platypus, Atherton has a great viewing area.


5. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

If you family wants to get another perspective on the rainforest, you will want to try the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Your family will delight in soaring above the rainforest for over an hour. If you want the ultimate experience, take the Kuranda Scenic Railway on the way back to get another view of the rainforest. Make sure to stop off in Kuranda to see birdworld, the butterfly sanctuary and the koala gardens where you can actually hold a koala.


6. Cairns Esplanade

You can spend an entire day with the kids at the Esplanade. The Cairns Lagoon is great for swimming and has shallow waters perfect for little ones. Take a walk down the boardwalk for some food and shopping and stop off at Muddy's Playground and Funship Playground.


7. Green Island

Green Island is an island located in the Cairns Region, Queensland. It is an another great way to see the Great Barrier Reef. There are many holiday activities to do here, including snorkeling, swimming and glass bottom boat tours of the Reef. To get an even closer view of the Great Barrier Reef, take a semi-summarine, which takes you underwater to see the marine life.


8. Marineland Melanesia

If your family loves marine life and crocodiles, Marineland Melanisa is perfect. You can visit the site on the coral cay and see over 50 crocodiles. Make sure to visit Cassis, who is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest crocodile in captivity. You can also get a bit of culture with traditional Melanisian artifacts.


9. Mossman Gorge

Take a hike through the Mossman Gorge with your family to see amazing geological structures. There is a cool suspension bridge that crosses over the gorge for the adventure seekers in your family. Your family will also enjoy the Aboriginal cultural offerings. One of the can't miss features is a dream time walk with an Aboriginal guide.


10. Hartleys Crocodile

Adventure Another great way to see some crocodiles is at Hartleys Crocodile Adventures. With live crocodile shows and a boat tour, your kids are sure to have a great time. There is also lots of other wildlife to see and your family can get up close and personal with a koala.

11. Cape Tribulation Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour

Imagine ziplining through the world’s oldest rainforest. This really is possible when you head to the Daintree Rainforest. The kids – and you – will get strapped into harnesses and soar 20 metres above the forest canopy. Your guide will give you one of the best ‘live’ tours possible, taking you from platform to platform and explaining the flora and fauna around and beneath you. This is a must for adventure seeking families.


12.  Cairns Aquarium Family Tickets

An absolute must is the Cairns Aquarium where the kids will come face to face with more than 15,000 marine and land animals that live among the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.
But this isn’t just any aquarium. You will journey through mountain ranges and rivers, across the mangroves, into the shallow lagoons of the reef. You will see rare and unique species of this region, from Freshwater Sawfish and Grey Reef Sharks to Amethystine Pythons.


13.  Cairns Harbour Cruise

Take the family on a harbour cruise. Glide through mangroves and waterways, and spot the occasional saltwater crocodile from the safety of your boat. The crew will entertain you and the kids with an informative commentary, and you’ll get off the boat knowing a little bit more about Cairns and crocodiles.


14.  Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

Imagine being surrounded by hundreds of beautiful butterflies! This is possible when you and the kids visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. Enjoy more than 1,500 beautiful butterflies floating around you as you walk through the aviary and gardens. Be sure to look out for the magnificent electric blue Ulysses butterfly, or the fluorescent green and yellow Cairns birdwing. Now this is the stuff that kids dream about.

15.  Barron River Half-Day White Water Rafting from Cairns

Cairns is an adventure lovers playground. And one of the great adventures is white water rafting along the Barron River. Sound scary….don’t worry, you’ll have an experienced guide on board, and you’ll be wearing  a life jacket, helmet and spray jacket, so you can focus on the spectacular scenery as you ride through The Barron Gorge National Park.


16.  Segway tours through Cairns

Take a Segway Tour through the beautiful botanic gardens. Your guide will take you on a journey from the Cairns Esplanade, and past creeks, mangrove swamps, Centenary Lakes wetlands, Botanic Gardens, tropical flora and fauna. And all the time, you’ll be having one of the most fun, exciting and informative tours available.


17. Have a go playing the didgeridoo

Some of the local music stores offer a free lesson at playing the unique Indigenous instrument - the didgeridoo. You might not sound as good as the locals but it’s worth a try! 


18.  Listen to Indigenous storytelling

Some of Cairns’ national parks have local Indigenous people sharing stories of the traditional dreaming.


19.  Sample the World’s Worst Restaurant

Take the family out for what is possibly your worst dinner ever! But don’t worry, it’s supposed to be disasterous. Book a night at the World’s Worst Restaurant which is a night of dinner and entertainment.

Join Mr. Collingsworth who is your restaurant host, and his ex-wife who is also a food critic, for the grand opening of Tumeur De L’âne. Just when you think everything is going great...it all starts to crumble. So strap yourself in for a night of interactive comedy, and possibly your most memorable night out ever!


20.  Watch toad racing

Toad racing is a sport that is unique to Cairns and is a lot of fun to watch if you get the chance. You’ll be in stitches laughing as you watch racers catch, kiss and release an iconic Queensland cane toad, and then do their best to coax them over the finish line. One place to see all the toad action is at the Iron Bar in Port Douglas.

Get more ideas on things to do in Cairns or create your free Cairns trip planner here.