A Week in Cairns

Spending a week in Cairns on a family holiday guarantees coastal beauty and plenty of activities for all ages. Discover family exploration in tropical Far North Queensland at your own pace with a Dollar rental car - available for pickup from either Cairns Central or Cairns Airport.

Esplanade Lagoon
City and Seaside Exploration

Once you’ve arrived in Cairns, you’ll be immersed in the coastal holiday feeling, surrounded by blue skies and sea, sandy shores and a resort-style atmosphere. Begin your family exploration of Cairns with a stroll along the Esplanade - the city’s hotspot for activity and entertainment with amazing views of the coastline. The Esplanade is a 2.5km long path along the foreshore with places to play, pause and wander, giving you easy access to some of Cairns’ best features. With a large playground, water play areas and a cafe, there’s undeniable fun for the whole family at Muddy’s. Here, kids can climb, swing and play while adults relax with a meal at Muddy’s Cafe. Toward the end of the Esplanade stretch, you’ll reach the Esplanade Lagoon - one of Cairns’ most iconic attractions. This waterfront swimming pool is the perfect spot for adults and kids alike to swim and splash around, plus there are barbeque facilities available if you’re in the mood for a family picnic. For dinner, Cairns is filled with family-friendly options, including the Waterbar and Grill Steakhouse. With a flavourful menu, dishes from the grill and kids’ options, it’s an excellent place to dine on the waterfront during your stay in Cairns. 

Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef

Known as the ‘Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef’, visiting the world’s largest coral reef system is a must when in Cairns, and there are many ways for visitors of all ages to enjoy the beauty of the Reef. To see the diverse marine life and colourful corals that make the Reef a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site and a bucket-list experience for many, choose between heading out from Cairns on a snorkel tour, scuba diving expedition or boat cruise. For those travelling with younger ones, a glass-bottom boat tour or scenic cruise will allow you to view the underwater beauty from the comfort of a pontoon or catamaran without getting wet. Otherwise, there are introductory snorkelling tours available for those who’d like to give it a go, or see the magic of the Great Barrier Reef up close with a guided scuba dive. With endless ways to discover one of the world’s most remarkable natural wonders, there are plenty of options to suit you and your family - there are even ways to view the Reef from above. 

Karunda Railway
Picturesque Towns and Charming Villages

Swap the waters of the Great Barrier Reef for countryside landscapes and town adventures with a scenic drive from Cairns to Kuranda. Just under an hour in your rental car, or a two-hour journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Kuranda is a picturesque mountain township Northwest of Cairns. With Birdworld Kuranda, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and the Kuranda Koala Gardens here, it’s a wildlife paradise - perfect for those who love animals and an excellent way to discover native Australian fauna. An hour further from Kuranda is another family-friendly holiday destination, Port Douglas. Perfect for a day trip from Cairns, Port Douglas offers coastal beauty with a tight-knit community atmosphere. Four Mile Beach is the main attraction here, with the golden sands providing the perfect spot for a beach day out or a family hike. In town on a Sunday? Visit the Port Douglas Sunday Markets on the foreshore to browse over 100 stalls featuring works, goods and gifts made by local artisans. Try out produce from local growers or bring home a souvenir to commemorate your Far North Queensland holiday. Stop by Palm Cove Beach on your way back to Cairns, perhaps visiting the jetty for a sunset stroll. 

Crater Lake National Park
Nature Escapes

After venturing Queensland’s beautiful beaches and charming towns, visit the Atherton Tablelands to explore lush highland landscapes. The first stop on your visit to the Tablelands is Lake Eacham in the Crater Lakes National Park. Popular for swimming, hiking and picnicking, the Lake is centred around a rainforest, allowing you to explore this clear-blue oasis at your own pace. Next, head to Millaa Millaa Falls for stunning views of the 18-metre-high waterfalls. There are also hiking trails on offer here, as well as chances to spot native wildlife out and about. Looking for something extra to add to your trip? The sacred 500-year-old Curtain Fig tree stands tall among forestscapes in the Tablelands, between Lake Eacham and Millaa Millaa Falls. If you’d like to explore even more greenery, Australia’s largest rainforest - the Daintree Rainforest - sits two hours north of Cairns and offers insights into the region’s flora and fauna, tours through Mossman Gorge and wildlife-spotting river cruises for a family adventure like no other. 

After viewing the mesmerising wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and venturing into the lush landscapes of ancient rainforests, a holiday in Far North Queensland will leave the whole family buzzing. Whether relaxing by the beach or adventuring on the water, a week spent in Cairns offers endless opportunities for family fun. 

cost of render: 0.40873503684998 cached: false