Kid-Friendly Places to Visit in Cairns, Queensland Australia

by Tonya Staab
Published: Updated:

Whether you’re heading to Cairns in Queensland on vacation with kids, or just looking for kid-friendly activities to do in the area, we’ve got you covered.

For the majority of our vacation in Queensland, we stayed in Cairns. We had a brief overnight trip to Brisbane though so I could have dinner with a longtime friend at South Bank. In both locations, I booked our accommodation at the Mantra – the Mantra Esplanade in Cairns and the Mantra South Bank in Brisbane.

Cairns Family Friendly Accommodation

At the Mantra Esplanade in Cairns, we had a three-bedroom apartment on the top floor facing the ocean. It was amazing.

ocean view from the Mantra in Cairns Queensland

We had three bedrooms, three bathrooms, our own laundry room, a living area, a dining room, and a full kitchen. There was a balcony running along the length of the apartment. 

The main tourist destinations within Cairns were within walking distance, along with the restaurants, shopping areas, and meet-up locations for tours.

large christmas tree in cairns near the lagoon

The photo below is of the ocean during low tide. It’s amazing just how much sand you can see, and such a very different view from the photo at the top of the post.

view over the ocean in cairns at low tide from The Mantra

On our first night, we heard quite a commotion outside, so we ventured outside onto the balcony and saw lorikeets everywhere.

lorikeets in trees in cairns

This photo doesn’t do it justice though, there were hundreds of them. We quickly learned that they gather there every evening at around the same time and make just as much noise.

At dusk, from behind the buildings, we would see bats too, hundreds of them making their way across the city.

large bats flying over cairns
view from the mantra hotel at dusk in cairns

On one of the days we didn’t have tours booked we decided to enjoy a little of what Cairns has to offer. We had lunch at Pie Face, where they make pretty delicious pies with adorable faces on them.

Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome

From there we headed to Cairns ZOOm and Wildlife Dome which is a wildlife park and challenges ropes course inside a 20-meter glass dome on top of the Reef Hotel Casino. Flynn who has no fear wanted to do the obstacle course, of course. There are different levels you can do. He did all of them.

a boy getting a harness to do the ZOOm obstacle course in Cairns
a boy doing the ropes obstable course at ZOOm dome in Cairns
ropes obstable course in Cairns Queensland
indoor zoom dome obstacle course for kids

I thought I was going to have a heart attack just watching him on the ropes course in the photos above, but nothing could compare to the rest of the course.

Like when he jumped off a platform onto a trampoline below, or when he went outside the building and hung off the side. Sorry, the photo below isn’t great (on the right), but he’s up there, and outside, and hanging off the side of the building.

best activity for kids in cairns queensland

One funny (or not so funny if you are a parent) is watching your 7-year-old walking across logs up above you and there’s a 4-metre long crocodile named Goliath down below. Flynn thought it was hilarious. Me, not so much.

The fact there was a crocodile beneath him didn’t phase him one bit so he decided to zip-line over Goliath too.

zip-lining over a crocodile for kids at Cairns ZOOm

No, Goliath did not actually try to jump up and eat him, he was probably just looking up and wishing that the kid would just make his life easier and fall.

While we watched the daredevil do his thing, we also got to see a lot of birds inside the wildlife dome.

a kookaburra and owl inside a wildlife dome in queensland
feeding birds inside the wildlife dome in cairns
wildlife you can see inside the ZOOm wildlife dome in Cairns

Esplanade Lagoon, Cairns

Later in the afternoon we changed into swim gear and headed to the large, free, saltwater Esplanade Lagoon. It is the large pool area by the ocean you can see in the first few photographs I posted. There are lifeguards on duty, it is clean, and there are bathrooms and restaurants nearby.

Cairns esplanade swimming lagoono
kids playing in the sand at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
the lifeguard tower and bathrooms at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon swimming spot

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Southerncrossapartments March 21, 2014 - 3:13 am

Images are very beautiful.The images represent the beauty of Cairns.After seeing these images i just want to visit cairns as soon as possible and next time i am going to visit this first…..Awesome place to see.I just want to know are there some apartments to spend our vacations comfortable????

Melody April 25, 2018 - 11:33 pm

I am loving your Australia vacation blog! We are planning a trip there and have already scoped out the Mantra in Cairns as our first hotel stay in the region, mainly for the beauty and location but also because of the 24 McDonalds. LOL Usually when we travel, once we get off the airplane and checked into the hotel, we tend to fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning. We did that in San Diego for Comic Con once and found ourselves looking for food at 2am. 7-11 was our only choice, so this trip, I am making sure there is hot food at 2am. haha.

Anyways, my question to you is: I notice in all the videos I have watched of Cairns visitors and pictures that the ocean that meets with the sea wall during low tide, never has anybody walking it looking for shells or stuff. Is that because it is infested with Crocs during low tide? If not, did you see anyone down there? Thanks for sharing your vacation.


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