ellaslist Reviews: A Family-Friendly Winter Escape at Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
If you’re planning a family holiday and looking for a stunning spot to take the kids and enjoy some sunshine, there’s no better place to go than the beautiful tropical Far North Queensland town of Cairns.
Bursting with things to see and do, offering gorgeous weather year-round, and complete with family-friendly hotels like the incredible Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, we reckon you'd be hard-pressed to find another gem like this.
ellaslist Reviews: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Located in the heart of Cairns, the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is a popular family-friendly hotel that offers a range of facilities and activities perfect for every family. It’s just a short walk from Cairns Central Shopping Centre and Cairns Esplanade. With its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, and numerous other natural attractions, Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort is an ideal destination for families looking to explore the beauty of Queensland.
The hotel boasts a range of rooms and suites that cater to families of all sizes. We stayed in two double king rooms with a connecting door which was absolutely perfect for our family of six.
We loved our private balcony to get a bird's eye view of the streets of Cairns, and obviously, the kids loved the wifi! The rooms have everything you need from toiletries and decent bottles of soap, shampoo, and conditioner—and, let’s face it, with four girls we would have gone through our fair share of those tiny tubes that most hotels offer. Tea, coffee, and milk were readily available and the fridge is big enough to hold some store-bought snacks. So far, so good!
We enjoyed all the great facilities of the hotel including the fitness centre, restaurant, bar, and the impressive lagoon-style swimming pool with swim-up bar which is part of Moku Beach Club. Our kids were constantly in the pool which also has a small beach at one end so the kids can still build sand castles and forts with the buckets and spades provided by the hotel. We also lazed around the pool on a giant unicorn provided by the hotel. There is a kids' pool for the little ones, and parents can enjoy a cocktail or two at the swim-up bar while being only arm's length from the kids. Name a more perfect scenario! We'll wait...
Finally, while not the most exciting facility at the hotel but an incredibly practical one for families, there is a laundromat located in the carpark of the hotel. Great for doing a load or two while on holidays so you don’t have to overpack. The glamour!
Buffet Breakfasts and Kids Club
The hotel offers a Kids Club program, which is designed to keep children entertained with a range of safe and supervised activities while parents enjoy some time to themselves on a fun-filled family holiday in Cairns. Do we hear angels singing?
The program includes arts and crafts, games, and outdoor activities. There were also movie nights on the grass while we were there, and Roaming Wild Animal Encounters were set up on the terrace around breakfast time. The kids were mesmerised by the Macaw, snakes, and lizards while we enjoyed the buffet breaky in peace.
Speaking of breakfast, it’s so lovely to choose either inside or outside by the pool with an impressive spread of fruits and cereals, bacon and eggs and all the usual breaky suspects. There’s even a station to make your own Bloody Mary (Virgin, of course). If buffet’s aren’t your style (although my kids love the freedom and independence of the buffet) you can order a la carte from Moku Bar & Grill.
Out and About in Cairns
Outside of the hotel, a family holiday in Cairns is brimming with things to see and do, with plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. Here are some of the top things to do with kids in Cairns:
For some free fun, head to the Cairns Esplanade. There is so much to do there! There's a saltwater lagoon which is completely free and patrolled by lifeguards. There are BBQs, loads of seating, and shade so you can take a picnic and make a whole day of it. Explore the beachfront boardwalk by foot, scooter, or bike and you’ll discover a world full of family fun at Muddy’s Playground along with a skatepark, beach volleyball, healing garden playground, and Funship Playground.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system and is home to a diverse range of marine life, including colourful fish, turtles, and sharks. And the best thing is that there are many ways families can enjoy the Reef experience, such as visiting Green Island or Fitzroy Island. These islands have a range of family-friendly activities including snorkelling, guided nature walks, and beach play.
Take a ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a bird's eye view of the rainforest. The cable car takes you high above the treetops, providing breathtaking views of the forest below. It departs from Cairns and travels up to Kuranda and includes stops at Red Peak and Barron Falls where you can explore the rainforest on foot.
To get off the mountain, you can come back down via the Kuranda Scenic Railway. This is a historic railway that takes passengers on a journey through the rainforest, with stunning views of waterfalls and valleys along the way. We loved exploring the markets, wildlife sanctuaries, and walking trails.
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures was one of our favourite attractions. Kids can see crocodile feeding shows, interact with reptiles and learn about Australia’s unique wildlife.
We started our day on the guided boat tour on the lagoon and got to see the crocodiles up close and learn about their behaviours and habitats (and don’t worry, the boat is surrounded by a metal cage so there are no unwanted visitors.) The guide feeds the crocs as you glide through the lagoon, to encourage them to jump out of the water. There's more than just the crocodiles, though—the Park offers other attractions like Gondwana Gateway which is a walk-through exhibit showcasing ancient reptiles and mammals, and the Cassowary Walk where you get to see unique birds in their natural setting.
Cairns Aquarium is a must-visit attraction in Cairns for families. This state-of-the-art aquarium showcases the diversity of Australia’s marine life with over 15,000 marine and freshwater animals including sharks, stingrays and tropical in a variety of interactive exhibits including touch pools and a marine conservation laboratory. In fact, every corner of the aquarium transports you to the magical world beneath the waves. Picture yourself surrounded by lush rainforest, with towering trees and crystal-clear waters. Bliss!
Mossman Gorge is located a short drive from Port Douglas, Palm Cove, and Cairns and it’s like stepping into a magical wonderland. You can take a refreshing swim in the pristine water, go on a relaxing walk along the mossy paths and even spot some wildlife along the way. We loved the clear fresh water to swim in. I was bracing myself as I imagined it would be freezing, but it was just right - so refreshing! Keep your eyes peeled for colourful butterflies and even a cheeky lizard or two. It’s pretty safe but you do have to be a little careful with the water currents. And there are no crocodiles.
That’s a Wrap!
We were so impressed with Cairns - the people, the places, the attractions, the weather—it was such an amazing family holiday with so much to see and do. We will definitely have to go back to do all the things we didn’t get a chance to do and we’ll definitely be staying at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort again!
Book your stay at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort.
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