Things to do in Cairns With Kids: A Family Adventure Guide

  • All Ages

Heading to Cairns with the kids? You're in for a treat! This sun-drenched tropical paradise in Queensland is more than just a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It's a vibrant playground packed with fun, adventure, and oodles of opportunities to create family memories that'll last a lifetime.

From splashing around in crystal-clear waters to exploring lush rainforests, Cairns is where the magic of nature meets family-friendly fun. So, pack your sunnies, slather on the sunscreen, and get ready for a whirlwind of excitement. This guide is your ticket to discovering the best of Cairns with your little explorers. 

What To Do In Cairns With The Kids

Cairns Weather: A Tropical Climate

What's on in Cairns - the reef
Visit the Great Barrier Reef!

Cairns experiences a tropical climate characterised by two distinct seasons: wet and dry. From November to April, the wet season is marked by higher humidity, warmer temperatures, and frequent rainfall, often in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. This period brings the lush landscapes to life, with waterfalls at their most spectacular and the rainforest thriving.

The dry season, from May to October, offers cooler temperatures and less humidity, making it more comfortable for outdoor activities. This period sees less rainfall, clearer skies, and a pleasant climate overall. 

Temperatures during this season range from 18°C to 26°C (64°F to 79°F), ideal for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest comfortably.

The tropical weather in Cairns can be unpredictable, and it's wise to prepare for sudden changes. Light, breathable clothing is recommended year-round, with rain gear essential during the wet season.

Best Time to Visit Cairns

Dive into Cairns
Looking for outdoor adventures? 

The best time to visit Cairns largely depends on the activities you're planning to enjoy and your tolerance for different weather conditions. For families looking to make the most of outdoor adventures like snorkelling, diving, and rainforest hikes, the dry season (May to October) is ideal. 

During these months, the weather is more predictable, with lower humidity and minimal rainfall, enhancing the comfort and safety of outdoor activities.

However, if you're interested in experiencing the lushness of the rainforests and don't mind the rain, the wet season (November to April) has its charms. The rainforests are vibrant and the waterfalls are at their most impressive during these months. Moreover, this season is less crowded, offering better deals on accommodation and tours.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Cairns is a balance between the weather, crowd levels, and personal preferences. Each season offers a unique perspective of this beautiful region, making Cairns a year-round destination.

1. Kuranda Skyrail & Scenic Railway

What to do in Cairns
Kuranda Skyrail & Scenic Railway

A must-do in Cairns for families is the Kuranda Skyrail & Scenic Railway experience. This journey not only provides breathtaking views but also an educational insight into the ancient rainforest, perfectly blending adventure with learning for children.

2. Cairns Aquarium

What's on in Cairns
Cairns Aquarium

At the Cairns Aquarium, families can dive into an underwater journey. It's an interactive way to teach kids about marine ecosystems, offering a closer look at the diverse species of the Great Barrier Reef.

3. Cairns Jetboating

What's on in Cairns
Cairns Jetboating

For families seeking thrills, the Cairns Jet Boat Ride is an exhilarating activity. This high-speed adventure is a fun way for kids to enjoy the natural beauty of Cairns from the water.

4. Riverboat Cruising

River boat
Riverboat Cruising

A serene riverboat cruise is perfect for families looking to unwind while spotting local wildlife. This activity offers a peaceful respite from the city's hustle, allowing kids to appreciate nature's tranquility.

5. Horse Riding and Petting Zoo

horse riding
Horse Riding and Petting Zoo

Combining outdoor fun and animal interactions, the Kur Cow Horse Riding and Petting Zoo experience is ideal for young animal enthusiasts, offering hands-on experiences with various farm animals.

6. Sightseeing Sunset Cruise

sunset cruise
Sightseeing Sunset Cruise

The Cairns River Cruise Sunset journey is a magical experience for families, showcasing the stunning tropical sunset. It's a relaxing way to end a day of exploring.

7. Paronella Park

sightseeing sunset cruise
Paronella Park

Visiting the fairy-tale-like Paronella Park is like stepping into another world. It's an enchanting experience for kids, filled with stories and beautiful landscapes.

8. Hartleys Crocodile Adventures

What's On
Hartleys Crocodile Adventures

For an exciting wildlife encounter, Hartleys Crocodile Adventures offers families a safe and educational look at Australia's famed crocodiles and other wildlife.

9. Butterfly Sanctuary

Butterfly Sanctuary
Butterfly Sanctuary


The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is a delightful spot for kids to learn about and witness various butterfly species in a lush rainforest setting.

10. Birdworld Kuranda

Bird world
Birdworld Kuranda

A visit to Birdworld Kuranda is not only entertaining but also educational, as children can interact with a diverse range of bird species.

11. Koala Gardens

Koala Gardens
Koala Gardens


At Koala Gardens, families have the unique opportunity to cuddle a koala and see other native animals, making for a memorable experience.

12. Cairns 3 Park Attraction Pass

Cairns 3 Park Attraction Pass
Cairns 3 Park Attraction Pass


Opt for the Cairns 3 Park Attraction Pass to enjoy access to multiple wildlife attractions, perfect for families looking to explore various aspects of Cairns' natural beauty.

13. Cairns Tropical Skywalk

Cairns Tropical Skywalk
Cairns Tropical Skywalk

The Mamu Tropical Skywalk offers families a unique perspective of the rainforest, combining adventure with stunning scenic views.

14. Walk the Plank

Walk the plank
Walk the plank

For an adrenaline rush, Walk the Plank presents an exciting challenge for older kids and adults alike, offering breathtaking vistas.

15. Indigenous Cultural Tour

Eco tour
Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours

The Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours provide a meaningful cultural experience, teaching families about the region's rich Indigenous heritage.

Insider Parent Tips for Travelling to Cairns

  1. Stay Hydrated and Sun-Safe: Cairns' tropical climate means it's essential to stay hydrated and protect your family from the sun. Always carry water bottles, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly, and wear hats and sunglasses.

  2. Timing is Everything: Plan outdoor activities like hikes or beach visits for the cooler parts of the day to avoid the midday heat. Early mornings or late afternoons are best for comfortable exploration.

  3. Pack for the Weather: Bring lightweight, breathable clothing for the warm climate. During the wet season, include waterproof jackets and dry bags to protect your belongings during rain showers.

  4. Choose Family-Friendly Accommodation: Cairns offers a range of family-friendly accommodations. Look for places with amenities like swimming pools, kid's clubs, and family rooms to keep everyone comfortable and entertained.

  5. Health Precautions: If you're visiting during the wet season, be mindful of mosquitoes. Use insect repellent and consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

  6. Local Wildlife: Teach your children about the importance of respecting local wildlife. Remind them to observe from a distance and not to feed wild animals.

  7. Transportation: Renting a car can be a convenient way to explore Cairns and its surroundings at your own pace, especially if you're traveling with young children. Public transport options are available, but a car gives you more flexibility.

  8. Plan Ahead: Cairns and its attractions can get busy, especially during peak tourist seasons. Book tours and activities in advance to avoid disappointment.

Other Family Adventures 

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Lake Cakora: NSW's Tree of Life Lake
The Prettiest Beach Towns in NSW

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