We love Cairns and Tropical North Queensland! With amazing rainforest and fabulous wildlife, especially of the marine variety, Tropical North Queensland is a great place for a getaway. There are many activities and places that will pique the little ones’ interest.
Our family of four had so much fun in Tropical North Queensland that my four-year-old is still talking about it. There should be no problem finding the right place to stay for a family as there are lots of great places to choose from! For modern urbanity, consider a hotel in Cairns city centre. If you prefer to be close to the beaches, choose a resort in Palm Cove or Port Douglas. If you desire to be close to the great outdoors, head up to the Tablelands.
Based on my family’s experience in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland, here are five things that a family can do together:
1. Ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Take a joyride on the Kuranda Scenic Railway to Kuranda, the village in the rainforest. The train cuts through wide open fields before snaking its way up the Macalister Range. There are several spectacular waterfalls, hand-made tunnels and bridges to keep you spellbound. On the return journey to Cairns, hop on to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to experience gliding just metres above the rainforest canopy and enjoy an amazing 360° views of the mighty Barron River, pristine rainforest and wide expanse of the horizon.
2. Build sand castles
Which kid doesn’t love playing with sand? Some of the beaches here are amazing and well kept. Your child can play safely on the beaches, building sand castles all-day-long. The sea, on the other hand, can be rough and marine stingers can be a hazard at certain times of the year. Adults should keep an eye on the kids at the beaches and swim at patrolled beaches between the red and yellow flags.
3. Get up close to the Great Barrier Reef
Watch Discovery Channel comes alive on the Great Barrier Reef. The turquoise water of the reef are so clear that you will be able to see many types of tropical fish and corals up close. Sea turtles and dolphins have also been spotted occassionally on the Great Barrier Reef. Take the kids snorkeling if they are old enough or are comfortable with floating in the sea. However, if your family prefer to stay dry, opt for a ride in the semi-submersible or glass-bottom boat.
4. Explore the Wet Tropics and the Tablelands
Rent a car and explore the Wet Tropics on a self-drive itinerary. Heading northwards, a drive on the sealed road along the coast (with a ferry crossing at Daintree) can bring you as far as Cape Tribulation (my family could only get as far as the lovely Mossman Gorge in Daintree). Beyond Cape Tribulation, a 4WD is required on the Coastal route to Cooktown. Driving southwards, head up to the Tablelands to enjoy sumptuous gourmet meals, while seeking out the impressive curtain fig trees and amazing waterfalls in the ‘food bowl of the tropics’.
5. Make a splash in Muddy’s playground and Cairns esplanade lagoon
Looking for a modern, fun, safe, splash playground and parkland? Muddy’s playground is the place. It incorporates active, passive, interactive and educational facilities with a combination of play equipment. The range of play equipment is suitable for children of all ages and is great way for the family to bond. Another spot on the esplanade that the family can cool down, relax, or play in a safe, swimming location without stingers and crocodiles is the lagoon. It is a 4,800 square metres salt water swimming facility with salt water from the Trinity Inlet that is filtered through a state-of-the-art filtration system. The best thing about Muddy’s playground and the lagoon? They are both free!