The 4,135 square kilometer (1,596 square mile) Cairns region includes the city, and the area to the south of it just short of the village of Innisfall. The Shire of Douglas was part of a larger region for a while. But that was until the folk to the north of us declared their independence in 2012. So long fellas. We love you but we think we got the better deal after we ‘exchanged a few words’. Here we share some great ideas for family holidays in Cairns Region. You will find them fun for all ages too when you let your hair down!
The Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Experience
The Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Experience is a transparent geodesic dome. So adults can watch children from outside as they enter a rain forest inside a glass bubble. It’s like a giant playground with different levels to climb to and explore. It is just as well they supply safety harnesses, for here are crocodiles, pythons, turtles, birds, and slimy frogs. This is the place to be for great family holidays in Cairns, but definitely not in your Sunday best!
An Esplanade and Swimming Pool made for Family Holidays in Cairns
After zip lining over crocodiles you may want to chill a while. In that case, Cairns Esplanade is the place to be for family holidaymakers in search of water fun. It has a salt-water swimming pool and there are ample toilet and shower facilities in this recently completed stunning outdoor experience. The Esplanade is well-managed and safe, and a magnet for backpackers. Plus couples enjoying an early morning jog, teenagers on the skateboard ramp, and families walking to restaurants for dinner in the evening.
There is also a great boardwalk along the waterfront. It leads to sculptures in a garden, an amphitheater, public barbeques, and a children’s playground. The Great Barrier Reef Departure Terminal is a hive of activity in season. It goes without saying the takeouts, diners and restaurants offer a superb choice of trad Australian and international fine dining. This place is an absolute must and complements happy family holidays in Cairns perfectly.
Muddy’s Playground, But No Worries Mum It’s Super Clean
We have little idea where the name comes from. A Ms or Mr Muddy sound too obvious, but perhaps it is true after all. More importantly, we have this huge bright and colourful play area for kids. It may not be muddy but it is full of child-friendly water sprays and sprinklers. So kids, and optional mums and dads are definitely going to get wet. On a summery day in Cairns this is actually a blessing. Come to think of it, it is a blessing all year round.
They have a toddler area with full enclosure, plus lots of clean, white sand for kids to roll on and get their fingers in. They have a cute cafe with lawns and views across the water. Naturally sodas, chips and nuggets are available all day long. You are also most welcome to bring your own food. They have thoughtful public pub-style outdoor seating, with umbrellas to keep the sun away from baby’s soft, tender skin.
Up, Up and Away in the Clear Blue Yonder on Family Holidays in Cairns
Did you ever fancy a hot air balloon ride but never quite get around to it. From what guests tell us, you were certainly not the only one. Family holidays in Cairns are a humdinger opportunity to tick this one off your bucket list while sharing adventures with the kids. Your day starts early in the morning before the birds are twittering. You enjoy a quick breakfast before the tour operator arrives, and makes double sure you have enough warm clothes for later in the day up in the sky.
Few things compare with this exciting moment westward of us, when the pilot finally inflates the balloon, and the basket clears the ground but only just. After a final check, ground staff release the restraining ropes. Sheer magic begins as you slowly float up upwards into the sky. It’s almost like drifting across a model of the real thing. You feel quite superior compared to us mere mortals on the ground below.
Ride Across the Water to a Green Island in the Coral Sea
Green Island is another place for great memories of family holidays in Cairns. It is 27 kilometres off shore from Cairns, and there are half day and full day ferry rides. Once over the excitement of being on a ‘desert island’ you go snorkeling with the kids for an awesome coral reef experience. What’s more, you see the same corals and fishes as folk staying a luxury resort with prices we can only dream of affording.
Green Island formed 6,000 years ago as waves deposited coral, sand and other floating debris on a coral foundation. Today, the vegetation varies from vine-thicket rain forest to dry beach plants. Ferry access is by 45-minute catamaran ride. If you are feeling flush, you could hire a charter boat, a helicopter, or even a sea plane to get there. Come on over, as they say and enjoy the ride. There are also several other islands near Cairns to enjoy.
Family Holidays in Cairns Region Go Better by Vintage Train
The whole family will be ecstatic over a spectacular train ride up a cliff face to a village above. Their are views to die for, and comfy seats for teens to sit while they play with their aps and message their friends. The Cairns-to-Kuranda railway opened up access to the plateau above us in 1891. This kick started our trading role that lead to construction of Cairns Harbour. Without it, we could still be a quiet backwater like the other fishing villages along our coastline.
The railway climbs 327 meters over 37 kilometres affording unsurpassed views of waterfalls, dense rain forest, and steep ravines. Hundreds of men picked and shoveled through 15 tunnels, and built 37 bridges mainly out timber by hand. There are occasional stops at spectacular view sites. Finally the train arrives at Kuranda Station where a historic village waits to welcome passengers with souvenir shops, and some of the best restaurants in the region
“Wanggulay Makes Family Holidays in Cairns Even Better”
We built our two private vacation rentals especially for family holidays in Cairns. In fact, we originally acquired the land for our own family breaks. We are private people ourselves, so we built directly on the edge of a national heritage rain forest. First the one house, and then the other as visitors flocked to the Great Barrier Reef. The river out of frame in the picture of the railway line flows not far away from us towards the end of its journey from the tableland above.
Please come and see what we have when you are next in Cairns. Better still, come and stay. Our guests tell us Wanggulay makes family holidays in Cairns region even better as you will see from our reviews. We are an award-winning retreat providing a high standard of luxury. Kids love coming here because they can swim in secluded rock pools nearby.