cairns fun for kids

Cairns Fun for Kids That’s Incredibly Cool

Cairns is truly an amazing place for family holidays. Today we want to concentrate of fantastic fun for young teens. We plan to introduce you to six day-out adventures we know well. We have lined up 6 activities that have a bit of everything, including amazing experiences in nature. Please remember to dress casually according to the season. We don’t stand on ceremony in Far North Queensland, although do remember to bring hats and sun-blocker cream. So let’s get started with Cairns fun for kids right away.

cairns fun for kids

Lower Skyrail Terminal: Michael Coghlan: CC 2.0

Fun for Kids on the Sky Rail to Kuranda

The Cairns Sky Rail is a cable car experience in which small gondolas ascend gently from the coastal plain to an escarpment above. On the way, it dives through lush rain forest, serenely follows the Barron River, and finds a spectacular waterfall. We slip out from a forest 15 minutes’ drive north of Cairns. We could also have taken the shuttle from the city centre, or several of the northern beaches. The trip will take 90 minutes with stops. As we settle into our comfy private cable car we discover we can see through the floor.  Too late for tears. We relax, open soft drinks, and explore our new surroundings.

Our first stop is at Red Peak Station. We come on it quite suddenly as we descend sharply through the forest canopy from our birds eye view above. We discover our tickets include a boardwalk with a ranger who explains things nicely, and is patient with the kids’ excited questions. Then it’s all aboard again for the amazing Barron Falls Station, with three separate dramatic lookouts to discover. The falls are peaceful on the day we visit, although  they really thunder down in rainy season. This main drop is 107 metres (350 feet).

cairns fun for kids

Main Drop at Barron Falls: Kyle Taylor: CC 2.0

The dream continues as we gradually ascend to the top of the waterfall, and look back on Cairns now a distance away. The forest beneath us is 100% natural. They even used helicopters to build the sky way so they left no vehicle tracks behind. The Kuranda Station sweeps suddenly into view. Could we be there already. Could ninety minutes of Cairns fun for kids have passed so fast.

More Fun for Children on the Plateau

Kuranda is an old railway station built to serve the train line we glimpsed through the floor of our gondola as we travelled gracefully  through the air. We’ll tell you more about this shortly, when we hop on board a vintage train for our journey back to Cairns. A pioneer village grew like topsy around the railway station in the 1870’s, as streams of prospectors passed through in the hope of finding rich seams of gold on the Atherton Tableland which is a vast, fertile plateau.

The gold is all gone now, but Far North Queenslanders found new treasure worth infinitely more. Kuranda reinvented itself as a magnet for tourists flocking to Australia after World War Two. The Battle of the Coral Sea really put us on the map. Some Kuranda attractions come close to being the best of the Cairns fun for kids we heartily invite you to enjoy. Like feeding parrots and getting close to koala bears and other curious Queensland mammals.

cairns fun for kids

Can You Spare a Peanut (Kuranda Koala Gardens and Bird World: Photnart: CC 3.0 )

Kuranda is Not Shy with More Cairns Fun

The village and surrounds are packed full with much more fun for kids. Take your pick from the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Kuranda Riverboat Tours, and the Australian Venom Zoo.  There are fabulous cafes and restaurants ranging from formal sit downs, through alfresco eating to delicious takeaways, to DIY sandwiches at Kuranda Foodworks, where they have great choices for all tastes.

Kuranda is also tops for souvenirs and art galleries, and jewelry and opals, and for sweets and treats to. But before we say “all aboard” for Cairns down a steep slope in a vintage train, we want to tell you about the walking trails and tracks that surround this graceful village. So let’s head directly to the rain forest where there are 1,200 species of flowering plants along gentle board walks.

But wait, what was that? That sound was the loco hooter calling from Kuranda Railway Station. Prepare yourself for a fun vintage train ride down the selfsame escarpment we ascended in a peaceful gondola when things seem to stand still, which they won’t now. All aboard, all aboard for more fun for kids. Quick, quick the train wants to go. Toot toot!

cairns fun for kids

Kuranda Railway Station: Composition Department: CC 2.0

All Aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway

The Kuranda Scenic Railway is a spectacular way to return to Cairns, offering as it does unsurpassed views across rain forest, down steep ravines, and across to waterfalls. It follows the contours for close to two hours. This was an engineering miracle in its day, but not for people in a hurry. Hundreds of men literally dug it out of the cliff face with picks and shovels for nine years from 1882 t0 1891.

In the process they created 15 tunnels, and 37 bridges along a relatively short distance of 37 kilometres (23 miles). The railways stands as a monument to the determination of early miners, whose only energy source was their own bare hands. After a pleasant journey with several stops, we trundle through Freshwater Connection Station where we might also  have alighted, and arrive at length in Cairns Railway Station itself.

cairns fun for kids

Kuranda Scenic Railway: Bgabel: CC 1.0

Cairns Fun for Kids in a Wildlife Dome

Cairns Wildlife Dome challenges the zoo experience and turns it upside down. Instead of putting wild animals into cages, and viewing them from outside, it reasons how about we put animals and humans in a single cage allowing close-up encounters. Please don’t stress though. Everything happens to high safety standards. However you will still suffer adrenaline rushes as if you were alone in the wild …

Cairns Wildlife Zone is the new home of Cairns Zoo, which has an enviable reputation for creating awareness of fragile life on earth. The spacious ‘pleasure dome’ is on the roof of the famous Reef Hotel Casino so it’s hard to miss. Take your pick between zip lining over giant saltwater crocodiles, feeding exotic parrots and cockatoos, and cradling butterflies in the palm of your hand. Cairns fun for kids simply does not get better.

cairns fun for kids

Cairns Wildlife Zone: Image Cairns Zoom

Take a Swim in Nature for Green Fun

There’s little point in trying to convince children they have a responsibility for preserving the environment. Their minds are too full of daily events, just as we adults often are. We stumbled over the truth ourselves while swimming in sun-kissed rocky pools just outside Cairns. Although it took a while longer to move from conviction to action.  That’s when we decided to build our Wanggulay eco retreat to pass on the premise ‘if not us, then who will pass on the message and become Mother Nature’s custodian not just her beneficiaries.

We have wonderful spots in nature for special Cairns fun for kids. Where water safe to drink flows freely through pools, children are children still, and lovers linger longer in secret, private places. We could tell you where to go when you holiday in our Bali-style cottage in the rain forest that’s a symphony of style in organically harvested natural timber. Sure that’s a hard act to follow, but our customers tell us we are among the very few that achieved it. You will have to come and stay because this is now on your bucket list.

cairns fun for kids

A Quiet Spot in Daintree Forest: Jorge Láscar: CC 2.0

The Special Joys of Nature Awaiting You

We have two fab holiday rentals on the western edge of Cairns, set discreetly apart where city life yields on our doorstep to encroaching rain forest filled with wild birds, butterflies. and flowers. Both luxury villas sleep up to thirteen guests. Or just two and a few if you are a young family. We also do couples in search of privacy and romance. What sets us off is unlike other resorts, there are no neighbours, no lifts and staircases to share, no one else around when dining or just relaxing. The place is yours exclusively for as long as you want.

We won’t bother you with tales of infinity pools, luxury spas, and world class technology, including fast wi-fi and latest movies streaming online. Not to mention a food lover’s kitchen with every device you ever wanted. These are all ancillary to our core offering. Our core offering is a perfect rest at night in the comfiest beds ever. And a fresh awakening every morning to the joys of nature and birds calling you outside.

cairns fun for kids

Wanggulay Too Treetops: Image Hotel-R

cairns waterfalls

Cairns Waterfalls Tumbling from The Tableland

The eastern edge of Far North Queensland is a low-lying narrow coastal strip. The Great Barrier Reef is close by in the Coral Sea, while to the west there are lush green rain forests populated with flocks of colourful birds. Further inland, the terrain rises steeply westward to the fertile Atherton Tableland. Thanks to generous rainfall we have gorgeous Cairns waterfalls throughout the year.

The best time to visit Cairns waterfalls is from January to March, when the monsoon season dumps vast quantities of rain throughout the region. Streams become rivers, and cascades mighty torrents raising spray into the sky. After the bounteous bonanza clears, the waterfalls become more gentle playthings. At the height of summer, some of Cairns best waterfalls like Milla Milla provide delightful natural swimming pools, with large smooth rocks the delight of families.

cairns waterfalls

Tinaroo Falls: Owen Allen: CC 2.0

The Mighty Barron River Waterfall

Tinarro Falls is just below Tinaroo Dam high up on the Atherton Tableland. During monsoon season, this tributary of the Barron River sends huge volumes of tumbling water through the Barron Gorge. Barron Waterfall marks the point where the river begins a series of four cascading drops totaling 107 meters / 351 feet on its way to the Coral Sea.

At the height of the monsoon rain season these drops become thundering cascades across a width of 259 meters (850 feet). After this is over, they reduce to trickles, owing to the remaining water diverting to a hydroelectric power station. There are three great ways to view the largest of Cairns Waterfalls. First, the Kennedy Highways passes just upstream. And then we also have a skyrail cable car popular for informal weddings, and a retro passenger train providing dramatic year round views.

cairns waterfalls

Barron Falls near Kuranda, Australia One January: Ashlsimm: Use for Any Purpose If Attributed

Onward to Mungalli Falls Near Cairns, Far North Queensland

The Barron Waterfall undoubtedly takes the cake for brute power among Cairns waterfalls in season. However Mungalli is more beautifully delicate as it drops 90 meters in several cascades over  sheets of rock. There are great photo opportunities from the viewing platform. Delightfully, there is a great swimming hole at the bottom of the falls just an hour’s or so drive from our luxury accommodation rental with genuine natural rain forest at the bottom of the garden.

There’s a nice view from the top at the Mungalli Student Village, Wilderness Retreat, and Outdoor Education Centre. Thereafter, walk along the track past a wide rocky cascade to the bottom of the falls. The trail continues onward for a short distance before terminating at the viewing platform in the photo. Swimming is permitted. By all means be our guest on a summer’s day.

cairns waterfalls

Mungalli Falls Near Cairns, and Wanggulay: Jim Bendon: CC 2.0

Millstream, the Widest Drop of All Cairns Waterfalls

There are two waterfalls to see here. This makes the 147-kilometre trip from Wanggulay even more worthwhile. Once you reach reach the old pioneering town of Ravenshoe – well worth a visit – follow the signs to Big Millstream Falls. Inquire locally for the route to Little Millstream Falls which is delicately pretty on a more minor scale.

Big Millstream Falls plunges over the edge of a columnar basalt lava flow in spectacular style. There are several walking trails in the shadow of the Great Dividing Range. There are also World War II remains to visit at this, the highest point of North Queensland. Much of them are ‘as left’ when 1,000 troops departed in 1945. Tread gently here for some of the boys who swam here never returned. A lovely, but sometimes bittersweet place …

Big Millstream Falls: Mike Lehmann, Mike Switzerland: CC 3.0

Cascading Water at Another of Our Lovely Cairns Waterfalls

Not all waterfalls have to be that dramatic. A gentler flow often creates a larger, more generous swimming hole as is the case with Malanda Falls. It doubles as a swimming pool for the locals, so a great opportunity for the kids to meet new friends. The water from the North Johnstone River is prone to spilling over in the rainy season. This creates a great conservation area with two 20-minute trails to follow.

Malanda is an old mining town dating from the tin and copper rush, and from where Malanda Milk comes you’ll find in supermarkets in Cairns. There’s a great historic resource center in the town itself, and interesting hotels and pubs from pioneering days. Malanda Falls have another claim to fame you won’t often see. You can swim with platypus at the bottom of it if you can find one, because the water is crocodile free.

cairns waterfalls

Malanda Falls: Joel Annesley: CC 2.0

Mount Hypipamee National Park and Dinner Falls

This gorgeous national park is some 120kilometres (75 miles) from Wanggulay along the Gillies Highway but definitely worth a visit. The attraction centers around a volcanic pipe that once blasted gas, but is now a deep, tranquil lake.  While the 400-metre (1,300 foot) path is longer than the other waterfalls we write about here, you will be rewarded by a viewing platform providing uninterrupted views into the crater.

The walk to the bottom of the waterfall through rain forest will take you forty-five minutes in total, but it is well worth it because of opportunities to see tree kangaroos and possums. There is also great bird life including  victoria’s riflebird, bridled honeyeaters and golden and tooth-billed bowerbirds. Entrance is free but organised and commercial groups do require permits. After all this writing we are ready for a swim in another of Cairns waterfalls you should visit. See you there.

cairns waterfalls

Dinner Falls: Spalti: CC 2.0



Natures Wedding Venues in Cairns, North Queensland

Cairns is a magnet for couples marrying, not to mention those on first and second honeymoons too. Our pleasant, laid back environment inspires thoughts of living together forever in the future. The city and surrounds have numerous commercial wedding venues at resorts, hotels, and country retreats. Some couples feel there have been so many weddings in these places, that it is almost like a ritual repeated many times before. Thus they prefer to make their promises in nature without a formal ceremony. We wrote this post to introduce four of natures wedding venues in Cairns.

Here we share some of the loveliest natural spots we know of in our tropical paradise. In this regard please note we don’t make arrangements, conduct marriages, and lay on banquets afterwards. We are simply custodians of one of the best places for loving couples, and perhaps their guests to stay. We can accommodate up to two dozen people in two separate luxury holiday rentals. One has a flatlet on a separate level on its own. We will introduce you to local people we know well, who do make arrangements, conduct marriages, and lay on banquets afterwards. Does this sound like a good deal to you.

natures wedding venues in cairns

Luxury Living: Wanggulay Master Suite

Natures Wedding Venues in Cairns at Waterfalls

Cairns has almost a dozen gorgeous waterfalls within easy driving distance of our luxury Wanggulay holiday accommodation. We believe the loveliest of them is Millaa Millaa, the aboriginal world for the elaeagnus triflora rain forest vine with deliciously tangy fruit high in antioxidants. The falls plunge 18 meters and are approximately 100 kilometres from Cairns on Gillies Range Road.

Millaa Millaa was once a regular camping spot for mule trains traveling to and from remote settlements and mines. The area they leveled for bivouacking has since become a grassed viewing area surrounded by indigenous vegetation. There are toilets, barbecues, a shelter shed, and information displays in bus shelters. This is also a lovely swimming hole for a quiet dip out of season. The water is crisp, but equally refreshing. This is one of the best of natures wedding venues in Cairns we know, albeit it not for winter swims.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Milla Milla Falls: John Hill: CC 4.0

Cairns Botanic Gardens Make a Divine Wedding Venue Too

The Cairns Botanic Gardens has the best collection of tropical plants anywhere in Australia. You may have heard it called the Flecker Botanic Gardens after the founder but the two are the same thing. There are gentle trails for walking through the Flecker and Gondwana Heritage Gardens,  pausing at the Watkins Munro Martin Conservatory, relaxing on lawns around the Freshwater and Saltwater Lakes, and perhaps quietly exchanging promises in the Zhanjiang Friendship Gardens.

The Cairns Botanic Gardens are open all year round from 7.30am to 5.30pm, and entry is free for all. A dream wedding could happen right here in this divine setting. The Cairns Regional Council  hires wedding venues if you prefer a formal ceremony. There are a variety of guided tours available to familiarize yourself with the layout, and a visitor centre although this is closed on Christmas Day, and on afternoons on public holidays. The gardens are rich in birds and butterflies.  The paths are all wheelchair friendly, except for a few in the Flecker Heritage  Garden. Our guests praise this venue highly.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Tropical Rain Forest in Cairns Botanic Gardens: Brewbooks: CC 2.0

A Private Space for a Quiet, Intimate Ceremony in the Clouds

The Barron River Canyon is a 30-kilometre gorge carved out between the mountains with rugged hiking trails. Fortunately for loving couples seeking solitude there is a cable way crossing over it on its way up to historic pioneer Kuranda Village.  There is also a period railway line snaking up the mountains through 15 tunnels, and over 37 bridges. It is possible to combine the two, so you go up one way up from Cairns, and back down the other way.

The Cairns Skyrail cable service comprises 11 ‘diamond view’ gondolas spaced 7 minutes apart. They also have a more hectic, open plan ‘platform’, with guard rails and a ranger in control. The gondolas seat five passengers making them perfect for a bridal couple plus two friends as witnesses. We suggest reserving the fifth seat for the champagne and tasty snacks you bring along with you. This could be the coolest of natures wedding venues in Cairns.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Cairns Skyrail with Coral Sea Beyond: Amayagan: CC 2.0

A Secret Wedding Treading Water On The Great Barrier Reef

We saved the best of all our natures wedding venues in Cairns until last. Let’s say you are determined to promise your undying allegiance and love, but your family or friends are not ready for whatever reason they have. Perhaps they will never be comfortable with your relationship, but you are in love and that’s what matters. At Wanggulay we welcome all loving couples to our romantic holiday accommodation, because we believe that love has no boundaries or fences.

So here’s our suggestion for your private wedding. Take a ferry from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef an hour’s fast catamaran ride away.  When you get there, change into swimming costumes with hidden pockets for your wedding rings. Slip into the warm, embracing water. After you swim a short distance slide the wedding rings over each other’s fingers and declare your undying love. Share a lingering kiss under the great blue sky. Nature is your witness. Now you are finally wed, forever, in endlessly creative nature.

natural wedding venues in cairns

Endlessly Creative Nature: Kyle Taylor: CC 2.0

Your Super Honeymoon Accommodation at Wanggulay on the Edge of Cairns

We invite you to spend your honeymoon at Wanggulay, regardless of the wedding venue you select. You don’t have to choose one of natures wedding venues in Cairns as we suggested. There are many excellent, more formal facilities in numerous city hotels and resorts. But for intimate accommodation, can you think of a better place than Wanggulay, the retreat that belongs to loving couples. We are the the place you always dreamed of staying after you make your marriage promises, and set off together on life’s journey.

We have two super private luxury rentals from which to choose. They are Bali-style, with upstairs bedrooms and spacious wooden decks. The only thing you will see from bed are treetops around the house, and birds twittering in the trees. We equipped the units with comforts you expect to find at home, because we use them for our own holidays too. You will find everything clean and in good working order, and we are attentive to your requests. We will even stock the fridge and larder for you, with no service charge when you place your order. Do we have a deal? We’d love it if you came to stay in Wanggulay!

natures wedding venues in Cairns

Private Plunge Pool at Wanggulay