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Family-friendly Activities

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Our most recommended Cairns Family-friendly Activities

Cairns Aquarium General Admission Ticket

1. Cairns Aquarium General Admission Ticket

Cairns Aquarium is Australia’s newest and most spectacular aquarium. It is the only aquarium in the world to exclusively showcase the stunning aquatic wildlife from tropical North Queensland’s two World Heritage-listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. Experience the spectacular diversity of the region without the need to get wet or even leave the city. Travel through ten amazing North Queensland ecosystems from the world’s most ancient rainforest to the world’s largest coral reef to discover 71 different exhibits showcasing the extremely rare and incredibly unique species of this region. See a panorama of wildlife and marine fish that create an underwater world filled with a kaleidoscope of colour. Enjoy daily talks and presentations by knowledgeable and entertaining educators, marvel at the animal feeding sessions and get a hands-on experience at the marine and reptile touch tanks. Complete your day at Cairns Aquarium with breakfast, lunch or dinner at Aqualuna restaurant.

From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

2. From Cairns: Fitzroy Island Full-Day Adventure Tour

Discover Fitzroy Island on a day tour from Cairns. Enjoy a scenic ferry ride and explore the many hiking trails. Admire the marine life native to the coral reef as you snorkel or observe from a glass-bottom boat. Choose from a range of packages, including transfers for you to explore on your own, or a package including snorkel or glass-bottom boat activities. Explore the Island's 339 hectares of lush rainforest that covers 94 percent of the island and is protected and managed as a National Park. Walking trails are suitable for all levels of fitness, allowing you to explore areas of the island at your leisure. The fast catamaran departs from the Marlin Marina, with check-in directly on the vessel. Cruise south along the calm waters of the coastline to reach Fitzroy Island in just 45 minutes, giving you up to 7 hours to explore the tropical island.

From Cairns: Full-Day Green Island Cruise

3. From Cairns: Full-Day Green Island Cruise

Climb aboard the modern, air-conditioned, 35-meter catamaran and sail towards the Green Island, a hidden gem in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Take in magnificent views of the ocean throughout your journey. After you arrive, you can go on a stroll around the island and explore its tranquil beaches. Find a stop to relax and go for a dip in the ocean. Get access to snorkeling gear and take a peek into the region's thriving marine life. You can also opt to go on a semi-submarine or a glass-bottom boat tour to discover the colorful coral reef and fish in comfort.

Cairns: Guided Twilight Tour of the Aquarium with Dinner

4. Cairns: Guided Twilight Tour of the Aquarium with Dinner

Witness the setting of the sun on Tropical North Queensland’s mountain ranges and experience how steamy rainforests and shallow reef lagoons begin to stir with life. Reptiles, Amphibians, Insects, and nocturnal fish sense the onset of dusk and emerge from their day time lairs.  Get an insight into the unique changes of the region’s nocturnal creatures as they move in the shadows.  Complete your evening at Dundee’s Restaurant with a perfectly matched dining experience while you enjoy a stunning sea life backdrop.

Cairns: Full-Day Glass Bottom Boat or Snorkel Tour

5. Cairns: Full-Day Glass Bottom Boat or Snorkel Tour

Discover the lush rainforest of Green Island on this full-day tour and encounter some of the many marine animals that call the island home. Climb aboard the modern, air-conditioned catamaran "Reef Rocket" to cruise over to this idyllic part of the Great Barrier Reef, and enjoy a full-day reef tour just 45-minutes from Cairns. Snorkel and dive among the reef fish and coral gardens, or stay dry on a spectacular semi-submersible submarine or glass-bottom boat to discover the underwater life in comfort. Alternatively, simply laze on the white sandy beach and soak up the sun.

Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon with Activities

6. Cairns: Outer Great Barrier Reef Pontoon with Activities

Sit back and relax on a catamaran cruise from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, where you enjoy a raft of water activities from Moore Reef's pontoon. Encounter an outstanding landscape of marine life, enjoy a choice of activities including snorkeling, including a visit to the underwater observatory. Prior to departure from the marina, sip on some complimentary tea and coffee. Depart from Cairns’ Marlin Marina at 9:30 AM and enjoy a cruise out of the harbor. Witness the stunning landscape before the catamaran makes its way out to open seas. Sail in air-conditioned comfort onboard the catamaran to the state-of-the-art activity pontoon at Moore Reef. Moore Reef is a prime location on the Outer Great Barrier Reef, abundant with soft corals and marine life. Learn about the reef and its diverse ecosystems on the outward journey with presentations given by resident marine experts. Upon arrival at the pontoon at 11:30 AM, choose from an array of activities suitable for both swimmers and non-swimmers alike. Make use of the inclusive snorkeling equipment, with wetsuits and lycra also available at an additional charge. Alternatively, watch the daily fish feeding presentations, or take a trip on the glass bottom boat or semi-submersible tour with marine experts providing commentary. Soak up the rays on a spacious sun deck, or make a splash on a theme park-style waterslide. See the reef without getting wet in the underwater observatory, and get up close and personal with marine creatures like sea cucumbers and starfish.

Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise with Marine World Pontoon

7. Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise with Marine World Pontoon

Sail to the Great Barrier Reef on a catamaran from Cairns. Explore the reef in the way that suits you with snorkeling, diving, or admire it from inside a glass-bottom boat. Then, enjoy a buffet lunch. Depart directly from Cairns on a fast, stable catamaran providing a smoother ride and reduced travel time, leaving more of your day to experience the magic of the Great Barrier Reef.  The all-weather Marine World platform caters to all activity levels. Snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, join a marine biologist on a guided snorkel safari, and try SNUBA, the latest activity on the reef, or a traditional scuba dive (no experience necessary). You can also select the option to try a Helmet Dive for a scuba-style experience without getting your hair wet. If simply relaxing and soaking up the tropical warmth is more your style then take time out the spacious sundeck. 

Cairns: Night Walk in Cairns Botanic Gardens

8. Cairns: Night Walk in Cairns Botanic Gardens

Experience the rainforest boardwalk of the Cairns Botanic Gardens as the nocturnal creatures wake up for the night with this small group tour. Have a quick safety briefing at the meeting point and start a walking route that has been adapted for the season. Visit a number of host plants that are habitats for regularly seen creatures. Take the opportunity to capture photographs of some nocturnal creatures Find white-lipped tree frogs and northern stony creek frogs. Marvel at busy spiders such as net-casting spiders, garden orb-weavers, and Huntsmans. See critters that only come out at night and usually go unseen. Listen to a chorus of frog croaks, cricket chirps, and cicada buzzes as the rainforest comes alive. Keep your eyes peeled for micro-bats, Papuan frogmouth birds, striped possums, speckled flying foxes, longicorn beetles, Pademelons and Echidnas.

Cairns: Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

9. Cairns: Australian Butterfly Sanctuary

The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary provides a world-class wildlife experience in the heart of Kuranda. The all-weather experience is home to over 1,500 magnificent tropical butterflies. All butterflies in the sanctuary are local rainforest species, while the undisputed stars are the fluoro green Cairns Birdwings. Wear something bright (red, white, or hot pink are best) and let these beautiful creatures flutter all over you. Enjoy a self-guided tour of the aviary. Learn to identify each of the butterfly species, as the guides explain a butterfly’s life cycle and its behavior.  Entry also includes a self-guided food plant walk, which educates about the food plants grown on-site that are used to feed the caterpillars.  Visit the breeding laboratory, which houses up to 4,000 caterpillars. An opportunity to view first-hand the breeding laboratory through special viewing windows, where you will see the caterpillars in their varying stages of development. Watch as the laboratory staff collects eggs daily and “hand-raise” the caterpillars right through to the chrysalis stage, until they are released as beautiful butterflies into the sanctuary.

Cairns: Giant Swing and Plank Walk

10. Cairns: Giant Swing and Plank Walk

Walk the plank, as you balance 140 meters above sea level. Enjoy panoramic views of the Great Barrier Reef and a world heritage rainforest. Snap an excellent photo, let kids under 10 that are too young to jump participate in a safe activity. Get the best views of the the rainforest canopy with the swing. Feel the rush as you closely hug the hillside and weave through the trees. Combining spectacular views and with an exhilarating ride. Soar higher than most swings and reach speeds of up to 120km per hour in just 3.5 seconds with the Skypark’s giant swing. Jump with a friend or two, with Australia’s only multi-person swing. Share the excitement and the thrill.

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What people are saying about Cairns

Loved Fitzroy Island. It was an excellent day and we snorkelled with turtles the highlight of our trip ... However in the future I would spend the night to take full advantage of the snorkelling at different times of the day and also probably take a bigger vessel to Fitzroy. Unfortunately we had unseasonable weather and the crossing was quite choppy... it was bearable for those who don't get seasick but it wasn't so pleasant for those who do. Being on a larger vessel may have helped this a little.

So amazing!!! Loved every minute. We had a little bad weather but even that didn’t put a damper on the day. Swimming with the fish over coral on the reef and the extra activity of the seawalker was incredible

Really enjoyed the aquarium - the way it's set out takes you on a journey from rainforest to reef. We did the turtle rehab tour as well which was fantastic - the kids really loved it!

Great day out at green island. The staff at big cat were wonderful and really knew their stuff.

Pleasant journey to a small island near Cairns. Packed lunch of sufficient quantity.