Cairns is definitely the adventure capital of Queensland. If you can’t find something to make you smile here, well, you’re really not trying. Whether you’re looking to keep the kids entertained, a loved up couple sharing intimate moments, singles looking to party or nature lovers getting off the beaten track, Cairns has it all. It wasn’t easy limiting our list to just 12 FUN things to do in Cairns (keep an eye on our blog when we post 12 more FUN 12 things to do…)
1. Go fast, get wet
Say no more – watch the Bad Fishy video. We’ll see you out there!
2. Learn to fly (sort of)
Combining all the thrills of parasailing, water skiing & trampolining, Flyboard Cairns offers airborne thrills for water babies. Slip into a wetsuit, strap a pair of water jet-powered boots to your feet and launch yourself skyward – no experience required! Shrinking violets need not apply.
3. Pick up a bucket of prawns
All that adrenalin coursing through your body is bound to build up an appetite. Swing by the fishing trawler Prawn Star which is moored on E Pier at Cairns Marlin Marina. Selling locally caught seafood fresh from the boat, Prawn Star is your ‘go to’ supplier for an impromptu seafood picnic on the adjacent Esplanade parklands. Yum!
4. Cocktail o’clock on the waterfront
Cocktails and seafood go together like cocktails and sunsets. Or cocktails and dancing. Cocktails and romancing even. Come to think of it, is there anything that cocktails don’t with? Ok, maybe breakfast is a bit of a stretch. But no matter, I think you know where we’re going with this… Get down to one of the numerous bars and restaurants on the Cairns waterfront for a luscious cocktail to kick start your evening.
5. Get on your bike
Cairns is a serious contender for mountain bike capital of Australia: the Smithfield trails are legendary. It helps that Glen Jacobs, one of the world’s first pro mountain bike trail builders, honed his craft here. Today the region is world famous, attracting riders from newbies to pros and everyone in between. Get a group together, hire some bikes and hit the easy forest trails.
6. Fruity fun
While we’re talking sustenance (it’s true, mango daiquiris help keep your daily fruit quota at recommended levels), Rusty’s Market between Sheridan & Grafton St have been the favourite fresh fruit & vege market for locals for 30-odd years. But Rusty’s is more than a mere market, it’s a cultural melting pot of Tropical North Queensland’s multi-cultural mix. Don’t miss it (open Fri to Sun).
7. Coffee time
While you’re at Rusty’s pick up some fresh coffee beans from local coffee bean growers from the Atherton Tablelands. Or if you can’t be bothered grinding and brewing your own, order a latte from one of the coffee vendors selling local brews. Coffee fiends look out for Skybury Coffee, Jaques Coffee Plantation or NQ Gold.
8. Burn some rubber in a Kart
Unleash your inner revhead at Cairns Kart Hire on a 450m outdoor circuit amongst the cane fields in Cairns northern suburbs. Budding Jack Brabhams, who must be at least 150cm tall (there’s double karts for little ones accompanied by a parent) whizz through hairpin bends, leaning into cambered corners racing against rubber-burning buddies. BYO Grid Girls.
9. Zip down a zip line
If you look carefully from the aircraft window as you land at Cairns Airport you may just see thrill seekers strapping themselves into a harness amongst the forest on the hilltop. What you probably won’t see from that distance is the ear to ear grins splitting their faces in two as they fly down the hill on the Flying Leap Mega Zip Line. Thrill seekers and adventure junkies this one’s for you.
10. Tiptoe through the haliconias
Lush tropical gardens are one of the first things you’ll notice around Cairns – it’s known as the city in a garden for good reason. The best place to explore the lushest, greenest, most spectacular specimens is the Cairns Botanic Gardens. Make sure you take your camera as some of the blooming haliconias and gingers are seriously Instagrammable. If you’re still not satisfied with your ‘green fix’ check out Centenary Lake parklands across the road. If you’re a jogger, this is a wonderful precinct for a leisurely run (the Red and Blue Arrow walking tracks are here too).
11. Waterski at a Wake Park
More get wet thrills from the gang at Cairns Wake Park. It’s like Dream World on steroids. Prepare to be exhausted and waterlogged. In a good way. Learn to water ski or wake board, carve it up on the jumps course or have fun on the water playground. Slap on some sunscreen and settle in for a day of fun water play!
12. Spot a crocodile from a jet ski
If the fun police had their way jet ski’s would remained tied to the dock, their noisy engines shut down forever. Thankfully, jet ski riders have found their own special place to let rip on Trinity Inlet, a short walk from downtown Cairns. Take a 45 km self-drive tour around mangrove creeks and islands on a Crocodile Spotting Jet Ski Eco Tour. You’ll likely be thrilled or terrified. Or both!