Free Things To Do In Cairns

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New interactive walk towards Trinity Wharf

Some of the best family breaks you can have involves free things to do and Cairns offers so many. If you have a car or even if you don't, we can give you a long list of free activities for everyone.

Family beach fun, fun activities for couples, teenager activities and toddlers activities.

Cairns has it all and these are just a few...

Esplanade Activities

David and Fiona

Esplanade Activities? Free? What are they you ask? There's so many and just on the Esplanade!

Most of them are related to keeping fit and they're all free!

There's water aerobics in the Lagoon or just sun yourself while watching them exercise.

Have a free BBQ with your friends or throw a frisbee.

Take the kids to one of the playgrounds.

Do some exercise. Why not have a free fitness program? There's lots of organised activities with a fitness instructor along the Esplanade each day. Just ask them and you can join in on their fitness plan.

Listen to a band play or one of our talented local singers.

Everyday they have something organised.

Just go there and have fun.


Birdwatching at low tide on the Cairns Esplanade

Birdwatching holidays are really popular in Cairns. It's a pastime that many visitors from all over the world come to do.

There's a huge variety of birds in their habitats. You only have to walk along The Esplanade and you'll see photographers with their camera's out, ready to take that perfect bird photo.

The Esplanade is renowned worldwide as a place to find up to 30-40 different species, depending on the time of year.

Other areas that avid birdwatchers will go are the Flecker Botanical Gardens, Mt Whitfield Conservation Park, Cairns Pioneer Cemetery, Mangrove Boardwalk along Airport Avenue and Redden Island at Machans Beach.

You'll find so many varieties of bird species and you won't be disappointed.

So if you love birds, why not do something different! Have a Bird Watching holiday.

Watch Planes Taking Off and Landing

Plane landing at Cairns Airport

One of our favourite free things to do in Cairns, is to go and watch planes about to land or just taking off.

If you head towards Machan's Beach and just before you get to the de-control sign, there's a dirt track that takes you to the Barron River. Park beside the unused footbridge and wait for the planes.

Planes come and go every few minutes.

The best way to catch the big planes, is to grab the Cairns Post and look up the flight times for arrivals and departures.

If you're like us, you could end up spending hours watching them.

You may see us there!

Wednesday Sailing

Cairns sailing

Join local yachtsmen and women who volunteer their yachts for a social race on picturesque Trinity Inlet.

Sign on in the Boatshed after 12 noon and return for drinks and a bar-b-q around 1630 hrs.

Everyone's welcome.

Spaces are limited, so to be certain of a place on board one of the yachts, they recommend you ring the club before 11:00 hrs.

This is one of the truly fantastic free activities in Cairns that not many people know about.

Flecker Botanic Gardens

Flecker Botanic Gardens

You could spend a few days just admiring the gardens, walking along all the scenic tracks and boardwalks.

Maybe visit the Tanks Art Centre.

There's usually some sort of entertainment schedule on, along with their markets and art exhibitions.

And these are all free things to do!

Walking and Cycling

Esplanade walking track

More free things to do in Cairns is the Walking and Cycling Circuit which takes in miles of different scenery.

The routes take in the Esplanade Lagoon, the foreshore to the Cairns Botanic Gardens, Cairns Central Swamp, along scenic waterways including Lily Creek and Saltwater Creek, and past regional sporting centres.

Other scenic walks can be taken in along all the Northern Beaches. The beaches are long and spectacular.

For free family fun activities, pick up shells and and make word games with them. Or try to catch the little sand crabs and pippies burrowing into the sand when you walk up to them.

Visit KickArts

KickArts Gallery

This is a contemporary Visual Arts Gallery that has many exhibitions presenting unique, high quality works of art, craft and design from Australian and International artists.

They also have a colourful shop with all sorts of merchandise to buy. If you're looking for a unique gift that's original, then this is the place to come. The shop features works from local, regional and Indigenous artists.

Freshwater Swimming

Crystal Cascades

For a cool refreshing dip, take a drive out to Crystal Cascades or Ross and Locke.

These gorgeous swimming holes are pretty secluded because they're mostly frequented by the locals. You won't see hoards of tourists here.

It's a bit of a walk to Crystal's from the carpark, but it's paved.

You walk through the lush rainforest, with the Freshwater Creek running alongside, so it's really pretty and you can take lots of pics.


Red arrow walking track

There's so many bushwalking tracks in and around Cairns.

They're free things to do, however if you want to pay for a tour, there's many walking tours available.

The most popular is the Red Arrow Track which is a circuit track that starts and ends next to the Botanic Gardens. Be prepared for lots of steps! The view up the top is amazing, looking out over the Cairns Airport and out to the Coral Sea.

Another walking track is from Crystal Cascades to Lake Morris. It's a short walk in comparison to some of the other tracks, but it's pretty strenuous and takes about an hour, depending on your fitness level.

There's plenty of other walks around and you can get a walking map from any information centre around Cairns.

Don't forget to wear good walking shoes, a hat and sunscreen. Take plenty of water as well, especially on longer walks.

Some people encourage you to wear long pants despite the heat, as some plants can be painful if you rub up against them.

Admire The Cruise Liners

luxury cruises liner docked in Cairns

Often Cairns plays host to some big ships and luxury cruise liners and many visitors and locals come down to Trinity Wharf to admire their magnificence and chat to the excited passengers about their cruise.

Even if you don't see a cruise ship in town, the boardwalk from the Marina to Trinity Wharf is new and spectacular. 

You can have a picnic or bbq there while the kids can play in the treehouse that the council has specially built. 

Just another one of the free things to do in Cairns that all the family can enjoy!

Watch Bungy Jumping

Bungy Jumping

If you're too afraid to take the dive, then just go and watch.

Drive out to Smithfield and turn left at Campus Shopping Centre. Go past the James Cook University and up to the AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping Tower.

It's pretty spectacular in itself and the scenery is lovely.

It's set in a rainforest at the bottom of the mountain range, with a lovely freshwater lagoon.

Sit and watch the antics of some of the jumpers in lovely, cool surrounds.

So, how do you like these free things to do?

If you've found something in Cairns you really enjoyed and would like me to include it on this page, then just contact me so I can add it, if it's appropriate.

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