Cairns benefits from being a quaint beach town that works as a hub for dozens of top Queensland attractions. From Cairns, one can easily take a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation, the Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas, Kuranda and Mission Beach. But, of course, getting to here and there takes a bit of that hard earned travel money, right?
Luckily Cairns is the type of place that is good for relaxing, lounging and having fun in the tropical sunshine while conserving cash for your next day trip adventure. The following list of free things to do in Cairns should keep you occupied.
Hang out at the Esplanade
The Cairns Esplanade, located right on the waterfront, provides a lagoon safe for swimming year round, along with plenty of parkland, barbecues and people. Relaxing at the Esplanade and lagoon can be a full-day affair, and it’s also just a short walk from the town center.
Enjoy the Cairns Botanic Gardens
Just a short 2.5 miles north of Cairns, the Cairns Botanic Gardens is the tropical getaway even those on vacation might just need. These peaceful gardens are filled with plants from both the Northern Australia topics and those from Southeast Asia. Enjoy the rainforest boardwalk, the Centenary Lakes and the Munro Martin Fern House to name a few of the attractions.
Visit the Farmers Markets
Happening every Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the Rusty’s Markets, an eclectic mix of stalls that have turned into a tourist must right in the center of Cairns. From fresh food and produce to handmade soaps and body products, Rusty’s has a little bit of everything – even a vibe that resembles something more like a carnival than anything else. Tourists tend to gather to browse, shop and people watch.
Take a Walk
Some of the most popular walking tracks near Cairns are the two at Mount Whitfield: the Red Arrow and the Blue Arrow. The Mount Whitfield Conservation Park is location just a short 3 miles from Cairns city. Once there, visitors have the option of exploring either the Red Arrow or the Blue Arrow walking track, the latter of which takes around 4-5 hours as opposed to the 1 hour of the former.
When the Cairns lagoon has lost its appeal, escape to the Northern Beaches – a collection of resort-style beaches within short driving distances of Cairns. Choose from Kewarra, Palm Cove, Yorky’s Knob and Trinity Beach.