Think fun, family, nature – and you’ll get the drift of what Cairns (pronounced Cans) is about. But you might already know that. After all, this city in Queensland is home to one of Australia’s iconic attractions – the Great Barrier Reef.

Besides this natural wonder of the world, there are also other fun and nature-based experiences. In this place where world ­heritage rainforest meets the reef, you will find these beautiful family-friendly venues:

Esplanade Lagoon

What’s better than a seawater lagoon? A free seawater lagoon, of course. The lagoon on the Esplanade features sandy beaches and a children’s play area. Being surrounded by a park, boardwalk and picnic/barbecue spots makes it ideal for some family fun.

Elsewhere there is Muddy’s Playground, a modern water playground where children can frolic in the many water features and play in the large, well-equipped playground.

Great Barrier Reef cruise

Not only is the Great Barrier Reef gorgeous, it’s also a great avenue to teach kids about biodiversity. Tours are best done on one of the Outer Barrier Reef Pontoons as they provide lots of interactive things to do. Alterna-tively, visit the nearby Fitzroy Island, where the little ones can run around and wade in the water.

You don’t have to get wet to see the Great Barrier Reef. Just spend some time in the underwater observatories gazing at the fish, take a ride in the semi-submersible ­submarines or cruise around the reef on a glass-­bottomed boat tour to see giant clams and coral gardens in the deeper water.

Cairns Zoom & Wildlife Dome

Immerse yourself in a rainforest environment while birds native to the Wet Tropics region fly freely around, in this all-weather wildlife immersion exhibit enclosed by a 20m-high glass dome. You can also interact with other animals such as turtles, pythons, freshwater crocodiles, lizards and gliders.

The Dome is also home to The Cairns Zoom, a rope course challenge that consists of over 50 elements of crossings and ziplines, including one that takes participants over a 4m saltwater crocodile named Goliath!

For something different to do, try helmet-diving at Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome. Photo: Tourism & Events Queensland/Colyn Huber

Kuranda day out

Spend a day with the family in the charming mountain village of Kuranda. Located 25km northwest of Cairns, this popular “village in the rainforest” attracts visitors with its Bar­ron Falls and the relaxed atmosphere of the local markets (open daily).

Nearby are popular wildlife attractions – Kuranda Koala Gardens, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Birdworld.

Enjoy a bird’s-eye view as you glide just metres over the tree canopy, before exploring the forest floor and learning more at two rainforest mid-stations on the Kuranda Skyrail.

You can begin by going aboard the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and gliding above the treetops of the World Heritage-listed rainforest all the way to Kuranda.

On arrival, spend some time shopping in the colourful markets before your return trip on the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway.

The famous 100-year old Kuranda Scenic Railway travels for 34km between Cairns and Kuranda through lush rainforest, delves through 15 tunnels, bends around 98 curves and tiptoes precariously over 40 bridges.

Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Experience

The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is the place to be, for an aboriginal cultural experience. Learn about the legends of the Aborigines through their music, dance and storytelling. Join in the interactive activities such as didgeridoo-playing, face-painting and boomerang-throwing.

Learn about the legends of the aborigines through their music, dance and storytelling at the renowned Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park.

Not to be missed is the brand new Bulurru Storywater Theatre; it combines the latest technology and live performances to tell the creation story of the Tjapukai people.


Sourced from Tourism Australia and Tourism & Events Queensland (queensland.com). SilkAir flies thrice weekly via Singapore to Cairns. Check out SilkAir’s special fare to Cairns (from RM1,888). Booking period: Now till June 4 (for travel from now till Jan 31, 2018). Book through participating travel agents.