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Free Things to do in Cairns

Cairns Skyline with mountain backdrop

Five Free things to do in Cairns:


In the far north of Queensland, Australia lies the unassuming city of Cairns. Before the British came and colonised Australia, Cairns was the home of the Walubarra Yidinji people.

Unfortunately for them,  Captain James Cook thought that the area was ideal to set up a port in order to export gold from the nearby mines. Later a railway was built and shipped the surrounding area’s agricultural goods to Cairn’s port.

Since the opening of Cairns Airport, Cairns has become more of a tourism focused city and is a common starting place for backpackers and tourists travelling down Australia’s East coast.

With all that in mind, we bring you our list of the top five free things to do in Cairns:



5. Fitness on Cairns’ Esplanade


Cairns esplanade, just one of the free things to do in Cairns
Along the Esplanade in Cairns there is a variety of fitness equipment which you can use at any time, for free. Its like having a free gym membership!

Even better is that there are free classes in case you dont know how to use it, or you just want to meet some new people.

Anyone interested in fitness – this is a great opportunity for free. If you want to find out the time for classes check here.


4. Bat and Bird Watching


Number four on our list of free things to do in Cairns is one for the nature enthusiasts among you. Australia is known for its variety of unusual wildlife.

Cairns is no exception to this and it is reported that there is around 430 bird species in this area.

If you want to see some wildlife but don’t want to leave the city, at twilight bats come flocking in making all sorts of noise.


3. Crystal Cascades


Crystal Cascades is one of the free things to do in Cairns


When summer rolls round in Cairns swimming in the Ocean becomes much more dangerous due to jellyfish. Alternative options if you want to swim is the Cairns Lagoon (see below) or, number three on our list of free things to do in Cairns,  the Crystal Cascades.

Crystal Cascades is a freshwater swimming hole and a series of small boulders that create waterfalls which literally cascade into the water.

Sadly you can only get here by car or taxi as there is no public transport servicing the area, so if you want to get here you must follow these directions from Cairns Australia Travel Guide:

From Cairns city-centre go north along Sheridan Street and turn left onto James Street. Continue driving west along Anderson Street, Reservoir Road, and the Cairns Western Arterial Road.

At the Redlynch Pub (known locally as the Red Beret), where the railway tracks cross the road, take a left turn and from there just follow the signs to Crystal Cascades.

It’s about 10 kms from the Red Beret to Crystal Cascades car park.


2. Red Arrow Nature Walk


Red Arrow nature walk is a 1.3km circuit that takes around 30 to 40 minutes to complete. It has incredible natural views of the surrounding area.

It is not an intensive hike so can be enjoyed by people of almost any fitness level, although there are a lot of steps so it will be a decent work out!

If you want to explore firsthand the rainforest that surrounds Cairns then this walk is ideal for you.


1. Cairns Lagoon


Fish sculptures at Cairns lagoon


Cairns Lagoon is a free, safe swimming area that is open all year round and takes the top spot on our list of the top five free things to do in Cairns.

The Lagoon in Cairns is almost like a swimming pool except for one major difference, it is filled with salt water rather than chlorine. This is because the water is filtered in from the trinity inlet and the sea.

The lagoon has all the amenities you would expect; changing rooms, toilets and showers even a snack shop. It definitely beats risking swimming in the ocean with saltwater crocodiles!



That concludes our list of the top five free things to do in Cairns, if you have anything to add feel free to leave a comment!




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