74 things to do in Tropical North Queensland with kids
1. Hit the beach
If it’s beautiful beaches you’re after for the perfect family holiday, head north of Cairns and you’ll find 26 kilometres of golden beaches sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef.
2. Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest is a truly incredible World Heritage listed area. The Daintree is the oldest continuously surviving rainforest on earth and home to the largest range of plants and animals anywhere in the world.
Guided tours, hiking trails and campsites offer visitors the chance to experience this wild, untouched tropical rainforest and bordering golden-sand beaches. Wildlife-spotting tours will help you identify some of the 430 species of birds and tropical animals like the goanna, scrub python, giant tree frog, flying fox, spotted cuscus and the rare striped possum.
3. Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Skyrail takes you on an unforgettable journey over and through Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforests in the Barron Gorge National Park.
Enjoy a truly unique perspective of Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforest as you glide just metres above the pristine rainforest canopy before descending to explore the forest floor at Red Peak and Barron Falls Station.
Located just off the coast of Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef is an awe-inspiring underwater spectacle of brilliantly coloured corals and more than 10,000 diverse and unique marine species. The experienced, passionate team at Sunlover Reef Cruises operate fun, safe, value-packed cruises from sunny Cairns (they’ve had over 1.3 million guests so far!)
5. Fitzroy Island
Just 23 kilometres southeast of Cairns is dazzling Fitzroy Island, a stunning natural beauty that boasts shimmering beaches, lush national parkland and loads of activities to keep the family busy.
6. Cairns Wake Park
Cairns Wake Park is Tropical North Queensland’s one and only Cable Water Ski park. They offer a unique and safe watersport experience to all ages and all ability levels.
All beginner equipment is provided, from kneeboards and wakeboards to life jackets and helmets. The Wake Park is suitable for ages 10 and above, with Kids Club sessions running during Queensland school holidays.
7. Explore Barron Gorge National Park with Kuranda Scenic Railway
Hop aboard one of Australia’s most scenic rail journeys, Kuranda Scenic Railway. Travel through spectacular World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Barron Gorge National Park, to the mountain village of Kuranda.
8. Divers Den, Great Barrier Reef
Diving or snorkelling with Divers Den is the right choice when visiting the Great Barrier Reef. They’ve been proudly operating for over 40 years, meaning they’re not only one of the largest but also the longest established operator in the area. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver or snorkeler, your safety and enjoyment is their top priority.
9. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is simply the best place to see crocodiles in Australia. Situated just 40 minutes north of Cairns and 25 minutes south of Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland, Hartley’s is fun and educational for the whole family.
The attraction is set on 10 hectares with a wide array of native wildlife from the region, including crocodiles, lizards, snakes, cassowaries, birds, koalas and more.
10. Great Barrier Reef Helicopters, Cairns
Tropical North Queensland – where the rainforest meets the reef… and the most fun way to see it is from above, on board a Jet helicopter! For a family holiday you won’t forget, enjoy breathtaking flights over this beautiful region.
11. Undara Lava Tubes
The Undara Volcanic National Park is one of Australia’s greatest geological wonders. It boasts the best-preserved and largest lava tube system on earth, offering an unforgettable experience that will satisfy the appetites of both adventurer and eco-traveller.
Guided tours at Undara include include full day, half day and introductory Lava Tube tours, Wildlife at Sunset tours and free campfire entertainment nightly.
13. Low Isles reef cruise
Set sail for Low Isles, 15 kilometres off the coast of Port Douglas. This light-housed coral cay island is a great spot to immerse yourself in a world of clams, turtles, barracudas and batfish. One of the most accessible options is the half-day Low Isles cruise out of Port Douglas with Calypso Reef Cruises. Take a 30-minute boat ride to the low-lying islands ringed by white sands and coral reef. Once you arrive you can choose from activities like a guided snorkel tour, lighthouse walk, glass-bottom boat tour, or swim in the warm waters.
14. Herberton Historical Village
Far North Queensland isn’t all coral reefs and rainforest. It also has its fair share of history and the best trip back in time is the Herberton Historical Village. The sheer number of exhibits in this recreated tin mining town is mindboggling. Kids can see toys their grandparents played with and classes they attended school in. There are classic car and tractor collections, dozers, steam engines and an early 20th-century fire truck. And they’ll love the interactive blacksmith demonstration.
15. Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel
Snorkel among the Great Barrier Reef’s kaleidoscopic marine life with an Indigenous ranger to uncover the culture of the area’s traditional owners on a Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel.
16. Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, Port Douglas
Enjoy breakfast with the birds at the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary at Port Douglas before exploring the sanctuary to spot endangered species including the adorable Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo and the awe-inspiring southern cassowary.
17. Daintree Discovery Centre
Spend a day exploring the awesome Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation, home to the largest variety of plants and animals of any rainforest on the planet. The Daintree Discovery Centre offers easy access to the rainforest from floor to treetop on their 23m high canopy tower and 125m long skywalk.
18. Take a trip down the Savannah Way
Road trip down this route of highways to see the spectacular gorges, ancient lava tubes and fossicking fields of the Etheridge Shire.
19. Charley’s Chocolate Tours
Mmm… chocolate! Who doesn’t love it? Well, you can taste all kinds of life’s favourite sweet here, at Charley’s Chocolate Factory a working cocoa farm 10 minutes inland from Mission Beach. More than that though is the chance to learn how cocoa is grown and then made into chocolate. There are only a handful of farms like this in Australia, all in this same region. From seed to mouth… talk about fresh!
20. Get unlimited park entry at attractions
No holiday to Tropical North Queensland would be complete without visiting four of the region’s best and most unique attractions: Rainforestation Nature Park and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda, Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas and Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome in the heart of the city. These diverse attractions are part of the CaPTA Group Annual Pass.
Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome is the world’s first challenge ropes course in a wildlife park. You can cuddle a koala, enjoy interactive Australian wildlife presentations and experience adventure on the Mid-ZOOM and Hi-ZOOM courses with three zip lines – one of which takes you directly over Goliath, the 4-metre saltwater crocodile!
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Main image © Tourism & Events Queensland
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