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Cairns Waterfront

Cairns Waterfront Guide

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Cairns Waterfront things to do

Ready to explore? From peaceful parks to slow cruises, discover the top spots along Cairns Waterfront with this guide!

Cairns Esplanade Boardwalk

Cairns waterfront has long been known for its vast expanse of mud flats. The section of the Cairns waterfront known as the Esplanade, stretches from Fogarty Park in the south all the way up to the Cairns Hospital in the north.

The local council has added sand to the northern end of the Esplanade, which they replenish from time to time. However, the mudflats remain as distinctive as ever.

Cairns Esplanade
The Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade Directions

Cairns Waterfront Park

Along the Esplanade there are green expanses, as well as many picnic benches, BBQs, exercise equipment and even a skate park. Indeed there have been numerous improvements to the Esplanade over the years.

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

However, the most significant and well patronised of all improvement to the area is the Cairns Lagoon. As a result, the lagoon is popular with locals and tourists alike and has good disability access located at the southern end of the facility.

Even on the hot days of Summer, Esplanade Lagoon Pool provides a cool and refreshing escape. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the waterfront harbor from here.

The toddlers’ end of the pool is also a great place for young children to have some fun. However, for the babies and toddlers, they will need to be in a swim nappy to be able to swim here.

Cairns waterfront lagoon
Cairns Waterfront Lagoon

Relax at Muddy’s Playground

Whether you have kids or are a kid at heart, Muddy’s Playground is the perfect place to relax. This waterfront park features active, passive, interactive and educational facilities with a combination of play equipment including:

  • Water play areas
  • Flying fox
  • Sound chimes
  • Rope bridge
  • Slides
  • Mouse wheel
  • Play houses
  • See-saw
  • Trick track
  • Puzzle games

Cairns Waterfront Shops

There are many shops along the waterfront. They include cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, hotels and other shops and businesses, many of which are focussed on the tourism industry.

Cairns Waterfront Restaurants

There are many good restaurants on the waterfront. The Urban List has done a review that should prove helpful when you are deciding where to dine out in Cairns.

cairns waterfront restaurants
Cairns Waterfront Restaurants

Cairns Port and Wharves

The Cairns Port is the other area where the city meets the water. It is an important part of the Cairns waterfront. Consequently, this area is controlled by the Cairns Port Authority. However, the area close to the Esplanade is predominantly used for restaurants, bars and cafes.

Indeed the original Cairns wharves were constructed in the late 19 century on the banks of the Trinity Inlet. They were subsequently concreted in 1910.

The heritage listed, Cairns wharves remain largely in place. However, this follows the re-adaptive use of number 3 wharf shed as the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.

Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal
Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal

Cairns Waterfront and Climate Change

Like most low lying coastal cities, this area is highly vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise. Like much of the Cairns CBD the Cairns waterfront is predicted to be underwater by the end of the century, unless engineering solutions are adopted to protect the area from inundation from sea-level rise.

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