Where to stay in Cairns for families with kids: 5 Best areas

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about Cairns for first-timers (I will put the link to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Cairns for families with kids.

I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Cairns for families, along with a map. I’ll also share where I stayed in Cairns and recommend some of the best family-friendly hotels for various budgets.

Cairns is a popular tourist destination in the far north of Queensland, Australia. It is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most diverse coral reef systems in the world.

The city is also a great base to explore the Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It offers opportunities for eco-friendly tourism, nature walks, and wildlife spotting.

You can also take a day trip to the nearby Kuranda by a scenic train or cable car. It is known for its markets, arts and crafts, and the beautiful surrounding rainforest.

Cairns Esplanade is one of the most popular areas in Cairns. It is a waterfront area featuring a swimming lagoon, walking paths, and recreational facilities. It’s a popular spot to relax.

You can learn about the Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, explore native Australian species at the Cairns Botanic Gardens, and shop for souvenirs at the Night Markets.

Is Cairns a good place to visit with family?

Yes, Cairns is an excellent family destination. It is a great base for families to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Daintree Rainforest, Kuranda, Port Douglas. The city itself boasts kid-friendly parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and the Cairns Esplanade for relaxing family strolls. 

Where to stay in Cairns for families with kids?

The best areas to stay in Cairns for families with kids are the Esplanade, CBD, Cairns North, Parramatta Park, and Palm Cove. These areas offer a wide variety of children-friendly accommodations and activities for all needs and preferences.

Cairns CBD and Esplanade are the most popular areas for families who want to be in the middle of the action. The Esplanade is a beautiful waterfront area with a lagoon, parks, and playgrounds. Both areas offer easy access to shops, restaurants, and amenities. 

Cairns North and Parramatta Park provide quieter residential but still having easy access to the CBD. These areas have limited accommodation options though.

Palm Cove, a bit north of Cairns, is a beautiful beachside suburb with a relaxed atmosphere. It offers a more resort-style experience with luxury accommodations and dining options.

During my trip to Cairns, my partner and I stayed at the Crystalbrook Flynn. It is also a family-friendly hotel located in a prime location, easy access to the CBD and the waterfront area. It has a nice outdoor pool, a restaurant, and good breakfast. I think it was a great base to explore Cairn and its surrounding waterfalls and beaches,

Below is a map of the popular areas in Cairns for families. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Cairns for families with kids
Map of the best areas to stay in Cairns for families with kids

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Cairns, especially for families. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Cairns have been carefully selected by me from well-known booking websites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Best areas to stay in Cairns with family:

1. Cairns Esplanade

Cairns Esplanade is a fantastic location for families with kids due to its emphasis on outdoor recreation, family-friendly facilities, and its central position in Cairns. 

The Esplanade is home to the Esplanade Lagoon, a large swimming area with a sandy beach. It’s a popular spot for families, offering a safe environment for swimming and playing.

There are several parks and playgrounds along the Esplanade, providing ample space for children to run around and play. Muddy’s Playground is a particularly well-known playground that caters to different age groups.

The Esplanade has scenic walking and cycling paths that stretch along the waterfront. Families can enjoy leisurely strolls or bike rides while taking in views of the ocean and surrounding landscapes.

There are barbecue facilities and picnic areas along the Esplanade, making it a great place for families to have outdoor meals and enjoy the tropical climate.

For those interested in staying active, the Esplanade offers outdoor fitness stations where visitors can engage in exercise routines while enjoying the fresh air.

The Esplanade is lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, offering a range of dining and shopping options. It’s a convenient place to grab a meal or souvenir.

From the Esplanade, you can easily access tour operators offering reef trips, boat tours, and other activities. It serves as a central hub for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and other attractions.

Best places to stay in Cairns Esplanade for families with kids:

Luxury ($$$): Crystalbrook Bailey, great 5-star family-friendly hotel located in a prime location on Abbott Street, close to the iconic Esplanade, the CBD, and the kid-friendly attractions such as Cairns Aquarium. The hotel welcomes children of all ages, and Children 12 and above will be charged as adults. Free extra cribs kids 0-2 years old.

Mid-range ($$): Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, popular 4-star children-friendly accommodation in central Cairns. It has comfortable family rooms, a nice lagoon pool, children’s pool, and 24-hour front desk. It is an easy distance from Esplanade, Railway Station, and the Reef Casino.

Mid-range ($$): Vision Apartments, great apartment-style accommodations, great base for big family and group. The three Bedroom Apartment can accommodate a maximum of 8 adults. It also has a prime location on the Esplanade, 15-20 min walk to the pier where most of the boats leave to the Great Barrier Reef.

Budget ($): Cairns Plaza Hotel, great 3-star kid-friendly hotel located on the waterfront area, featuring comfortable family rooms, an outdoor pool, and free parking. Children 13 and above will be charged as adults at this hotel. Each room and suite have a maximum of 4 adults.


2. Cairns CBD

The CBD is a great base for families who want central location, easy access to major attractions and activities. It is also a transportation hub, with the Cairns Central Railway Station and bus terminals connecting the city to various destinations. This makes it easy to explore the surrounding areas.

The CBD is home to a variety of shops, boutiques, and malls, including Cairns Central Shopping Centre. You’ll find a range of retail outlets, from international brands to local shops. There are also numerous cafes, restaurants, and eateries offering diverse cuisines.

The Cairns Marina is nearby, offering access to boat tours, cruises, and the Great Barrier Reef. This makes it a convenient starting point for exploring the natural wonders of Far North Queensland.

The CBD is home to the Cairns Regional Gallery, which showcases local and international art. The Cairns Museum is also located in the city center, providing insights into the region’s history.

Cairns CBD comes alive at night with a vibrant nightlife scene. There are bars, pubs, and clubs catering to various tastes. The night markets offer an opportunity for evening shopping, and street performers often entertain visitors.

The Cairns Convention Centre is located in the CBD, hosting various events, conferences, and exhibitions. If you’re in town for a specific event, the CBD provides proximity to the convention center.

Best places to stay in Cairns CBD with kids:

Luxury ($$$): Hilton Cairns, 5-star hotel, located in a beautiful waterside location in central Cairns, within a short walk from the Reef Departure Terminal, the CBD and Convention Center. It has an outdoor lagoon-style pool, comfortable family rooms, and very good breakfast. children 18 and above will be charged as adults.

Mid-range ($$): The Abbott Boutique Hotel, great value for money 4-star children-friendly hotel, located in a prime location, close to Cairns Station and Cairns Regional Gallery. It is easy to walk around the city and to the esplanade. It has spacious and comfortable rooms.  

Mid-range ($$): Piermonde Apartments Cairns, great apartments located within walking distance from  Cairns Esplanade. It has an outdoor swimming pool, BBQ facilities, laundry/dry cleaning service, and a tour desk. You can choose to stay in  2 and 3-bedroom apartments, which can accommodate up to 6 adults.


3. Cairns North

Cairns North is a quieter and more residential area compared to the bustling CBD. It’s a suitable area for those who prefer a quieter setting while still being close to the city.

The Flecker Botanic Gardens, located in Cairns North, is a popular attraction. It provides a peaceful setting with a wide variety of tropical plants, walking paths, and themed gardens.

Cairns North is relatively close to the Cairns International Airport, making it convenient for travelers who frequently fly in and out of the region.

Best places to stay in Cairns North with family:

  • Mid-range ($$): Coral Towers Holiday Suites, 4-star family-friendly accommodation located 20-minute walk to Cairns CBD, easy access to Muddy’s Cafe on the Esplanade and children playground. It has a swimming pool, free secure parking, and paid Babysitting services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Koala Court Holiday Apartments, 4-star children-friendly accommodation situated on McLeod Street, 15-20 mins walk from Cairns Esplanade waterfront and the CBD. It has free parking, a barbecue area, and laundry services. The tour desk can help to organize trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Green Island.  
  • Mid-range ($$): Waterfront Terraces, a family-friendly Queenslander-style accommodation that offers self-contained apartments with views of Trinity Inlet and the Harbor.

4. Parramatta Park

Parramatta Park is named after the expansive Parramatta Park, a large recreational area that features lush greenery, walking paths, and open spaces. It provides a tranquil environment for residents and visitors to enjoy outdoor activities.

Munro Martin Parklands is an outdoor venue within Parramatta Park that hosts events and performances. It’s a popular spot for cultural and community activities.

Parramatta Park is primarily a residential area, offering a mix of housing options such as houses, apartments, and townhouses. The suburb is known for its historical architecture.

The Cairns Showgrounds, located in Parramatta Park, is a venue for events and exhibitions. The annual Cairns Show takes place here, featuring agricultural displays, entertainment, and attractions.

Parramatta Park has local amenities, including shops, cafes, and community facilities, providing residents with convenient access to everyday necessities.

Best places to stay in Cairns in Parramatta Park with family:

  • Budget ($): Travellers Paradise Heritage Historical Guest House, great accommodation on Bunda Street, Parramatta Park, featuring comfortable family rooms and free parking for those who drive. It has a great location close to the ocean walk, the CBD, and supermarket.
  • Budget ($): City Terraces Cairns, 4-star family-friendly Colonial-Queenslander style apartments on McLeod Street,  easy distance from restaurants, shops, and nightlife on the Esplanade. Also close to Central Shopping Center where you can find many shops, food courts and supermarkets.
  • Mid-range ($$): Citysider Cairns Holiday Apartments, 4-star  family friendly accommodation, located 10-15 mins walk from the heart of Cairns and Cairns Central Shopping Center. It offers  self-contained apartments with a full kitchen, laundry, and private balcony.

5. Palm Cove

Palm Cove is a great base for a family beach holiday. It is a beautiful beachside suburb located about 27 km north of the Cairns CBD. It is known for its pristine beaches, upscale resorts, and relaxed atmosphere.

The main attraction is Palm Cove Beach, a stunning stretch of white sand lining the Coral Sea. The beach is fringed with palm trees, providing a picturesque setting for relaxation and water activities.

The Palm Cove Esplanade features a picturesque boardwalk along the beachfront. It’s a great place for a leisurely stroll, with views of the ocean and easy access to cafes and shops.

The suburb has a selection of high-end restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops along Williams Esplanade. Visitors can enjoy fine dining with ocean views and explore unique stores.

Palm Cove is known for its spa and wellness offerings. Many resorts and day spas provide a range of treatments and relaxation experiences, taking advantage of the serene tropical environment.

Palm Cove serves as a departure point for various tours to the Great Barrier Reef. Visitors can easily arrange snorkeling, diving, and boat trips to explore this natural wonder.

The area around Palm Cove features golf courses, providing recreational options for golf enthusiasts.

Best places to stay in Palm Cove with children:

  • Luxury ($$$): Elysium The Beach Club, 5-star children-friendly beachfront accommodation. Your family can book two connected apartments with a full two bedroom penthouse. It has an outdoor swimming pool, Free parking, and a rooftop BBQ area.
  • Mid-range ($$): Paradise On The Beach Resort, 4-star family-friendly resort on Palm Cove, right in the middle of town, close to lots of entertainment and restaurants. 
  • Mid-range ($$): The Palms At Palm Cove, good value for money children-friendly accommodation, in a great great position, up the little hill from the Main Street, beach and restaurants. It has beautiful and tranquil gardens. 

In conclusion, Esplanade, CBD, Cairns North, Parramatta Park, and Palm Cove are the best places to stay in Cairns with family. These are great bases for families with children to explore Cairns and its surroundings.

You can also read these article about Cairns and other cities in Australia:

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas and neighborhoods that you can stay during your family trip to Cairns. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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