The Cairns Esplanade is the tree-lined boardwalk along the foreshore in the city of Cairns. It overlooks the Trinity Inlet and the Coral Sea on one side, and is lined with restaurants and gardens on the other. It has bike paths and walking trails, playgrounds, barbecues, exercise areas and a salt-water lagoon.
Come to take a morning stroll and spot sea birds that swarm the waterfront at this time of day. Cafés along the Esplanade serve breakfast and coffees to locals on their way to work and visitors enjoying sea views. Later in the day, buy fresh seafood to cook on one of the barbecues in the picnic areas along the boardwalk.
Lifeguards patrol the lagoon, which is open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. throughout the year. It’s surrounded by sand, sun lounges and trees, and is free to use.
Families should head to the Youth Activity Precinct where there are a range of free activities for young visitors. Watch the kids explore the Endeavour Fun Ship, a marine-themed playground, or Muddy’s, a playground and water park with slides and a flying fox.
If you want to keep active, there are a number of free fitness classes held along the Esplanade. Try aqua aerobics, beach volleyball, bouldering (a form of rock climbing), yoga or Zumba. The Cairns Regional Council website has details and a timetable.
Craft markets sell locally made jewellery, woodcraft, leatherwork and pottery on Saturdays. Finish the day with dinner and drinks in bars and restaurants that look out over the water.
The Esplanade is an easy walk from the city centre. You’re free to wander the boardwalk at any time of the day or night. Parking is available near the Esplanade fees apply. There are shower and public toilet facilities throughout the area. If you’re heading out to the Great Barrier Reef, the main departure point for tours, Reef Fleet, is located at the south end of the Esplanade