Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
With a maximum depth of only five feet (1.5 meters), the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is a safe and welcoming spot for kids, visitors, and locals alike, complete with fountains, sunshades, sandy beaches, and nearby lawns and tables that are perfect for a midday picnic overlooking Trinity Harbour. You won’t have to worry about the box jellyfish and saltwater crocodiles that sometimes make appearances in the off-shore waters. Also, many shops and restaurants surround the lagoon so it’s easy to enjoy an hour or two by the water in the middle of a day of shopping and sightseeing in the city.
Things to know before you go
- The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is free and open to the public.
- Lifeguards are on duty and bathrooms and showers can be found nearby.
- Guided tours of Cairns typically include a stop at the lagoon.
- At night, mosquitos and other biting insects may be present, so wear repellent if you’re near the lagoon in the evenings.
How to get there
Located on the shore of Trinity Harbour in downtown Cairns, the lagoon is about a 6-minute walk from the Lake Street bus stop and about a 10-minute walk from the train station at the Cairns Central Shopping Centre; just walk up Shields Street to the Esplanade. Free and paid street and off-street parking is available in the area.
When to get there
The lagoon is open daily from early morning to late evening, except on Wednesdays, when it opens at noon to allow for weekly maintenance. The period from June to October is prime diving season in Cairns, so expect the biggest crowds then. This is also the region’s dry season and considered the best time to visit.
About 1.5 hours from Cairns by car, the Atherton Tablelands are an easy day trip from the busy city, offering lush landscapes perfect for bushwalking and bird-watching. Guided tours typically include a stop at one of the region’s waterfalls. Other activities include boat cruises and nighttime walks through the rainforest to spot nocturnal critters.
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