10 Best Cairns Family Resorts: Where To Stay With Kids [2024]

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Are you looking for the best family accommodation in Cairns? We compare the best places to stay in Cairns with family.

From family holiday parks to luxurious resorts with breathtaking views of the Great Barrier Reef, if you are looking for where to stay in Cairns with kids, you are sure to find the perfect option for visiting this beautiful part of Queensland, Australia.

We will also be sharing the best areas to stay in Cairns and tips for planning your perfect family holiday to one of our favourite places to visit in Australia!

cairns city in distance with ocean in forefront.

Top 3 Picks: Best Cairns Family Accommodation

#1 TOP PICK
Crystalbrook riley cairns pool area

Crystalbrook Riley

  • Large family rooms
  • Swimming pool
OUR #2 PICK
waterpark at ingenia cairns coconut holiday park

Cairns Coconut Holiday Park

  • Huge water park
  • Large family cabins
OUR #3 PICK
shangri-la the marina cairns

Shangri-La The Marina

  • Swimming pool
  • Right on the Cairns Marina

Cairns – A Tropical Paradise for Families

Cairns is the ultimate destination for families looking for an outdoor escape!

Located in Far North Queensland and surrounded by tropical rainforests, rugged coastline and the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef, this popular city offers plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained.

While Cairns itself has plenty of great family activities to enjoy, it’s when you venture a little further that it gets really special!

Some of our favourite places we visited during our most recent Cairns itinerary were the day trips we took from Cairns – reef, rainforests, wildlife and a castle in the jungle. Yep!

10 Best Cairns Family Resorts To Stay With Kids

When it comes to finding the perfect family accommodation, it can really make a difference to your entire trip.

Whether it comes down to finding the best area to stay in Cairns for the things you plan to do or having the facilities that are going to make you most comfortable during your stay.

While some trips are simply a case of having somewhere to lay your bed at night, when you travel with kids, quite often you want something that goes a little beyond those basic needs, and these Cairns family resorts will do exactly that!

1. Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns

  • Star Rating: 5-star
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.4 out of 10
  • Highlights: Great central location, close to cruise terminal, pool
  • Address: Pier Point Rd, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

Located right on the Cairns Marlin Marina, the Shangri-La is the perfect location for restaurants, central Cairns attractions and cruises.

There are stunning views across Trinity Bay, the Cairns Marina or its tropical gardens. It has all the essential facilities you expect from a 5-star resort.

Being right on the Marina, you are less than a 1-minute walk to The Great Barrier Reef Departure Terminal, which is perfect if you are looking to visit the Great Barrier Reef or any of the islands near Cairns.

This makes it a great hotel if you don’t have a hire car for your stay too, as you can walk to pretty much everything you need (aside from the airport with is a 10-minute drive).

While the resort itself is a little older and some of the facilities are a bit dated, however, the rooms are clean and modern, having been refurbished in recent years, and there are plenty of little touches that make it an enjoyable stay.

The outdoor pool area includes a spa and a shallow kid’s wading pool, with deck chairs that are perfect for enjoying an afternoon cocktail at the pool bar. Although, I don’t know if it was just our bad luck, but the cocktails we tried were awful! Aside from that, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon by the pool.

Some of the best Cairns restaurants are located on the ground floor below the Shangri-La and their own cafe, The Backyard, is a great breakfast restaurant, included in some of the holiday packages or for an extra cost. And of course, there is also room service available.

The one limitation is that they only have rooms for up to 4 guests, with 2 twin beds, which isn’t ideal for larger families or kids that don’t want to share a twin bed. They do have the option of interconnecting rooms for larger families and groups travelling together though.

We would absolutely stay here again! The location was perfect as a great base to explore the region!

2. Crystalbrook Riley, Cairns

Crystalbrook Riley pool area of Cairns hotel.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: 5-star
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.7 out of 10
  • Highlights: Esplanade location, family rooms for up to 6 people, lagoon & beach
  • Address: 131-141 The Esplanade, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

Located towards the North end of the Cairns Esplanade, Crystalbrook Riley is one of the newer luxury resorts in Cairns, part of the Crystalbrook family of resorts. It opened in 2018 and is considered one of the best places to stay in Cairns.

The resort itself has 3 on-site restaurants, including Cairns’ highest rooftop bar, Rocco. It has a private man-made beach and a lagoon swimming pool, a day spa and a 24-hour fitness centre.

Crystalbrook Riley is a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminal and located just 5km from Cairns Airport.

The majority of the modern rooms have large balconies. Family rooms have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, making them extremely comfortable and spacious apartments for families who want to enjoy a luxurious stay while exploring the local sights.

They also have rooms that cater for up to 6 people, making this a great option for larger families visiting Cairns. According to booking.com, families have rated this resort as a 9.2 for stays with kids.

The other thing that makes the hotel really kid-friendly is that each room is not only equipped with a television with built-in streaming capabilities but also a room iPad station that allows guests to watch from a range of up to 200 recent movie releases on the iPad.

There’s a pod coffee machine for the adults and the blockout blinds also make it easier to get kids to sleep in a little longer in the morning!

The pool is out of this world. You literally don’t need to leave the resort. After not being on holiday for years, I booked with caution as I didn’t want to get this wrong. But we nailed it. It was amazing. Perfect if you have kiddies too, the sandy pool is awesome – Sophie

3. Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Aerial view of pool and hotel area of Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: 4.5-star
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.4 out of 10
  • Highlights: Lagoon pool, modern rooms, best area to stay
  • Address: 122 Lake Street, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

Located right in the heart of Cairns, just a short walk from the Cairns Esplanade and right near the Cairns Aquarium, you will find Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort.

The Novotel Cairns is popular for families with their expansive outdoor area, which features a massive lagoon swimming pool with a sandy beach area.

Contrary to popular belief, Cairns itself isn’t an ideal place to visit for beaches so having your own swimming oasis at the resort is a great option for families!

Each room features a private balcony, air conditioning, television and wifi. The rooms are decorated with modern furnishings and guests have commented on the comfort of the beds and how clean the rooms are.

There are several restaurants and bar options within the hotel so you don’t have to venture far for food outlets and drinks. But if you do decide to, it’s a short walk to plenty of great Cairns dining options and attractions.

The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort has been given a 9.2 rating on Booking.com for being in the best area and for being a top pick for families.

Rooms accommodate up to 4 guests, making them great for smaller families.

The room was clean and spacious enough for the family. The pool was lovely, clean and fun for the kids. The location was central and an easy walk to all city locations. – Himka

4. Cairns Crystal Cascades Holiday Park

aerial view of cairns crystal cascades holiday park and mountains.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: N/A for holiday parks
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.6 out of 10
  • Highlights: Suitable for larger families, pool, playground
  • Address: The Rocks Rd, Redlynch, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

Cairns Crystal Cascades Holiday Park is one of the best budget family accommodation options in Cairns and a great option if you are looking for something a little further out of town. It is around a 20-minute drive from the heart of the city centre, with a beautiful mountain backdrop.

The holiday park has loads of cabins, including their family studio cabins that accommodate up to 4 people, as well as 2 bedroom villas that accommodate up to 6 guests.

This is also a great option if you are looking for a Cairns camping ground or caravan park, with loads of camp sites for caravans, motorhomes and tents. They even have ensuite suites if you want your own bathroom facilities.

The holiday park is a lot of fun for kids who want to spend plenty of time outdoors with an outdoor pool, spa, a modern children’s playground and space to ride their bikes and scooters.

Plus, you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the Cairns city centre, which seems to be a big appeal for many of the guests staying here.

It’s located really close to one of the best waterfalls near Cairns – Crystal Cascades. This is a popular wild swimming hole for families and a great chance to enjoy a walk through the rainforest!

Very comfortable and clean cabin. Good location, quiet and peaceful with mountain views but still close to town. Beautiful swimming pool. Reliable wifi. Would definitely stay there again! – Charlotte

5. Cairns Colonial Club Resort

lagoon pool aerial view over Cairns colonial club resort.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: 4-stars
  • Booking.com Rating: 7.9 out of 10
  • Highlights: Multiple swimming pools, affordable
  • Address: 18-26 Cannon Street, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

The Cairns Colonial Club Resort is a budget resort in Cairns, with rooms accommodating up to 4 guests. While it is an older hotel, it is a popular option for families who want to keep their costs down and still have the facilities that make a family holiday enjoyable.

And the swimming pools are definitely one of the favourite things here! Cairns Colonial Club Resort has 3 lagoon-style pools, so you won’t struggle to find your little spot in the water during your stay. Kids will love it, especially since it’s pretty much always hot enough for swimming in Cairns!

Make sure you don’t forget your sunscreen and swimming vests though as there isn’t a lot of shade near the main swimming pool.

It is set on 11 acres of tropical gardens and less than 2km from the Flecker Botanic Gardens too. While it is a little further from town, being around a 10-minute drive into the centre of Cairns, you will have plenty to keep you busy here.

The Thirsty Flamingo Poolside Bar & Dining has you covered for meals and drinks, while you enjoy the resort facilities.

This is definitely a good option if you have your own transport and want an affordable family hotel in Cairns. While it is older, it has undergone a lot of renovations, adding a modern touch to rooms and facilities.

The resort hosted a high standard of amenities for a relaxing holiday and the pools were fantastic catering for all! Resort grounds are absolutely beautiful, really making you feel like you’re in the tropics. Restaurants were great with hearty and delicious meals at reasonable prices and staff were so helpful and friendly. Superior Room overlooking the pool was extremely clean and spacious with ample storage space. Modern bathroom was spotless! – Christine

6. Crystalbrook Bailey

pool area at Crystalbrook Bailey luxury resort in Cairns.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: 5-stars
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.6 out of 10
  • Highlights: Great location, large rooms, pool
  • Address: 63 Abbott Street, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

Crystalbrook Bailey is another of the Crystalbrook Collection of hotels, which are luxury sustainable hotels and resorts across Australia. There are actually 3 in Cairns and 1 in Port Douglas currently and you can’t really go wrong with any of them, hence the feature on this list of best family accommodation in Cairns. This one only opened in 2019.

Crystalbrook Bailey is located in one of the most popular areas to stay in Cairns, right near the Cairns Museum and Art Gallery. Plus it’s just a short stroll to shops, restaurants and other central attractions. If the hotel pool gets too crowded, the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is just 300 metres away.

The resort itself has 1, 2 and 3-bedroom rooms, accommodating up to 6 people. For this reason, and the great location, it has been rated 9.4 for stays with kids!

There is a rooftop swimming pool, fitness centre, free wifi, restaurant and bar. The rooms are beautifully decorated with modern furnishings, each with tea and coffee facilities and a refrigerator.

And if you want to get out and explore a bit further than the city centre, they offer bike rentals to guests too! How cool!

The amazing staff!!! Rooms were immaculate and very modern. The beds were so comfortable. 3-minute walk to the esplanade and restaurants. Every little detail in the design aspect of the hotel is very well thought through. The smell in the foyer feels like you are in a day spa and has an exquisite note of elegance. The pool, although a little small, was absolutely beautiful. Would most definitely be back!! – Klaudija

7. Big4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut Holiday Park

waterpark at Ingenia Holidays cairns coconut holiday park.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: 5-stars
  • Booking.com Rating: 9 out of 10
  • Highlights: Pool, waterpark, playground, self-contained cabins
  • Address: 23-51 Anderson Road, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut is the ultimate family-friendly accommodation in Cairns. They even have their own waterpark that kids will love!

We are big fans of staying at holiday parks with kids, especially the Big4 parks, and some of them have amazing facilities. This is definitely one of those places that the kids will want to come back to time and again!

The waterpark is huge, with several water slides and a tipping bucket.

There are also 2 large swimming pools with waterslides, 2 spa pools, a kid zone, a children’s adventure playground with jumping pillows and loads of on-site activities. Volleyball, mini-golf, tennis court, badminton, and basketball, plus plenty of room to ride scooters or bikes around the holiday park too.

Each of the rooms has its own kitchenette. If you are staying for a longer period, having the ability to cook your own meals can be a great way to save money on travel!

Rooms are also air-conditioned (I think this is sort of the expected thing in Tropical Queensland though), with televisions and private balconies.

One of the other great things is that they have cabins and studio rooms to suit larger groups, with their condo units accommodating up to 10 people! This means you can share with extended family, bring the grandparents or even stay with friends too!

Plus there are powered and non-powered camping sites for anyone who is visiting with their own tent or van.

This one books out quickly for school holidays so make sure you book early if your next family holiday is during the Australian school holiday period!

Travelling to Cairns with pets? The Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut is one of the best pet friendly holiday parks in Cairns if you are staying in their campsites. They even have their own dog agility park!

Everything about the stay was awesome. The room was super comfy and clean. Lots of amenities. Everything you need is inside the compound which is amazing. Food from the cafe was delicious. Quiet neighbourhood with lots of families around. I would definitely recommend staying here! – Ajo

8. Oaks Cairns Hotel

view from balcony restaurant of Oaks Cairns Resort over cairns lagoon.
Photo: Expedia
  • Star Rating: 4-stars
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.3 out of 10
  • Highlights: Great location, modern
  • Address: 59-63 Esplanade, Cairns
  • Check Rates & Availability

The Oaks Cairns Hotel is located right on the Esplanade and just a short walk from the beachfront boardwalk and Cairns Esplanade Lagoon. It is also the perfect spot for enjoying the nearby restaurants and bars.

This hotel only opened in 2020 so it is very new and modern, with well-equipped, spacious hotel rooms that accommodate up to 4 people. They also have adjoining rooms for bigger groups.

The hotel is just 7km from Cairns airport and easy walking distance of the many Cairns attractions, including the Great Barrier Reef Cruise Terminal and Marlin Marina.

There is no swimming pool, but being in such close proximity to the Cairns Lagoon makes up for this to some extent. Kids will still get to enjoy a swim!

One negative is that they do not have their own guest parking. There is public car parking nearby if you do have your own transport. This makes it a good option if you are visiting Cairns without a car and plan to utilise public transport and walk to most of the nearby attractions.

Location is excellent for this well-priced hotel. Directly opposite the Cairns Lagoon and close to the Rusty’s Market. No parking but ticket parking for 3 hours at a time nearby. Very comfy beds and very clean. Restaurant/Bar on the top floor is very good too. Lack of parking is a shame but only need a ticket between 8.30 am and 6.00 pm so usually only bought one in the morning and then out for the day, then maybe one in the afternoon if back before 6.00 pm. – Gail

9. Fitzroy Island Resort

Fitzroy island great barrier reef.
  • Star Rating: 4.5-stars
  • Booking.com Rating: 7.2 out of 10
  • Highlights: Location, plenty of activities on the island, swimming pool
  • Address: Fitzroy Island (board ferry at Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal)
  • Check Rates & Availability

While not located in Cairns, this featured accommodation (and the next) deserve a mention in case you have plans to immerse yourself in the islands of the Great Barrier Reef during your stay.

While we highly recommend staying in the centre of Cairns for the majority of your stay, a night or two on one of the nearby islands can be an amazing way to experience this incredible part of the world.

Fitzroy Island is one of the most popular island day trips from Cairns, located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is 45 minutes from Cairns by ferry, with the island surrounded by beach and rainforest. So if you’d rather spend more than just a day trip enjoying all the Fitzroy Island activities, a stay here is a great option.

Fitzroy Island Resort has modern amenities, an outdoor swimming pool with a swim up bar and there is even an in-house cinema. Enjoy strolling along the many walking tracks through the rainforest before relaxing with a meal at the sea view restaurant.

The resort also hires snorkelling and kayaking equipment so you can make the most of your time in the middle of the reef.

It has been rated 9.4 out of 10 for stays with kids and for location, so you will have no trouble filling a day or 2 on the island with all the activities on offer.

There are a couple of negatives that may influence your decision to stay here vs Green Island. The resort is older and many guests have commented that the facilities need an upgrade.

There is also limited options on the island for buying supplies, as is expected on an island, so if you plan to cook your own meals, make sure you do a thorough grocery shop before you board the ferry.

In saying that, it is quite affordable for an island resort and the experience of being right on the Great Barrier Reef is pretty magical!

It was really good, great location, perfect to rest, great staff – very helpful, friendly, professional and courteous. nice size rooms with all the amenities. Amazing views. The resort itself is amazing, but I think they could give it a little refurbishment or just buy new furniture. – Regina

10. Green Island Resort

  • Star Rating: 4-stars
  • Booking.com Rating: 8.2 out of 10
  • Highlights: Location, plenty of activities on the island, swimming pool
  • Address: Green Island (board ferry at Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal)
  • Check Rates & Availability

Green Island Resort is somewhere we have visited on two occasions but have not yet had the chance to stay. It has been one of those ‘been meaning to’ bucket list items for a while. However, it is a popular option for many reasons!

Like Fitzroy Island, and even more so, Green Island is one of the most popular day trips from Cairns.

It is also the perfect place to take the kids snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef since the island itself has a beach with lifeguard supervision that you can snorkel off of. This is perfect for anyone who isn’t a confident swimmer and prefers to stay close to land!

Green Island Resort is an eco-resort located on its own private island surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, with plenty of activities on offer including snorkelling, kayaking and glass bottom boat tours. While many families choose to stay here for just one night, it’s worth noting that many activities require a full day so make sure you plan your trip accordingly.

The resort itself has 46 air-conditioned suites with private balconies, all set amidst the tropical rainforest. The island itself isn’t big. You can easily walk around it or along the many walking tracks, but there are still plenty of things to do on Green Island.

There is even a crocodile and reptile park – Marineland Melanesia.

There is a swimming pool and restaurants. It should be noted that day trip visitors also have access to the swimming pool so you might find it quite crowded during the day, until the last ferry leaves in the afternoon.

Green Island is just a 45-minute boat ride from Cairns Marina. All resort guests receive complimentary return boat transfers, a glass bottom boat tour, snorkel gear hire and a sunset drink.

Like Fitzroy Island resort, the resort could do with a few upgrades. Our last visit was 2020 and only some of the restaurants were open due to the harsh impact on tourism at this time. Hopefully by now everything is back up and running.

Stunning location. Breakfast and evening meals were lovely. Our room and ensuite were very spacious as was the balcony. Room was clean and the beds were very comfy. Loved the tranquillity. Staff were amazing. So friendly and any requests were not a problem. The island facilities are old and could benefit from some upgrading. – Lisa

You might also like these Cairns holiday homes and private rentals

Cairns FAQ

How Do You Get To Cairns?

The best way to get to Cairns is by flying to Cairns Airport. Most major Australian cities have direct flights to Cairns.

Alternatively, Cairns is a popular road trip destination with many people opting to drive from Brisbane to Cairns, to make the most of the many beautiful stops along the Queensland coastline.

What Is The Closest Airport To Cairns?

The closest airport to Cairns is the Cairns International Airport. It’s situated just 7km away from the city centre, making it a convenient option for travelling to and from the area.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Cairns?

The best time to visit Cairns is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. Cairns has two distinct seasons – the wet season and the dry season.

Even during the winter months of June, July and August in Cairns, the weather is still quite warm and sunny, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities like snorkelling, swimming or exploring the Great Barrier Reef.

prawn star trawlers cairns marina.

What Is The Best Area To Stay In Cairns?

The best area to stay in Cairns depends on what kind of experience you are looking for and what type of transport you plan to use.

If you have your own car or plan to hire a rental car for your stay in Cairns, you can easily enjoy staying out of town or heading further North to Port Douglas or Palm Cove.

But if you want to be close to the action or within walking distance of many of the main attractions, staying along or near the Esplanade is the area to stay in Cairns. This means you can easily walk to restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon and to the cruise terminal for day tours.

How Do You Get Around Cairns?

The best way to get around Cairns is by car. You can hire a car from Cairns Airport. While you can certainly see a lot on foot if you are staying centrally, having your own car will make it much easier to explore beyond Cairns.

There are some incredible places that are an hour or two away that are well worth making time to see.

But if you don’t have your own transport, there are regular bus services running throughout the city, bike hire and also rideshare services such as Uber or taxis.

How Many Days Do You Need In Cairns?

You will need at least 3-4 days in Cairns to see the top attractions, however, we would recommend a week to really get the best out of your trip. This gives you enough time to explore the city, check out some of the best nearby attractions like Kuranda Scenic Railway and the Daintree Rainforest and also have a day trip or two out to the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

Read our 1 week Cairns itinerary for ideas on how to plan your time.

Cairns is a great destination for families looking to explore the best of Australia’s natural beauty in the Tropical North Queensland region. With plenty of family hotels in Carins and fun activities, there are endless opportunities to make memories with your loved ones. For an unforgettable family getaway filled with adventure and relaxation, look no further than Cairns!

Do you have any favourite Cairns family resorts or family hotels in Cairns we haven’t mentioned?

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