What’s On



There is not better time to visit the Cairns region than in the ‘dry’ season (June – November). Experience comfortable temperatures and conditions with lower humidity and generally, much less rainfall: April through to November is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef with once in a lifetime opportunities to swim and dive and enjoy a tropical winter.

Located directly opposite Muddy’s playground on The Esplanade, Cairns Plaza Hotel is able to provide the perfect Tropical Family Escape…!

Winter is generally the ‘high season’, so there are more visitors and less availability; best to book everything early – our reception/tour desk team members are available to provide you with information and expert, local knowledge.

Winter in the tropics allows you to enjoy all the usual activities as well as a few extras, as you can see below.

Swim with Dwarf Minke Whales
July till September is the time to swim and snorkel with Dwarf Minke Whales. These inquisitive magical creatures frequent the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs. They are more common in our waters between the months of March and October, but speak to our Front Desk to arrange a time and they will be able to advise you on when and if they are in the area.

Whale Watching
If you are around in August, taking the opportunity to see some magnificent Humpback Whales up close in their natural environment. These beautiful creatures will leave you with memories lasting a life time. The Humpback Whale season in Cairns is at it’s peak from July to September. This forms part of an annual migration of approximately 4000 whales escaping bracing cold conditions in Antarctica to rear their young in the warmer waters of Australia’s east coast. Researchers believe approximately 2000 of these Whales make the 10,000km round trip to the Cairns region annually.

Snorkelling and Diving
September is another great month to go diving from Cairns. The trade winds have started to drop down and often you will have days with total ‘glass out’ conditions. Visibility is usually excellent on Cairns’ Outer Great Barrier Reef dive sites and further north at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea. Osprey Reef offers 1,000 feet drop offs and hundreds of reef sharks to see.: this can only be visited on a liveaboard dive trip from Cairns. Some Great Barrier Reef fish species, including Snappers and Red Throat Emperors, start to aggregate in the reef’s shallows in preparation for spawning. You will also see many marine turtles feeding on sea grasses and algae.

Breeding Season
conditions from Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef are looking good. This is the time of year that breeding activity begins for most seabird species, so if you happen to be going to an island or cay (Michaelmas Cay is a great place to visit at this time) you may be able to experience the noise and activity associated with breeding season. This is also the time for turtle mating and nesting, so you may see more turtles around than usual.

Coral Spawning
If you are lucky enough to be here in Cairns dural the coral spawning you will see the reef come alive during an amazing natural phenomenon. All of a sudden, millions of tiny cells began spewing out of the living corals. They pour into the water like champagne bubbles, floating to the surface and forming a thick, pink ‘slick’ on the surface. Coral spawning, an annual event, occurs in all coral reefs around the world. Today we know that many corals living on the Great Barrier Reef spawn about four to five days after the full moon in October or November and sometimes in December. As our Front Desk to find out more.

White Water Rafting
White water rafting is brilliant any time of year.Sign up for a day of adventure and discover The Tully River which is regarded as one of the best rafting rivers across Australia and New Zealand.

The Rainforest
Visit the rainforest and learning all about the local ecology. Cairns has one of few remaining truly pristine tropical rainforest places on the planet. These forests contain an amazing array and diversity of flora and fauna. To organise a tour please speak to our Front Desk.

Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you’re visiting Cairns make sure you don’t pass up the experience of taking a hot air balloon ride over the rainforest at dawn. Get up in the air before the and watch the sun rise over the Great Dividing Range.

Why not take the Skyrail across 7.5kms over pristine rainforest? Explore the wonders of an ancient tropical rainforest and learn about one of the most botanically fascinating and diverse areas on earth.
For additional tour suggestions please click here. Contact our front desk or reception is you would like help arranging any tours.

For additional tour suggestions please click here. Contact our front desk or reception is you would like help arranging any tours


Esplanade Lagoon

Where: 71-75 The Esplanade, Cairns
Lifeguards are on duty 6am – 9pm all year round. The Lagoon is closed for maintenance every Wednesday until midday.

Escape the heat at one of Cairns’ best known landmarks, the Esplanade Lagoon. Set on the Cairns foreshore overlooking the Barrier Reef and Trinity Inlet, the 4800 sq metre saltwater swimming lagoon offers locals and tourists a year round safe swimming location. The kids can enjoy the sandy edges, build sand castles and play in shallow water. On the other side of the Lagoon, visitors can lounge on the timber decks in moderate shade. Shady trees, landscaped gardens and open spaces all contribute to the leisurely atmosphere on the Esplanade.


Where: Muddy’s Playground, The Esplande, 174 The Esplanade, Cairns
When: 8am – 8pm during the summer months (October – March) and 9am – 7pm during the winter months (April – September). Muddy’s is closed for cleaning on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 7am – 11am
Price: Free

A popular meeting spot for young families, “Muddy’s” is a modern, fun, safe playground and parkland. It incorporates active, passive, interactive and educational facilities with a combination of play equipment and custom designed equipment. Designed and situated such that various age groups have a separate and unique play area with the level of challenge in each area relating to the age group.

Themed “Life in Trinity Bay” the playground includes water play areas with:

  • Water channels and hand pumps
  • Water gates, rain shelters and jumping water jets
  • “Muddy” the mud skipper sculpture

Other play areas include:

  • Flying fox, sound chimes, track ride, rope bridge, slides, play houses, story telling areas, see-saw, trick track and puzzle games.

Hours of operation are 9am – 7pm throughout the year. A section of Muddy’s is closed for cleaning on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9am – 11am

Endeavour Fun Ship
The Endeavour Fun Ship was opened to the public in December 2006. The new Fun Ship is a unique playground that fits well with the marine theme of the Esplanade, and has many links to the original funship.

Where:71-75 The Esplanade, Cairns
When: Open all hours


Esplanade Market Stalls
Where:71-75 The Esplanade, Cairns at the Lagoon Plaza
Market Hours:8am – 4pm Every Saturday

Holloways Beach Market Stalls

Where:Holloways Beach next to Casuarina Street
Market Hours:8am – 1pm Second Sunday of the Month

Rusty’s Markets

Where:57-89 Grafton St, Cairns
Market Hours:Friday 5:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday5:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 5:00 am – 3:00 pm

City Market Stalls

Where:71-75 The Esplanade, Cairns
Market Hours:5pm – 11pm 7 days a week

Port Douglas Market Stalls

Where:Anzac Park
Market Hours:7am – 2pm Every Sunday


Esplanade Lagoon Live Music

Where:Esplanade Lagoon, 71-75 The Esplanade, Cairns
When:Sun 10 Nov, Sat 16 Nov, Sun 17 Nov, Sat 23 Nov,Sun 24 Nov, Sat 30 Nov


Active Living on the Esplanade Program

The Active Living on the Esplanade program offers an exciting range of introductory level classes. From Yoga to Zumba there is something for everyone to try!

The current Active Living timetable is available to download as a pdf file

The current introductory classes include:

  • Aqua Aerobics
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Body Strong Balance, Strength and Flexibility
  • Aqua Zumba
  • Bouldering
  • Boxin’ Fun
  • Circuit and Cross Training
  • Mumbalates
  • Pilates
  • Sahaja Yoga Meditation
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Zumba Fitness
  • Active Living Climbing sessions with Topknot Climbing

Please view the Cairns Esplanade website here for locations and times.