Queensland is known for its beautiful sunshine, but on the odd occasion the weather turns sour, you might be tasked with the difficult job of finding something to do. You don’t have to barricade yourself indoors to stay dry, there are a number of viable options all around the town that can help pass the time while the rain comes down.
Whether you’re looking for something to do with kids, with your partner, friends or simply by yourself, we’ve got you covered. With a collection of dry, wet, relaxing and thrilling experiences grab your brolly or poncho and check out our top 10 rainy day activities in the greater Cairns region below.
10. Jump around at Inflatable World
Location: 164 Mayers St, Manoora
As the name suggests, Inflatable World is a mecca for all things inflatable. With slides, climbs, crawls and more, this is the perfect place to kill a few hours, especially with the kids.
Offering fun for all ages, you can jump right in to conquer all of the different inflatable castles and walls or you can kick back and watch the fun unfold with a bite to eat and a coffee from the on-site kiosk.
Entry to the attraction is at a cost, however, it will still suit your travel budget, especially if you’re accompanying and not jumping. The only rules at the Inflatable Kingdom are, kids 10 years and under must be accompanied by an adult, and socks must be worn on all inflatables.
- Kids (under 5yrs): $7
- General admission (6+ yrs): $14
9. Visit Cairns Regional Gallery
Location: 40 Abbott St, Cairns City
Opened in 1995, the Cairns Regional Gallery is the perfect place to visit during your visit to Cairns, especially when it begins to rains. An independent not-for-profit company, the gallery houses a number of educational, inspiring and entertaining exhibits rotated regularly, so multiple visits are a definite must.
A great place for the whole family to visit, the gallery can act as a place to teach the young ones about history, art and culture, while also taking up an hour or two of your rainy day. Some of the exhibits featured in the gallery include Animalia Australis, Glass, Re-Imagining Papua New Guinea, and Woven Identity to name a few.
The gallery is open seven days a week, so if your plans have been ruined on a weekday or weekend as a result of the rain, you’ll be able to pay the friendly team at the gallery a visit. Entry to the gallery is at a cost, with members, children and companions entering for free.
- Kids: FREE
- Concession/Student (ID required): $2.50
- Adults: $5
Location: Cairns Western Arterial Road, Caravonica
One of the standout attractions in Cairns, Tjapukai’s appeal doesn’t stop when it starts raining. An all-weather attraction, most of the shows and activities aren’t affected by rain and are still open for business to entertain crowds as they try to escape the wet weather.
While in the park you can enjoy a range of activities including learning how to through a spear or boomerang, learning how to play the iconic didgeridoo and watching the traditional song and dance performances telling stories of the Dreamtime.
Entry to the park gives you access to all shows and presentations as well as a 2.5 hour guided tour around the park to learn all about the history and culture of the Indigenous people and their land.
Guided tours run on a daily basis and depart from reception several times throughout the day; 9:15 am, 9:30 am, 10 am, 10:30 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 12:30 pm, 1 pm, 1:30 pm and 2 pm.
You can purchase day or night entry tickets to the park, however, in the rain, the night time performances may have a slight schedule change.
- Kids (under 4 yrs): FREE
- Kids (4-14 yrs): From $42
- Adults: From $62
- Families (2A+2C): From $166
7. Go on a Quad Biking Adventure
Location: Various locations
Don’t let the rain deter you; quad biking in or after the rain is one of the most exciting adventures out there. Think mud, puddles and more mud, and you’re ready for one of the best ATV tours out there.
There are two tour operators, who run quad bike tours in the region; Down & Dirty and Blazing Saddles. Both offer an awesome guided ATV adventure suitable for thrill-seekers of all skill levels aged 12 years and over.
On the back of a quad bike, you’ll traverse a range of trails with the guidance of an experienced guide. If you haven’t driven a bike before, don’t stress, because you’ll be taught all of the necessary things to safely drive your bike.
Perfect for visitors to Cairns who don’t mind getting a little (or a lot) wet for the sake of experiencing one of the best rainy day activities in the region.
Location: 2-4 Rob Veivers Dr, Kuranda
If cuddling a koala is at the top of your must-do list, then a visit to Kuranda Koala Gardens should definitely be on your agenda, despite what the weather is doing. One of the most popular animal attractions in the region, Kuranda Koala Gardens is located in Kuranda, the village in the rainforest, which is reached with a scenic ride up the SkyRail Rainforest Cableway or on the Scenic Rail.
While at the park you can interact with and hold one of these adorable marsupials and learn about all of the park’s animals. This is a great rainy-day attraction for all ages to enjoy and once you’ve stepped inside, you’ll soon understand why.
Home to a variety of animals, you’ll also come across crocodiles, wallabies, snakes and more on your visit to Kuranda Koala Gardens.
Entry to the park is at a price and to escape the long rainy-day queues you can purchase your tickets online and walk right in.
If you’re looking to extend your visit or add something special, you can opt for the Friends in the Rainforest Experience which combines entry to the Koala Gardens and Birdworld, or the Kuranda Wildlife Experience offering entry to both of those parks plus the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.
- Kids (4-15yrs): $9.50
- Adults: $19
- Family (2A+2K): $47.50
Location: 35/41 Wharf St, Cairns City
Keeping the wildlife theme going, Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome is an accessible option for those not wanting to venture too far from the city. One of the best zoos in the country, this enclosed exhibit is housed under a 20-metre high glass dome at the top of the Reef Hotel Casino.
Providing visitors with an insight into the lives of tropical north Queensland’s most iconic animals including koalas, sugar gliders, red-legged pademelons, scrub pythons, estuarine crocodiles and freshwater turtles.
If simply roaming around the exhibits isn’t doing it for you, you can sign up for a ZOOM experience around the dome. With zip lines hooked up over the enclosures, you’ll be able to see the animals from a new and exciting vantage point.
You can also get hands-on and interact with various animals and learn about them and their habits with the numerous shows including the Bird Feed Tour, Reptile Rap Show, Dome Feed Out Tour and Furry Friends Show.
Another great way to stay dry when Cairns is getting wet, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome is open on a daily basis from 9 am to 6 pm and until 5:30 pm on public holidays.
- Kids (4-14yrs): From $12
- Adults: From $24
- Family (2A + 2K): From $60
Location: Captain Cook Hwy & Cairns Western Arterial Road, Smithfield
If you’re eager to explore Kuranda Koala Gardens and the rest of the beautiful village of Kuranda then taking the SkyRail Rainforest Cableway up is great on a normal day, and even better when it rains.
As the name suggests, the rainforest loves rain and you’ll be able to see it come alive with all of the best sounds, smells and sights. The SkyRail still operates in the wet weather as each gondola is fully enclosed so you can stay dry as you rise through the mist and the clouds.
If you want to get off the gondola at the Red Peak mountain station to walk around and explore the rainforest but are a little hesitant because of the downpour, you can borrow an umbrella from the mid-station for your convenience.
From the station, you can explore the 175-metre boardwalk through the rainforest to see the luscious flora and fauna and enjoy some spectacular views of the surrounding rainforest.
This is a great way to incorporate sightseeing into your itinerary even when the weather is bad.
The option is there to catch the SkyRail back down or jump aboard the Scenic Rail for a different view of this beautiful rainforest.
- Kids (4-14 yrs): From $38.50
- Adults: From $77
- Family (2A+2K): From $192.50
Location: Various locations
Another experience for those who don’t mind getting wet, white water rafting is an adventure that is improved tenfold when it has or is raining. When there is rain, the rapids are at their best and are rushing with full force downstream making for a thrilling white water rafting adventure.
There are two operators that conduct tours in the greater Cairns region; Foaming Fury, Raging Thunder and RnR White Water Rafting. With a total of three rivers in the region perfect for white water rafting; Barron, Tully and Russel, eager rafters are definitely spoilt for choice.
The tours vary in duration and difficulty so it’s important to choice the right one for you, even though there is no experience required, with the rain you don’t want go in over your head safety wise. With Foaming Fury and Raging Thunder, all equipment is provided and all rafters are taught the basic and necessary skills to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable ride.
Rapids range in grades from 3 to 4 and are suitable for rafters aged 12 years and up (for Foaming Fury) and 13 years (for Raging Thunder).
- From $99
2. Admire Barron Falls
Location: Centenary Park, Coondoo St, Kuranda
Another addition to numbers four and six, Barron Falls is easily reached via the SkyRail Rainforest Cableway mid-station and is an incredible attraction. The sheer volume and force of water that runs over the edge of these falls is something to marvel, but once the region has been, or is being, treated to some fresh rain, the falls are at their best.
The waterfall is a tiered cascading fall that feeds into the Barron River, which is used for white water rafting as mentioned above, from the Atherton Tablelands. The steep waterfall can be viewed from the dry comfort of the SkyRail gondola or by foot with a short walk from the Barron Falls mid-station.
Be sure to pack your camera (and maybe a poncho) for this trip, as the sheer size of the falls is something to remember (and shield yourself from if you prefer to stay dry).
Location: Various locations
Even though the weather might not be too flash in and around Cairns, the outer Great Barrier Reef might be experiencing its usual blue skies and clear waters. A number of local operators have moored activity platforms on the outer reef and operate daily tours out to them even in the rain. Cruising out of the shelter of the Cairns harbour might be a little more rough than usual, but once you’ve passed the pocket of rain you’ll be in the clear.
If you make it out to the pontoon and the rain cloud has followed you, there’s no need to worry as the day is far from ruined. You’ll have planned on getting wet either way and once you’re in the water and exploring the reef, you won’t know any better.
While on the outer reef you can embark on a number of exciting adventures including guided snorkelling tours, introductory or certified dives to the deeper parts of the reef, and glass bottom boat rides. A great adventure for all ages to enjoy, the reef is a beautiful place to visit no matter the weather.
There are numerous operators that conduct cruises out, including Great Adventures, Quicksilver Cruises, Reef Magic and Sunlover Reef Cruises. So those rainy days in Cairns don’t have to be a drag, you can still get out and explore the best of the Cairns region, including the world-famous outer Great Barrier Reef.
If you’re looking for more things to see and do in and around Cairns, check out our full catalogue and its full range of tours, activities and attractions.