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Esplanade Lagoon

Relax after a day of sightseeing or cool down from the summer heat in this fresh-water lagoon, one of Cairns’ best city attractions.

The Esplanade Lagoon is a water feature in Cairns where you can relax, cool off and socialise with other travellers. The lagoon is on the waterfront on the Cairns Esplanade and is surrounded by tropical gardens. Spend an entire day relaxing by the water, join a fitness class or cool off in the midday heat. 

Situated on the beautiful Cairns foreshore, this man-made saltwater swimming lagoon looks out to the Trinity Inlet and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the lagoon at any time of day. Watch the sun rise with an early morning swim, cool down in the lagoon in the afternoon heat or relax by the water after a day of sightseeing. There are timber decks to lie on and plenty of shade. 

For young families, Muddy’s further down the Esplanade is a fun and safe water playground. Splash about with the hand pumps, water channels and jumping water jets. Children can have fun on the flying fox, in the playhouses, on slides, rope bridges and more.

There is regular live outdoor entertainment on the Esplanade and free fitness and cultural activities for locals and visitors. Join an aqua aerobics class at the lagoon, do yoga on the foreshore or take a dance class in the parklands. Get fit with a boxing class or beach volleyball. 

Bring a picnic and relax at one of the barbeque areas or dine at one of the nearby cafés and restaurants.

Pick up a brochure from the Cairns Tourist Information Centre on the Esplanade to take the self-guided Cairns Esplanade Heritage Walk. See the historic buildings, sights and landmarks that are along the water. Every Saturday you can find locally made crafts, jewellery, pottery and clothes at the Esplanade markets. 

The Esplanade Lagoon is free to use but is closed every Wednesday morning for maintenance.  Llifeguards are on duty year-round. Amenities include public showers and toilets. The Esplanade is easily accessible by foot from the city centre. Check the Cairns Esplanade website for times and details about all the free activities.

Popular Activities at Esplanade Lagoon

Ensure you have lots of time at Esplanade Lagoon. Here are some of the top things to do:

Taken you forever to make it to this fantastic attraction? Then you can't possibly go home without trying a Cairns Self-Guided Audio Tour.

If you're looking for even more activities, take a look at our Cairns Central Business District things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Esplanade Lagoon


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Esplanade Lagoon

See all 452 Properties near Esplanade Lagoon
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina ¥13,114
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina

Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina

Pierpoint Road, Cairns, QLD
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Cairns hotel is located on the boardwalk, steps from ZOO To You HQ Wildlife Discovery Centre, Reef Fleet Terminal, and Cairns Marlin Marina. Cairns Esplanade and Esplanade Lagoon are also within 10 minutes. Cairns Station is 17 minutes by foot.

    Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort ¥13,723
    Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort

    Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort

    131-141 Esplanade, Cairns, QLD
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Cairns, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St Monica's Cathedral, Cairns Esplanade, and Cairns Night Markets. Cairns Central Shopping Centre and Esplanade Lagoon are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cairns Station is 20 minutes by foot.

      Pacific Hotel Cairns ¥9,508
      Pacific Hotel Cairns

      Pacific Hotel Cairns

      Corner Esplanade And Spence Street, Cairns, QLD
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Cairns Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Night Markets, Cairns Marlin Marina, and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Convention Centre and Cairns Aquarium are also within 15 minutes. Cairns Station is 14 minutes by foot.

        Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns ¥8,311
        Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns

        Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns

        209-217 Abbott Street, Cairns North, QLD
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Cairns North, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Base Hospital and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Central Shopping Centre and Cairns Night Markets are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cairns Station is 22 minutes by foot.

          Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort ¥10,097
          Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

          Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

          122 Lake St, Cairns, QLD
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Cairns hotel is located near the beach, within a 10-minute walk of Cairns Aquarium, Cairns Esplanade, and Cairns Night Markets. Cairns Central Shopping Centre and Cairns Convention Centre are also within 15 minutes. Cairns Station is 13 minutes by foot.

            Hilton Cairns ¥10,963
            Hilton Cairns

            Hilton Cairns

            34 Esplanade, Cairns, QLD
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Cairns Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Reef Fleet Terminal, Cairns Convention Centre, and Esplanade Lagoon. Cairns Esplanade and Cairns Night Markets are also within 15 minutes. Cairns Station is 18 minutes by foot.

              DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns ¥9,976
              DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns

              DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns

              121-123 The Esplanade & Florence St, Cairns, QLD
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Cairns Central Business District, this luxury hotel is steps from Center of Contemporary Arts and Cairns Esplanade. Cairns Night Markets and Esplanade Lagoon are also within 10 minutes. Cairns Station is 17 minutes by foot.

                Pullman Cairns International ¥10,950
                Pullman Cairns International

                Pullman Cairns International

                17 Abbott Street, Cairns, QLD
                   
                  5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Cairns Central Business District, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome and Cairns Convention Centre. Reef Fleet Terminal and Cairns Night Markets are also within 10 minutes. Cairns Station is 15 minutes by foot.