Tropical holidays for families

As I’m typing the skies here are weighed down with heavy, dark clouds.  The wind is chilling the already cool air so that the apparent temperature is a grand 1.0°C.  The kids have the TV turned up loud so the rain on the roof doesn’t drown out the sound.  Who can blame me for daydreaming about tropical holidays?

When I think tropical I automatically think Queensland.  Being so large, the choices up there are pretty huge.

For a southerner like me, at the moment a pool in my cousins’ backyard in Brisbane could pass as tropical.  But the real tropicalness is found in Tropical North Queensland (not all that surprising).  The good folk up there call it paradise and it’s not hard to see why.  Take a look:

1. Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia, 2. Cairns Swimming Lagoon, 3. Cairns Sunrise, 4. Archontophoenix maxima in the wild, 5. Mountains, Mossman river cruise, Daintree Rain Forest, Australia 3.jpg, 6. Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia, 7. Looking out, 8. Water Lily, 9. Four Mile Beach – Port Douglas Lookout


The average winter temperatures in Cairns (the major city of Tropical North Queensland) range from 16°C to around 25°C.  In the wet season (October to March) the humidity kicks in and average temperatures are around 23°C to around 32°C, although much higher temperatures aren’t uncommon.  Today it’s a tantalising 26°C.  Book me in!

“Cairns is a vibrant, eclectic city framed by the spectacular twin backdrops of rainforest mountain ranges and the sparkling Coral Sea. The World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and the Outback are all within easy reach.”

In the city centre you’ll find the Cairns Lagoon.  It’s slightly quirky with its fish sculptures, but perfect for a cooling dip on a hot tropical day.  My kids would be happy if they never saw anything else around Cairns.  There are plenty of spots for a picnic around the lagoon with BBQ’s and picnic tables available.

Nearby is Muddy’s Playground, a free playground with stacks of fun activities to keep the tribe running and jumping and playing for ages.

Where to stay in Cairns*

Port Douglas

Port Douglas is a playground for the rich and famous.  But that’s not to say us commoners can’t enjoy a few days there too!  And who knows, you might get to strike up a conversation with Hugh or Nic while both your kids get on with the fun stuff.

Four Mile Beach, which features in many images of Port Douglas, is a short stroll from the town centre.  It’s safe to swim in all year round, as a stinger net is in place during summer.  The gorgeous sandy expanse is the perfect running track for energetic little legs or, if you’re lucky, a romatic stroll.

Nearby, the Daintree Rainforest offers many walks where the entire family can soak in the sounds, scents and sights of a magnificent tropical rainforest.  Mossman Gorge offers another opportunity for exploring and has walking trails suitable for kids.

Where to stay in Port Douglas*

Mission Beach

Not far south of Cairns is Mission Beach.  It has a more relaxed feel than both Cairns and Port Douglas.   The beaches around Mission Beach, 14km in all, are made for exploring.  Only some have stinger nets though, so be sure to check before swimming anywhere.  Nearby, at Kurrimine Beach the Great Barrier Reef kisses the shore.  At low tide all sorts of little seaside inhabitants can be found in the rockpools.

Less than 5km offshore is Dunk Island.  Close enough for a daytrip or, for a longer stay, there are campsites and Dunk Island Resort.

A short detour inland from Mission Beach takes you to Tully, which has the claim to fame of the highest annual rainfall in Australia.  They’re not called rainforests for nothing!

The area is a bit of a haven for Big Things.  Aficionados will know that Tully is also home to the big Golden Gumboot.  Quite fitting really.  And back in Mission Beach is the Big Cassowary.

Where to stay in Mission Beach*

Although the ocean in Tropical North Queensland looks beautifully inviting, it is also very attractive to stingers during the summer months.  Some beaches are protected by stinger nets, but many aren’t, so be sure to check where and when it’s safe to take a dip.

More things to do:

Do you have a Tropical North Queensland holiday experience to share? Do tell in the comments section below & help warm us all up

Happy travels,

*Referral link (I’ll earn a commission if you book via this link. That doesn’t affect your price, but it does support Australia: Family Style – so thank you!)

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9 Responses to “Tropical holidays for families”
  1. This post just made me start daydreaming about escaping Melbourne and running to the warm end of Oz!!!

  2. Leanne says:

    I’m glad you were warmed for a little while, PlanningQueen. You can’t imagine how nice it was to research & write! I would need no convincing whatsoever to jump on a plane tomorrow (or even today) 🙂

  3. Sonia says:

    You’ve warmed the cockles of my heart – thank you!

  4. Great little tips and a bit of inspiration 😉 I’ll be heading up north in a couple of weeks and cannot wait to escape this southern chill!
    Brooke, WhyGo Australia´s last blog post ..Things You Should Know About Australia

  5. Leanne says:

    Lucky you, Brooke! Hope you have a great trip

  6. I now have an option for a place to go to relax and stay away from the bustling noise of the city. Queensland here I come!

  7. Suzi says:

    Tour to Cairns is full of fun and adventure.

  8. Marian says:

    Mission Beach resort is only 120 klm from cairns and the same distance from Townsville . we decided not to rent a car and travelled by greyhound from cairns .There are 3 services daily which is very convenient , and the coach pulls into Mission Beach resort .weighing up the cost of a rental and the coach in is way ahead . There is a Taxi service in mission and there is a local bus that travels around mission beach , The food is great at the resort , with a wonderful buffet . it has all the entertainment you would want ,, 2 pools , and lovely gardens. walking distance to the beach.

  9. Tina says:

    Mission Beach is a wonderful place to spend a few days relaxing on a glorious part of the coastline. If you are looking for more things to do and you have private transport then the following might be of interest to you.

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