Top Three Free Things to Do in Cairns

Top Three Free Things to Do in Cairns

Cairns is often positioned at the very end of a backpacker’s trip, or at the very beginning. Either way, penny pinching is easy with a wide variety of free things to do in Cairns! Read below for our three favorites in the downtown area–all walking distance from your hostel!

The Esplanade

Fitness Things to Do in Cairns


This is a magical place where both the physically fit and the lazy sunbathers can come together. This Cairns Esplanade is a recreational area along the coast where the city meets the ocean with a winding boardwalk to enjoy views in either direction.

For the backpackers trying to keep up that beach bod for Bondi, make sure to take advantage of all the exercise equipment placed along the boardwalk after a waterfront jog. These exercise stations have helpful diagrams for using the equipment and ideas on how to boost your workout. There’s also a skatepark, beach volleyball courts, and occasional pilates and aerobics classes too!

The backpackers that are groaning at the idea of working out on holiday–don’t worry! This place has plenty of benches, lush patches of grass to lay out on, and kilometers of boardwalk to stroll along while watching the sunset by the Marina.

The Lagoon

Lagoon Things to Do in Cairns


While technically a part of the Esplanade, this free activity is so unique it deserves it’s own shout out. This man-made, saltwater pool might seem out of place at first, as it’s located just steps away from Cairns central business district, but offers an oasis escape from the blazing hot sun. The pool here is on par with those of five star resorts, but this one is open to anyone! Expect to share the area with a mix of families, backpackers, and locals cooling off, but with a capacity of 1000 people, you’ll have plenty of space.

After taking a dip in the water, the sandy banks are a perfect place to dry off and take in the view of the Cairns harbour. To bring your experience to the next level, bring some friends and some sausages for a picnic sizzle using the public BBQs. If you’re lucky, there might even be some live music playing from the park next door.



Markets Things to Do in Cairns


In any other city, the idea of backpackers on a budget whipping up plates of fresh guacamole, colorful fruit salads, and hot-from-the-oven bread would be laughable. Not in Cairns! Here, backpackers eagerly await the markets to stock up on all their groceries. In addition to produce, Cairns is also home to handmade arts and crafts, souvenirs, and clothing markets. Here are the three biggest:

Rusty’s Market: Local produce, mostly fruit and veg. Open Friday and Saturday 5AM-6PM, and Sundays 5AM-3PM.

Cairns Night Markets – Souvenirs, indigenous crafts, food court. Open every night after 4 PM.

Esplanade Market – Art, crafts, jewelry. Open Saturdays 8AM-4PM.


These are just a few ideas of free things to do in Cairns to get you out enjoying the city while staying at Travellers Oasis. The best part about each of these activities is that they’re constantly changing, so you’re bound to have a different experience every time. Have some other favorite Cairns free things to do? We’d love to hear from you!