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Top Spots

  •   Tropical North - Free

•   Muddy`s Play Park
Muddy`s is the perfect spot for the kids - a waterfront parkland area with several play areas, each appealing to a different age group. Part of the Esplanade redevelopment, there are water play areas with water jets, channels and hand pumps, and of course, a sculpture of Muddy the mud skipper. Other play areas include climbing nets, spinning toys, flying fox, rope bridge, play houses and puzzles. There are also BBQ and picnic facilities and a cafť.

•   Harbour Walk
Take the Harbour Walk past the boats in the marina around to Trinity Inlet. The wide wooden boardwalk is a great way to see the famous Cairns waterfront and there are barbecue facilities and open space for running around. Take the time to view the areaís prolific birdlife. There are information boards to help you with bird identification.

•   Flecker Botanical Gardens
For a tranquil walk in lush tropical surroundings, head to Flecker Botanical Gardens. There are 38 hectares of tropical flora, some dating back to the Gardenís foundation in the 1880s. Entry is free, although donations are welcomed. Adjoining the gardens, Centenary Lakes is a wilderness parkland, with a boardwalk through mangroves and tropical rainforest.

•   The Tanks Art Centre
This arts centre incorporates former WW2 oil storage tanks into its unique design. The centre offers a range of exhibitions, workshops and performances. Entrance to most exhibitions is free. The Native Tropical gardens at this historic site are maintained by the Flecker Botanical Gardens staff.

•   The Lagoon
The enormous saltwater swimming lagoon is the centerpiece of the redeveloped Cairns Esplanade and Foreshore Promenade. Overlooking Trinity Inlet, the lagoon has shallow areas and sandy beaches, perfect for children. The lagoon is patrolled by lifeguards all year round. There are free BBQs, landscaped gardens and plenty of shade, and swimming in the lagoon is free.

•   Free Fitness
Each weekday afternoon, free fitness classes are held in the beautiful surroundings of the redeveloped Cairns Esplanade. Whether you choose yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or a walking program, thereís sure to be something to help you stay in shape.

•   Crystal Cascades
Ask a local where to go when the temperature soars, and they may let you in on a little secret - Crystal Cascades. A delightfully secluded freshwater swimming hole, it lies deep in the tropical rainforest. Small waterfalls flow into cool, refreshing pools, shaded by rainforest trees. Take a picnic and wile away the hottest days with the locals.

•   Centre of Contemporary Arts
Visit CoCA, the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Cairns. Meet `Gilbert, Oliver, Penelope, Roxanne and Yasmin`, the giant technicolour jelly babies, and enjoy free entry to the galleries.

•   Historic Yungaburra
Just an hourís travel from Cairns in the Atherton Tablelands, youíll find the charming and historic village of Yungaburra. It has changed little since the early 1900s, with shady verandahs and historical shopfronts lining the streets. It is the largest National Trust village in Queensland. Visitors will enjoy the galleries and shops, or perhaps some refreshment in one of the cafes.

•   Herberton Historical Village
While in the Atherton Tablelands, be sure to visit Herberton Historical Village, one of Queensland`s largest displays of heritage buildings. Entry is free, and each building is furnished with Australiana. Some of the relocated buildings on display include an old school, a coaching stable, a miner`s hut, a slab hut, a bank, a presbytery and even a telephone exchange.

•   Rex Lookout
On the road between Cairns and Port Douglas, you will find Rex Lookout. Not only can you enjoy wonderful views over the ocean, but the area is very popular for hang gliding and other aerial sports. Itís a great spot to relax and watch them soaring on coastal thermals.

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