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Christmas in Cairns - 2015

18th November 2015

The festive season is almost upon us, with Christmas Day being less than 6 weeks away.  Cairns is a very popular destination for Domestic and International travellers alike, who wish to join us in our Tropical Celebrations. 

With many different activities on offer during the Christmas School Holidays, there is something for everyone.  The Cairns City Council hosts a great family night at Fogarty Park on Sunday 13th December 2015 – bring your rug, chair and your best singing voice to the “Carols by Candlelight”, which attracts thousands of residents and visitors for a feast of Christmas Cheer.



Santa also enjoys visiting Cairns, setting up his Santa Village at Cairns Central Shopping Centre between the 14th November and 24th December, so the little ones can come and say hello and get a precious photo taken with Santa.



Our local radio station HOT FM host the “Cavalcade of Lights” on the 16th December.  You will need a car as this is a convoy of hundreds driving through Cairns and our surrounding suburbs to see the houses that have worked hard decorating their homes in Christmas Lights and putting on an amazing display.  Please visit the facebook page link below for more information (you can copy and paste the link into your bowser):



Visiting the Great Barrier Reef is a high priority on every visitors “to-do-list”, and during the holiday period many of the tours book out well in advance.  There are only a small number of operators who opt to travel on Christmas Day, so we recommend contacting us to make your booking as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.  The local Cairns Reef trips that are running on Christmas Day are listed below, however spaces are extremely limited, with some already being fully booked (you can copy and paste the links into your browser)



For those wishing to spend Christmas day in our beautiful rainforest, you will certainly need to hire car and self-drive, as all rainforest tours take a break and enjoy Christmas Day off.  This includes the Kuranda Scenic Train, Skyrail, Cape Tribulation/ Daintree Tours and Atherton Tablelands Rainforest and Waterfall Tours – however they will commence operating as usual on Boxing Day.   Be prepared with all you need for the day as most shops will be closed such as banks, grocery stores, liquor stores and tourist attractions.

Please note that the public bus service does not operate on Christmas Day, so if you were planning on spending the day at one of our lovely Northern Beaches, once again a car hire will be necessary.  The most popular beaches to visit are Trinity Beach and Palm Cove, both of which have stinger enclosures for safe swimming and a playground for the children.



The Cairns Esplanade is a great place to spend Christmas day.  Enjoy cooling off in the free swimming lagoon, exercising on the free gym equipment and wandering along the harbour.  There are free BBQ’s you can use if you want to cook up a typical Australian BBQ Christmas lunch and plenty of grass areas for a picnic.  For the kids there is Muddy’s Playground which hosts a huge interactive playground including water features, the Fun Ship Playground at the very northern end of the Esplanade and the Fig Tree Playground at the southern end of the Esplanade.



If you are looking for a more adventurous Christmas Day, then perhaps consider a full day white water rafting experience on the mighty Tully River – spaces are very limited and information can be found on the link below (you can copy and paste the link into your browser):



Many retail shops and cafes take a break too, however the restaurants that do remain open usually put on a special Christmas Lunch or Dinner – they do book out early so you are best to contact them directly for a reservation as soon as possible.  You will find menu and pricing information on their own websites.  We have listed below the restaurants we know that are providing a wonderful Christmas Day dining experience, some with kids activities and even a visit from Santa (prices and information will be available on their websites):


Rydges Tradewinds, Rydges Esplanade, Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Fitzroy Island Resort, Green Island Resort, Pullman Cairns International, Novotel Oasis Resort and the Shangri-La. 


Or instead of going out to a restaurant for Christmas Lunch, why not enjoy a part of your day onboard Spirit of Cairns, who will run a special Christmas Day Lunch Cruise.  Departing Cairns at 12.30pm and returning at 3.00pm.  Enjoy a wonderful 2.5 hour calm water cruise with beautiful sights overlooking the Esplanade, a welcome drink on arrival and Christmas Style Buffet Lunch.  They will book out fast so please contact us to secure your reservation.


Our Aplin Street office will be closed on Christmas Day, however our office on the corner of Shields Street and The Esplanade will be open from 10.00am until 6.00pm.  Please come and visit us should you require any tourist information or if you need to do any tour bookings.  We look forward to welcoming you to Cairns!


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