Travelling with your four legged bestie doesn’t have to be ruff! From pooch friendly swimming holes to eateries with dog menus, this guide to dog friendly travel in Cairns ensures that your pooch enjoys their time in the sun.
As a destination with outdoor lifestyle at its core, Cairns is a fur parent’s paradise. With 51 different dog off-leash areas in the region, as well as dog friendly attractions, you need not leave Fido at home when you travel to the tropics.
Dog Friendly Beaches
Sorry Marie Kondo, but nothing sparks joy as much as a happy dog running along the beach. And if your dog is a certified beach bum you’re in luck, most of Cairns’ Northern Beaches are equipped with off-leash areas for some serious swims and zoomies. So grab a ball and some poop bags and make your way to dog-friendly sandy shores.
The following beaches have off-leash areas: Bramston Beach, Clifton Beach, Ellis Beach, Holloways Beach, Kewarra Beach, Machans Beach, Palm Cove, Trinity Beach and Yorkey’s Knob.
Dog Friendly Walks & Swimming
Cairns takes the lead when it comes to dog friendly walks and offers everything from beautiful views to crystal-clear rainforest pools. If your canine is still craving more adventure after the beach, nearby Smithfield Conservation Park offers numerous bushwalks through forest and coastal plains.
Goomboora Park in Brinsmead is pretty much a haven for hounds, with large grassy areas perfect for ball chasing and a large shady creek to make a splash in. Ryan Weare Park in Freshwater also has crystal-clear freshwater creek for doggie swims.
Or if you fancy something a little more physically challenging, Earl Hill in Trinity Beach is a 3.4km trek offering stunning vistas over the coast and coral sea. Ivan Evan’s walk in Bayview Heights offers views over the city out to the coral sea and has a seasonal creek for dogs to cool off in.
The Cairns Esplanade boardwalk is dog friendly and you and your four-legged pal can enjoy walking the 2km strength north of the lagoon to the Esplanade’s most northern point.
Dog Friendly Markets
Dogs make pretty fantastic shopping companions; they don’t complain that you’re spending too long and they don’t judge you for spending too much money. Although your furry friend isn’t allowed in the local shopping centres, they can join you to browse the markets.
For some retail therapy by the sea, make way to Holloways Beach Markets on the second Sunday of each month. With a pooch for every five people, your dog will be right at home. Or head further north to Palm Cove Markets, which are held on the first Sunday of every month.
The Tanks Markets at Edge Hill welcomes leashed dogs to join you as you browse local stalls selling everything from local produce to arts and crafts. The markets are held on the last Sunday of every month from April to November.
Dog Friendly Attractions
Doggie paddle the day away at Babinda Kayaking, located an hour south of Cairns. Kayak or stand up paddle board down the crystal clear Babinda Creek, nestled between Queensland’s two highest mountains, with your dog on board.
For a day of doggie adventures, head up the hill to the Atherton Tablelands. Your pooch can join you as you explore the Crystal Caves in Atherton, which houses 600 crystals in manmade tunnels and grottos.
Or if you fancy taking a step back into the past, you can take your dog with you at the Historic Village Herberton, which features over 60 original buildings including a school, antique motor vehicles and more.
Dog friendly cafes and restaurants
With so many outdoor dining options available, it’s easy to find dog friendly cafes and restaurants in Cairns. Break up a dog walk along the Esplanade with a visit to Muddy’s Cafe, or head to Cairns Wharf for brunch at Wharf One Cafe or for a cheeky craft beer at Hemingway’s Brewery. Crave Eatery and Bar is located in the city centre and has a dedicated dog menu with canine culinary delights such as “Nice to Meat You” and “Pure-Bread Dog”
Head out to the Northern Beaches for more dog-friendly options, including Mayhem at Machans in Machans Beach and Strait on the Beach and Two Blocks Cafe at Holloways Beach. Those looking to treat their pooch to their very own lunch out should head to Ten 06 in Yorkey’s Knob, which has it’s own doggie menu!
Dog friendly accommodation
Photo by BIG4 Ingenia Cairns Coconut Resort
Crystalbrook Bailey – Stay in 5 star luxury with your pooch in the city centre with the Residential Paws Package.
BIG 4 Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut – Your pup can stay in this dream dog destination, which features it’s own dog agility park! Pets are allowed in caravan and camping sites.
Cairns Coolwaters – Located 7km from the city, this pet friendly camping and caravan site is flanked by a crystal-clear rainforest creek.
Lilybank Guest House – This Queenslander-style guesthouse is located in the leafy suburb of Stratford and has three dog friendly rooms available.
Cairns Homestead Redlynch – Stay at your own private homestead with your pooch in Redlynch, with 2 acres of land for plenty of running and ball games.
Floriana Villas – Located on the Cairns Esplanade, these apartments are a great base to explore the city and are pet friendly.
Tropicana Bungalow – This private two bedroom house is decked out with funky retro decor and has a dedicated doggie area and fully fenced yard.
Lake Placid Tourist Park – Camp or stay in your caravan with your dog at Lake Placid Tourist Park.
NRMA Cairns Holiday Park – Located 3km from the city centre, NRMA Cairns Holiday park has pet-friendly camping and caravan sites.
Barrier Reef Tourist Park – Stay in the southern suburb of Edmonton with your pup in an en-suite caravan site.
Pandanus House – This private holiday home can sleep up to 6 people and is located in the trendy suburb of Edge Hill, which is home to numerous cafes and restaurants.
Sarayi Boutique Hotel, Palm Cove – Stay in the dictionary definition of paradise in Palm Cove. Sarayi Boutique Hotel’s budget double rooms are pet friendly and are located right on the beachfront.
Blue Lagoon Villa, Trinity Beach – Located a stone throw away from Trinity Beach, this dog-friendly villa has an outdoor pool and garden.
Mylara Beachfront Holiday Home, Holloways Beach – This three bedroom villa is right on the beachfront and has its own private pool.
Villa Marine Seaside Holiday Apartments, Yorkeys Knob – This pet friendly accommodation is 50m from Yorkey’s Knob beach.
NRMA Palm Cove Holiday Park – Enjoy budget accommodation by the sea with your pooch at Palm Cove. Dogs are allowed at powered and unpowered sites, which start from just $34 a night.