If you’re visiting Cairns with your dog then there are lots of dog friendly things to do while you’re in town.
Whether you’re a beach bum, a coffee drinker, a bush walker or an adventure lover there is something to enjoy with your dog while in Cairns. Dog friendly beaches, off-leash areas, dog friendly cafes and parks – find our favourite spots listed below.
Dog Friendly Parks in Cairns
There are loads of dog friendly parks in Cairns – our favourite is Goomboora Park on Shale Street in Brinsmead. It is a massive park with bush walks, off leash areas, wood fired BBQs and lots of areas to swim in the creek with your dog. Brilliant in Summer to cool down – the water is always fresh. There is also a great adventure playground for the kids and lots of open green space for throwing a ball or a game of cricket. You can also cycle around the park – it is linked in to many of the great cycle paths around Cairns.
For a full list of dog friendly parks in Cairns you can click this link for the Cairns Council website list.
Cairns Off Leash Areas
Some of the parks listed above have designated off leash areas – click the link for a full list of all dog off leash ares in Cairns
One of our favourites is the Colin Penridge Park in Whitfield – this area is close to Edge Hill where there are also dog friendly tracks, cafes and a market (see below) and is a giant green field perfect for active dogs to run around in. It’s protected on all sides by trees and the backs of houses so no danger of pups escaping to the road. It’s a bit hidden away (I may get in trouble with the locals for mentioning this one!) but you can find entries through the houses on Hillview Crescent or McManus Street.
The northern end of Cairns Esplanade is also a massive favourite of ours – I love the views over the ocean early in the morning or at sunset – there are dog friendly areas on the beach on Cairns Esplanade too as well as a big green field for them to run around on (off leash)
We also love Henley’s Hill Park in De Jarlais Street in Earlville – there are dog agility structures in a large green off leash area with a shady seated area. There is also a great kids’ playground and toilets just outside, and a great walking track around the park too.
Dog Friendly Walks in Cairns
A lot of the rainforest and bushwalks around Cairns are in dog-prohibited National Park areas – but we’ve found a few that you can enjoy with your best mate.
Goomboora Park (mentioned above) has bush trails through the park you can enjoy and is fully dog friendly.
In Whitfield you can trek up the hill to the start of the Green Arrow for magnificent views over Cairns – the Green Arrow track itself is not dog friendly but the approach is a fire trail where locals have walked their dogs for years before the official walking trail opened. It will take about 20minutes to the top (it’s a steep hill so bring your energy!) and there’s a grassy plateau at the top. It starts in the suburb of Whitfield where there are also a few great off-leash parks – including the Colin Penridge Park (listed above).
Smithfield Conversation Park is dog friendly on leash and has lots of beautiful bush walking opportunities – it’s about 15km north of Cairns (very close to the beaches – lots of dog friendly options see below).
The Esplanade in Cairns is dog friendly – you can walk almost as far as the Lagoon (dogs are not welcome in Cairns CBD or around the lagoon area). But that still leaves 2km of Esplanade to enjoy on leash with your dog – walking along the pedestrian path away from the traffic with lovely views over the ocean. You will pass BBQs, playgrounds, a beach volleyball court, massive skate park, bouldering and rock climbing wall, fitness stations and modern art pieces. There is also a dog friendly cafe – Muddys – about half way along.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Cairns
Our favourite dog friendly beach in Cairns is Holloways – we’ve always loved walking the full length and taking in the beautiful views and watching the kite surfers. There are also great monthly dog friendly markets here too.
Other dog friendly beaches include Trinity Beach, Bramston Beach, Machans Beach, Buchans Point, Clifton Beach, Ellis Beach and Kewarra Beach.
WARNING – crocodiles are present in the oceans around Cairns and dogs are not allowed inside the croc/stinger nets. Never let your dog swim at night, dusk or dawn (when croc attacks are most likely) and take notice of warning signs. Crocodiles are more likely to hunt during the warmer, wetter months so be more vigilant during these times.
Dog Friendly Swimming Spots in Cairns
Lots of people excercise their dogs in the ocean around Cairns – as we did for 7 years, but attacks can occur. If you are looking for croc free swimming for your pet then head to Goomboora Park (listed above).
We also often took our dog to ‘The Rocks’ in Redlynch – park of the Freshwater Creek too so croc free. You can find it on The Rocks Road in Redlynch about 15 minutes from Cairns city.
Emerald Creek Falls about 60kms west of Cairns on the Tablelands is a great croc-free spot to swim with your dog too – it is dog friendly (on leash) and also has bush walks. If you’re out on the Tablelands make sure you visit the pet friendly Herberton Historical Village where dogs are welcome to explore with you (on lead)
Dog Friendly Cafes in Cairns
There are lots of dog friendly eateries in Cairns – one of our favourites is Ozmosis in the trendy Edge Hill suburb – where you will also find the monthly dog friendly market. (see below)
We also love Limberlost in Freshwater – it’s a gorgeous garden centre with a cafe where dogs are welcome – and just around the corner is the Ryan Weare Park which has swimming and a huge green space where you can watch the famous Kuranda railway pass while you play.
You can find a great list of dog friendly places to eat in Cairns on this list.
Dog Friendly Markets in Cairns
We love Holloways Beach market – held monthly (you can find the next market date here) there is a great mix of handmade, new and second hand stalls. Dogs are welcome and the markets are right next to the beach. Shop, swim, sand, repeat!
The Tanks Markets are held on the last Sunday of the month from April – November. Despite being nestled among the Botanical Gardens where pets are prohibited, dogs are welcome to wander and shop with their owners while on a lead. Look out for Zoe’s Doggy Treats stall where your dog can get lots of tasty and healthy treats, as well as a welcome drink stop.
If you’re a dog lover looking for special gifts don’t miss our dog mum gift guide here.
While you’re in Edge Hill you’ll be close to the Colin Penridge off leash park, the fire trail leading up to the Green Arrow Trail or the off leash esplande area starting at the area behind the Tobruk Swimming Pool – lots of opportunity for burning off some energy after a hard morning shopping!
Dog Friendly Bungy Jumping!
Did you know that Cairns is the only place in Australia where you can bungy jump? Although you can’t actually make the leap with your pup – they are welcome in the fab Gravity Bar and Cafe at AJ Hackett in Cairns where you can watch the adventurous leaping from 50metres up in the rainforest, or enjoying the Minjin Swing through the trees.
We know you’ll have a great time with your dog in Cairns – if you’re also travelling with kids then check out these great kid friendly and dog friendly places in Cairns too.
If you’re heading to to NSW, then don’t miss our guide to Sydney with dogs.