Where To Swim in Cairns: Pools, Lagoon + Snorkelling

First things first, when in Cairns there is no swimming at the beach! Too many crocodiles and too many stingers from November to June.

Luckily there are some great pools and the excellent Cairns Esplanade Lagoon.

Cairns Lagoon is beautiful both above and below the water

Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

You can do early morning laps at Cairns Lagoon, dip in for a lunchtime cool down, and return with friends and family for a play, swim and BBQ in the afternoon or evening. There isn’t a time of day that doesn’t suit this massive waterfront attraction.

The saltwater lagoon is 4800 square metres, with many different areas. I have enjoyed plenty of early morning laps along the side closest to the Esplanade and beach, in the company of other early morning dippers. There are no lanes marked out as such, but this section is at least 50 metres long. It’s peaceful, beautiful and totally energising. Also free!

Cairns Lagoon has toilets, showers and changing rooms. Lifeguards patrol the pool during opening hours and there are yoga and exercise classes on offer. Next door is a shop and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants close by.

Cairns Lagoon Opening Hours:

  • Thursday to Tuesday 6.00am to 9.00pm
  • Wednesday 12.00pm to 9.00pm (closed before midday for weekly maintenance)
  • Public holidays 6.00am to 9.00pm
Early morning swimming at Cairns Lagoon, not busy at all
The sculptures and fountains have made this lagoon a Cairns icon
You’ll see lots of people just having a chat and a dip
Cairns Lagoon can get busy later in the afternoon, in the evenings and on weekends, making laps impossible
Tobruk Memorial Pool, the 50m pool

Tobruk Memorial Pool Cairns

This is the best of the Cairns public swimming pools due to its excellent facilities and close proximity to town. Tobruk Memorial Pool is just over 2km from the centre of Cairns, a pleasant 30 minute walk on the Esplanade walkway or a much shorter cycle.

At the pool complex you will find:

  • 50m shaded outdoor pool with ten lanes
  • 25m shaded outdoor pool with six lanes
  • 25m shaded outdoor warm water leisure pool
  • toddler splash pool
  • FlowRider surf machine
  • Jump Zone with in-ground trampolines and an obstacle course
  • gym

Tobruk Memorial Pool Cairns, 370 Sheridan Streer, North Cairns

Phone: 07 4051 2604

Check out pool and lap lane availability on the Tobruk Memorial pool website here.

Cairns Best Hotel Pools

I’ve written a separate post about the best hotel pools in Cairns as it was too long to include here. Click here to check out the coolest hotel pools in Cairns.

Josephine Falls, one of many waterfalls and swimming holes close to Cairns

Cairns Waterfalls + Swimming Holes

Wonderful waterfalls, some adventurous and some very family-friendly, lie within cooee of cairns.

I, myself, am yet to explore them properly. When I do, I promise to share my fave spots for a waterfall, walk and swim. In the meantime, check out the best 20 waterfalls near Cairns on the Tropical North Queensland tourism website.

For more articles on freshwater swimming holes in Cairns, check out the Tropical North Queensland website.

Snorkelling Trips from Cairns

Does snorkelling count as swimming? It does to me. Cairns is, of course, the best known starting point for day trips out to the Great Barrier Reef.

Have a look at the great variety of Cairns reef trips here on Get Your Guide.

Personally, I like to recommend the Passions of Paradise snorkelling trips.

Cairns Lagoon taken from the air. How huge does that pool look!?
Photo credit: Tourism Queensland.

PS This post contains some affiliate links meaning that, if you buy an item using the link, a small commission is paid to support Swim The World, at no cost to you. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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