Discover the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon: A Tropical Oasis

The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is a centrepiece of the vibrant Cairns Esplanade, offering a serene and picturesque retreat in the city’s heart. This expansive saltwater swimming lagoon is a beloved destination for both locals and visitors, providing a safe and scenic spot to enjoy the tropical climate of Far North Queensland.

Key Features of the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Spacious and Scenic

The lagoon covers an impressive 4,800 square metres, offering ample space for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Its design includes sandy beaches and shallow areas ideal for young children, while deeper sections cater to those who enjoy a more vigorous swim. The surrounding area is beautifully landscaped with lush lawns, palm trees, and vibrant gardens, creating a tropical paradise in the city centre.

Safe and Clean

The lagoon’s water is filtered and monitored to ensure it is clean and safe for swimming. Unlike the open ocean, the lagoon is accessible from marine stingers, making it a secure option for year-round swimming. Lifeguards are on duty during the day, providing additional safety for all visitors.


The lagoon is perfect for families, with designated shallow areas for children to splash and play. Numerous barbeque facilities and picnic tables are also available, ideal for family outings and social gatherings. The adjacent playgrounds and parklands offer plenty of space for kids to run and play.

Community Hub

The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is more than just a swimming spot; it is a hub of community activity. The lagoon area hosts various events throughout the year, including fitness classes, cultural performances, and festivals. This vibrant atmosphere makes it a lively place to visit and enjoy.

Stunning Views

Located along the Esplanade, the lagoon offers breathtaking views of the Coral Sea. The nearby boardwalk provides a picturesque route for walking, jogging, or cycling, with the stunning ocean backdrop enhancing the experience. The lagoon is softly lit in the evenings, creating a magical ambience perfect for a relaxing evening swim or a stroll.


The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is easily accessible and conveniently located near numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops. Whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite, enjoy a leisurely meal, or shop, everything you need is just a short walk away.

Why Visit the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon?

The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is a must-visit destination for anyone in Cairns. It offers a unique combination of natural beauty, safety, and community spirit, making it the perfect place to relax, swim, and enjoy the tropical atmosphere. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the lagoon provides an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Cairns’ vibrant outdoor lifestyle.

Landscape architects, Tract Consultants, designed Cairns Esplanade Lagoon in 2003, and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie officially opened it.

Around the Cairns Esplanade lagoon, trees are perfect for lying under and relaxing.

Interesting facts

The water used to fill the cutting-edge swimming facility comes from the Trinity Inlet and is filtered through a sophisticated filtration system before being pumped into the facility.

Art around the Lagoon

Woven Fish








The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is not just a beautiful swimming spot; it is also a testament to thoughtful design and artistic expression. Queensland Premier Peter Beattie officially inaugurated the lagoon, which Tract Consultants’ landscape architects had designed and opened in 2003. Since then, it has become a central attraction in Cairns, drawing locals and tourists to its tranquil waters and lush surroundings.

Design and Features

The lagoon’s design incorporates natural and cultural elements, creating a harmonious blend that enhances the visitor experience. The water filling this state-of-the-art swimming facility comes from the Trinity Inlet. It undergoes rigours filtration before being pumped into the lagoon, ensuring a safe and clean swimming environment.

Relaxation and Natural Beauty

Various trees surround the lagoon, providing perfect spots for lying under and relaxing. The spacious lawns and shaded areas invite visitors to unwind, read a book, or enjoy the serene environment.

Artistic Highlights

The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is also a canvas for local artistry, featuring notable works that reflect the region’s cultural heritage.

Northern End: Woven Fish

The iconic piece of art, “Woven Fish” by Brian Robinson, is located at the lagoon’s northernmost point. These five stainless steel fish, each standing 2.5 metres high and 1.5 metres wide, represent the traditional Torres Strait practice of weaving palm leaves into fish shapes. This installation adds a touch of cultural significance and visual intrigue to the area.

Southern End: The Herd

At the southern end of the lagoon, “The Herd” artwork mimics a group of animals moving towards the ocean. This intricate design, carved meticulously from granite, mirrors the appearance of the Esplanade’s mud flats during mid- to low tide. Hew Chee Fong and Loretta Noonan’s “The Herd” adds a dynamic visual element to the lagoon while capturing the essence of the natural landscape.

Why Visit the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon?

The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is a must-visit for anyone in the area. Its unique combination of natural beauty, safety, and artistic expression makes it the perfect place to relax and soak up the tropical atmosphere. Whether enjoying a swim, lounging under the trees, or exploring the art installations, the lagoon offers an unforgettable experience highlighting Cairns’ outdoor lifestyle.

Cairns Lagoon Rules

For everyone’s protection and enjoyment, there are a few guidelines to follow when using the Lagoon, which is as follows:                                         

  • No eating or drinking in the Lagoon, and there is no alcohol within the park                                
  • No diving or jumping allowed.
  • No running allowed.                                                                   
  • Adults need to supervise their children.                                                     
  • No inflatables are permitted in the Lagoon (they block the view of the lifeguards).     
  • Smoking is not permitted.                                                                                           
  • No glass
  • Dogs are not permitted in the Lagoon

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