Esplanade Dining Precinct

The Esplanade Dining Precinct is a project opportunity identified in the City Centre Master Plan which was developed through a comprehensive engagement process undertaken by Council in 2018.

The Esplanade Dining Precinct project will enhance the best features of the existing Esplanade outdoor dining area. It aims to create more space for dining and seating, improve views to the parklands and increase pedestrian connections. The project will deliver a more vibrant outdoor dining experience, contributing to the city’s liveability for locals and creating a major drawcard for visitors.

Council has progressed the project opportunity and now developed a concept design for the Esplanade Dining Precinct that visually represents the key design elements identified in the Master Plan.

Council will continue to undertake further technical investigations and testing to continue to refine the concept design.

Construction has begun on the $28 million project, which was fast-tracked in May to limit the disruption to traders and maximise the city’s appeal once tourists return.

In order to facilitate an accelerated program, Council has adopted a three-staged delivery which includes construction of the footpath as the first stage; second stage will be the construction of the road and landscaping from September and the completion of the  outdoor dining area the third stage.

The Esplanade Dining Precinct’s engaging layout features new contemporary awnings that offer better weather protection, an extended dining area, modified and gently curving road alignment, inviting vertical gardens and grassed mounds, and extra footpaths to improve pedestrian connectivity.

The retention of one-way traffic along Esplanade allows for safer pedestrian movements and will also reduce unwanted noise. The design of the road and footpath also allows the precinct to be easily transformed into a pedestrian-only space for major public events.

The harmonising of contemporary dining, connecting footpaths and tropical greenery is highlighted in the below 3D fly-throughs that provide a glimpse of what the upgraded Cairns Esplanade Dining Precinct will look like once completed.

The Esplanade between Shields St and Aplin St will be temporarily closed during works to provide adequate workspace for the construction crew and to accommodate pedestrian detours.

Working hours will be Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 6pm however week-end, early mornings and night works will also be required.

Have your say

Please share your feedback, ideas and suggestions on the concept design below or email citycentre@cairns.qld.gov.au

The Esplanade Dining Precinct is a project opportunity identified in the City Centre Master Plan which was developed through a comprehensive engagement process undertaken by Council in 2018.

Council has progressed the project opportunity and now developed a concept design for the Esplanade Dining Precinct that incorporates the key design elements identified in the Master Plan.

Council is now seeking feedback on the Esplanade Dining Precinct Concept Design.

Following the consultation period, a detailed design of the Esplanade Dining Precinct will be prepared for further consideration.

The Esplanade Dining Precinct

Outdoor dining is one of the great features of Cairns. The cafes and restaurants along the Esplanade have a prime location overlooking the parklands and offer a uniquely tropical outdoor dining experience.

The Esplanade Dining Precinct project will enhance the best features of the existing Esplanade outdoor dining area. It aims to create more space for dining and seating, improve views to the parklands and increase pedestrian connections. The project will deliver a more vibrant outdoor dining experience, contributing to the city’s liveability for locals and creating a major drawcard for visitors.

The Esplanade Dining Precinct Concept Design

The dining precinct extends along the Esplanade from Aplin Street to Shields Street and includes the adjoining section of Shields Street between the Esplanade and Abbott Street.

The Esplanade Dining Precinct concept design visually represents the following key design elements from the Cairns City Centre Master Plan.

Connection to the Esplanade Parklands

The concept design maximises connections and views to the parkland and waterfront.  A modified road alignment allows the dining area to be extended and brings the green space of the Esplanade Parklands closer to the outdoor dining venues.

By retaining one-way traffic the concept design ensures essential access to businesses and restaurants, and also allows for safe pedestrian movement and activity. To maximise views and reduce unpleasant traffic noise and fumes, the concept design proposes that parking is restricted to time-limited loading and drop-off bays and access for people with disabilities.

Extended outdoor outdoor area and wider footpaths

The concept design proposes extended trading zones that provide more space for outdoor dining and wider footpaths for pedestrians. The footpath and trading zones feature a new consistent pavement to clearly define spaces for pedestrians and diners. The footpaths will be mobility-friendly improving safety for all precinct users.

Distinct tropical character

The concept design integrates lush, vibrant landscaping to create a distinct character throughout the dining precinct and a seamless visual connection to the adjacent Esplanade Parklands.

A series of new higher and wider awnings will be integrated along the dining precinct to provide shade and weather protection to the outdoor dining area.  These awnings will allow for a wider, more accessible and safer pedestrian environment, with relaxed, flexible outdoor spaces that will cater for both everyday use and event spaces as required.

Flexible event space

The concept design includes vibrant and attractive lighting to improve the night-time experience and reinforce the precinct’s distinctly tropical character.  The design of the road, footpaths and dining areas caters for the precinct to be readily transformed into a pedestrian only space for major public events.

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Last updated: 24 August 2020