Cycling and walking

Enjoy an active lifestyle

Cairns is a great place to get outdoors and be active. There are a range of paths and cycle ways that allow you to explore this beautiful region at your own pace.  Unless otherwise marked, the cycle ways are also walking paths.

We have some great off road tracks for cycling, but keep in mind when riding on the street that we all need to get along and share the road safely.


Recreational bicycle routes

If you'd like to try a new bike route in your area, we've got some easy-to-follow maps for you below.


Cairns Cycling and Walking Strategy

Part 1: Active Transport Strategy

Active travel is any mode of travel that relies on human powered mobility and includes both cycling and walking.

The Active Transport Strategy ( PDF, 15.03 MB ) (the Strategy) has been developed to provide a clear, coordinated and strategic approach to guide Cairns Regional Council’s planning, development, management and promotion of future region-wide walking and cycling networks.  These active transport routes are increasing in popularity.

The Strategy identifies proposed future networks, and strategic missing links, to the existing active transport network. Since the development of the previous Cycling and Walking Strategy in 2010, cycling participation across the Cairns local government area (LGA) has continued to outperform both the Queensland and regional Queensland averages. To ensure continual improvement, Council has developed a new strategy to guide its decisions on walking and cycling development and infrastructure for the future.

The Strategy is informed by community needs ( PDF, 22.98 MB ), regional growth and new developments, combined with previously identified projects and extensive community consultation.  It provides recommendations for achieving strategic directions as well as a framework for implementation.

The Strategy aligns with Council’s Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) for the trunk aspects of the networks. The LGIP integrates infrastructure planning with the land use planning identified in the planning scheme and provides transparency regarding Council’s intentions for the provision of trunk infrastructure for the region. The LGIP enables Council to estimate the cost of infrastructure provision to assist its long term financial planning and ensure that trunk infrastructure is planned and provided in an efficient and orderly manner. The LGIP is also used to provide a basis for the imposition of conditions about infrastructure on development approvals.

Part 2: Recreational Walking Trails Strategy (coming soon)

Cairns is a world renowned tourist destination uniquely positioned around the diversity of its natural experiences. Recreational walking trails form part of this core competency and continue to grow in popularity with locals and visitors alike.  Council has recognised the appeal of these assets by investing in significant new and upgraded trails in recent times and now there is a need to take a more strategic and regional approach to recreational walking trail provision, management and promotion.

The Recreational Walking Trail Strategy seeks to respond to the expectation and appetite for trail experiences with sensible recommendations framed according to the following key elements:

  • provision and management standards for diverse trail infrastructure in a variety of locations
  • promotion and awareness of trail opportunities
  • community engagement, involvement and partnerships.

Part 3: Mountain Bike Strategy (coming soon)

Mountain biking in Cairns has grown organically from a grass roots level into a high participation sport that coexists with recreational walking trails. The region is recognised as an iconic location for mountain bike and downhill enthusiasts with the UCI MTB World Championships held in Cairns in 2017 attracting more than 500 competitors and 20,000 spectators. Whilst the region has many top class tracks, mountain biking is not actively managed or coordinated.  Given Cairns is uniquely positioned to leverage the significant community and economic benefits associated with these assets a strategic approach is required.

The Mountain Bike Strategy expands on the recommendations of the Tropical North Queensland Regional Mountain Bike Strategy (2016) and will provide a framework to guide investment decisions and determine priorities. The Strategy will clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of local and state government in the management of trails in National Parks.

Cycling & Walking Network Implementation Plan:  Map Portfolio

The following maps show the on-road and off-road networks throughout the Cairns region.

Cycle routes for Cairns CBD, Inner & Western Suburbs
Cairns CBD & Suburbs

Cairns CBD, Inner & Western Suburbs More

Cycle routes for Northern Beaches & Smithfield
Northern Beaches & Smithfield

Northern Beaches & Smithfield More

Cycle routes for southern communities
Southern communities

Southern communities More

Last updated: 28 September 2020