Why We Are Loving The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Novotel Cairns Oasis blog-9Now then, it had been more than 20 years since I’d stayed in Cairns and back then it had been strictly backpacker-only accommodation and all I was lugging around was my diving gear.

When I started planning a spring school holiday trip to Cairns,  I knew I needed to find a great place to stay.

I’d be lugging four offspring, the teenage boys aged 17 and nearly 15, plus the twin terrors aged 8. And no husband…. not even a boyfriend!

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I knew Cairns would offer such a huge variety of activities that the teens and twins would be kept amused. And me too.

But I also knew we need to stay in a super-central location so that the teens could get themselves around town independently. And I needed all the facilities of a resort because… I needed a break from that horrendously monotonous domesticity.

The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

We are spending five nights at the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort and it’s working really, really well for myself and for the kids, all four of them, younger and older. Here’s why.

1.  It’s a real resort but right in the heart of Cairns. So you’ve got the advantages of a resort (ie kids play for hours in the pool whilst I read a book) yet can walk to shops, the Marina, Esplanade and major shopping centre all within 5-10 minute walk.

2. The lagoon leisure pool is really fantastic. It has a large area of beach and water toys are provided. My little ones spend hours and hours in the pool playing together and with other kids.

3. We love the resort touches like a small swim-up bar at the pool, and there’s also a poolside cafe called Aqua, open from noon each day, so long as the weather is fine. You can order drinks, lunch and snacks at Aqua, and no need to get out of your cossie.

4. You pay half price for a second room for a family... that is just great, makes a big difference in price. I won’t review the rooms here as I plan to post a video review of the rooms separately.

NB The 2nd room at 50% that is only valid on the Unrestricted Rate via the resort website or if booking direct by phone. The  50% off 2nd room rate is not valid for booking made by travel agents, or via online hotel booking websites.

family room 2nd free

I don’t know about you but I always call a hotel direct when I’m booking for my family. When you need two or three rooms and have a variety of kids, it’s always best to explain it all to a real person… that’s been my experience.

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5. Healthy food on offer everywhere. I’m impressed with the commitment to healthy eating. Menus makes clear which meals are the healthiest options, with a focus on low GI choices. The room service menu has a healthy choices section available from 6pm – 10pm. It’s also easy to find vegetarian and gluten free options. Kids meals include boneless grilled fish fillet, steak with baked potato, spaghetti with tomato or bolognaise sauce, and these are served with little bowls of chopped raw veggies.

6. Novo Bar is on the ground floor of the hotel and is open from 5pm til late. This is a really comfy area with wicker chairs and a very child-friendly space with toys for kids. Lots of families spent time here in the evenings. You can order light meals and snacks here too, the teenagers liked the independence of getting their evening meal here by themselves some evenings.

7. Mizuma Restaurant  is a full service restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel, open for dinner from 6pm. There’s a good range of a la carte meals to be found here; we loved the papardelle pasta and the barramundi was delicious.

8. Buffet breakfasts, my kids favourite. Mine too. The teenagers did think that breakfast closing at 10am was a bit harsh, they could joyfully sleep until 11am. But they make sure they get up to eat the cooked breakfasts they love. I preferred the very cute dessert type individual serves of muesli and yoghurt and even rice pudding- very tasty.  Breakfast is served in Mizuma.

Novotel Cairns Oasis blog-21My idea of a healthy breakfast.

brekkieKids’ idea of a healthy breakfast.

9. 24-hour room service, which is so handy when you have kids with you. My twins are too feral to take out when they are exhausted in the evenings and they wear themselves out on trips and in the resort pool. So if it is later than 6pm, they simply have a room service meal. They think this is a huge treat. I had some room service meals too, or left them with a teen in the rooms and went to Mizuma with my older son; civilised.

10. Children’s play areas. In both Mizuma and in Novo Bar there are area with toys for kids. A real life saver for families with young kids and they were being used a lot. There is no kids club as such at this resort, but plenty to keep kids of all ages busy and happy.

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11. Free wifi in the public areas like the lobby, cafes and by the pool. This was especially great for the teenagers who couldn’t survive without being digitally connected. You can also pay to have an internet connection in the rooms but we haven’t.

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12. School holiday activities like cupcake making, free ice cream by the pool, and, much to my daughter’s joy loom band activities.

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13. In-house coin-operated laundry, so handy for families. Plus Austar in all rooms, great for my cartoon-loving, sports-mad kids.

There is also a spa at the resort, with a tempting menu of treatments. I won’t be getting there – too many kids, not enough husbands – but I’m not bitter.  Not much!

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Why Stay In The Centre of Cairns

  • It’s hot here and kids will complain if they have to walk far.
  • Actually so will adults and teenagers.
  • No need to hire a car, which is a money saver and also I didn’t have to worry about the kids all fighting as I tried to drive around in unknown places – yes, that’s happened before and it’s hideous.
  • Many, many cafes, restaurants and shops are on the doorstep.
  • And many ice cream shops, I’ve never seen to many as there are in Cairns.
  • It’s not far to walk to the Marina to check out all the boat trips.
  • No problem being picked up from the resort for the zillions of activities you can do in Cairns.
  • Easy to walk to the huge shopping centre called Cairns Central, if you’ve been slack with your pre-holiday preparations, you can get anything you need there.


Any Downsides?

My teenagers use the gym and they think it is a bit small. I haven’t a chance to use it as I’m with the twins all the time, but I had a wee look and it is small but has good equipment, weights and a couple of cardio machines. The boys still use it happily.

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Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort – The Details


122 Lake Street
Cairns, QLD 4870

+61 7 4080 1888 and 

The resort has 314 rooms, and is only 7km from Cairns airport.

Check Out Family Specials on the website here.



You’ll love these posts

If you’re thinking of a holiday to Cairns or Port Douglas start with..

Tips for Planning Family Holiday to Cairns and Port Douglas (has a good list of things to do)

 Family Packing List for Cairns, Port Douglas and Other Hot Places

And here are detailed posts on what we enjoyed

Coral Reef Dreaming – Overnight Yacht Trip to the Great Barrier Reef

 River Tubing On The Mulgrave River With The Kids

Muddy’s Playground On The Esplanade In Cairns

 Miracle on the Great Barrier Reef – Kids Take Photos of Mum For Once!


So, that’s why we love staying at this hotel. 

And we’ll joyfully come back here. There’s so much to do in Cairns and beyond that I’m sure we’ll come again next year if we can. Hopefully with our Intn’l Man of Mystery next time. He’s as sick as a parrot to miss out.

Stand by for more posts on the activities we are doing here.

What’s been your favourite family-friendly resort or hotel in Australia?

Happy wandering


Disclaimer: We stayed at the Novotel Cairns Resort at their media rate. Many thanks for their kind hospitality and help and advice.

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  1. Glad it’s working out well. I am with you about talking to a real person when making a booking, especially if it’s a localish call.Why not get all your issues sorted by a human. It looks like there’s plenty to keep all entertained. I hope you are resting up as well as you can.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Thanks Caro, it’s working out well, not a real holiday for yours truly but a change is as good as a rest. We loved the two day one night boat trip to the reef and once I have sorted through the 300 photos I will post all about that too. My kids can be tricky but definitely it’s working better than our previous trips. This resort has been great for us all.

  2. says: Fairlie

    I love it when hotels or resorts offer a family special on the second room – it makes such a difference to the holiday budget! I’m glad to have found your blog via The Climbing Tree.

  3. Hi Seana This resort is sounding great. Looks perfect for kids even without a kids club. While we’ve been to Port Douglas a few times, I’ve never been to Cairns. I’m hoping you’ve got a post on things to do around there coming up?

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Hi there, I will try to get a general one up in next week or two. I have a zillion photos and it’s going to be a huge job to edit them and then sort them out. I’m trying to be more disciplined about using keywords too, very time consuming but should help in the end. We must have a get together before end of the year.

  4. Love a place that entertains the kids.
    Our favourite Aussie one so far is Mandalay Resort and Caravan Park in Busselton WA.
    Wiht 5 playgrounds for various ages, jumping pillow, huge water slide and heated pool for the cooler weather, games room, plus safe for the kids to ride thier bikes and scooters.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Five playgrounds!!! That sounds just divine!! And a water slide… it’s my kind of place, I’ll be straight over!!!

    1. says: Seana Smith

      I’m glad we made the call to go there, it has been great for us. Your blog was also good to look through for your posts from when you lived up here. Thank you!

  5. Hi Seana,

    So impressed you managed to write a blog post while on holiday with four kids and no husband (or boyfriend 😉 Sounds like you’re all having a very mellow time with no domestic duties needed. Love seeing the pics of the teens too and hope you’re feeling relaxed. I’d definitely love to stay at the Novotel myself especially if you can walk to town 🙂 Happy hols! x A

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Yes, they are generally a good bet, aren’t they? I saw you’d had a staycation here in Sydney, nice thing to do.XX

  6. I loved my visit there, too! Novotel looks really nice and you all seemed to have enjoyed your stay. It would have been great to have stay there during my trip. Maybe next time around !

    ~Do drop by and say hello 🙂
    Gourmet Getaways

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Our stay was good, I even have photos of teenagers standing next to me and SMILING… it’s a miracle, they must have gone troppo.

  7. says: Talia

    Looks great Seana! Totally making me want to stay in a resort style place soon! Looks like the Novotel is a great place to relax, with lots of perks! And thanks for linking up with Wanderlust. It’s so great exploring all the posts! We’re doing it the first Wednesday of each month, so put it in your calendar! 🙂

  8. I agree with your reasons to stay central in Cairns. We lived there for a short while and the heat can really get to you (even for me a summer loving person!). I have to agree with your teenagers, 10 Am closing time for breakfast is abit too harsh ! 🙂 But I love the family-friendliness of the Novotel.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      The weather wasn’t too bad in late Sept but I remember being there in the heat of summer once and totally frying and being desperate to get away out to sea.

    1. says: Seana Smith

      We can never have enough, I’ve been making lots of ice creams and frozen desserts since we got home, always good to bring food ideas home from a holiday.

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