Go Back


Boardwalks - QLD, Cairns, The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk

Google Earth: 16°52’58.55 S; 145°45’45.04 E

The Jack Barnes Bicentennial Mangrove Boardwalk is a special place to learn about tropical Australian mangroves and saltmarsh. Visitors can learn about a broad range of species, and some of the key functional attributes of these tidal wetland systems. The walk has two distinct parts, heading either north or south into closed mangrove forests from the carpark situated adjacent to a small saltmarsh and saltpan area.

The northern boardwalk extends to Little Barron Creek where viewing platforms are provided at the creekside. About half way along the walk, a canopy tower offers a view across the tree tops. This section of the walk returns in a circuit to the carpark. Signs are placed along the boardwalk to provide information on the many ways that plants and animals have adapted to this interesting environment. The southern boardwalk offers a slightly different experience and explores a number of different types of mangrove forests. This section terminates at a canopy tower near the mouth of Swampy Creek. Signs along this section provide information on the productivity of mangrove forests.

The boardwalk was opened on the 27 February 1988 by Dr JT Baker, OBE, PhD, FRACI, Director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. It was constructed by the Cairns City Council on land made available by the Cairns Port Authority. Construction was supported by the Cairns Bicentennial Community Committee, with the assistance of dedicated employees who constructed the boardwalk, working closely with the Cairns Port Authority, the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Location Details

  • Distance/length: Two sections: north 0.8 km, and south 1.2 km
  • Location: Just off the road to the Cairns Airport.
  • Walking Time: 30 and 40 mins, respectively.
  • Address: Airport Avenue, Cairns.
  • Directions: Directions as if going to the Cairns International Airport, look for signs to Mangrove Boardwalk when nearing the airport.
  • Contact: For more information: Cairns City Council, Cairns.
  • Facilities

  • parking
  • Wheelchair access
  • No restroom
  • No dogs
  • Picnic tables
  • No BBQ facilities
  • Shelter
  • No bikes
  • No playground
  • No drinking water
  • No fishing
  • No boatramp
  • Information sign
  • No information centre
  • No guided walk
  • No cafe
  • No lighting


  • Mangroves

    Aegialitis annulata, Avicennia marina, Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Ceriops australis, Ceriops decandra, Lumnitzera racemosa, Rhizophora apiculata, Rhizophora lamarckii, Rhizophora stylosa, Xylocarpus moluccensis Mangrove epiphytes: Mymercodia antonii (Ant Plant), Staghorns & Cymbidium orchids
  • Saltmarsh

    Suaeda, Halosarcia, Sarcocornia
  • General Vegetation

    Primary Rainforest. Austromuellera, Haplostchanthus sp, Lepiderema hirsura, Fan palm forest.
  • Birds

    Ibis, Honeyeaters
  • Invertebrates in the mud

    Grapsid crabs, whelks (Telescopium), Fiddler crabs (Uca)
  • Invertebrates in the vegetation

    Littorinid snails, butterflies, spiders
  • Rare/ Endangered Biota

  • Waterlife

    toadfish, juvenile fish and fry, bream


Norm Duke (15 November 2003)

Community Volunteers

A key feature of MangroveWatch is its close partnership between community volunteers and scientists from the James Cook University’s Mangrove Hub. Together they are systematically recording basic data as video and still imagery for assessments of estuarine habitat health.

Armed with expert support, training and advice, MangroveWatch volunteers in key regions are actively contributing to the monitoring of local estuaries and shorelines. An important goal in this phase of the program is to develop a network of like minded groups with the aim of producing public documents that describe important issues affecting local estuaries and mangroves, and their overall health.

Getting Involved

If you would like to find out more about us or if you like to initiate your own MangroveWatch group within your area, please contact someone at the Mangrove Hub. We will be happy to help.

  • Mangrove Hub Facilitator
  • Dr Norm Duke
  • MangroveWatch Ltd
    ABN: 44 153 297 771
  • PO Box 1250,
  • Elanora Q 4221
  • Mangrove Hub Email

Mangrove Watch Brochure

You can download our fact and information sheet (see link below) to get more information about the MangroveWatch programs.

Mangrove Watch Brochure