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When is the best time to visit Cairns?

Dreaming of seeing the Great Barrier Reef and rainforest? Here's when to go.

Cairns is the destination of choice for beach worshippers in Australia, and if you’re one of them read on because we’ve checked out the optimal time to visit when you won’t feel like a hot and sticky sardine on the sands.


Best time to visit Cairns

April to September is the best time to visit for the ideal balance of affordable accommodation, warm dry weather and thin crowds. By popping in after summer, you’ll completely miss the Christmas crowds and the high humidity, while still being able to enjoy sunshine and warm days. Plus, you’ll only pay a fraction of the peak season price.

Why should I go then?

Located in the tropical north, Cairns enjoys hot, humid summers and mild winters with temperatures rarely dipping below 24℃ during the daytime.

Cairns is a popular destination for Australian families as it’s the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and offers family friendly beaches. To avoid the crowds, you should steer clear of Cairns during the school holiday period in June/July.

Travelling closer to winter means you’ll enjoy pleasant, dry days that are still ideal for beachside bumming or for exploring neighbouring islands and the Daintree rainforest.

If you’re heading to Cairns to kick-start a Queensland road trip, travelling during the dry winter season will also mean there’s less of a chance to encounter flooded roads – especially if you’re travelling off the beaten track – that can put a real damper on your trip.

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Weather and prices

Best time to visit Cairns, weather wise: April to September.

Cheapest time to visit Cairns: Search for flights and hotels in February or March when prices drop as it’s just after the peak holiday period.


Best time to visit Cairns for…

  • Beaches: With a temperatures of 25-31℃ throughout the year, Cairns is good for beaches any time of the year, though it is best from June to October when it’s the driest.
  • Snorkelling: Snorkelling is good all year round though, the wet season between December and May will likely find you the best deals.
  • Diving: Similar to snorkelling, diving is good all year round with the best deals occurring from December to May, but the least chance it will rain while you’re snorkelling is from June to November..
  • Riding the Kuranda Scenic Railway: Ride the rails on this iconic railway during the cooler and drier months of winter for clear views sans the stuffed carriages. The Kuranda Scenic Railway operates every day except Christmas Day.
  • Watersports: Available all year round, watersports such as jetskiing and parasailing are best enjoyed during dry warm months such as April and May or September and October.

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