As Cairns is part of the tropical far north, it does get very warm during summer months just like Thailand and Bali. The warmer months are November to March but locals say its the best time to be in Cairns as all the animals are out and about scavenging on the rainforests floors as the trees are all full of Xmas fruits and flowers, the reef is going thru coral spawning so fish are going crazy with joy. The Black Marlin and Sailfish are on the run with the prawns and Baramundi. The crocodiles are ferocious and out and about as it is mating season. This is the time of year when the beaches are a brilliant blue as the winds have dropped so a perfect time to enjoy a day snorkelling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

During this time of the year you can also get great deals on your holiday accommodation as it is classed as low season so look at local or regional Cairns, Palm Cove and Port Douglas websites to get the last minute deals. Same goes with tours you can normally get some great discounts during low season making your holiday much more enjoyable as you have lots more to spend on sightseeing tours and attractions in Cairns. Make sure you visit Palm Cove and Port Douglas as well as Cairns websites before you make a descision on where to stay.  

The so called marine stinger season is from November to May. During this period you are advised to swim on the beaches with swimming enclosures just for peace of mind. These jellyfish are not really as prominent as people seem to think. It is a very rare occasion if anyone is ever really stung and these same marine stingers are all over the world and not just in Cairns, Thailand, Malaysia or Bali. Cairns also has many natural swimming holes all over the region that are very popular year round, as are the welcoming resort swimming pools.

The heaviest rainfall is recorded during the months January to March and thankfully it mostly falls at night so you wake up to a beautiful green sunny fresh balmy morning. The highest likelihood of cyclone activity is during these months though can occur outside these times, though rarely. Further information is available from the Bureau of Meteorology. Again don't be scared as it is very rare to have a cyclone anyways.

Cairns climate long term averages

If you're not a fan of the tropical heat like in Thailand and Bali then the best time to visit is from around April to October when temperatures drop. Generally the temperature only drops enough to require a light jacket or cardigan at night- you can leave the winter coats at home.  This period is popular with beach lovers. However it is also the period the north experiences the Trade Winds. This is also whale season a great time to swim with minke whales or watch giant humpback whales on their annual migration. Just be aware this is also classed as peak season so make your accommodation bookings at least six months out so you have a good choice of holiday accommodation especially in Palm Cove as it is a small quaint village just 30 minutes north of Cairns city.  

 Snorkel and Dive Weather

Wonderful year round with some extreme weather exceptions. Ideal conditions for snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef is when the wind is below 15 knots. Although ideal condiions are available year round the optimum conditions for visiting the reef are October to December being after the trade winds and before the monsoonal winds. At any time some planning for sea sickness is recommened Ginger tablets taken  pre-trip are very popular.

For wind averages, visit this site: Wavelength for stats.

Mean monthly temperatures Celcius


Jan Feb
Mar Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec 
 High  31.7 31.3 30.5 29.2 27.4 25.9 25.5 26.3 28.0 29.7 30.7 31.8
 Low  23.5 23.3
22.6
21.1
19.0
17.3
16.2 16.3
17.7
19.7
21.3
22.7