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Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, Cairns, QLD. © Paul Ewart & Tourism and Events Queensland

Weather in Cairns

Find information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help plan your holiday in Cairns.

Like the rest of Queensland, Cairns experiences two distinct weather seasons, the ‘wet' season and the ‘dry' season. Tropical Cairns has hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. The average annual rainfall is around 1992 mm, mostly falling between January and March. The wet season begins building up around December, resulting in humid days and stormy nights. Typical daytime temperatures in Cairns are 23-31°C in mid-summer and 18 °C in mid-winter. Tropical cyclones sometimes occur from November through May. Here you will find some information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help you plan your holiday in Cairns.

Summer (December - February) in Cairns is the ‘wet' or monsoon season. Most of the region's annual rainfall occurs in the summer months although the temperature is still warm and the humidity is high. Temperatures at this time range from 24° - 31°. Average rainfall in January is around 396mm.

This is one of the best times to take a rainforest tour to the famous Daintree or Cape Tribulation Rainforests. The rainforest is at its most luxurious and the rivers and waterfalls are flowing. Visit the charming town of Kuranda and take a ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway or Kuranda Scenic Railway. There's also white water rafting on the Tully River. Summer is the time of the year when diving on the Great Barrier Reef is at its best. Even though it is the wet season, the winds are calm and underwater visibility is sometimes more than 50 metres. Water temperatures on the reef vary from a comfortable 22°C in winter to 29°C in summer, ideal for year round enjoyment in the water from snorkelling to scuba diving. The barramundi fishing season re-opens in February.

By April, the wet season is usually over and the ‘dry' season begins. It is still very warm in April, both day and night, with temperatures averaging between 22°C and 29°C. The annual Reef and Rainforest Carnivale is held in Port Douglas in May.

One of the most popular times to visit Cairns is in winter (June - August). This is the peak tourist season. Clear skies and comfortable temperatures are perfect for exploring the region or setting sail in the Whitsunday Islands. From July to August you may even be lucky to see the humpback whales that migrate up the coast or swim with inquisitive minke whales. The cooler temperatures and lower humidity are also perfect conditions for golf. On Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, the Hamilton Island Golf Club is Australia's only championship island golf course and is set against the spectacular backdrop of the Whitsunday Islands.

Held annually during the August and September, Festival Cairns is one of Australia's leading regional cultural festivals.

Humidity in Cairns is highest from October through to December. This is the thunderstorm season before the start of the monsoon rains. Around October - November the reef comes alive with the annual coral spawning.

The cyclone season in Cairns is generally from November to May.

More holiday ideas

See what else there is near here to inspire your holiday planning.

Cairns

Cairns

Cairns

Leap from Cairns into the World Heritage wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Relax in the resorts of Port Douglas and Mission Beach or on Lizard Island. Take the old railway to Kuranda, or follow the Great Tropical Drive to white water rivers and the Atherton Tablelands. Head north to Cape Tribulation or take the Savannah Way for an outback journey.

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Queensland

Queensland

Queensland

From Brisbane, visit Moreton Island, Surfers Paradise, and Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Head inland for Outback Queensland or north for World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, Bundaberg's natural attractions, and Mackay, a gateway to the idyllic Whitsundays. In Queensland's tropical north, Townsville, Cairns, Port Douglas and Mission Beach line the coast along the Great Barrier Reef, up to the Daintree Rainforest.

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Three Great Days in Cairns

Three Great Days in Cairns

Three Great Days in Cairns

It's all action in sunny, sophisticated Cairns, gateway to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and international hub for tanned travelers. There so much to do here you might want to start slowly. Wander past the lagoon and picnic spots of the Cairns Esplanade, do an Aboriginal walking tour or bliss out on the white sands of Mission Beach. Alternatively, dive into action with a sky-dive or bungy-jump. Snorkel or scuba dive with brilliant fish and coral or sail past pristine islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Day-trip to the tranquil, butterfly-fringed village of Kuranda and discover Cairns' great restaurant and bar scene.

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North Queensland's Winter Sun

North Queensland's Winter Sun

North Queensland's Winter Sun

Want to make your friends jealous this winter? Tell them you're going to North Queensland, and casually mention the balmy weather, palm trees and swimmable seas. Snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef, set sail in the Whitsundays and trek back in time in the primeval Daintree Rainforest. Drive the Savannah Way to the remote Gulf Savannah. This tropical paradise is truly at its best from June to September, when the temperature averages 25 degrees Celsius and the turquoise waters are stinger free.

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