Daylight saving is not observed in Queensland. The time zone in Queensland is Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), UTC +10.
Esplanade, Cairns, Queensland © Andrew Watson, Tourism and Events Queensland
Weather in Cairns
Find information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help plan your holiday in Cairns.
What is the weather in Cairns like?
Cairns, in northern Queensland, experiences hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. The average annual maximum temperature is 29°C (84.2°F), with 62 per cent humidity. Plan ahead with our information on temperature and rainfall.
Summer (December – February)
During summer in Cairns, average temperatures range from 23.6 - 31.4°C (74.5 - 88.5°F). The wet season begins building up around December, and most of the region's annual rainfall (around 2000mm / 78.7 inches) occurs in the summer months.
Autumn (March – May)
It is still very warm in autumn, both day and night, with temperatures averaging between 21.5 - 29°C (70.7 - 84.2°F). The rain subsides from April, however the weather can be windy until August. Prevailing south easterly winds continue until around October.
Winter (June – August)
Winter in Cairns brings slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity, making it the peak tourist season. Average temperatures range from 17.5 - 26°C (63.5 - 78.8°F) and there is low rainfall.
Spring (September – November)
In spring average temperatures range from 20.5 - 29°C (68.9 - 84.2°F). This is the end of the dry season when humidity starts to build with the onset of the wet season from December. In November the reef comes alive with the annual coral spawning.
Frequently asked questions about the weather in Cairns
December experiences the longest hours of daylight with sunrise at approximately 5:40am and sunset at 6:45pm. June has the least hours of daylight with sunrise at approximately 6:45am and sunset at 5:50pm.
Stinger season or jellyfish season is generally between November and May in Cairns and Port Douglas. From November it is sensible to wear stinger suits in the water, as box jellyfish and Irukandji (the smallest of the box jellyfish family) can be deadly. Beaches are also lined with stinger nets. Out on the Great Barrier Reef the risk of marine stingers is low, however stinger suits are recommended and available for hire on tour boats.
In summer, the average sea temperature at Cairns’ northern beaches ranges from 28.9 - 29.4°C (84 - 84.9°F), dipping slightly in winter to 23.8 - 24.5°C (74.8 - 76.1°F).
Visitors to Cairns should look out for the UV index in local weather reports, which describes the daily solar UV radiation intensity. Protect yourself from sunburn by using SPF30+ sunscreen, which is readily available throughout Australia at supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies, and wearing sun-smart clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.
Seasonal weather in Cairns
|31.4 89||31.4 89||31.2 88|
|23.4 74||23.7 75||23.8 75|
|30.6 87||29.2 85||27.6 82|
|23.1 74||21.6 71||19.9 68|
|26 79||25.7 78||26.6 80|
|17.8 64||17.1 63||17.4 63|
|28.1 83||29.5 85||30.6 87|
|18.7 66||20.6 69||22.3 72|