Cairns is a wonderful place to go swimming and take in the ocean views.

When people think about Cairns, they usually think about the ocean and swimming. There are plenty of spots in Cairns that are great for swimming, from popular to lesser-known beaches. It is important to be aware of restrictions during certain times of the year. When swimming in Cairns, some months are safer than others.

When can I swim in Cairns?

The best time of year to swim in Cairns is from June to October. These months are best for swimming due to weather and safety.

If you plan to swim in Cairns between November to May, extra caution is necessary because of stinger season. During stinger season, there are lots of jellyfish near the shore. This causes an increase in the risk of getting stung while swimming. It’s difficult to spot stingers because they are translucent in colour. Some beaches have jellyfish nets, but it is still best to be cautious, as the nets aren’t a foolproof way to keep stingers away.

If you are swimming between November to May, you can rent a stinger suit to protect yourself from jellyfish stings. The suits look similar to wetsuits and cover your skin from head to toe. If you choose to rent a stinger suit to swim, you still must be aware of the beach signage. Many beaches will close or be heavily restricted during these months.

With all that being said, there are still plenty of options to swim year-round! For a low chance of stinger or storm encounters, June to October are the best months for swimming in Cairns.

Where can I swim in Cairns?

There are lots of great swimming spots in Cairns! If you are staying in the city, the Lagoon is the main place to swim. The other beaches in the city centre aren’t suitable spots for swimming because of crocodiles. However, a short drive north of the city centre will take you to the other lovely beaches nearby.

Holloways Beach is only about 15 minutes from the city centre by car. The beach has stinger nets for protection during the summer to help keep swimmers safe. When visiting Holloways Beach, you’ll see lots of people relaxing on the beach or visiting the markets at the foreshore.

Trinity Beach is another popular beach near Cairns. The beach is wheelchair accessible and has picnic shelters and BBQ areas. There are also stinger nets at this beach to keep visitors safe between November to May.

Can I swim on a tour in Cairns?

If you are eager to spend lots of time on the water in Cairns, we recommend checking out a tour. While you can make your own way to a beach in Cairns, a tour takes away the hassle of planning where to go. This Great Barrier Reef Deluxe Tour includes a beginner or certified dive, lots of snorkelling, and amazing reef views.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward began with a passion for travel and turned it into a thriving tourism business. He co-founded Sightseeing Tours Australia after starting out as a tour guide in Melbourne. Cameron delights in helping visitors get the most from their trip to Australia. Whether he's leading tours or writing about his favourite places, Cameron loves sharing his local insight with fellow travellers.

Previous article: