Cairns is a tropical city that serves as the jumping point to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tablelands.

Whether you’re enjoying the city’s vibrant splendour or heading out to one (or all!) of these natural wonderlands, Cairns has plenty to offer in and around town!

Cairns Lagoon

There really is no “best month” to visit Cairns: it’s an amazing place to visit year-round. If you want the very best of the tropical weather visit during the dry months. This is also the best time to avoid the influx of jellyfish in the Great Barrier Reef. The dry months occur during Australia’s winter, which is between June and October.

If you’re looking to head to Cairns on a budget and with fewer crowds, the best time to visit is in the shoulder months. The shoulder months are between the wet and dry seasons – April/May or September/October.

The wet season happens during Australia’s summer. It takes place from November to March, which is another time of year with smaller crowds. However, the wet season is exactly that: wet, really wet. The region is known to throw up some pretty wild tropical storms. If you are happy to brave the often-gnarly storms and aren’t afraid of the odd downpour, the rain can be very refreshing. There is a chance you will have some of far North Queensland’s most vibrant natural spots all to yourself!

So, it all comes down to a little travel dilemma. Are you keen on gorgeous weather with higher prices and bigger crowds? Or, are you one who is not afraid of a little extra heat, tropical extremes, smaller crowds and cheaper prices?

The choice is yours. Either way, you will have a great time exploring the wonders of Cairns and its surroundings!

  • The Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s tourism gem. The natural wonder is a giant 2,300 km coral reef system that can actually be seen from outer space! It’s safe to say the reef makes Cairns such an incredible place.

There are a few popular destinations for visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is a famous destination because of its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef. You can choose to explore the reef on a boat from Cairns, or you can visit one of the many nearby islands.

There are countless tours that leave for the reef every day of the year. Explore this incredible, surreal ecosystem on one of our incredible tours. You will have the chance to discover the underwater world via snorkelling, diving, a glass bottom boat, and even a helicopter ride! Whatever mode of transport you take, you will not be disappointed.

  • The Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest

Such a majestic oceanic reef has to be matched by something on land! That is why the Daintree Rainforest is another magical destination. The rainforest is located a short drive from Cairns and offers a tranquil tropical escape. This sprawling ecosystem is older than the Amazon itself. It is also home to thousands of unique species, many ubiquitous to the forest itself.

You can join a tour of the Daintree Rainforest anytime throughout the year! Highlights when visiting the rainforest include pristine beaches and swimming holes. There are also heaps of scenic hiking trails weaving amongst the trees. If you head towards the ocean, you will find Cape Tribulation. This gorgeous location is impossible to describe. You have to see it with your own eyes!

  • The Atherton Tablelands

Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands is another incredible experience just outside of Cairns. It is not as instantly recognisable as its reef and rainforest counterparts, but it is just as worthwhile. See lush wetlands, giant savannahs and beautiful gardens dotting the landscape. You can also find Paronella Park. This is the decaying ruins of a mansion that never quite came to fruition. Paying a visit to Paronella Park is a beautiful, almost eerie experience!

You can still find lots of swimming spots in the Atherton Tablelands. One of the most popular activities here is to enjoy the natural rock slides. As the name suggests, they are “slides” formed form rock, that you can glide down and splash into the pristine waters below.

Regardless of the month in which you decide to visit Cairns, you’re bound to have an amazing, unforgettable time. Don’t forget your camera!

Related article: Cairns is open and waiting for you!

Explore the Cairns Tours

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.

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