When Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Cairns?

cairns lagoon

If you are thinking about visiting Cairns and have heard the stories of the heat and the rain, you may be a little concerned. Don’t fear because here is the perfect time of year….

Visit Cairns in spring (September to November) to get the best weather of the year.

During the September to November period, we will have 25-30 degrees Celcius almost every day. It also doesn’t rain at this time of year, at all.

In fact, it’s our dry (drought) season when our local council will generally implement water restrictions. These water restrictions won’t affect a holidaymaker though, as it really only applies to water your yard and washing your car.

Other Typical Weather Patterns In Cairns

Summer In Cairns (December – February)

Summer in Cairns is quite intense really. Either it’s raining or it’s over 40 degrees. Sometimes it’s both. The rain we get here is tropical, heavy and sideways. The heat we get is humid (up to 90%).

Cairns is not a great place to be in summer, to be honest, it really takes some getting used to and even still, you won’t find local who doesn’t complain about it. We locals get over it by drinking beer submerged in a pool for the majority of the weekend.

Avoid going on Great Barrier Reef boat tours in summer especially. The ocean is rough as guts and it will probably rain all day.

Autumn In Cairns (March-May)

Autumn can be nice in Cairns as the rain slowly starts to stop and the temperature slowly starts to decrease. I do mean slowly as sometimes it can be early June before we get the real end of Summer.

Winter In Cairns (June – August)

Winter is great on land but horrible on the Great Barrier Reef. On land, we get lovely cool temperatures that often reach single digits at night. This is generated by the strong southerly winds that come up from the south.

Those strong southerly winds make boating a nightmare though. If you plan to head to the Great Barrier Reef in winter then you need to be prepared for violently rough conditions that will trigger most peoples sea sickness. Also, the water temperature drops below 20 degrees, which is uncomfortably cold for most.

The upside to being able to handle the ocean in bad conditions is, Whales! During winter the annual humpback whale migration passes through the Great Barrier Reef and you can be sure that you will spot some from your tour boat.

Locals tip.

A few companies tried to scam tourists by running ‘Whale Watching’ tours. This is a total waste of money as you will see them from a normal reef tour boat. Don’t book a whale watching tour and a day at the reef separately.

Spring In Cairns (September – November)

As mentioned before, spring is by far the best time to visit Cairns. Calm seas, warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. It’s also ‘Off-Peak’ season. For some unknown reason, springtime in Cairns is the quietest time of year.

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