Yorkeys Knob, Complete guide


Yorkeys Knob is a sleepy little suburb in Far North Queensland with a quiet and beautiful dog friendly beach.

Yorkeys Knob Queensland - The Complete Locals Guide

Where is Yorkeys Knob

Yorkeys is located approximately 13 Km North of Cairns which is about a 25 min drive from the center of Cairns with no traffic. 

​If you are living in Yorkeys and driving in or out of Cairns during peak hour it could be up to an hour each way.

Yorkeys Knob Weather

Being that Yorkeys is only 13 km from Cairns, it gets the same weather patterns and rainfall as Cairns City.  Summer can get up to 40 degrees Celsius and lasts from November through till around February.

​Winter is generally pretty short, only lasting two months maximum with the lowest overnight temperatures never dropping below 10 degrees Celsius. 

Yorkeys has a bonus on shore breeze that you will not get in Cairns due to the topography of Mt Yarrabah South of Cairns, which certainly helps keep things cool in summer.​

Yorkeys Knob Beach

Sunrise at Yorkeys Knob

Sunrise at Yorkeys Knob

Yorkeys has one of the best beaches you will find in Far North Queensland.  The reason it’s so good is because it’s an off leash dog beach! Which means as long as your dog is trained and not aggressive then you can lawfully let your doggo run free along the 3km beach while you walk along and enjoy the scenery. 

The sand is relatively fine and there is very rarely any litter on this beach, kudos to the locals, visitors and council for keeping it in such good condition.  

The water is more often than not pretty murky due to dredging that almost always seems to be happening in the Cairns shipping channel.  Which does mean that it not the best swimming beach in the area.  

When there is a decent wind blowing you will find lots of kite boarders flying up and down the beach, which is really impressive to watch.  Cairns seems to have a rather talented group of kite boarders who revel at the opportunity to utilize the consistent wind and shallow waters at Yorkeys Knob.

At low tide Yorkeys beach really stretches out into the sea which provides hard and compacted sand suitable for riding a pushbike.  At the other side of the beach there is an extensive amount of trees which provide great amounts of shade for pulling out a towel and having a lie down.

​The serenity of Yorkeys Knob beach can not just be appreciated from one spot, do yourself a favour and walk it from length to length.  At the south end where the estuary separates Yorkeys from Holloways beach you have a clear view of Cairns City, Yarrabah and the mountain range that surrounds Cairns.   At the north end looking off the frequently fished rocks you may get the chance to see stingrays, small sharks, epic sunsets and perhaps a local pulling in dinner.

Even though I already warned you away from swimming in North Queensland, there is a lifeguard patrolled and jellyfish netted section towards the northern tip of the beach.  This beach is patrolled every day of the week between 9am and 5pm by The Australian Lifeguard Service. The jellyfish nets are good for stopping large box jellyfish, though the smaller and deadlier Irukanji can swim right through, which is why it is always a good idea to read any signs that the life guards have put on the beach.  

​Irukandji are actually quite predictable these days, as we know that they only appear when the ocean temperature goes above 27 degrees and they generally only appear from a northerly wind. Lifeguards are trained to read the weather conditions and likelihood of jellyfish arrival, so it’s not something to stress about, as long as you check with the lifeguards before jumping in.

Yorkeys Knob Playground

Just behind the beach there is a lovely park with many barbecues, a couple of kids playgrounds and a dedicated fitness area.  This is all easily accessed from the road and provides a wonderful place for a family celebration. Stretching the entire length of the park is a cycle/ walking path which to me just seems like the perfect place to teach a child how to ride a bike.  

The barbecues are all electric council provided machines which are well maintained and operate on a simple push button system.  Please take what you need to clean the barbecue when you are finished with it so the next person can also enjoy it.

Yorkeys Knob Boat Club

Yorkeys Knob Boat Club

Yorkeys Knob Boat Club and Marina

This is really ‘The’ place to go in Yorkeys for a beer or a good feed.  The boat club offers extremely nice food via the internally attached Boaties Bar and Grill.  The beers here are best enjoyed on the deck overlooking the marina filled with super yachts at sunset.  It really is a breathtaking place that will not fade from memory quickly.

​Thursday night is meat tray raffle night which is well worth buying a ticket for.  The local Yorkeys butcher that supplies the meat tray is so good he gets his own paragraph further down the page.  

​Live music is frequent on the weekends here and there is a large children’s playground to keep the little ones entertained after they smear tomato sauce all over their faces.

Yorkeys Knob Cafes

Yorkeys is a small town-like suburb which does have limited options for coffee and food, thankfully the options are surprisingly good.  ‘Cafe Yorkeys’ is a busy little cafe right on the main road (Varley Street) that offers excellent coffee and city quality meals. The ambiance here is probably not what you want when visiting a little beach town as it’s on the main road and does suffer from traffic noise so the other option, ‘Hidden Yorkeys’ might be more to your taste as it is mine.  

Hidden Yorkeys is a beautiful little cafe almost on the beach itself.  To find it, just head to south end beach car park and look right. The signs are easy enough to see and you can even take your dog with you!   The coffee and food here is on par with anything else in Cairns but with the addition of being able to hear the waves on the beach and the breeze through the trees, it certainly has a nice atmosphere.

Yorkeys Knob Restaurants

Yorkeys Knob Restaurants prawns seafood

Bucket of prawns at Boaties

Again with the limited options but again with the exceptional quality.  The previously mentioned Yorkeys Knob Boat Club and Boaties Bar and Grill is sensational.  This is high class food at great prices in a lovely chilled atmosphere which gets my number one vote.  Coming in a close second is ‘Thai Bangkok Street Food’.  

I have never eaten in here, only ever take away, which comes with free delivery if you are in Yorkeys.  The food delivered from here is absolutely on point in every way you could imagine. Super tasty and super fresh authentic Thai food.  The staff are always happy and welcoming too.

Fish and chips is of course on offer in Yorkeys just like every seaside town in Australia.  Tasty at Yorkeys is just as good as any other fish and chip shop though honestly I can’t review it as deep fried food is not in my diet.

Yorkeys Knob Butcher

If you are vegetarian, just skip this bit.  The Yorkeys Knob butcher ‘Multy Cut Meats’ located next to IGA on Varley Street is to this day, the best butcher i have found in Cairns.  The cuts, the variety, the community spirit and most importantly the quality are unrivaled to a point where I will happily drive out of Cairns to Yorkeys to grab my weekly meats.  That’s an hours drive! To be fair I will normally take the dog for a walk and grab lunch too, but you get the point. 

“We’re passionate butchers supplying top-quality meats with old-school service to our valued customers across the Yorkeys Knob and Cairns area” This is their motto, and it’s absolutely true.

Yorkeys Knob Pharmacy

There is a little pharmacy on Varley Street which will provide you with all the usual items although it is important to know that they are not open on the weekends at all.  You will have to head into Cairns if you need anything on the weekend.

Yorkeys Knob Vet

Just like the pharmacy situation, there is a veterinary clinic on Varley street.  The vet here has a caring and relaxed team of professionals that I cannot recommend highly enough.  If you do live in the area then don’t be fooled into thinking you have to take your pet into Cairns.

Yorkeys Knob State School

Yorkeys Knob State School

Yorkeys Knob State School

Yorkeys Knob State School is a small school located adjacent to its own parkland which back straight onto the beach itself. The grounds are the perfect setting for a caring and focused learning environment that enables all students to reach their full potential.

Class sizes are quite small compared to nearby schools which provides teachers the opportunity to deliver a more personalized program that caters to individual students.

The school curriculum is the same as every other Queensland school so you can be assured your child is not missing out on any learning.

Traffic is really good at pick up and drop off times here due to the low numbers which means no after school traffic jams like most large Australian schools.

Being that this school is more or less on the beach, you can expect a semi laid back approach to teaching with a focus on the outdoors and environment.  Yorkeys is a really safe suburb with low traffic and plenty of back streets, so if you are living and schooling in Yorkeys then you can feel safe letting your children ride their bikes to and from school.

Yorkeys Knob Rentals and Real Estate

I have personally lived in Yorkeys Knob and inspected numerous units and houses for both rent and sale which always surprises me.   The real estate here is much cheaper than in Cairns, Trinity Beach, Palm Cove or any of the other suburbs in the northern beaches area of Cairns.  

One very important thing to note about living in Yorkeys Knob is that during the wet season, it is possible to get flooded in.  The highway that runs north of Cairns will frequently under water when the rains are coming down hard. This will usually only last a few hours but every now and then, like in 2018, the roads were closed for 3 days.  This can make life a bit tricky for obvious reasons like, shops running out of food, not being able to get home to your dog or worse….. The bottle shop running out of beer!

So given this information I would say it is wise to get to know your neighbors in Yorkeys in case you do get flooded out so they can look after your animals.  Getting to know your neighbors in Yorkeys is just a way of life to be honest, everyone is friendly and everyone is there for the same reason. The reason is to escape the hustle and bustle of Cairns. 

Rental properties in Yorkeys are frequently offered and are generally around the $300/week mark for a 2 bedroom unit.  The places are almost always from the 1980’s and it’s quite rare to find one that has been renovated. They serve the purpose of beach side living within easy driving distance to a city.  

In Yorkeys, on average there are 50 units and 30 houses offered for sale every year.  The median price for a unit is $207,000 while the house medium is only $396,000. Compare that to Cairns just down the road where the median for unit price is $230,000 and houses is $462,000.  So as you can see, a house will provide you with better savings and more freedom to modify it for future proofing your investment. 

Talking about future proofing I’m referring to the rising sea levels and global warming, but without going into it too much, you should be aware that Yorkeys is at or below sea level.  Make sure you check your council flood zone mapping and get insurance quotes before putting money down on a house in Yorkeys Knob.

Yorkeys Knob Summary

I love Yorkeys Knob and I’m sure you will too.  There is nothing quite like waking up early and starting your day by walking your dog down the beach at sunrise.  Yorkeys is the small coastal town that offers laid back living while still maintaining access to all the amenities of big city life.

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