Cairns Beaches Weather
The Green Season - December to April
We Cairns locals say our region typically has two distinct seasons one of those being "The Green Season" which starts around end of January early February and runs into March and seems to keep lots of tourists away for some reason.
With climate change our once distinct seasons do not seem to be so distinct as they were in years gone by and old locals say it never rains as much or as long as it used to or its not as hot as it used to be etc so who knows what lays ahead with our Cairns climate so written below is our thoughts on it all as we live here today.
"The Green Season" is the time when Cairns have huge tropical downpours which luckily occur mostly at night and then you wake up to a fresh new sunny day. The temperature is still hot and balmy so when you do get wet you dry out pretty fast and do not feel the chill in your bones like you do in the southern Australian states when it rains. When tropical downpours do occur during the day most locals take off their shoes and walk around in bare feet as the streets flood very quickly due to the huge downpours. Typically these downpours do not last very long at all and are not concentrated over the whole region only in isolated individual spots each time. If it's raining along the coast then it is mostly dry up on the Atherton Tablelands so you can still go sight seeing.
This is the time of year when tourists with rent a cars need to be really very careful when driving on our northern roads as they easily pick up slick and the driver has no experience in dealing with roads in our climatic conditions. Drivers need to be especially careful and take the roundabouts at only 40 kilometers an hour to prevent slides and to really slow down on the bends when sightseeing in the Cairns Mountains. Also be very careful where you park your car and for how long if it is a huge downpour as your car can soon become flooded and possibly float away if you do not watch the signs.
The only times when Cairns experiences long term tropical downpours are when a tropical low hits the northern part of Australia or a potential cyclone is heading in the coast lines direction. If the rain does continue for days the locals get easily depressed as they are not used to being under grayish skies and the humid climes. Commonly known as "Gone Troppo". If a cyclone is forecast on the way everyone is very well briefed by their hotel and accommodation providers and prepared with the safety supplies they need to gather just in case.
January onwards is the time of year that Cairns and north Queensland shows of its natural beauty in all its glory. Everything is lush and green in Cairns whilst the rest of Australia is suffering from the effects of drought thus producing a dull brownish countryside. In Cairns the trees are abundantly full of exotic tropical stone fruits, berries, nuts and Mother Natures beautiful flowers that provide nourishment for our native wildlife that then can be seen out foraging in the cooler climate of the evenings and early mornings with their offspring.
The native animal activity at this time on both land and sea is also at its peak as a lot of the offspring are out and about being taught how to forage and find food for themselves and the fish are plentiful in the seas as they are feeding amongst the protected grounds of the Great Barrier Reef. The rivers and waterfalls from the mountains are raging so it's definitely the peak time to go white water rafting if you have the courage.
One other element that seems to keep tourists away at this time of year is jelly fish in the ocean. Although we admit they are here and present in these waters they are actually present worldwide but other countries and regions do not admit to it nor record the number of incidences of a sting. The research on these sea creatures has been studied from Palm Cove since 1946 so the Cairns region has that stigma now attached to it and the newspapers just love to take a little bit of information and make it headlining news purposely leaving out the important bits such as the percentage or probability of a sting.
Great Barrier Reef tour operators are world leaders in the duty of care of their guests and suggest all swimmers wear a full piece lycra sun suit if entering the water at this time of year just in case you end up being that one in a million that is unfortunately stung.
Our advice for everyone is if your are going into the rainforest you put on insect repellant, if you are going to the beach you put on sunscreen, if you go in the ocean you put on a lycra suit. It's a simple as that! See Cairns Official Region Guide for more information on jelly fish.
If you are a keen photographer or just want to see Cairns at its ultimate best then you really do need to be here at this time to witness the exoticism of the region whilst she is in full bloom radiant with her natural beauty. Another positive for visiting Cairns at this time of year is you can always get fantastic holiday accommodation rates and great discounts on tours, attractions and dining options. You may find it very warm at times but there are plenty of swimming pools, glorious beaches and all tour operators provide fully air conditioned vehicles and your hotel or resort accommodation will be a nice cool sanctuary to just chill out and relax in after all you are on holidays in a tropical paradise.
The Dry Season - May to November
The so called "Dry Season" runs from approximately the end of March to December where the rain frequency reduces to a few rain periods here and there to keep the region cool, lush, green and thriving. The weather is beginning to cool down from March to a more temperate climate as the southern winds blow the cold air currents up from the Antarctica which means all the tourists suffering in the colder climates of southern Australia all want to converge on Cairns and the northern beaches all at once to get warm and chill out from the freezing cold rains, driving winds and mind dulling grey skies and darkness that goes with it.
Funny how it is said that humans are more advanced than animals but this trend worldwide shows that we are just like them and feel the need to be nomadic and follow the more temperate seasons just like they do but we cannot unfortunately with our roots down type of lifestyle.
During the dry season there are lots of festivals and events from Cairns to Cape York that are held outdoors in the balmy sunshine due to there being no rain normally at this time of year but as we have witnessed Mother Nature can never be fully predictable.
Be sure to pack a sweater or a wrap for those few nights that are very cold or for trips coming back from the reef in the cold winds. Why not just shop for what you need when you get here as you will not feel the cold like the locals do and you may not need one at all.
This is also the time of year families feel the need to come to the north to show their children the Great Barrier Reef and the beautiful region that surrounds in a very safe and secure environment. Major conferences are held with delegate numbers into the thousands and tour groups from all over the world descend on Cairns in the temperate tropical climate.
From around May to September even the great whales from the southern oceans make their way to the safe waters of the Great Barrier Reef to calve and find new mates. Taking their time to show their offspring these traditional migratory grounds as well as giving them the chance to fatten up in the warmer waters and grow in strength for the journey southward back down to the Antarctica for the melting of the summer snows and the influx of Krill that goes with it at the end of the year.
At this time you can go out whale watching for the morning or afternoon or even join a Great Barrier Reef tour operator that has a special license so you can swim with the Dwarfe Minke whales.
If you were thinking of a holiday to Cairns Beaches at this time we highly recommend that you do your research early as this is the peak season for travel to this destination with holiday accommodation at a premium thus booking out early. Cairns is not really a last minute destination at this time of year as all aircraft travel at full capacity during the dry season so you need to make sure you have a seat to get here to see what Mother Nature has in store for you.