When is the best time to visit Cairns?

Dreaming of sunnier climes? The sunshine state has the answer.

Updated

Fact checked

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Cairns is the destination of choice for beach worshippers, and if you’re one of them read on because we’ve sussed out the optimal time to visit when you won’t feel like a hot and sticky sardine on the sands.


When is the best time to visit Cairns?

April to September is the best time to visit for the ideal balance of affordable accommodation, warm dry weather and thin crowds. By popping in after summer, you’ll completely miss the Christmas crowds and the high humidity, while still being able to enjoy sunshine and warm days. Plus, you’ll only pay a fraction of the peak season price.


Why is April to September the best time to visit Cairns?

Located in the tropical north, Cairns enjoys hot, humid summers and mild winters with temperatures rarely dipping below 24℃ during the daytime.

Cairns is a popular destination for Australian families as it’s the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and offers family friendly beaches. To avoid the crowds, you should steer clear of Cairns during the school holiday period in June/July.

Travelling closer to winter means you’ll enjoy pleasant, dry days that are still ideal for beachside bumming or for exploring neighbouring islands and the Daintree rainforest.

If you're heading to Cairns to kick-start a Queensland road trip, travelling during the dry winter season will also mean there's less of a chance to encounter flooded roads - especially if you're travelling off the beaten track - that can put a real damper on your trip.


Weather and prices

Best time to visit Cairns, weather wise: April to September.

Cheapest time to visit Cairns: Search for flights and hotels in February or March when prices drop as it’s just after the peak holiday period.

Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda
Ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda

RedBalloon

Go snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef
Go snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef

RedBalloon

Explore the Daintree Rainforest with a river cruise
Explore the Daintree Rainforest with a river cruise

RedBalloon


Best time to visit Cairns for...

  • Beaches: With a temperatures of 25-31℃ throughout the year, Cairns is good for beaches any time of the year, though it is best from June to October when it’s the driest.
  • Snorkelling: Snorkelling is good all year round though, the wet season between December and May will likely find you the best deals.
  • Diving: Similar to snorkelling, diving is good all year round with the best deals occurring from December to May, but the least chance it will rain while you're snorkelling is from June to November..
  • Riding the Kuranda Scenic Railway: Ride the rails on this iconic railway during the cooler and drier months of winter for clear views sans the stuffed carriages. The Kuranda Scenic Railway operates every day except Christmas Day.
  • Watersports: Available all year round, watersports such as jetskiing and parasailing are best enjoyed during dry warm months such as April and May or September and October.

Now that you know when to go, here are Cairns travel deals to save on your trip:

Luxury EscapesLuxury Escapes

Up to 49% off 3-nights luxurious getaway w/ wine + flights

Available for travel until 31 March 2022 to Cairns. Package includes return airfare, stay at Hilton Cairns, room upgrade, breakfast, $100 food and drinks credit, bottle of wine and more. Valid for 2 persons. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

KlookKlook

Up to 23% off Australia flight experiences

Available on select travel dates on hot air balloon flights, scenic flights, aerobatic flights and more. Destinations include Melbourne, Hunter Valley, Byron Bay, Sydney, Whitsundays, Gold Coast and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

KlookKlook

Australia skydiving experiences from $279

Available on select travel dates. Destinations include Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Yarra Valley, Perth, Melbourne, Uluru and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

SkyscannerSkyscanner

Australia-wide flights from $65 return

Available on select flights in 2021 to Sydney, Hobart, Gold Coast, Canberra, Newcastle and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne with Jetstar. Other airlines include Virgin Australia and Qantas. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Hotels.comHotels.com

Up to 40% off Australia resort getaways

Available on select stay dates until December 2021. Destinations include Cairns and Port Douglas. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Skyscanner Car HireSkyscanner Car Hire

Cairns car hire from $32

Valid for travel on select dates in 2021 with Avis, Budget, Sixt, Europcar and more. Destinations close from Cairns include Palm Cove, Mareeba and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

eDreamseDreams

Australia hotels from $37 per night

Available on select travel dates to Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Darwin, Perth and more. Sample fare is for a stay in Sydney. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

TourRadarTourRadar

Up to 25% off Australia and Oceania tours

Available on select travel dates until 2022 to Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Wellington, Fiji and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

HertzHertz
FLASH SALE

Get up to 20% off 3+ day rentals

Available on rentals from 1 February - 15 December 2021 across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

KayakKayak
FLASH SALE

Australia flights from $35 each way with Jetstar

Available on select flights from February - September 2021 to Launceston, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Uluru and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.comTrip.com

Extra $50 off Queensland getaways

Plus get up to 19% off stays from 6 January - 30 June 2021 when you spend a minimum of $250. Destinations include Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Whitsundays, Townsville and more. Exclusive for Trip.com members. Membership is free. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Virgin AustraliaVirgin Australia
FLASH SALE

Australia flights from $79 each way

Available on select flights from February - September 2021 to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Perth, Hobart, Adelaide and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina and Launceston-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

ContikiContiki

Up to 15% off Australia tours

Available for travel until 15 April 2021 to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Darwin, Uluru, Cairns, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Trip.comTrip.com

Qantas flights from $111 each way

Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Adelaide, Hobart, Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Looking4ParkingLooking4Parking

Up to 15% off with code

Available on select rental dates across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

SkyscannerSkyscanner
FLASH SALE

Jetstar sale: Australia-wide flights from $35 each way

Available on select flights from February - September 2021 to Launceston, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Uluru and more. Sample fare is Adelaide-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

HomestayHomestay

Australia-wide homestays from $4 per night

Available on select stay dates in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

HomeAwayHomeAway

Cairns stays from $35 per night

Available on select stay dates in 2021. Sample stay is in Caravonica. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

DriveNowDriveNow

Cairns campervan hires from $45 per day

Available on select rental dates. Sample rate is for a station wagon. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Trip.comTrip.com

Up to 50% off Australia getaways

Available on stays until 30 April 2021. Destinations include Sydney, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloonRedBalloon

Australia: Romantic getaways from $150 + an extra 10% off with code

Available on select travel dates when you buy 2 or more vouchers. Destinations include Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Cairns, Yarra Valley and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Trip.comTrip.com

Virgin Australia flights from $78 each way

Available on select travel dates until December 2021 to Gold Coast, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra, Cairns, Hamilton Island and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Melbourne. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

AdrenalineAdrenaline

Up to 65% off activities for kids

Available on select dates, including school holidays, for activities like sandboarding, whale watching, jet boat rides, indoor skydiving, cruises, swimming, go karting and much more. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Trip.comTrip.com

Australia flights from $81 each way

Available on flights in January 2021 to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Canberra, Perth and more. Sample fare is Sydney-Ballina with FlyPelican. Other airlines include Virgin Australia from $96, Qantas from $133 and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

Up to 25% off Awesome Campers rentals

Available on select rental dates across Australia, including Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

Up to 15% off Britz campervan rentals

Available on rentals until 25 March 2021 in Brisbane, Cairns, Perth and Sydney. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Trip.comTrip.com

Up to 28% off Australia-wide staycations

Available on select stay dates in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Priceline.comPriceline.com

Up to 30% off Budget car hires

Available on select rental dates across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

RedBalloonRedBalloon

Up to 30% off Australia experiences + Extra 10% off with code

Available on select travel dates when you buy 2 or more experiences such as sightseeing cruises, hot air balloon flights, day tours and skydives. Destinations include Brisbane, Adelaide, Hunter Valley, Gold Coast, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Motorhome RepublicMotorhome Republic

Up to 10% off Autosleepers rental

Available on rentals until 31 March 2021 in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Adelaide. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

AdrenalineAdrenaline

Up to 85% off land adventures

Valid on select dates and adventures like quad biking, sandboarding, bridge climbing, canyoning, horse riding, abseiling, soccer training and more. Destinations include Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Virgin AustraliaVirgin Australia

Free flight change fees and cancellation fees

Available on flights until 30 June 2021 to Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Broome, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

AdrenalineAdrenaline

Up to 42% off Australia activities

Available on select activities best as birthday gifts like skydiving, hot air balloon flights, quad biking, off road v8 race buggies and scuba diving. Destinations include Sydney, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

AvisAvis

Free upgrade on car hires

Sign up your email and receive the best car rental offers across Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Brisbane and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

WotifWotif

Up to 50% off Australia getaways

Available on stay until February 2021 in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, Hobart, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Hotels.comHotels.com

Up to 40% off Cairns stays

Available on select stays until December 2021. Sample stay is Rydges Esplanade Resort. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

OneTravelOneTravel

Up to USD$30 off flight booking fees

Available on select travel dates to Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Darwin and more. Applies to bookings up to 6 persons. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravelOneTravel

Up to USD$20 off flight fees

Available on all dates on flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

OneTravelOneTravel

Up to USD$10 off flight fees

Available on select travel dates to Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Darwin and more. Maximum of 2 travelers. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Coupon code ends

AdrenalineAdrenaline

Up to 50% off helicopter ride experiences

Available on select travel dates in Townsville, Whitsundays, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Cairns and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Popular Cairns deals coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
22 Jan 2021 Get up to 20% off 3+ day rentals 210****
20 Jan 2021 Extra $50 off Queensland getaways QLD****
21 Jan 2021 Up to 15% off with code PAP****
20 Jan 2021 Australia: Romantic getaways from $150 + an extra 10% off with code PLU****
15 Jan 2021 Up to 15% off Britz campervan rentals JAN****

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site