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Cairns BeachesAustralia

With the Great Barrier Reef on your front doorstep and breathtaking tropical rainforest out the back, this laid-back city is where your adventures begin.

Take the plunge into reef-marbled waters and dense tropical rainforests from Cairns, a major city in northern Queensland and a gateway to some of the country’s most famous World Heritage wonders. Cairns pulses with the life of its natural surroundings, while its cosmopolitan hum makes it a great spot to base your tropical north Queensland adventures. Embark on a tour of the iconic Great Barrier Reef, see the rainforests of the Wet Tropics or simply kick back on sandy white beaches fringed by palms at the Northern Beaches.

Linger a while in Cairns to discover the city’s local treasures. Take a dip at the Esplanade Lagoon, check out the marina or pick up regional delights from the farmers’ market. Cairns Tropical Zoo showcases the diverse wildlife that resides in Queensland’s tropical north.

Discover postcard-perfect waters along Cairns’ Northern Beaches. Trinity Beach offers family-friendly swimming areas, while Palm Cove is the ideal romantic getaway. Enjoy the seclusion of Clifton Beach beneath the shade of a coconut palm.

When you’re ready to explore a little further, head to the Reef Fleet Terminal for a wide range of coral-cay sightseeing and diving tours, or jump on board the historic railway that takes passengers through breathtaking rainforest to the town of Kuranda. Check out Barron Gorge National Park to soar over the Wet Tropics on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Book a white-water rafting adventure on the Tully, Barron or North Johnstone rivers. Explore ancient rainforests at Cape Tribulation and the Daintree or take a four-wheel drive journey through the hinterland savannah and fertile plateau of the Atherton Tablelands.

Cairns is located on Queensland’s northern coast and is accessible via its own domestic and international airport, as well as the coast’s major arterial highway. The Northern Beaches are about a 15-minute drive from the city. Accommodation options include island resorts and rainforest lodges. Chat to the lifeguards before swimming between November and May, as stingers can make the waters extremely dangerous. Peak visitor times are between June and August, when the climate is warm and dry.

Top hotels in Cairns Beaches

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery
The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery
5 out of 5
99 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$237 per night

This Palm Cove hotel is on the beach, 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Palm Cove Beach, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and Great Barrier Reef. Tjapukai ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (686 reviews)

"Close to the beach, friendly staff, two pools, and scheduled daily activities. I am not a Spa person but have family that would have made use of the Spa. The word 'complimentary' comes fast to my mind as there were many offerings from champagne in the room to sorbet by the adult only pool; daily ..."…"

Reviewed on 18 Apr. 2020

The Reef House Palm Cove MGallery
Peppers Beach Club and Spa - Palm Cove
Peppers Beach Club and Spa - Palm Cove
5 out of 5
123 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove, QLD
The price is AU$223 per night

Nestled on the beach, this Palm Cove resort is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Palm Cove Beach and 2.3 mi (3.7 km) from Clifton Beach. Kewarra Beach and Clifton Village ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (825 reviews)

"The staff were fabulous. The pool was great and it was within walking distance to the beach. The shops and restaurants were also within walking distance"…"

Reviewed on 8 Mar. 2020

Peppers Beach Club and Spa - Palm Cove
Fitzroy Island Resort
Fitzroy Island Resort
4.5 out of 5
Fitzroy Island via Cairns, Fitzroy Island, QLD
The price is AU$130 per night

This Fitzroy Island resort is located by the ocean, nestled on the beach within minutes of Welcome Beach and Nudey Beach. Regional attractions also include Grey ...

4.1/5Very Good! (736 reviews)
Island nice. Hotel unapologetic re price gouging.

"Loved the island. Snorkeling right off the beach was so nice. Not as many fish as I’ve seen in other places, like Maldives and French Polynesia, but here the coral was the real treat. I’ve never seen as many types and vivid colors of a living, breathing reef. And types of fish I’d never seen. Hotel ..."…"

Reviewed on 3 Mar. 2020

Fitzroy Island Resort

Popular places to visit in Cairns Beaches

Palm Cove Beach
Image for Palm Cove Beach

Palm Cove Beach

4.5/5(1,058 reviews)

Located in between the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, this palm tree-lined beach is an idyllic spot to take it easy or begin an adventure.

Clifton Beach
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Clifton Beach

4/5(332 reviews)

This quiet beach north of Cairns offers long stretches of white sand and clear water.

Top activities in Cairns Beaches

Small-Group Sailing Adventure to Green Island & Reef Snorkel
Image for Small-Group Sailing Adventure to Green Island & Reef Snorkel

Small-Group Sailing Adventure to Green Island & Reef Snorkel

100% of travellers recommend
AU$153
Per adult
Fitzroy Island Adventures - Full Day or Half Day
Image for Fitzroy Island Adventures - Full Day or Half Day

Fitzroy Island Adventures - Full Day or Half Day

88% of travellers recommend
AU$85
Per adult
4-Day Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Tour
Image for 4-Day Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Tour

4-Day Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Tour

80% of travellers recommend
AU$793
Per adult
Brett's Outback Tasting Adventures-Cairns and Northern Beach
Image for Brett's Outback Tasting Adventures-Cairns and Northern Beach

Brett's Outback Tasting Adventures-Cairns and Northern Beach

AU$205
Per adult
Undara Lava Tubes Flight & Tour with Lunch
Image for Undara Lava Tubes Flight & Tour with Lunch

Undara Lava Tubes Flight & Tour with Lunch

100% of travellers recommend
AU$790
Per adult
Reef & Rainforest Scenic Helicopter Flights - Cairns
Image for Reef & Rainforest Scenic Helicopter Flights - Cairns

Reef & Rainforest Scenic Helicopter Flights - Cairns

AU$399
Per adult