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It may surprise you that even though I live in South East Queensland, most winters I feel the need to escape to warmer weather. One of the many great places to escape winter are the Northern Beaches of Cairns. In fact I believe that winter is the best time to visit Far North Queensland as the humidity is lower, it’s the dry season and the temperatures are generally still in the mid to late 20s.
Cairn’s Northern Beaches, a string of sleepy seaside villages are located about 15 minutes from the city. They are a favourite with locals and each has its own unique character, like the family-friendly Trinity, the kite-surfing hub of Yorkeys Knob or the relaxed Holloways.
Further north are the Northern Beaches of Clifton Beach and Palm Cove, Kewarra and Ellis Beach – right up to as far as Port Douglas.
Just a 20 minute drive from Cairns and nestled in between two large headlands, Trinity Beach features a sheltered bay and good amenities. This is one of the Cairn’s best beaches, lined by palm trees and an esplanade, complete with shops and restaurants.
This largely, untouched by tourist development, beach suburb of Cairns, retains a very laid-back atmosphere that is a delight to find. Clifton Beach is clean and deep, has a moderate swell from the south-easterly trade winds, and is home to a large pippy (small mussel) population. It is around 20-25 minutes drive north of Cairns.
A major tourist hotspot, with resort-style hotels and apartments, as well as an array of water sports and a links-style golf course. From the jetty, regular cruises depart for the Great Barrier Reef and Green Island. Palm Cove lives up to its name with a long stretch of beautiful palm-fringed beach that is perfect for stinger-free swimming during the Winter months. Only 27Kms north of Cairns.
Boasting a natural appearance, the undeveloped Ellis Beach is found on the northerly side of a large rocky outcrop, just past Palm Cove. This beach is usually extremely quiet and ideal for those looking to escape the crowds. Ellis Beach is long and thin, stretching for just over 1 kilometre. At the southern end of the beach the fishing is excellent, and at all other places the swimming and sunbathing is popular.
Idyllic Oak Beach lies ten minutes south of Port Douglas and a scenic 45 minute coastal drive north from Cairns. Unspoilt and 1.5 kilometres in length, Oak Beach curves its way north to a rocky headland. With only one quaint street and an intimate seaside community where rest and relaxation are paramount.
The ultimate beach resort getaway, nestled between the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas is a tropical paradise. One hour’s drive north of Cairns this very popular holiday resort is a holidaymaker’s haven.
Port Douglas is renowned for it’s great range of award-winning restaurants and nightlife spots including many bars and a few nightclubs. Bask in the warmth on the famous Four Mile Beach, swim in the warm waters of the Coral Sea, take a leisurely stroll along tree lined streets bordered with galleries, boutiques and sidewalk cafes.
If you’re heading up to the Northern Beaches of Cairns this winter, make sure you put a day trip on your itinerary to see the wondrous Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. As you can see from the above photo it really is where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea. The only downside is that there have been sightings of Saltwater Crocodiles on the beach here and even a lady was taken here on this beach a few years ago, so I would not advise swimming here.
Cape Tribulation is 85Kms north of Port Douglas, but is a spectacular drive through the rainforested hills, over the Daintree River on a vehicular barge and then through the rainforest, across trickling streams, past fruit orchards and tea plantations.
Far North Queensland is unarguably one of the best winter travel destinations in Australia and the Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder that everyone should see. With the reef being endangered, I would be seeing it sooner rather than later!
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & BeyondJune 8, 2018
Hi Kathy! It is a magical part of the world isn’t it? I haven’t visited Cairns or surrounds for about 20 years so perhaps another visit is in order. Your photos are so so tempting!
KathyJune 9, 2018
It’s a great place to visit in winter. The temperatures and the lower humidity make it perfect for a tropical holiday. I particularly love Palm Cove and Port Douglas.
JoJune 9, 2018
When I visited Cairns and the surrounding beaches in 2012 I didn’t want to come back. I loved them all and we travelled in July which was just perfect. Your photos have brought back some lovely memories for me and of course a desire to return :)
KathyJune 10, 2018
July would have been the ideal time to visit Far North Queensland. Otherwise it’s very hot and humid during the summer months. It certainly is a beautiful place in Australia and the Great Barrier Reef is incredible.