Best time to visit Cairns

The best time to visit Cairns is during the winter dry season from June to November, when you can expect clear, blue skies and warm, sunny days tempered by gently sea breezes.

For hot-weather activities the best time to visit Cairns is during October and November.

Cairns weather

Cairns experiences a tropical monsoon climate year-round, with two main seasons: hot, wet and overcast from December to March; and cool, dry and partly cloudy from June to September, with little rainfall.

Average high temperatures reach 31°C (87°F) in summer and 25°C (77°F) in winter.

What is the best month to visit Cairns?
The months of June through September are the best months to visit Cairns, since this is the cooler time of year, with warm, sunny weather, mainly clear skies and little or no rainfall.

May, October and November are also good months, with higher temperatures and occasional showers.

Which is the hottest month in Cairns?
The hottest month of the year in Cairns is normally January, with an average high of 32°C (89°F) and low of 24°C (75°F).

However, on the warmest days of the month, the temperature may climb to around 33°C (91°F).

The hot season lasts from early-November to mid-March, with an average daily high temperature above 30°C (86°F).

When is it sunniest in Cairns?
The sunniest time of year in Cairns is normally September and October with nine hours of sunshine per day – that's around 75% of daylight hours.

April through to November is usually the clearest time of year.

What is the humidity in Cairns?
Cairns experiences seasonal variation in humidity, with approximate average relative humidity calculated at between 64% – 78% over the course of the year.

What do the humidity conditions feel like in Cairns?
We derive the humidity comfort level – what conditions feel like – from the dew point temperature, which measures moisture content in the atmosphere: a higher dew point feels more humid, while a lower dew point feels drier.

Meteorologists agree that dew point temperature is a more consistant indication of 'absolute humidity' than relative humidity, which fluctuates with temperature. 

The average annual dew point in Cairns is 20°C (68°F), and varies over the course of the year from comfortable at 15°C (59°F) to muggy and uncomfortable at 23°C (73°F).

The more humid time of year lasts from mid-September through to mid-June, when you can expect the comfort level to be muggy at least 35% of the time.

The months with the most muggy days in Cairns are January, February and March, with every day in each month muggy or worse.

July and August are generally more comfortable, with around five days in each month that are muggy.

When is the sea warmest in Cairns?
The sea is usually at its warmest in Cairns in January, February and March when the water temperature reaches 29°C (84°F), which is very pleasant for swimming.

The sea water is warm enough to swim year-round in Cairns.

Which month has the most rain in Cairns?
February is normally the wettest month in Cairns with 377mm (15in) of rainfall on average, distributed across 15 days.

The wet season lasts from mid-December to early-May, with a greater than 39% chance of a given day being a wet day.

During the wet summer season you can expect hot sunny days interspersed with torrential downpours. The sky is mainly cloudy and overcast. January usually has the most cloud cover: on average the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 80% of the time.

The wet summer season also brings poisonous box jellyfish to the region's beaches.

The drier season lasts from early-May to mid-December.

The month with the least wet days in Cairns is September, with 14mm (‹1in) of rainfall on average, distribued across four days.

What is the windiest month in Cairns?
April through August are usually the windiest months in Cairns, with average wind speeds of more than 23 kilometres per hour (14 mph; 12 knots).

Cairns experiences less wind from November to mid-March. The calmest month of the year in Cairns is February, with an average hourly wind speed of 17 kilometres per hour (10.6 mph; 9 knots).

The predominant wind direction in Cairns is from the east throughout the year.

Is there a risk of a tropical storm in Cairns?
The risk of a tropical storm in Cairns is greatest between January and March, with a risk factor of around 4.1% of a storm occuring in Febraury.

This region is prone to tropical cyclones between December and April. Queensland has an excellent cyclone warning system that provides plenty of advance notice of an impending cyclone.

Note: The waters of tropical Queensland are home to marine stingers and jellyfish. The high risk season is from October to May. Most accredited tour operators offer protective ‘stinger suits’ to customers at little or no cost.

If you do get stung do not rub the sting area instead, apply vinegar immediately and seek medical attention urgently. Dial 000 for an ambulance.

Cairns Weather Averages

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high temperature (°C)
32 31 31 29 28 26 26 27 28 30 31 32
Average low temperature (°C)
24 24 23 22 20 18 17 17 18 20 22 23
Average daily sunshine (hrs)
7 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 9 9 8 8
Average daily daylight (hrs)
13 13 12 12 11 11 11 12 12 12 13 13
Comfort level
High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon
Comfort level – humidity (#muggy days)
30 28 30 25 19 9 5 5 10 19 25 29
Average dew point temperature (°C)
23 23 22 21 18 16 15 16 17 19 20 22
Average relative humidity (%)
75 78 75 76 74 72 70 68 65 64 67 70
UV Index (max)
11+ 11+ 11+ 11 8 7 7 9 11 11+ 11+ 11+
Average days of rainfall (≥1mm)
15 15 15 14 10 7 5 4 4 6 8 11
Average monthly rainfall (mm)
352 377 290 160 76 34 35 17 13 43 70 155
Average wind speed (km/h)
18 17 21 23 22 22 23 23 22 22 21 19
Average sea temperature (°C)
29 29 29 27 26 25 24 24 25 26 27 28
Cairns, Queensland

Holiday seasons

High season: December to February, especially during the summer school holidays from 26th December to the end of January.

Major public holidays including Easter when everyone seems to be on the move and everything from airline seats, hotels, restaurants and petrol prices are at their highest.

The winter months of June, July and August are the busiest periods for travel in Northern Queensland.

Low Season: Summer, from November to March, when it can be uncomfortably hot, wet and humid.

Cairns weather by month

Source: Meteorological data for Cairns is based on weather statistics gathered for the 30-year period 1991 to 2020 by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) from the closest weather station: Cairns International Airport (CNS), located 7km (4mi) north of Cairns CBD.

Advice on the best time to visit a particular destination is based on average local weather statistics, when the weather conditions are generally better than at other times of the year. We consider high and low temperatures, risk of rain (and thunderstorms, etc.), amount of sunshine and sea temperature. For general outdoor activities we favour clear, rainless days with a temperature range between 18°C (64°F) and 27°C (80°F); and for hot-weather activities we favour clear, rainless days with a temperature range between 24°C (75°F) and 32°C (89°F). Often, the best times to visit correspond to high season and therefore involve higher prices.

More about Cairns

Latest update: Best time to visit Cairns: 15 May, 2024

Disclaimer: The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data and conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable. We assume no responsibility and can not be held legally responsible for any decisions made on the basis of the information presented on this site.