Best time to visit Cairns

The best time to visit Cairns is during the winter dry season from May 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 November to March; and cool, dry and partly cloudy from June to August, with little rainfall.

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

Which is the hottest month in Cairns?
The hottest month of the year in Cairns is normally January, with an average high of 31°C (87°F) and low of 24°C (75°F). However, from November through to February you can expect high heat and humidity.

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.

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 month has the most rain in Cairns?
February is normally the wettest month in Cairns with 377mm of rainfall on average. There are typically 15 days in February with some rain.

During the wet summer season which lasts from November to March, 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.

What is the windiest month in Cairns?
April is the windiest month of the year, with an average hourly wind speed of around 23 kilometres per hour (12 knots).

March through November are usually the windiest months in Cairns, with average wind speeds of around 22 kilometres per hour (12 knots).

Cairns experiences less wind in the months from December to February. The calmest month of the year in Cairns is February, with an average hourly wind speed of 17 kilometres per hour (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 – Monthly Weather

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average daily max temp (°C)
31 31 30 29 27 26 26 27 28 29 31 31
Average daily min temp (°C)
24 24 23 21 20 18 17 17 18 20 22 23
Average daily sunshine (hrs)
7 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 9 9 8 8
Daily hours of daylight
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 Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon
Average relative humidity (%)
75 78 78 78 76 74 72 70 66 65 68 70
Average UV Index
11+ 11+ 11+ 11 8 7 7 9 11 11+ 11+ 11+
Days with some rainfall
15 15 14 14 10 7 5 4 4 6 8 10
Average rainfall (mm)
352 377 258 156 78 34 35 17 14 41 69 158
Average wind speed (km/h)
18 17 21 23 22 22 22 22 22 22 21 19
Average daily sea temp (°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 – Monthly Review

January February March April
May June July August
September October November December

Note: Monthly weather averages – meteorological data is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia with additional historical climate data sourced from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

More about Cairns

Latest update: Best time to visit Cairns: 27 June, 2022