Beaches in Cairns

backpackers at the beaches in cairns

Although downtown Cairns has some beautiful waterfront areas, the beaches in Cairns city centre aren’t for swimming due to low tides. Don’t worry though–you’re only a short bus ride away from crystal blue waters and sun warmed sand in an area called the Northern Beaches. Read about a few below and check them out with some fellow backpackers!

YORKEYS KNOB

yorkeys knob beaches in cairns

 

Yorkeys Knob provides something for everyone. The north end is calm and perfect for sunbathers to lay out. The south end is windy and ideal for windsports, including kite surfing. The small waves at this beach are decent for surfing too.

Getting There from Tropic Days:
20 min drive
40 min by bicycle
40 min bus #120 from Smithfield Shopping Centre

 

TRINITY BEACH

Trinity Beaches in Cairns

 

Located within a bay, Trinity Beach is perfect for swimming. There’s also many options to rent gear for the day, such as bicycles or water inflatables. Make sure you take in the stunning view from the lookout at the southern cliff.

Getting There from Tropic Days:
30 min drive
1 hour by bicycle
1 hour bus #111 from Smithfield Shopping Centre

 

KEWARRA BEACH

kewarra beaches in cairns

 

This beach is popular with locals and is less touristy than the others mentioned here. Palm trees stretch along the lengthy beach, providing a nice area to walk. There’s also great facilities here, including picnic tables, public BBQs, and toilets.

Getting There from Tropic Days:
30 min drive
1 hour by bicycle
1 hour by bus #110 or #111 from Smithfield Shopping Centre

 

PALM COVE

palm cove beaches in cairns

 

Palm Cove is the most popular of the Northern Beaches with lots of resorts and restaurants. From here, you can view the Great Barrier Reef, Green Island, and Double Islands. This area is popular for fishing off the jetty, participating in water sports, renting kayaks, or just swimming and laying out.

Getting There from Tropic Days:
30 min drive
1 hour, 20 min by bicycle
1 hour by bus #110 from Smithfield Shopping Centre

 

Other beaches in Cairns area include: Machan’s Beach, Holloways Beach, Clifton Beach, and Ellis Beach

 

Remember:

✅ Swim between the red and yellow flags

✅ Bring sunscreen and sunglasses!

✅ Check the Beach Report for any closures or warnings

✅ Beaches in Cairns have Stinger Season from November – May, so swim in the net enclosures during this time