October 11, 2020

Disclosure: Pin This Trip is reader-supported so this post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. I appreciate your support, helps me create more helpful content for you! 

There’s countless reasons why Cairns is Australia’s tropical paradise destination! The vibrant Great Barrier Reef filled with colourful fish and corals, and the thriving Daintree Rainforest are a favourite for many to visit at any time of the year. But, being a tropical destination, this means we also need to consider Cairns weather seasons when deciding on the best time to go to Cairns weather wise. 

If you haven’t already decided on when you intend on visiting the region, make sure you save this pin to your Cairns, Australia Pinterest board so can refer back to it at any point.

discover the best time to go to cairns weather wise

Cairns Weather Seasons

Instead of the typical Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring that many other places around the world experience, Cairns weather seasons follow the tropical wet season / dry season.

Cairns is beautiful year round, so regardless if you’re visiting Cairns in the wet season or the dry season, there’s so many amazingly beautiful things to see and do.

Jump Ahead:

Wet Season in Cairns | What To Expect

Cairns wet season is officially starts in November and ends in April each year. 

It’s during these months that you can expect the average daily temperature to rise to around 31C during the days, and night time temperatures rise to around 23C.

December, January and February are officially the warmest months in Cairns.  

While Cairns is certainly warmer and wetter during these months, don’t let this be a reason not to visit the region… Waterfalls are putting on a show, and the ocean is warm and inviting.

Just imagine gliding into Great Barrier Reef to do some snorkeling or scuba diving at a tepid 29C! 

This tropical combination throughout the wet season in Cairns leads to sultry days and impressively magnificent waterfalls throughout the entire region! 

Despite higher rainfall, there are still plenty of things to do in Cairns when it’s raining. 

The intermittent tropical downpours are comfortable, and are often welcomed as it makes the humidity drop almost instantaneously . 

The rain in Cairns reminds me of when you’re a child running around around freely. 

It leaves me feeling nostalgic. 

It’s warm and comfortable and everything feels fresh and clean.

You’ll find that a lot of people don’t even bother with umbrellas, although it’s still probably a good idea to have if you don’t want to get wet! 

Cairns Weather November

November is technically the beginning of the Cairns wet season. Temperatures have started to rise and typically sit around 30C.  Humidity is starting to rise. 

With that, we start to see more rainfall, with an average rainfall for the month sitting at around 101mm. 

In saying that, on average, November only typically sees 5 days of the month with rainfall, so even if you are coming to Cairns in November and wondering what there is to do, you can still expect plenty of sunny days. 

sun peaks through the clouds over the Cairns crops
Sun peaks over the crops near Cairns, Australia

Sea temperatures sit at around 27.5C, which are perfect for a snorkeling trip out to the island or an Outer Barrier Reef trip.

Cairns Weather December

On average, the weather in Cairns in December will typically see around 188mm of rain over around 9 days of the month. 

Temperatures raise just slightly over November to around 31C, but humiditiy definitely starts to kick in before Christmas. 

Christmas in Cairns is the kind where you spend the day beside the swimming pool, enjoying a platter of prawns and nibbles, and sipping on a cold drink! No white Christmas’ here! 

Sea temperatures in December in Cairns will have raised significantly up to around 29C. 

It’s the kind of temperature you can comfortably spend the entire day in if you choose! Beautiful!

Cairns Weather January

The weather in January is where we really start to see the wet season come out in force. 

Rainfall jumps from around 188mm in December up to around 423mm in January over around 13 days. 

Day temperatures remain at around 31C, but humidity has significantly increased by January as a result of the increased rainfall.

The sea temperature peaks at around 29.5C… the warmest it will get the entire year round. 

Although it can be a very wet month, there are still plenty of things to do in Cairns in January when visiting the region. Waterfalls for example are on some of the best display of the year!

Paronella Park Waterfall putting on a display during Cairns Wet Season
Paronella Park Waterfall, near Cairns Australia

Cairns Weather February

February is another clear indicator that we’re in the middle of our wet season. 

Temperatures remain at around 31C, humidity remains high and rainfall (on average) actually clocks up slightly more than January on average.  

February typically sees around 14 rainy days per month. 

Sea temperatures are slightly cooler than in January, at 29.3C. 

If you’re looking to visit Cairns in February, make sure you check out these recommendations for things to do in Cairns when it’s raining.

Cairns Weather March

March is the wettest month of the year in Cairns, where we experience around 442mm of rain over 13 days (on average). 

Humidity is very high in March due to the high rainfall and warm daily temperatures (day temperatures averaging 30C and night time temperatures falling to 22C). 

Sea temperatures drop further in March to an average of 28.5C

Considering the amount of rainfall the region has seen over the previous few months, the region is absolutely vibrant with life and the rainforest looks incredible. Despite hot and humid weather, there are still plenty of things to do in Cairns during March.

vibrant rainforest during wet season in Cairns-min
Vibrant rainforest after a wet season in Cairns, Australia

Cairns Weather April

In April, we start to see clear signs that we are nearing the end of the wet season. Day time temperatures drop to 29C, night time drops down to 21C. 

Rainfall almost halves from what we saw in March, down to 232mm on average over 10 days. 

Sea temperatures also continue to drop further to around 27.8C. 

April can still be a humid month as there’s typically still enough rainfall and warm temperatures, but we can sense that the hottest weather is starting to subside.

Dry Season In Cairns | What To Expect

The Cairns Dry season is widely considered the best time to go to Cairns weather wise. 

The humidity from the wet season has lifted, and the days are typically warm and sunny. 

The best weather in Cairns also happens to conveniently align with some of the coldest and harshest winter weather in the southern states of Australia.  

This provides Aussies with some well-earned temporary relief with the perfect getaway to escape the coldest part of the year!

Cairns Weather May

May is officially the first month of the dry season in Cairns. 

By May, we’re seeing a significant drop in both daytime, night time, and sea temperatures as well as the humidity. 

Although May is technically one of the cooler months in Cairns, we still see a day time average of about 27C, which I’m sure you agree is pretty comfortable. 

Night time temperatures drop to around 19C, so a light cardigan at best is enough to keep you comfortable. 

We also see another big drop in rainfall, down to 138mm on average over 8 days.

The sea temperatures drop to 26.2C from 27.8C the month before. 

I consider May to be one of the best times to go to Cairns weather wise and 

The sea temperatures are still warm enough to go snorkelling and scuba diving comfortably for the day. 

Relaxing on the beach of Fitzroy Island off the coast of Cairns Australia

There has been a lot of rain in the past few months meaning that the rainforests are putting on a show, and waterfalls are often booming! 

You’re more likely to experience dry sunny days than wet.  Even when it does rain in May, it’s normally a quick downpour, then back to clear. 

We chose May to have our wedding in Cairns because of the weather and how lush the region looks and feels at the end of the wet season. 

It’s also a month that is often overlooked by tourists so it can be a bit quieter around town compared to the typical high season in July-October.

Cairns Weather June

In the rest of the country, June is considered the first month of Winter. 

And, while technically it is also one of the coolest months in Cairns, the daytime temperatures only drop to 25C, and night time drops to around 17C.  

The humidity that we saw in the wet season is essentially gone by now, making the days very pleasant. 

Sea temperatures take a massive drop in June, down to just 24.5C.  While this is still certainly swimmable, it can feel ‘fresh’ as you jump in. Most people will typically not spend ‘all day’ in the water. 

Our ‘Winters’ in Cairns are one of the main reasons why most people visit cairns between the months of June and October.  They can escape the harshest parts of winter and land in a tropical paradise without even leaving the country! 

The earlier half of June is still typically fairly quiet with regards to the numbers of tourists visiting the reason.  Most people will wait for school holidays to make the trip up to Cairns. 

For this reason, along with May, I believe June is one of the best times to go to Cairns weather wise. 

Enjoying Green Island during the nice weather in Cairns, Australia

Cairns Weather July

July is historically the busiest months of the year in Cairns. It is at the centre of our dry season. 

We see day time temperatures drop to 25C and night time temperatures drop to 16C. This is still very comfortable, and you can comfortably wear a light cardigan in the evenings to take off the chill. 

By now we are seeing just 44mm of rain on average for the month of July over 6 days.  Even the days that it rains, the majority of the day is sunshine with just showers of rain. 

Most of the rain we get in July is at night, so it doesn’t affect any activities you wish to do during the days. 

July is the month we see the sea temperatures to be the coldest for the year, dropping to just 23.8C on average.

Cairns Weather August

August is officially the driest month of the year in Cairns, clocking the lowest average rainfall of 38mm over 4 days.

In saying that, the tropical rainforests are still absolutely beautiful, and waterfalls still run (although may not be as impressive as the wetter months).

Just like July, August is not humid and has some beautiful weather during the day and in the evenings. 

July-August are the two busiest months of the year, with the most tourists visiting because of the incredible weather. 

Day time highs typically sit at around 26C, and night time lows sit at around 17C. Just like July, humidity is essentially non-existent at this time of year.

Cairns Weather September

By September, we start to see temperatures begin to raise again, with day time highs reaching an average of 27C, and night time lows at around 18C. 

September has around the same amount of rainfall in Cairns as August does, sitting at around 39mm over just 3 days, making it one of the driest months of the years. 

Humidity is still low in September and it is very comfortable weather. 

The sea temperature has started to rise again from August, and by September, the average sits at 24.8C. 

The first two weeks of September are historically quieter with regards to the number of tourists in the region.  This is not to do with the weather, but rather to do with the timing of school holidays in the country. 

If you are not restricted to school holidays, try to visit in the first two weeks of September rather than the second half so that you have more flexibility with places to stay and things to do in Cairns. 

Enjoying picnic food at Nudey Beach Fitzroy Island Cairns

Cairns Weather October

I believe October is one of the best time to go to Cairns weather wise.

In October, you can expect warmer days at an average of around 29C for high temperatures, and 20C for low temperatures. 

Humidity is still quite low so the weather itself is very comfortable. 

October still has a relatively low rainfall at around 45mm for the month over 4 days. 

Average sea temperatures see a big jump from the previous month and hover around 26.3C, making it much more comfortable for a longer day exploring the Great Barrier Reef or visiting the Islands around Cairns

Tourism can still be quite busy into the first week or two of October, so if you are flexible with timing for your visit, try to visit in the second half of October where it’s a bit quieter.

Wet Season In Cairns FAQ

Does Cairns Have A Wet Season?

Cairns has a tropical climate which has a wet season and a dry season. Wet season falls between November and April. Dry season falls between May and October.

Does It Rain A Lot In Cairns?

During the wet season, Cairns experiences a high rainfall, particularly between the months of January and March. During the dry season (May to April), the region does not receive excessive rainfall.

How Hot Does It Get In Cairns?

The warmest months in Cairns is in December, January and February where it reaches an average high of 31C (87.8F) with high humidity. The coolest month in Cairns is July, which reaches a average high of 25C (77F) with low humidity.

Is December A Good Time To Visit Cairns?

Christmas is a very popular time to visit Cairns. December is part of the wet season so you can expect longer, warmer days, and you’ll likely experience some tropical rains, but don’t let this put you off, there’s still a lot to do in Cairns in December!

Is December A Good Time To Visit Port Douglas?

December and Christmas is a popular time to visit Port Douglas. December is part of the wet season in Cairns so you’ll find the days longer and warmer than the ‘winter’ months. There’s also an increased chance of rain which put the waterfalls on display!

What Is The Wettest Month In Cairns?

Officially, the wettest month in Cairns is March, which receives 442mm of monthly rainfall on average. Although, January and February also receive a similar monthly average rainfall.

Does Cairns Get Cold?

Cairns, Australia is a tropical destination and does not typically get cold. The coldest month of the year is July where we see an average high of 25C (77F), and an average low of 16C (60.8F) overnight.

What Is The Driest Month In Cairns?

August is officially the direst month in Cairns with an average monthly rainfall of just 38mm over 4 days.

What Time Of Year Can You Swim In Cairns?

It’s possible to swim year round in Cairns, however warmer months from November to April it is suggested you wear ‘stinger suits’ to prevent stings from jellyfish in the ocean, as this is when they are most present in the waters. The best months for swimming in Cairns are May and October.

Is August A Good Time To Visit Cairns?

August is one of the best time to go to Cairns weather wise. The weather is beautiful with daytime temperatures reaching an average of 26C (78.8F) and an average low of 17C (62.6F). August is the driest month of the year, so you’ll get lots of warm, sunny days to explore the region.

So… When Is The Best Time To Go To Cairns Weather Wise?

I believe that the best time to go to Cairns weather wise is May, followed closely by October.

In May, we can enjoy waterfalls putting on an impressive display after the wet season, but we have much less rainfall to interrupt our plans. The weather is tepid and the average sea temperature is comfortable for swimming.

October has amazing weather for visiting the Cairns region. Both day and night time temperatures are extremely comfortable and the sea temperature has started to rise.

This makes it more comfortable to spend the day at the Great Barrier Reef and the Islands. In saying that, even through the coldest months of the year, it’s still 100% doable!

Most people travel to Cairns between the months of late June to Early October, which aligns fairly closely to our dry season.

This is normally to escape the cold weather in the Australian southern states.

Our wet season does see high rainfall. But, if you don’t mind visiting with a bit of humidity, there are still plenty of things to do in the rain in Cairns during wet season.

Now you know the best time to go to Cairns weather wise! Make sure you save this pin to your Cairns Australia board on Pinterest so you can refer back to it later when deciding on when to visit Cairns, Australia!

discover the best time to go to cairns weather wise

About the author 

Kate Mannion

Hi, I'm Kate! Mum of 2, and Cairns local for the last 7 years. I love taking photos (although I still have a lot to learn) and taking the drone up to see this beautiful region from a different perspective. I hope to help you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience while visiting the region! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}