Barron Falls

Weather & Seasons

When to plan an adventure to Tropical North Queensland

Weather & Seasons

The climate is one of the best things about Tropical North Queensland – you can have a great holiday at any time of year. But the weather can be very different from what you’ll find in other parts of the country, so you’ll need to know what to expect.

In the tropics, you’ll enjoy warm days all year. Regular rainfall over summer and autumn keeps the days pleasant (with the mercury only just tipping 30ºC on average) and decorates the landscape a rich green. The rainforest is at its most lush and waterfalls are full and spectacular. Although rain and storms are more common throughout this period, it very rarely rains all day and you’ll usually enjoy sunny days with a storm in the afternoon or evening.

In winter and spring, experience the further reaches of Tropical North Queensland like Cape York and The Savannah Way, or ‘lax by the beach with typically drier days, while temperatures hover around the mid-twenties and rarely dip below 17ºC along the coast.

Find out what makes each season so special below.

summer great campaign hero waterfall

Summer (Dec-Feb)

Average Cairns temperatures: 23.6ºC / 31.4ºC

Summer in the tropics is when nature comes alive. Like a time-lapse before your eyes, the landscape can quickly transform from the warm tones of spring to fresh green tones of summer with warm, therapeutic rain.

Local tropical produce including sweet mangoes and tangy lychees fill markets; and with native fruit in abundance, so is the incredible and unique wildlife.

Due to lower winds and calmer seas, water clarity on the Great Barrier Reef is amazing through summer.

Summer
Barron Falls in Flood

Autumn (Mar-May)

Average Cairns temperatures: 21.6ºC / 29.2ºC

Let summer live on in Autumn in Tropical North Queensland. The landscape is lush, the creeks and rivers are full and waterfall chasing is spectacular. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see Barron Falls at its most iconic.

Get the adrenaline pumping rafting down rivers surrounded by ancient rainforests, or visit an outback painted green by the regenerative rain, giving you a new perspective on this Aussie icon.

Autumn
kids playing at ellis beach

Winter (Jun-Aug)

Average Cairns temperatures: 17.5ºC / 26.2ºC

Welcome to the place where your typical idea of winter doesn’t really exist. Daytime temperatures hover in the mid-twenties, the beach is the place to be and camping is a favourite winter pastime. 

Make the pilgrimage to “The Tip”, Australia’s most northerly mainland point, or head west along the Savannah Way to discover ancient geological wonders and the tropical outback.

Winter
nudey beach fitzroy island

Spring (Sep-Nov)

Average Cairns temperatures: 20.5ºC / 29.5ºC

Kickstart your summer early with a tropical spring. Sunny days call for relaxing in cool waters; bright flowers bloom and with them, flocks of colourful birds feeding on their nectar arrive; and the reef comes alive at the annual coral spawning.

Tropical North Queensland gives you that traditional summer feeling, just that little bit early.

Spring

Tips

  • Whaley cool experiences

    During June and July, you’ll find the only known aggregation of Dwarf Minke Whales in the world on the Ribbon Reefs north of Port Douglas.

  • Take a dip

    Freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls vary in levels across the year. For the most spectacular waterfall chasing, visit during summer and autumn.

  • Discover the Great Barrier Reef

    Often when it’s raining on the coast, it’s sunny and clear on the Great Barrier Reef as the mountain ranges surrounding Tropical North Queensland draw the rain.

  • What’s on

    There are many fantastic events throughout the year, from spring racing carnivals to sporting events, concerts or markets. Check out our calendar for all the info.

Discover more

Things to do through the seasons.

kid picking a mango
Seasons
Why you should visit the tropics in summer

From cosy rainforest retreats to once-in-a-lifetime Great Barrier Reef reef events, epic waterfalls to spectacular outback scenery, this is why you should put the green light on your summer holiday.

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River Drift Snorkel
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The Ultimate ‘Only in Tropical North Queensland’ guide

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Luxury places to rest your head

Escape to luxe island hideaways, indulgent outback retreats or tranquil ancient rainforests. Kick off your shoes, take some much needed R&R and discover the unique landscape of Tropical North Queensland.

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Ellinja Falls in the Atherton Tablelands
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10 waterfalls to chase on the Atherton Tablelands

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Mudcrab to mangoes: your guide to eating local in Cairns

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Rex Smeal Park
Port Douglas
Things to do in Port Douglas

Don’t let its flop and drop reputation fool you, there are many things to do in Port Douglas. From hunting with Traditional Owners & exploring the Great Barrier Reef, to river floats & wildlife parks. Here’s how to spend your time in Port Douglas.

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Punsand Bay Cape York
Cape York
Cape York is calling: Planning a trip to The Tip

Ready to tackle one of Australia’s most remote landscapes, Cape York? Just you, a car and 1,200km of untamed, World Heritage-listed, 180 million year-old rugged rainforest beauty – aka The Tip.

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Coral spawning close-up
Great Barrier Reef
All you need to know about the coral spawning

Strap on your mask and snorkel or oxygen tank for the Great Barrier Reef’s biggest event of the year – the beautiful and mysterious mass coral spawning. The predicted dates for 2020 are 6-8 November for inner reefs, and 3-5 December for outer reefs.

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Minke whale article tile
Great Barrier Reef
Swim with dwarf minke whales

The Great Barrier Reef is the only place in the world that you can swim with dwarf minke whales: an experience so exclusive it only happens for two months of the year and only in Tropical North Queensland.

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drive the savannah way
Gulf Savannah & Outback
Savannah Way – An Outback Adventure through Gulf Country
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mount quincan crater retreat atherton tablelands
Atherton Tablelands
7 great reasons to head to the Atherton Tablelands

The Atherton Tablelands are the kind of place you want to take at your own pace. Jump in a car and head inland to tick off these must-do experiences.

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Atherton Tablelands
13 Food trail highlights on the Atherton Tablelands

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Holloways Beach
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Guide to Cairns Beaches

A chain of relaxed seaside villages lay just north of Cairns, each boasting their own unique features. Find out more about each of Cairns’ beaches and which tickle your fancy.

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