Two girls jumping into water at Nudey Beach Fitzroy Island

Cairns, nestled in between the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest, is home to an array of beautiful beaches that shouldn’t be overlooked. Be sure to tick off these top 5!

1. Trinity Beach 

Situated just north of the Cairns city, you’ll find the cheerful Trinity Beach. Popular with locals and travellers alike, this is Cairns beach is a great place to unwind on a quiet afternoon. Go for a walk along the foreshore, relax on the sand, or take a dip in the ocean. There are numerous self-serve barbeque areas at Trinity Beach, so take advantage with a group of friends and have the classic Aussie barbie on the beach.

Barbeque skills not quite up to scratch? Easy – pick up take away fish and chips or a tasty kebab from the Trinity Beach Kebab House. For a fun tip: fill a cup with water from the ocean and leave in the sun. When the water has evaporated, you’ve made your very own sea salt to go with your fish and chips!

2.  Palm Cove 

Head slightly further north from Trinity Beach and you’ll arrive in Palm Cove. This picturesque beach is fringed with (as the name suggests) tropical palm trees, making it the ideal place to sit back, relax and soak in the sea breeze. (plus it’s super Instagrammable!)

With cute cobbled roads winding along the foreshore through the cafes, restaurants, and resorts, Palm Cove is one of the beautiful Cairns beaches that will give you the instant “Ahh – I’m on a holiday” feeling. Perfect for a mini holiday from your working holiday!

There are many activities available in Palm Cove. A popular activity is kayaking to Double Island, a picturesque two hump island just off the Palm Cove foreshore. Don’t forget to jump in for a dip afterwards, but remember to swim in the provided stinger nets as jellyfish do inhabit our tropical waters. As the day draws to a close, indulge in a cheeky cocktail from Nunu’s Restaurant. Sipping on a cool drink underneath the palm trees is a brilliant way to unwind after a day in the sun.

Sarah Latham Palm Cove Cairns

3. 4 Mile Beach at Port Douglas 

Ah Port Douglas. Situated an hour north of the Cairns CBD, any Cairns bucket-lister knows this picturesque town is a must-do! Port Douglas is well known across the world, not only for it’s frequent visits by international celebrities (so keep your eye out) but also because of the beautiful 4 Mile Beach.

Relax on the white sand, cool off with a dip in the Coral Sea, or get your hiking boots out and explore the trails at the end of the beach. While you’re here, give your legs a proper stretch and hike to the 4 Mile Beach Lookout. The picture is worth the journey and also the perfect excuse for an ice-cream reward.

4. The Cairns Lagoon

Oooohkay! So the Lagoon isn’t exactly a ‘beach’ but its sparkling blue waters are so inviting how could it not be listed?

Located in the centre of the Cairns CBD, the saltwater Cairns Lagoon is the perfect spot to cool off on your lunch hour or enjoy a refreshing morning swim.

Complete with a man-made beach, this patrolled lagoon is open from 6am to 9pm 7 days a week. Plus with ample barbeque areas and live music the atmosphere of the Cairns Lagoon is second to none.

Related: Things to do in Cairns CBD.

5. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island 

How could we possibly list the top 5 Cairns beaches without including the number one beach in Australia? That’s right, just 45 minute ferry ride from the Cairns city is Fitzroy Island, home to Nudey Beach – voted the number one beach in Australia. Before you get any ideas, this is Nudey Beach not a Nudist Beach and swimmers are required.

Two girls jumping into water at Nudey Beach Fitzroy Island

Bring a packed lunch (or dine at Foxy’s Bar on the island), your towel, bikinis, sunscreen, and don’t forget your camera, as one of the most Instagrammable locations in Cairns, the views of Nudey Beach are jaw dropping.

There is accommodation on Fitzroy Island if you wish to stay overnight (just remember to book this in before arriving), however, most people will venture over for a day trip or even just the afternoon with boats leaving throughout the day every day of the week.

Don’t forget to try out your acrobatic skills on the Raging Thunder Sea Trampoline and for those seeking a physical adventure, the hike to the top of Fitzroy Island provides impressive views over the Cairns coastline!

Enjoy discovering 5 of the best Cairns beaches!