What are the best places to go swimming in Cairns?

However tempting it may be to take a dip in the ocean surrounding the CBD, please don't. You will find crocodiles in the water from time to time and during the Summer season, there will be jellyfish and other stingers floating around. It's just best to avoid the ocean around the CBD in Cairns all year long. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy swimming though as there are heaps of other spots you can go to when you need a bit of refreshment. We've listed some of our favourites for you! 

Esplanade Lagoon

This man-made body of saltwater is perfect for when you want to go for a swim without the threat of jellyfish stings! 

Located right on the waterfront in the middle of the CBD, this lagoon is 4800 square metres and offers different areas for you to relax in, whether you want to swim laps or have a bit of a splash around with the kids. Completely free to use and safe to swim in (there are lifeguards that patrol the pool during opening hours), this lagoon is both peaceful and breathtaking and is guaranteed to cool you down when the Cairns heat starts to get too hot for you to handle. 

Esplanade Lagoon opening hours: 

  • Thursday to Tuesday 6.00am to 9.00pm
  • Wednesday 12.00pm to 9.00pm (closed before midday for weekly maintenance)
  • Public holidays 6.00am to 9.00pm

Palm Cove Beach 

Not only is Palm Cove a stunning place to visit at any time of the year, but the beaches are pretty good for swimming in too! 

While you can swim anywhere along the beach, it is advised (especially in the Summer months) that you swim within the swimming enclosures to protect you from harmful stingers and water currents. These swimming enclosures have been constructed out of netting and feature floating tubes that aim to keep jellyfish and other animals out so you can swim around freely. This netting goes all the way down to the ocean floor and is weighed down by a chain so it can't move around. 

While the netting does add a layer of protection against stingers entering the swimming enclosure, wearing stinger suits or other lycra suits is still recommended as an extra precaution as the nets aren't 100% full proof in keeping jellyfish out. 

Perfect for the whole family, this beach is patrolled by lifesavers during peak periods to ensure your safety at all times. 

Trinity Beach 

As is common at all of the popular beaches in Cairns, Trinity Beach features a swimming enclosure (present during November - May) that makes having fun in the water possible without the threat of jellyfish and other marine stingers. This swimming enclosure is patrolled by the Australian Life Saving Association and provides the perfect environment for kids and adults to swim in safely. 

If you're travelling outside of the peak seasons (June - October), make sure you're always swimming between the flags and are aware of the conditions. It is also recommended if you're not swimming in the designated enclosure that you wear a stinger suit to help protect you from jellyfish. If the beach is unsafe to swim in, there will be signs to advise of this so make sure you're on the lookout. 

Kewarra Beach 

Popular among locals predominately due to the slow/non-existent tourism development in this area, Kewarra beach is perfect for the whole family and is located about a 20 minute drive north of the Cairns CBD. 

With white sandy beaches and clear water, this spot offers protection from the southeasterly swell due to a rocky headland, making it an ideal destination for swimming despite a large sandbank filling most of the bay. 

Why not make a whole day out of it? There are numerous picnic tables, play equipment and public toilets surrounding the beach ensuring there's enough to occupy a couple of hours worth of fun for the whole family. 

Learn more about wearing a stinger suit in Cairns

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