Stinger Season In Cairns

Stinger Season In Cairns

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 10/06/2014

Reading time: 4 mins

If you’re planning to swim in Cairns during the summer, keep an eye out for stinger signs.

Cairns is a coastal city which means that there are lots of beaches to enjoy. The beaches of Cairns are truly breathtaking, with glorious stretches of white pearl sands and a bounty of blue stretching to the horizon.

When the tropical air gets to be a bit too hot, your first instinct may be to jump into the water. However, the warm summer months are also when there is an abundance of stingers.

What are stingers?

Stingers are jellyfish, and they are known to drift towards the shore during Australian summers. Whilst an encounter with a blue bottle or jelly blubber may cause you pain it shouldn’t have you running to the emergency room. The most dangerous stingers are the box jellyfish and the Irukandji and their stings can be lethal.

Because of this, swimming in the waters during this time can be risky. This doesn’t mean the rich waters are off-limits but it does mean that you need to think before jumping in the water.

Don’t worry! There are a number of ways you can avoid coming into contact with a stinger.

Stinger signs and stinger nets

Stinger warning sign in Cairns

From the first of November until the start of May, the stinger nets are out around Cairns and Port Douglas. Those hitting the beach should be sure to only swim in patrolled areas and to look for the comforting colours of the red and yellow flags.

There are a couple of ways to ensure that you are swimming in a safe spot during this time. You could stop to chat with one of the lifeguards and ask where the safest place to swim is. You can also pay attention to the signs that state where it is unsafe to swim.

Donning the stinger suit

Stinger wetsuit

While stinger nets are out in full swing at many beaches across the coastline of Cairns, it is well worth noting that they are not foolproof. With the ebb of the tide, smaller stingers can sometimes pass through to the other side.

At this time of year, everybody going into the waters should wear stinger suits. These special suits leave only fingers and faces exposed for extra protection. The stinger suits look like Lycra wet suits and work by covering exposed skin. They keep you safe not only from stingers but also from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Staying safe in Cairns

Whether or not you take to the waters during stinger season is a personal choice. On a fiery day in Cairns, you will see hundreds of people splashing in the surf, laughing on the shoreline and swimming out across the waters. Stinger encounters are rare but the chance is there.

If you do decide to swim then make sure you enter the water slowly to give the stingers time to move away. Make sure you don’t swim outside of patrolled hours or when the beach is closed, no matter how inviting the ocean looks.

Other ways to avoid stingers

Esplanade Lagoon in Cairns

If you want to fully avoid the risk of stingers, you don’t have to avoid the water! There are plenty of other places to swim near Cairns that are not in the ocean.

Located along the Cairns Esplanade is the Esplanade Lagoon. This large saltwater pool offers a beach-like experience without the danger of stingers. It is a great place to swim, soak up the sun, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

Milla Milla Falls in Atherton Tablelands

If you are up for a trip out of the city, visit one of the nearby rainforests for a dip in the natural freshwater pools. There are many waterfalls and pools to swim in throughout the Atherton Tablelands. Some of those locations include Milla Milla Falls, Lake Barrine, and Lake Eacham.

There are also plenty of safe swimming spots in the Daintree Rainforest. These include Cassowary Falls, Mason’s Swimming Hole, and Emmagen Creek. Each location is safe from both stingers and crocodiles, allowing you to have a worry-free day in the water.

Overall, staying safe during stinger season doesn’t mean that you can’t bask in the beauty of Cairns and its surrounding region!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.