What is the rainy season in Cairns?

What is the rainy season in Cairns?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/14/2022

Reading time: 4 mins

Rainy season in Cairns – or anywhere in tropical climates throughout Australia for that matter – is more commonly referred to as the wet season.

Wet season runs through the late spring and summer months (November to March) and sees a substantial increase in rainfall across Cairns, and to most cities and towns in Far North Queensland.

Since Cairns stays warm year-round, it does mean that this increase in rain does lead to the air feeling much more humid, and a little sticky. Electrical storms are common at night too, so it’s a great excuse to settle in at a bar and watch the night sky light up.

When is there the most rainfall?

Statistically, March sees the most rainfall in Cairns and humidity can reach 80%. You can absolutely still visit Cairns in March and see it all, as much of the rain does tend to fall later in the afternoon and evenings, so you can still get out and enjoy the hot and sunny days!

Tours continue to run year-round in Cairns, and tour guides can change itineraries around a little if the weather is not favourable for particular activities. The great news is there is plenty to do even on a rainy day.

How to spend a rainy day in Cairns:

Whilst a day of particularly heavy rain may mean you need to postpone your trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, it doesn’t mean you need to spend the day stuck in your hotel room.

For starters, you could visit the historical town of Kuranda. The glorious Kuranda Scenic Railway will have you enjoying a 2-hour journey through lush national parks, where you can then disembark and explore the quaint town.

You could visit the Cairns Aquarium, Art Gallery or Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, or if you’re feeling energetic you could head to the indoor wildlife park at the Pullman Reef Resort Hotel and have a go ziplining or on the ropes course.

Whilst a lot of travellers may prefer to stay inside when it rains, it’s a beautiful time to get into the national parks or the Daintree Rainforest and take refuge under the tall canopies. Since the rain has been falling, the greenery of the forest is abundant and thriving and creeks and water holes are full and flowing, so it is one of the best times to hike the many trails or boardwalks.

The waterfalls are really putting on a show during the wet season too – why not spend a day exploring an area on the Atherton Tablelands, and walk to the magnificent Millaa Millaa Falls region?

Can you go to the Great Barrier Reef in the wet season?


Regardless of the time of year you get out to the Great Barrier Reef, you’re always going to be in for a treat. Tours to the reef run year-round, and whilst a severe monsoon, lighting storm or extremely heavy rain may be the exceptions to the rule, it’s a fabulous day out in most weather conditions.

Since you’re heading out to go snorkelling or diving, rain on the way isn’t the worst thing, plus the weather is warm so you won’t get a chill. The rain generally won’t continue to fall all day, so you’ll likely get sunny breaks thrown in there.

Be open to changes in plans

The best advice for visiting Cairns in the wet season is to be aware it’s the wet season!

You’ll still be able to get your must-see places, you may just need to switch your itinerary around a little as you go. The locals of Cairns are easy-going and happy to help with making the most of your time there.

A cheeky win: Cairns in the wet season is more affordable and a little less busy which is a bonus for any holiday.

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.