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5 best beaches in Cairns

The tropical north of Queensland is in no shortage of stunning beaches. From sugar white sands to turquoise waters and swaying palms, the coastline and offshore islands offer a bounty of bustling and secluded spots to choose from. Cairns itself doesn’t have a beach perse, and, in fact, turns into a vast expanse of muddy swamp at low tide. But it does serve as an excellent basecamp to access many other postcard-worthy beaches in the greater area.

From coastlines to islands and man-made watering holes, we list 5 of the best beaches in and around Cairns.


1. Trinity Beach

Just a 20-minute drive up from Cairns, Trinity Beach is one of the closest and most popular beaches in the area. With its family-friendly vibe, relaxed atmosphere and its location nestled between two large headlands; Trinity Beach is ideal for those wanting to feel sheltered away in the natural landscape.


2. Palm Cove

Head another 10 minutes north up the coast to reach Palm Cove. As the name subtly suggests, this picturesque strip of sand is lined with lush palm trees. More of a luxury tourist hotspot, the beach’s esplanade is populated with ample 5-star resorts, sophisticated restaurants and classy bars.

3. Ellis Beach

Finally, we reach the last of Cairns’ Northern Beaches. The only thing standing between Ellis Beach and Palm Cove is a rocky outcrop, making it easy for those looking to beach hop for the day. This quiet and relaxed spot is much less busy than its nearby neighbour, allowing you to stroll along its 6-kilometre stretch of squeaky white sands in relative peace.

4. Nudey Beach

While not in the Cairns area, Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island is just a 45-minute ferry ride away and promises an unforgettable scenic experience. Considering it was awarded the number one spot on the 2018 Australia’s top 101 beaches list; you’d expect as much.

5. Cairns Esplanade Lagoon

Last but not least, what the Cairns town centre lacks in a beach, it makes up for with an entirely artificial saltwater lagoon. Equipped with its own sandy shores, crystal clear waters, grassy slopes and swaying palms, the lagoon offers safe, year-round swimming. This is a great spot for families and those wishing to avoid getting stung in the open ocean during jellyfish season.

Explore Cairns beaches with a rental car 

Don’t limit yourself to the beaches accessible by public transport - get yourself a vehicle with Ace Rental Cars. We offer a wide range of options to accommodate all types of travellers. Call us today on 1800 620 408 for any queries.


Ace Rental Cars Cairns Airport Location

Address: 147 Lake Street Cairns Australia Get Directions
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