Northern Beaches

A 26 kilometre sweep of golden sands, blue waters and palm trees, and with the Great Barrier Reef providing a natural barrier from dangerous surf so common to many beaches, Cairns' Northern Beaches are considered to have the best beach and bathing conditions in the region. Add to that warm seas and a backdrop of rainforest clad mountains and one could be forgiven for believing this is paradise.

However, you must be aware that dangerous Marine Stingers are present at North Queensland beaches from October to June; and 'stinger' resistant enclosures for swimming are recommended and are in use at Holloways, Yorkeys Knob, Trinity, Kewarra, Palm Cove and Ellis Beaches.

Closest to Cairns city centre, Machans Beach and Holloways Beach have a definite funky atmosphere, and are favourites with the locals more so than the tourists. Both of these beaches have been subject to some erosion and are very narrow.

Separated from Holloways Beach by a narrow channel and a large sand bar, Yorkeys Knob is much larger than it's southerly counterparts. Yorkeys Knob features an excellent marina, yacht club and golf course and is the closest beach to the service centre of Smithfield, and also to the world class attractions of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. Yorkeys Knob is a very popular beach for water sports such as jet skiing, wind surfing and kite surfing, due to the southeasterly winds hitting the beach on a sharp angle.

Trinity Beach is a palm fringed banana-shaped cove framed by twin headlands and offers excellent holiday apartments by the sea with the road along the beachfront is entirely dedicated to tourist resorts, restaurants and cafes. Very popular with the Cairns locals, it has a selection of shops and beach hire equipment. The beach is lined with picnic tables and barbecues that are free to use, making it a great place for a family outing or an afternoon get-together with friends.

Kewarra Beach is world renowned for its eco-friendly resort, set well back off the highway. Approximately 20 minutes north of Cairns city, it is predominantly reserved for the locals - not because it is not as worthy as its rivals such as Palm Cove and Trinity Beach, or difficult to access. To the contrary, Cairns locals have bought all the property at this beach because it is so private and idyllic, leaving very little room for tourism development.  

Kewarra is at the southern end of a large stretch of sand that takes in Palm Cove and Clifton Beach. It is completely protected from the southeasterly swell by a rocky headland, and a large shallow sandbank fills most of the bay. Clifton Beach is rapidly developing as a prime residential suburb and is sought after by the locals; whereas Palm Cove has proved to be very popular amongst those who appreciate the laid back village ambience.

Palm Cove, an inaugural winner of Australia's Cleanest Beach, is a palm-fringed golden sandy shore lined with majestic melaleuca trees standing tall against a striking backdrop of magnificent rainforest covered mountains. Casual yet sophisticated, Palm Cove is a magical destination offering the best of both worlds. Rivaling the ever popular world renowned Long Beach or Venice Beach in California, the charming tropical village of Palm Cove comes quietly of age with award-winning restaurants and superb new holiday accommodation options. The beach is arguably the most pristine of all Cairns' Northern Beaches, and it offers picnic tables and free barbecues along its entire length. At the northern end of the beach is a long jetty, described as the most expensive fishing platform in the world by local politicians.

Palm Cove has emerged as the 'Spa Capital of Australia' with a plethora of internationally recognised wellbeing spas offering a truly refreshing experience in indoor and outdoor pavilions overlooking the magnificent Coral Sea.  The spas add to the dimension of a relaxing seaside holiday in this charming seaside village.

Regular scheduled bus services operate between the Northern Beaches and Cairns city centre, and many tour operators include pickups from Northern Beaches accommodation. Palm Cove jetty is also a pickup point for three of the reef cruises operators on their way out to the Great Barrier Reef.

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in the hard cover hotel book