5 Beautiful Beaches Within Reach of Cairns, Australia

Palm Cove at sunrise
Palm Cove at sunrise |  © Darren Tierney / Shutterstock

From Port Douglas to islands in the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is surrounded by stunning sandy beaches. Each beach listed offers something different, whether it be snorkeling opportunities, nice long beach walks, or island access. Check out these five beautiful beaches within easy reach of Cairns.

Nudey Beach

Located on Fitzroy Island, Nudey Beach was awarded the number one spot in Australia’s top 101 beaches list in 2018. The list is curated by Australian beach expert, Brad Farmer. Despite the name, Nudey Beach is no longer a clothing optional area, so visitors should always keep their swimsuits on! Fitzroy Island is a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns in the Great Barrier Reef, and Nudey Beach’s crystal clear waters are located a short walk through the rainforest on the other side of the island. The beach, and Fitzroy Island in general, have fortunately not been tainted by mass tourism yet, so make sure you visit this gem before the rest of the world discovers its beauty.
Fitzroy Island, QLD, Australia

Nudey Beach

Four Mile Beach

One hour north of Cairns is its more upmarket neighbour, Port Douglas. The town is known for its exclusive resorts, marina filled with expensive yachts, and its access to the Great Barrier Reef. Fortunately it doesn’t cost anything to enjoy Four Mile Beach, which is (unsurprisingly) four miles long (6.4 Kilometre Beach is not as catchy). The beautiful beach stretches from Yule Point to rocky Island Point, which is also known as Flagstaff Hill, and is a must-visit for the perfect vista overlooking Four Mile Beach. Go for a long walk on the sand, swim in the gentle waters, or visit the beach hire crew and enjoy the ocean from above or below.
Four Mile Beach, Esplanade, Port Douglas, QLD, Australia

Four Mile Beach

Green Island

Green Island is another island located in the Great Barrier Reef, just off the coast of Cairns. The world famous island’s beautiful sandy beach is a must-visit for avid snorkelers and scuba divers. Visitors can simply enjoy the island’s pristine white sand beaches or azure waters, or venture just off the shoreline and snorkel around the surrounding reef. Admire the amazing marine life and coral of the Great Barrier Reef. Green Island’s beach truly offers the best of both worlds.
Green Island, QLD, Australia

An aerial view of Green Island

Palm Cove

Palm Cove is located a 30-minute drive from Cairns city centre. Known as Far North Queensland’s day spa capital, Palm Cove is filled with luxurious resorts and independent boutiques lining Williams Esplanade. Its beach is also the most beautiful in Cairns’ Northern Beaches region, outdoing both Trinity and Ellis Beaches. Lined with palm trees, the cove looks even better bathed in the sun’s first light. Pull up a spot under a palm tree, and enjoy the view from Palm Cove.
Palm Cove, QLD, Australia

Palm Cove at sunrise

Mission Beach

Mission Beach, with its 14 kilometres (8.7 miles) of golden beach coastline, is located two hours south of Cairns. People usually visit Mission Beach to skydive and land on the beautiful beach. Another Mission Beach drawcard is its easy access to Dunk Island. Hop on board a 10-minute ferry with Mission Beach Dunk Island Water Taxi, and be prepared to be blown away by the island’s isolated and sandy slice of paradise. The local company also does a three hour/three island tour, where guests can enjoy some private beach time on the exclusive Bedarra Island. It doesn’t get more beautiful than that.
Mission Beach, QLD, Australia

Dunk Island

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