Essential Information

Emergency
Police, fire brigade and ambulance services can all be reached by dialling 000.

Medical
There are a handful of medical centres in Cairns including the Cairns Private Hospital. The Cairns 24 Hour Medical Centre never closes. For emergencies visit the Cairns Base Hospital.

Post Office
Cairns’ main post office is located at 38 Sheridan Street in Cairns CBD. Their opening hours are 8:30am-5:30pm Monday to Friday and Saturday 9am-12:30am.

Getting around
Driving is on the left side of the road in Australia. Cars may be hired at the airport and areas around the CBD. Get local road condition reports from www.racq.com.au or call 1300 130 595.

Getting around Cairns is easy with the Cairns Taxi’s (131 008), Uber and the Sunbus. There are also many bicycle and scooter hire companies in the Cairns CBD area. Visit www.sunbus.com.au/cairns/ to plan your trip.

Shopping
General shopping centre hours are 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday; 10am to 4pm Sunday. Late night shopping at the major centres is till 9pm on Thursday nights. Independent shops are often closed all day Sunday and most shops close on public holidays.

Banking
Banks generally open from 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Timezone
Daylight saving is not observed in Queensland. The time zone in Queensland is Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), UTC +10.

Swimming
When swimming in Australia it is recommended you swim at beaches patrolled by lifesavers and to swim between the flags.

Stinger or jellyfish season is generally between November and May in Cairns and Port Douglas. From November, it is sensible to wear stinger suits in the water, as box jellyfish and Irukandji (the smallest of the box jellyfish family) can be deadly. Beaches are also lined with stinger nets. Out on the Great Barrier Reef the risk of marine stingers is low, however stinger suits are recommended and available for hire on tour boats.

Weather
Cairns experiences hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. The average annual maximum temperature is 29°C (84.2°F), with 62% humidity. Plan ahead with the following information on temperature and rainfall. 


Visitors to Cairns should look out for the UV index in local weather reports, which describes the daily solar UV radiation intensity. Protect yourself from sunburn by using SPF30+ sunscreen, which is readily available at supermarkets, convenience stores and pharmacies. It also helps to wear sun-smart clothing, including a hat and sunglasses.

Spring (September – November)
In spring average temperatures range from 20.5 – 29°C (68.9 – 84.2°F). This is the end of the dry season when humidity starts to build with the onset of the wet season from December. In November, the reef comes alive with the annual coral spawning.

Summer (December – February)
During summer in Cairns, average temperatures range from 23.6 – 31.4°C (74.5 – 88.5°F). The wet season begins building up around December, and most of the region’s annual rainfall (around 2,000mm / 78.7″) occurs in the summer months. In summer, the average sea temperature at Cairns’ northern beaches ranges from 28.9 – 29.4°C (84 – 84.9°F), dipping slightly in winter to 23.8- 24.5°C (74.8 – 76.1°F).

Autumn (March – May)
It is still very warm in autumn, both day and night, with temperatures averaging between 21.5 – 29°C (70.7 – 84.2°F). The rain subsides from April, however the weather can be windy until August. Prevailing south easterly winds continue until approximately October.

Winter (June – August)
Winter in Cairns brings slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity, making it the peak tourist season. Average temperatures range from 17.5 – 26°C (63.5 – 78.8°F) and there is low rainfall.

Cyclones
Tropical cyclones in the Queensland region mostly form between November and April. A watch is issued 48 hours before a cyclone is predicted to cross the coast and is updated every six hours.

A warning is issued if winds are expected to affect coastal or island areas within 24 hours. The warning is updated every three hours, and then every hour if the cyclone poses a major threat. The warning includes information on location, movement and strength of the cyclone, areas that are threatened, as well as anticipated rainfall, flooding and storm surge.