Cairns is known for its beautiful scenic views, stunning surroundings and the endless activities that you can partake in. There is something for everyone. The only thing missing from Cairns is a beach. There is the option of spending the day at Cairns Esplanade lagoon or chilling by a swimming pool but sometimes a day at the beach is a nice change. Although the walk along the Esplanade runs alongside the ocean, due to restrictions, (aka crocodiles), you are not able to swim there. In this weather having cold water to jump into to cool off is a must so it's a good job that there are numerous beaches not too far away.
I went to explore a favorite destination of Cairns locals... the Northern Beaches.
Palm Cove is a small village and is known for being very luxurious and a popular spot for beach weddings. Numerous resorts, bars and restaurants run along the palm tree lined esplanade over looking the ocean and you have an amazing view of Double Island.
Palm Cove is a great place to escape the simple life of a backpacker and make you feel like you are on a 5 star holiday, all you have to do is check out the beautiful boutique shops here and you'll feel like a celebrity.
Palm Cove also has the added excitement of being able to hire items such as jetski's, kayaks, surfboards and paddle boards. (Kayaking to Double Island is very popular!) Swimming in the sea here is great, the sea is really warm, just make sure you stay between the flags especially in stinger season (November to May / June).
The jetty at the end of the esplanade is also great for you keen fisherman. Fishing is not for me but who cares it's a great way to top up your tan and enjoy the view. After a hard day sunbathing and playing in the ocean you can enjoy a bite to eat, or if you are lucky with your fishing you could throw your catch on the BBQ and enjoy the sunset. Palm Cove is 20 minutes north of Cairns but is easily accessible by car or regular public buses.
Yorkeys Knob is a huge beach which despite its beauty never gets too busy. The secret behind this beach though is the wind. During the windy weather this beach is flooded with Kite Surfers making the most of the waves. This sport is so fun to do but also great to watch. At low tide you can go right out into the ocean and watch the Kite Surfers glide by either side of you. Yorkeys Knob has lifeguards on duty most days and has stinger nets allowing you to swim all year round. The beach is also easily accessible from Cairns with buses running regularly.
Holloway's is your typical tropical style beach, like something you would see on a fancy picture. This secluded beach has palm trees everywhere reminding you that yes, you are in paradise. With BBQ facilities right on the beach edge as well as toilet and shower amenities it's a great place to spend the day. Holloway's is actually the closest of all the beaches to Cairns City Centre located a very short 10 minute bus journey. Nomads Cairns provides a free trip to Holloway's Beach every Wednesday.
Machans Beach is very tranquil with an unspoilt hippie style community. This was the first beach that I visited once I had arrived in Cairns and one look at it reassured me that I was going to love the area I was living in. The atmosphere is very laid back, with no hustle and bustle whatsoever. Machans Beach has a basic convenience store and one restaurant so it's perfect for people who want to spend a whole day laying on the beach, soaking in the sun with a good book.
Admittedly there is not a beach within walking distance of Cairns CBD but I assure you that a small bus journey or a road trip with friends will allow you to visit some of the most tranquil and sunning beaches you have ever seen. Please make sure that you read the signs when you arrive at the beaches as stingers (jellyfish) are present some months of the year. For more information on how to access any of these beaches please see the friendly reception staff at Nomads Cairns.