Tropical North Queensland – Don’t Let the Wet Season Put You Off

Posted by Sarah on June 05, 2023

Summer in the tropics. It might rain. Yes, it probably will, but with rain brings spectacular beauty in this region of Australia, and with so much to experience during this time of year you’ll wonder why you were so worried about the rain in the first place!

The wet season or as it’s lovingly-named the ‘Green Season’ – because everything’s so luscious and green, is wildly beautiful at this time of year. It’s when nature truly comes alive, offering unique experiences that cannot be matched anywhere else.

Port Douglas has two distinct seasons: a winter period (May to October) with warm temperatures between 21 and 25 degrees (69 - 77 °F) and low rainfall; and a summer period (November to April) of balmy temperatures between 26 and 32 degrees (79 - 89 °F) and yes, you guessed it…plenty of glorious rain. However, feel satisfied in knowing that with rain mother nature brings lots of sunshine too, and perhaps even a possible thundery sky to marvel at in the afternoon.   

I’ll say it again, don’t let wet season discourage you. Not only are the days longer in Summer, but the ocean water temperatures are warmer sitting at around 29 degrees (84 °F). This means you can swim, snorkel, and dive all year round. November through to March does bring in the jellyfish, however special swimming enclosures are erected at popular beaches to protect swimmers. Despite this time of year being ‘stinger season’ it is when the water is at its clearest, making snorkelling and diving the Great Barrier Reef even more impressive.

So, in true tropical North Queensland style, pop on a rain jacket, grab your brolly (umbrella) and make the most of your holiday at this amazing time of year!




Below are 10 of our favourite rainy-day activities to 'wet' your appetite.

1.    Mossman Gorge, the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation - Mossman Gorge is located in the heart of the oldest rainforest in the world, the Daintree Rainforest. Known for its crystal-clear water, stunning scenery, and cultural significance to the local Indigenous people. Take a walk with the local Kuku Yalanji people to explore nature, bush foods, listen to cultural stories and dip in one of the many swimming holes. Admire the scenery at Cape Tribulation, then embark on a scenic cruise along the Daintree River as wet season brings an abundance of wildlife, including crocodiles, birds, and snakes.

2.    The Great Barrier Reef - while the wet season can bring some rainfall, it can also offer some of the best snorkelling and diving conditions on the Great Barrier Reef. The water temperature is warm, and the visibility can be excellent. Take a boat tour to explore the colourful coral reefs and swim alongside an array of marine life. All snorkelling equipment, seasonal lycra suits and flotation devices are included. The reef for above is also a spectacle - we love a scenic flight taking in the reef and rainforest! 

3. The Kuranda Scenic Railway - takes you on two-hour journey from Cairns to the mountain village of Kuranda in the Atherton Tablelands; one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the whole of Australia. Kuranda is surrounded by the World-Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforest and is a must-visit for any visitor.

 4. Kuranda Village - wander around the quirky little village, full of artwork, buskers, cafes, and shops. Take in the Kuranda Heritage Market and make sure you don’t miss   the ‘plane crash’ just outside the markets – the plane is famous for its role in a 1986   movie called ‘Sky Pirates’. If you love wildlife, you can visit Birdworld Kuranda, Kuranda   Koala Gardens and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. There’s also a Kuranda Riverboat Cruise which sails five times a day along the Barron River.

5.    Skyrail Rainforest Cableway - the iconic Skyrail is a must-do experience that   provides a truly unique perspective of Australia’s World Heritage listed tropical r   rainforest. Sitting high above the canopy in your own cable car, glide for 7.5km between Smithfield (Cairns) and Kuranda which will take approximately 2.5 hours return. Alternatively combine your day with a one-way pass of the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway with a one-way Kuranda Scenic Railway for the ultimate experience.

6.    Wildlife Habitat - immerse yourself in the Habitat’s lush rainforest environment and animals of the Wet Tropics. Walk the Predator Plank to play ‘I Spy’ with Babinda, the 4.2M crocodile; check out the python enclosures inside away from the rain, and interact with curlews, frogmouths, kookaburras and lorikeets whilst having breakfast at the Curlew Café. 

7.    Aboriginal Culture Tour - The only place where two world heritage sites meet, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Explore Kuku Yalanji country with your Aboriginal guide and share the cultural connection the people have with their land. Learn about the environment, native plant use, medicines/food and sample some seasonal bush tucker. Listen to Dreamtime stories, learn about marine and rainforest life, swim in freshwater streams and try spear and boomerang throwing!                                                     

8.    River Drift Snorkelling – Now for the adventurers, if you love nature and the water, then this is the perfect tour for you. Once fitted with a wetsuit, boots and a snorkel mask you’ll step into the cool, crystal-clear water and drift the currents (with you guides) as you explore life under the water's surface. Watch fish dart in and around the river stones, the occasional turtle, and the elusive platypus. This tour is a perfect way to stay cool in the hot tropics and is a great introduction to snorkelling before heading out to the reefs.

9.    Janbal Art Gallery - located in Mossman is more than just an Aboriginal art gallery – it is a true Aboriginal experience, completely Australian owned and operated by the artist. learn about Aboriginal art and culture through hands-on painting workshops and storytelling experiences or simply browse that gallery at your leisure.

10.    Shopping and eating – you don’t have to tell me twice! Port Douglas boasts an amazing array of shops including giftware gems, art galleries, local fashion houses and famous industry brand names. For a long lunch the options are truly endless – from the top end of town at Salsa Bar & Grill and Sassi e Cucina through to a little more casual at the Tin Shed or the iconic Central Hotel. Catch some live tunes at Barbados, while sipping a cocktail as the sun goes down and you’ve got your afternoon set.



The wet season in Port Douglas offers a unique and exciting experience with a more relaxed and authentic feel. From exploring the rainforest to snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, there is something for everyone. So, pack your raincoat and book your trip to Port Douglas to discover the beauty of this coastal town – you may just tick off an amazing bucket list experience.