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Snorkel/Beach questions!

San Francisco...
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Snorkel/Beach questions!

Hello all! You have all been very helpful so far in researching my trip. My partner and I will be in Cairns in mid-late September and I wanted to ask a few questions. I am attempting to plan out our activities. We love beaches, snorkeling, jungle walking and clear blue waters. I have been looking for good beaches to go to to relax and swim (Trinity? palm cove?). I have also been researching good islands for day visits. I have found this one operator that goes to the Frankland Islands (I think Normaby island specifically)- and it looks beautiful!

So my main questions are:

1) What are some of the best beaches within easy driving/busing distance from Cairns that are pretty, clean, with clear waters, good sand?

2) What are some good/beatiful islands to visit which offer clear blue waters for snorkeling, and nice white beaches?Jungles are a plus! lol------> Green Island, Frankland Islands, Fitzroy Island, Dunk Island, Lizard Island... ?? Coral cays?

Sydney
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1. Re: Snorkel/Beach questions!

Close to Cairns both Trinity and Palm Cove are my favourites. The south end of the Palm Cove beach (which is called Kewarra Beach) at low tide is particularly nice. Incidentally these beaches are close together - with the S end of Kewarra being just around the headland from Trinity.

You probably know that there's no worthwhile snorkelling from the mainland beaches around there, but two weeks ago we were walking along at Clifton Beach (Palm Cove) and a pod of about 6 dolphins came almost right up to us as if to say, "Hi". Not exactly a Monkey Mia experience but pretty cool anyway.

You'll get better advice about the islands around there from people who know more than me. I've only been to Green Is. and Fitzroy. Wasn't particularly impressed by Fitzroy's beaches, particularly at high tide. Green Island, when we went, was besieged by other tourists and it felt crowded.

Thinking the same as you about coral cays, I took Ocean Spirit out to Upolu Cay when we were there. On a fine (ie, sunny, WINDLESS) day it would probably have been very nice. However, on a windy day (20 knots and more) it was terrible, with blown sand actually hurting you whilst on the cay and with high breaking waves that made snorkelling downright tricky. Main lesson, check the wind forecast before heading out on a trip to a cay. I have spoken with people who highly recommend Reef Magic even on windy days, and I gather that Wavelength are also pretty good.

For jungle walks, there have been some good recommendations on this forum about guided walks in the Daintree - I'll be following some of that advice when I'm up there about the same time as you in September.

One other word about the beaches - and this is going to sound more negative that I mean it to be, I'm sure - is that due to the onshore winds the water on the Cairns northern beaches often looks "muddy", particularly in the afternoon ie. browner than we get down around my house down near Sydney. This is to do with the play of light, I know, but it can be a little disappointing. On calmer days it looks pretty blue.

Also, at high tide the beaches can look quite narrow (as with many many beaches). At low tide they're lovely. Regardless of these small asides, I really do like it up there. More palm trees, warm water even in winter, and plenty of really nice, relaxing restaurants with great food !!

Lastly, about pure white sand.... almost all of our beaches on the East coast don't have it. There are superb examples like Whitehaven in the Whitsunday Islands and around Jervis Bay near Sydney (and probably a few others) but mostly they're a typical golden colour. Beautiful nonetheless, so don't be disappointed !!

Have a great time. Sounds like you'll be up there at exactly the same time as us.