Cairns in Feb?

Jan 7th, 2005, 01:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 5
Cairns in Feb?

We are spending 3 weeks in Australia from 14th February and we would really appreciate some advice on our itinerary.

We will be in Sydney for the first week and intend to stay in the Blue Mountains for a couple of days. Afterwards, we planned to fly to Cairns and visit the Daintree and then spend 2-3 days on one of the islands on the GBR. Maybe Hinchinbrook or Heron? However, we've just realised that we'd be visiting at the wettest time of the year. I read a post by Pat Woolford where she said that Feb was still a good time to visit the Daintree despite the weather - but does the same apply to the GBR and islands?
lisa_adrian is offline  
Jan 7th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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lisa_adrian - its a bit tricky for an island stay in Far North Queensland, you can get some lovely days in Feb - other days you may get heavy tropical downpours. I think I'd be more inclined to stay on mainland and take day trip/s to reef. Hinchinbrook Resort will be closed 2nd Feb-23 March "due to anticipated wet season and possible cyclone activity". Reef/island weather here right now in January is pretty well perfect, with most rainfall at night, sunny days and light breeze making underwater visibility great. It may remain like this and it may not. Best of luck.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 8th, 2005, 07:56 AM
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Lisa: A few comments on your plans. Seems like late Feb would be a great time to fly to Melbourne and drive the Great Ocean Rd, perhaps all the way to Adelaide. You could even visit Kangaroo Island while you're in the area.

I love the Blue Mts, but can't stand how touristy the Katoomba area is...if you drive up there, you can easily get away from all that. The Jenolan Caves are wonderful and are a must see.

Keep in mind Heron Island is nowhere near Cairns and getting there will require extra effort. (Worth it though!)You should check out the recent posting about this island. It is only barely in the tropics and so the Feb weather will be less monsoonal. Bird activity starts to wane in late Feb. For all the effort, plus the likelihood that you will love the place, I'd plan a 3 night's stay minimum.
RalphR is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 01:40 AM
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June - Sept are the best times to go to Cairns and the reef: temperate weather, little danger in the water, few insects. February is possibly the worst time to go: rain, heat (40 degrees celsius), mosquitos, flies, jelly fish in the water. Not a good time to go at all. Heron Island is gorgeous, but Feb is not the best time to go. The Daintree will be almost unbearably hot and sweaty and will have snakes and insects galore. Reschedule your trip for June or head to the beaches around Brisbane instead. The weather is usually more temperate the further south you go in summer, especially on the east coast.
cerisenoir is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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40C in February in Daintree??- sure, the humidity is high but you can't have a rainforest without rain. The hottest month is January, and today it was 30C max in both Port Douglas and Cape Trib. and very rarely gets over 32C-33C. Snakes and insects are part of a healthy rainforest. Wear insect repellent for bugs, snakes aren't likely to attack unless interfered with and they're pretty good at hiding from humans. The rainforest is at its best in the wet season, creeks, waterfalls and rivers are flowing, everything comes alive. In June-Sept rainforest is often dry and dusty and SE winds can make reef trips unpleasant. Only coastal areas are affected by box jelly fish, almost unheard of on reef and you can always wear a stinger suit.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 10th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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The tropics are at their best in the "wet season" and there seems to be more wild-life around and about. The biggest problem with Heron is that it is a small island and if it rained there would be absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go. For the greatest diversity the far north around Cairns and Port Douglas is the best. Stingers are not on the reef areas and when you are in the water out on the reef who would care what temperature and humidity there is on the mainland.
At present, as in right now, the southern part of Queensland is under a cloud mass and it is very cool and raining.
For my money your idea of Hinchinbrook would be fantastic as you will have so many things to do there whether it rains or not. It really is the pick of the islands and from there you can get to many areas that are not seen very often by tourists i.e. the dugong and turtle feeding areas.
lizF is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 12:43 AM
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Not necessarily so, Ralph. Cyclone Kerry, a Category 3 is east of Mackay and tracking south west. 3 beaches on Sunshine Coast are closed due to rough conditions. Tonight's weather forecast says this cyclone will have no impact on northern tropics.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 01:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Hinchinbrook Island is the largest Island national park in the world.
Hinchinbrook Island is very close to the mainland.
The Island is separated from the mainland by a channel.
Many creeks and channels criss cross parts of the Island.
Thousands of acres of mangroves surround the Island and the canals.
The mangroves are protected in most areas.
The mangroves are breeding grounds for crocodiles and all other estuarine creatures.
At certain times of the year one would not swim any where near the mangroves, the swamps and or the channels due to stingers and crocodiles.
There are several walking tracks on the Island which are well marked and are reasonably easy walks. Hinchinbrook is situated in the wettest part of Australia.
February is usually very wet.

I have walked Hinchinbrook many times but would not even think of going there during the wet months.

Just North of Hinchinbrook is Dunk.
Dunk also receives lots of rain.
Dunk has walking tracks, golf courses, inside gym, tennis, basket ball, pool tables,hair dressing salon, boutique, horse riding, archery etc.
If it rains you will have some thing to do on Dunk.
Dunk would be a much better bet during the wet if you want to visit this area.

Many more Islands exist further North.
The weather all the way along the queensland coast can be very bad from December through to the end of April.
You might be unlucky and get it at Heron, Hinchinbrook, Dunk, great Keppel, Lizard, Low, Hicks, Horn, Thursday, Coconut, York, Murray, Sabi, Deliverence, Buru, Moa, or any other of the thousands of Islands along the coastIts the luck of the draw. You just might be lucky enough to get three great days in a row. But do not bet your life savings on it.

Just to the west of Dunk is mission beach.
Last week one of the large resident crocs was seen chasing a smaller croc just off the beach.
The smaller croc went into the stinger net on the beach.
The larger one waited out side the net.
The smaller one was entangled in the net.
An officer of the law waded out to try and free the smaller croc.
While wading out he was hit by a stinger.
Not a box jelly, just a stinger in the water.
People were taking photos of the event.
He was trying to make out he was not in pain.
Some of the facial expressions were amazing.

It has been mentioned here on the forum stingers do not exist on the reef.
That is an incorrect.
While ever the wind comes from the west or north east you will have lice and blue bottles in the water, outer barrier reef or not. Today the wind swung around from the south east.
This means the lice and the stingers will be gone tomorrow.

The rule of thumb when traveling in the tropics during the wet season is this, take insurance, only book with companies who will give your money back if they are having torrential rain and you decide you do not want to go there.

For instance , if your sitting in Sydney in beautiful weather and there is a threat of a cyclone off Cairns, make sure you can stay in Sydney with out penalties.

Have a nice holiday


yobfeer is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 05:18 AM
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Yobfeer, I'm so glad you brought up sea-lice, do you think that's a part of the remains of broken jelly fish or an entity of its own? I truly don't know.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jan 11th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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The term "sea lice" apparently originated during the 1950s and was used by local U.S. residents in describing the condition. This popular term persisted, despite efforts by scientists to discourage use of such an inappropriate designation. Sea lice are actually small parasites that affect fish.

Beach goers sought their own remedies for the seasonal itchy rash. Folk remedies included the use of garlic, athletes foot spray, lemon, hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, spray starch, Epsom salts, and meat tenderizer. Unorthodox attempts to obtain relief included fingernail polish, undiluted bleach, ammonia, gasoline and turpentine. These are especially notable because they were used on extremely sensitive areas of people's bodies. The prevailing term, "sea lice," also encouraged the inappropriate use of head lice medication.

When marine biologists at the University of Miami analyzed water samples collected during the periods when complaints of bathers increased, large numbers of cnidarian larvae were noted. Cnidarians are a group of marine animals that contain stinging structures known as nematocysts, and include jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, hydroids, and Portuguese Man o'War. There are more than 9000 species of this group of marine animals; however, it appears that the larval form of Linuche unqui culata, also known as a "thimble jellyfish," is responsible for the outbreaks in South Florida and the Caribbean. This probable causative organism was identified after cultures were successfully grown to maturity from plankton tows collected during 1992 outbreak periods.

lizF is offline  
Jan 18th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Posts: 5
Thank you to everyone for your replies.

I think that we've basically decided on a rough itinerary. (The timing of our trip is governed by a wedding in Sydney so cannot be changed.) We'll spend the week in Sydney and include 2 nights in the Blue Mountains. Then we'll fly to Cairns and spend several days there which will hopefully give us the opportunity to visit the GBR despite the weather, see the Daintree, spend a night or two at Undara Lava Tubes and do a variety of other things - maybe spending a couple of nights on an island - possibly Dunk given that Hinchinbrook will be closed. Finally we hope to spend a couple of nights at Uhuru at the end of the trip in early March. My fiance won't be dissuaded from visiting Uhuru despite the heat & flies that we will probably encounter!

I don't think that we're trying to cram too much in to 3 weeks. Essentially it's 3 main areas with a couple of mini-trips.

If anyone has anymore advice then it would be great to hear it but if not, then thank you to all the Fodorites for all the advice on these pages. I visited the forum before going to China last year and it made all the difference. I'm sure that we will feel the same when we return from Australia!
lisa_adrian is offline  
Jan 20th, 2005, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 43
It rained a LOT when I was in Cairns towards the end of February last year. I still had a great time, but it was wet.

If you're looking for a B&B type accomodation I can recommend Lilybank. Folks there were great. I don't think anyone else would have clued me in to the "Play Postie for a Day" offered by York Air, and that was one of high points of my trip.
Kimbis is offline  

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