Stinger Season Port Douglas, Comes with Summer.
Here in Port Douglas, Australia, stinger season is coming, things are getting sticky and with the heat and humidity come the most dangerous jellyfish. We call them marine stingers. Some jellyfish are here in small numbers all year round, including blue bottles, jelly blubbers and sea lice, they aren’t a problem, summer is the danger time, we call it stinger season.
Stinger Season Dates
The further north you go, the longer stinger season lasts, the marine stingers enjoy warm water and hanging out in mangroves. Exact dates vary, there is no fixed point but generally expect the season to run from December to March between Gladstone and Townsville, October to June in the far north. While we’ve been living in FNQ the stinger season Port Douglas has generally lasted from November to May.
Other marine stingers and jellyfish, bluebottles, jelly blubbers and sea lice can be present at any time but are not normally a problem.
The Stinger Nets Will be Out.
Stinger season Port Douglas stretches from around the first of November to May, the stinger net will be in the water as soon as there is any danger. The best times for swimming here, we think, are on the shoulders of stinger season, just before and just after the stinger nets go out. The water is warm and can be crystal clear, you’ll find us hitting the beach most days then.
Things are safer on the Great Barrier Reef, your chances of encountering stingers are very small. All reef charter boats have head to toe stinger suits on board for snorkellers to hire. They’re not elegant, but you need to wear one.
Beaches With Stinger Nets Around Cairns and Port Douglas
There is a stinger net at the lifeguard station at the top end of Four Mile beach, Port Douglas. The tourists and some locals use it right through stinger season, but it’s not 100% safe.
You’ll also find stinger nets at Palm Cove, Clifton Beach, Yorkey’s Knob, Holloways Beach, Trinity Beach, Kewarra Beach and Ellis Beach, most beaches in the area.
Local children are often in full body stinger suits, exposing only fingers and faces.
Is it Safe to Swim in Stinger Season? You Decide.
Plenty of visitors swim from Four Mile Beach all year round and problems are very rare.
To be safe, take precautions:
Check the lifeguards’ instructions on the boards.
If the lifeguards say its safe, only swim in the stinger nets.
Wear a stinger suit or as much body protection as you can.
Do not touch the nets themselves, stingers could be caught in the net.
For my family, it means sea swimming season is over, I don’t take any risk with the children and we have the luxury of year round swimming, missing out for a while isn’t a major hardship.. The extremely dangerous jellyfish, the Irukandji can be small enough to pass through the mesh of the net. There are plenty of other lovely places to swim around here, some of the hotels allow visitors to use their pools if they are buying food or drinks and Mossman Gorge ( click here for rainforest swimming information) is just up the road, perfect for a dip in an icy cold rainforest stream. Cairns has one of the most fabulous Lagoon pools I’ve ever seen, and it’s free. There is also a small waterpark in Cairns, see this post on places to get wet in the area.
It’s just another of the costs of living in the tropics, sharing our lives with deadly but fascinating creatures, crocodiles, snakes and spiders. We don’t mind too much, it’s always beautiful here in Port Douglas and the wildlife and scenery are stunning, all year round.
Four Mile beach is beautiful, but once the dangerous jellyfish arrive and stinger season, Port Douglas, starts, swimming isn’t usually safe enough for us, that’s our choice. You have to make your own call, you’ll probably be absolutely fine inside the stinger net and you’ll be safer still on the reef, just keep it in your mind and listen to the lifeguards, they drag the net every day to check for stingers, they know when the risk is high and will tell you.