Stinger Season Port Douglas

Stinger Season Port Douglas. Dangerous Jellyfish warning World Travel Family blog

Dangerous Jellyfish in stinger season Port Douglas.

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.

In a month or so it won’t be so safe to swim from Four Mile beach, deadly box jellyfish and Irukandji invade our waters and make unprotected swimming a bit of a gamble.

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 Port Douglas, without stinger net. World travel family blog

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas. World Travel Family’s old home.

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.


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  1. It is a lovely looking beach – one look at that sign would guarantee that I wouldn’t get either of my kids anywhere near it though!

  2. We live in Cairns and there will be no more beach swimming for our kids until after the stinger season either. It is just a risk I am not willing to take.

  3. travelschooling says:

    Hi Danielle and Lisa, my first two comments on my brand new website, I’m so happy! Thank you so much. Lisa, you are lucky you’ve got that fabulous lagoon pool, we’ll be down there taking full advantage pretty soon, just a few weeks to go before the nets are out.

  4. SuzannSuzanne Sherwood says:

    Yes it is a bit of a worry but it’s so lovely to live near the beach and sea. I really miss that while I am living in Herts UK, not a snake in sight either!

  5. Thanks Suzanne, but you have London, The Natural History Museum, London Zoo, The British Museum. Port Douglas is pretty, but you know where I’d rather be! We’d love to visit you over there again soon.

  6. I have never heard of stinger suits. In Texas’ Galveston Bay, the jellyfish we have hurt but aren’t deadly. You don’t jump in if you see them, but otherwise, you take your chances. We’re headed to Cairns or Port Douglas around Christmas. Will it still be stinger season? Is it a problem at the GBR so we shouldn’t plan on snorkeling?

    • Hi Michele, thanks for stopping by. Yes, Christmas is right in the middle of stinger season, but don’t worry, all the reef charter boats have stinger suits for hire available on board. The risk is less out on the reef but they are still a risk. christmas is peak time, there will be thousands of others out on the reef. You should be OK. If I can be of any more help with your planning, just let me know, happy to help. enjoy your trip! Alyson

  7. I don’t get the purpose of the net – are you supposed to try and scoop them all out of the water before you go in? I don’t think I’d trust that at all. What if you miss one? Yikes. I think I’d stay out of the water too.

    • No, Sonja, you swim IN he net, it is a large enclosure, supposed to keep the singers out. they aren’t very effective, unfortunately. Crocodiles have also been known to find their way into the nets. You take your life in our hands round here! Thanks for reading and aking he time o commen Sonja.

  8. That sign would certainly not tempt me to get into the water in the summer!

  9. Sheena says:

    Is early October safe to swim in the ocean without a stinger suit?

    • You should be fine Sheena. The date the nets go out is different every year, it’s usually the start of November.If there is any danger of stingers the nets are out. Early October is actually a great time, warm, clear waters. Enjoy!

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