The best hotel pools in Cairns & Far North Queensland

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If you are looking for the best hotel pools in Cairns & Far North Queensland here is a cheat sheet to help you out!

From 2 hectares of swimming lagoons to inner city sanctuaries or rainforest retreats this list will help you find the perfect hotel pool for your holiday.

Also Read: Best Hotel Pools in Australia

Best Hotel Pools in Cairns City

Cairns City is a vibrant tropical town and the airport gateway to Far North Queensland. These hotels are best for those who want to be walking distance from everything the Cairns Waterfront and CBD has to offer.

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Why? Lagoon Pool & Swim up Bar

Close to the centre of Cairns, the fun Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort ( Link) is the best option if you want a hotel with a lagoon pool that’s walking distance from the restaurants, marina and shopping in town. For families there is a shallow beach end while for couples and groups of mates there is a a swim up bar open every afternoon. 

Images open on Agoda – Click to lock in a price for a small deposit

The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort has a beautiful lagoon pool and a swim up bar!

Shangri-La Cairns

Why? A Great Pool Deck close to the Marina

The Shangri-La is a luxury hotel with a laid back cairns twist and its Marina front Location is arguably the best address in town. Best for those looking for a 5 star hotel that right next to the waterfront restaurants and bars and the the marina where the Great Barrier Reef trips leave from. Perfect to be conveniently located to everything, especially on a short trip like a long weekend.

Images open on Agoda


Crystalbrook Riley – The new kid on the block

Why Stay? Crystalbrook Riley is one of the newest hotels in Cairns and is in a great central location close to town, the lagoon and the Marina.

So far its reviews are really positive and it has a beautiful big pool deck to flat around under the Cairns sunshine.

Images open Agoda – click to lock in prices with a small deposit

Budget option – Any backpackers on the Esplanade near the Lagoon Pool

Why? You can choose any budget option located along the Esplanade in town and you can walk straight out your hostel/hotel door and into the huge cairns Lagoon Pool!

If you use the map view function on this list of Backpackers in Cairns ( you can find budget accommodation close to the amazing free lagoon pool. Global Packpackers Cairns is one example. It also has excellent ratings from other travellers on both Agoda and

Image Credit: Agoda (click to see more photos – affiliate link).

Image Credit: Agoda. Global Backpackers Cairns is on the waterfront and across from the lagoon Pool

The reality in Far North Queensland is it’s not safe to swim at many beaches due to crocs or stingers. As a result, Cairns has built a beautiful big lagoon pool smack bang in the middle of town. The best news? It’s totally free and has huge grassy lawns to set up for the day. It’s huge, open all day and you can watch the sunset while floating around in the water. Pick a backpackers or budget hotel across the road from the lagoon and you don’t need your own pool!

Sunset over the Lagoon Pool on the esplanade in Cairns
Sunset over the Cairns Lagoon Pool. Photo Credit: My friend H Parker

Looking to visit Fitzroy Island off the Cairns Coast? Read more about Fitzroy Island here.

Best Hotel Pools in Palm Cove

An easy 30 minute drive from Cairns is the small but bustling beach town of Palm Cove. It’s basically one main beachfront street with loads of cafes and bars. It’s a good central location to visit Kuranda Skyrail and other nearby attractions while still having a beach resort holiday. Alternatively, you can look at Port Douglas as a closer option for day trips to the Daintree (or stay in the Daintree itself).

Drift Palm Cove (previously Imagine Drift)

Why? Massive Lagoon Pool that is often cheaper than other properties with a similar pool, all across the road from ‘those’ iconic beachfront Palms.

Imagine drift ( link) is perfect if you are looking for a huge lagoon pool and apartment-style accommodation. It can be a more affordable option than the high end resorts without compromising on having an amazing pool. It’s also good for those who like to make some of their own food and don’t need pool side drink service. Float around in the massive resort lagoon pool or pull up a lounge chair – the towering paperbarks mean sunny and shady spots can be found throughout the day.

Remember: Book school holidays as far in advance as possible to get a more affordable price – most things can be held in with free cancellation so don’t procrastinate and miss out on the cheaper deals!

Images open on Agoda

Peppers Beach Club Palm Cove

Why? If you are looking for luxury rooms, a lush tropical gardens and a lagoon pool with a swim up bar serving cocktails made properly from fresh ingredients.

Peppers Beach Club ( in Palm Cove is a much love 5 star resort with excellent reviews across all booking platforms. In addition to the lagoon pool it offers another smaller pool (which was primarily used by families) and a 3rd sanctuary ‘quite zone’ pool for a blissful experience in the tropical gardens. It’s across the road from the beach, right in the middle of the esplanade and offers room service and easy access to a heap of restaurants.

Plus, it has a swim up bar!

Images open on Agoda

Best Hotel Pools in Port Douglas

Just an hour north of Cairns Port Douglas is the Resort capital of Australia, accessible by shuttle bus, car and Uber from Cairns & Cairns airport. The resorts here tend to be of the sprawling out of town, never need to leave it you don’t want to kind, although most run town shuttle buses and there are of course hotels in town as well.

Sheraton Grand Mirage

Why? With 2 HECTARES of saltwater Lagoon Pools the Sheraton Grand Mirage is King of the hotel pool!

You can spend the whole day pool hopping at the Sheraton Grand Mirage in Port Douglas – Australia’s best hotel pool? Image: Belinda Nixon

The Sheraton Grand Mirage is a strong contender for the best pool in Australia and with its absolute beach front location and onsite restaurants, venturing out to explore is optional (though I highly encourage – you can visit the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef). It also has a swim up bar, though its not located in the lagoons but rather a traditional square style pool.

Image Credit: Agoda (click to see more photos – affiliate link)

Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort & Spa

Why Stay? A huge pool with a bar available steps away from the pool every afternoon for drinks and food. Also choose the perfect room with studio apartments through to 3 bedroom.

Images open in Agoda, click to check prices or book

Check prices on See on

Best Hotel Pools in the Daintree Rainforest

Silky Oaks Lodge (A Luxury Lodge of Australia)

Reopening in late 2021 after an extensive renovation Silky Oaks Lodge is one of Australias most special (and high end) rainforest hotel experiences. Its restaurant looks over the rainforest with a soundtrack of the bubbling creek and you have a real possibility of spotting magnificent vibrant blue Ulysses butterfly fluttering past. You can choose from rooms in the tree canopy or amongst the rainforest as well as a treat yourself to the riverfront option.

Silky Oaks Lodge pool is surrounded by lush vegetation | Image by Agoda

Its pools are not as grand in size but are a tranquil oasis nestled amongst the grounds of the resort in the Daintree rainforest near the famous Mossman River area.

This list of the of the best hotel pools in Cairns, Palm Cove & Port Douglas was researched for you by See Something New.

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