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.

Cairns City

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 Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort 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. 

The Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort has a beautiful lagoon pool and a swim up bar! Image by Agoda (click to view more photos)

Shangri-La Cairns

Why? A Great Pool Deck close to the Marina

The Shangri-La is a luxury hotel with the laid back cairns twist and it’s 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. 


Budget option Stay at a 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!

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.


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.

Imagine Drift

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

Imagine drift 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 (as long as you book in advance) without compromising on the pool and 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.

Example high season rate on Agoda: 2 Bedroom Apartment $240 per night based on 2 adults and 2 children in the 2020 July School holidays or $185 for a studio room for a couple in July. (price checked 7 months in advance)

Peppers 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.

This 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 sanctuary ‘quite zone’ pool for a blissful experience in the tropical gardens. Its 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.


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 hand 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 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 does have a swim up bar though it was strangely skipped when the rest of the property had a $40 million refurbishment in 2016.


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. It’s 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 amonst the rainforest as well as a treat yourself to the riverfront option.

It’s pools are not as grand in size but are a tranquil oasis nestled amongst the resorts grounds in the daintree rainforest near the famous Mossman River area.

Pictured below is the Mossman river but it links to agoda where you can see the pool (the image is not available to me yet).

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

Not booking yet? Pin it to refer to later 🙂

If your looking for the Best hotel pools in Cairns or the Best Hotel Pools in Palm Cove and Port Douglas.

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I passionate advocate of Australian Travel and I love everything from bushwalking, camping and four wheel driving to luxury hotels, gourmet vegetarian meals and nice wineries. But most of all I just love beautiful outdoor destinations. And its all in our backyard! So go on, get out there and see Australia- you might just fall in love! My Top 5. The Kimberley. Outback Australia. The Great Ocean Road. Tasmania's National Parks. Far North QLD's Reef & Rainforest.
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