Ellis Beach: Best Visitors Guide 2024 (UPDATED)

Exotic Tropical North Queensland Tourist Destination


Ellis Beach Visitor Guide


Table of Contents

Thinking of going to Ellis Beach in Tropical North Queensland? Then you should find my post about it quite useful.

Below is a table of contents that outlines its structure.

1. Introduction
2. Where is Ellis Beach?
3. How to Get to Ellis Beach
4. History of Ellis Beach
5. Things To Do At Ellis Beach
6. Tours and Excursions
7. Ellis Beach Accommodation
8. Where To Eat and drink coffee at Ellis Beach
9. Final Thought
10. FAQs

After reading this post it is my hope that I would have inspired you to visit this fantastic Qld Beach!

(My post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you).

Read Time: 5 Minutes



Ellis Beach, near Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland, has a permanent population of just 5 people according to the 2021 census. However, they may well be the luckiest 5 people in the whole of the Sunshine State.

Undoubtedly one of the nicest of all Queensland beaches, the fact that this beautiful stretch of coastline is right on the doorsteps of just a few lucky people, is thought that will resonate with you as your stroll along its golden, palm tree-lined sands.

At first glance, you might think that Ellis Beach Australia is in the middle of nowhere. But then you’ll see its wonderful beachfront caravan park and the vibrant grill restaurant and bar directly over the road from the stinger net, and you’ll soon realise the patrolled beach is a fabulous destination to visit for a day trip or a longer holiday.

Infact, with Palm Cove nearby, the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea Coast right in front of you and the main Cairns attractions just an easy 25 minute-drive away, you won’t believe that more people don’t live or visit here.


Ellis Beach is a 5 km stretch of golden sand located in Tropical North Queensland, about 26 km to the north of Cairns


Where is Ellis Beach?

Ellis Beach is a 5 km stretch of golden sand located in Tropical North Queensland, about 26 km to the north of Cairns. It is also 5 km south of Palm Cove and 40 km south of Port Douglas.

Situated along the Captain Cook Highway, the beach is part of the Ellis Oceanfront Bungalows Resort. It hugs the coast and provides stunning views of the Coral Sea as you drive past it.

As this beachfront accommodation is located in a beautiful spot, it makes it a popular Queensland holiday destination for those wanting some rest and relaxation away from the Cairns CBD.


Distance from Ellis Beach to Other Queensland Destinations

  • Trinity Beach 12 km
  • Cairns Esplanade 28 km
  • Four Mile Beach Port Douglas 38 km
  • Cape Tribulation 112 km
  • Mission Beach 166 km
  • Townsville 373 km
  • Cooktown 384 km
  • Mackay 760 km
  • Yeppoon 1109 km
  • Brisbane 1735 km
  • Surfer's Paradise 1803 km
  • How to Get to Ellis Beach

    Ellis Beach Queensland is easily accessible by car via the Captain Cook Highway, which is one of the best coastal drives Queensland has to offer.

    It is essentially one straight road from the Cairns CBD and you should know you have arrived when you see the Ellis Beach bar and grill. There is a car park pretty much opposite it, where you ought to have no trouble finding a parking space.

    If you don’t have access to a car, you can catch the 110 bus from various stops around Cairns, Port Douglas and in between.

    Translink run a number of services throughout the day and you can see their timetable here. The nearest stop is about a ten minute walk away on Clifton Road near Yule Avenue.


    View of the Coral Sea at Ellis Beach Tropical North Queensland


    History of Ellis Beach

    Ellis Beach Cairns resides on land traditionally owned by the Djabugay (Tjapukai) people.

    It was first discovered by Europeans in 1876, when the explorer George Elphinstone Dalrymple landed on its shore during his expedition to the Daintree River.

    Before World War II, the beach was not named in English. However, it was called Ellis Beach after, Dick Ellis who resided there back in the late 1930s until his death in 1960.

    He was a shot firer for the Queensland Department of Main Roads, most likely during the construction of the Captain Cook Highway. Unfortunately, he lost a hand in a work’s related accident, so in recognition of his services the state government built him a house on the site where the Ellis Beach Bar & Grill now stands.

    The beach features a number of mango trees that are believed to have been planted by Dick Ellis. It has remained largely off the tourist radar, although it did feature on the fourth series of The Amazing Race in 2003.

    In recent times, some bloggers and YouTubers have started to spread the word about it.


    While there are no beachfront resorts Ellis Beach is home to the wonderful Ellis Beach caravan park, which offer self-contained bungalows with ocean views


    Things To Do At Ellis Beach

    Ellis Beach Australia is one of the most immaculate and unspoilt stretches of Cairns beaches directly off the Captain Cook Highway.

    One of the best Ellis Beach activities is to just lay down on a towel and take in the wonderful views of double island, which reside at the southern end of the beach or the Daintree up at its northern reaches.

    If you fancy a walk, you can stretch your legs over the sand’s 5 km extension and even make your way south towards Buchan point, where you can (unofficially) partake in some nude sunbathing.

    Ellis Beach also has a dog-friendly section at its southern end and you will be able to see pumice stones along its shoreline as you make your way along it.

    Alternatively, you can safely swim in the Coral Sea in the stinger net or fish at its southern end. Bream, whiting and flathead are among the fish that bite the most.

    From time to time, the Ellis Beach Surf Club holds numerous events and competitions, which provide good entertainment.


    Other Beaches Near Ellis Beach

  • Bramston Beach
  • Cape Tribulation
  • Clifton Beach
  • Cooya Beach
  • Cow Bay
  • Holloways Beach
  • Kewarra Beach
  • Machans Beach
  • Newell Beach
  • Palm Cove
  • Thornton Beach
  • Trinity Beach
  • Wangetti Beach
  • Wonga Beach
  • Yorkeys Knob

    Tours and Excursions

    Once you have had your fill of relaxing on the beach there are several tours, day trips and excursions you can do in and around Cairns and wider Tropical North Queensland.

    You will be able to see a full selection of them on the Get Your Guide and Viator websites.

    But below is a small selection you might be interested in:

  • Great Barrier Reef Catamaran Cruise
  • Cape Tribulation, Mossman Gorge and Daintree Rainforest Trip
  • Kuranda Day Trip with Kuranda Train and Skyrail
  • Green Island Day Trip
  • Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight
  • Atherton Tablelands, Waterfall and Rainforest Tour
  • Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures Visit
  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling & Diving
  • Hot Air Balloon Flight with Transfers
  • Tully River Full Day White Water Rafting

    Beautiful Ellis Beach coastline view in Tropical North Queensland in Australia


    Ellis Beach Accommodation

    While there are no beachfront resorts Ellis Beach is home to the wonderful Ellis Beach caravan park, which offer self-contained bungalows with ocean views.

    As they directly overlook the Coral Sea, you’ll be able to enjoy a superb standard of Far North Queensland holiday accommodation in a relaxed coastal setting with direct beach access.

    Accommodations include air conditioning, a private patio and al fresco seating, a kitchenette and flat-screen TV. There is also a coin-operated laundry you can use to wash your swimming togs if you decide to stay here.

    The only other close by option is Heavens Gates which offers a private holiday home rental near the sand. It has an outdoor swimming pool, balcony with superb views and barbecue facilities.

    You will be able to find plenty of high-end resorts and hotels available at Palm Cove nearby.

    Unfortunately there are no Ellis Beach camping options available.


    If you are looking for a quiet coastal destination to escape the crowds around the Cairns Esplanade, Ellis Beach is a lovely option


    Where To Eat and drink coffee at Ellis Beach

    There is only one place to eat in the area and that is the Ellis Beach Bar and Grill, which you’ll find next to the Surf Club, directly over the road from the beach and caravan park.

    As well as providing you with a superb front row seat of the Coral Sea, the venue offers up a delicious menu of breakfast, lunches and dinners.

    Their ‘Works’ brekkie is a great way to set yourself up for the day and will test the appetite of even the biggest eaters. While for lunch and dinner, its hard to go past their smokey beef brisket cheeseburger or scotch fillet steak.

    For other food and coffee options, you’ll have to head to Palm Cove, Trinity Beach or Port Douglas.


    Distance from Ellis Beach to Other Australia Destinations

  • Newcastle 2317 km
  • Sydney 2448 km
  • Wagga Wagga 2512 km
  • Canberra 2543 km
  • Wollongong 2546 km
  • Darwin 2672 km
  • Melbourne 2846 km
  • Geelong 2907 km
  • Adelaide 2997 km
  • Hobart 3630 km
  • Perth 4731 km
  • Final Thought

    If you are looking for a quiet coastal destination to escape the crowds around the Cairns Esplanade, Ellis Beach is a lovely option.

    Its quiet, laid-back atmosphere and naturally beautiful setting makes the ideal place to relax, and if you decide to stay at the Ellis Beach oceanfront bungalows, you’ll be able sit and look out to the Coral Sea until your heart is content.

    With the bar and grill directly over the road, you won’t want for food options either and with the Captain Cook Highway running directly behind you, the likes of Port Douglas and Palm Cove can be easily reached.



    How Far Is Ellis Beach from Cairns?

    From the Cairns CBD the beach is roughly 28 km away. It takes about 25 minutes to get there along the Captain Cook Highway and State Route 1. If you don't have access to a car you can catch an Uber or a bus there.


    Can you swim at Ellis Beach

    While the beach is rather remote and low-key overall, it is patrolled by lifesavers during the months of Summer (December to February). Stingers nets are also in operation and you are advised to swim in them as there are potentially harmful jellyfish in the water at this time.


    Are there crocodiles at Ellis Beach

    There is no hiding that crocodiles are sometimes sighted at this and several other family-friendly beaches in Tropical North Queensland. Generally speaking they don't stay on the beaches or the coastal waters off the sand - though you can never rule out their presence. Subsequently, you swim at your own risk, especially if the beach is not patrolled by surf lifeguards.


    Do Lifesavers patrol Ellis Beach?

    Yes! It is patrolled by the Ellis Beach Surf Life Saving Club, who are a volunteer organisation that is run by its members.They have actually been patrolling the beach since 1957. So it is fair to say they are a well oiled machine!


    Can I take dogs to Ellis Beach?

    You will be pleased to read that Ellis Beach is a dog-friendly beach. Just be sure to take your four-legged friend to the rock area at the beach's southern end. Don't forget to clean up after your pooch if it makes a mess and dispose of it responsibly.

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