Cow Bay

Cow Bay - Australia

A treasure of Australia’s tropical north, Cow Bay Beach occupies a stunning part of coastal Shire County. Part of the Daintree Rainforest and the Wet Tropics UNESCO World Heritage Site, the nearby township has a population of just 202 permanent residents, which seems like a shocking statistic given its astonishing natural beauty.

Backed by forested hills, Cow Bay Beach is a broad expanse of golden sand curving into three coves which are separated by rocks at high tide. These rocks form a popular spot for anglers, while the bay’s inshore reefs make it a favourite place for snorkelling and scuba diving too.

A lack of rip currents and the gentle surf makes swimming another option, although there is no lifeguard service at any time of year. A handful of picnic benches are situated below an iron shelter. They are are free to use by any of the small number of visitors who make it to Cow Bay Beach. There are no other facilities on the beach itself.

If you’re very lucky, you may get to witness sea cows (dugong) feeding on the underwater seagrasses of the bay. Some suggest it’s these creatures which gave the beach its name. Give these animals plenty of space, and avoid the temptation to touch them if you do encounter them.

Others believe the name comes from the township’s early history in cattle grazing. Either way, Cow Bay Beach is open 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, there is no access for wheelchair uses or those with limited movement.

Nearest town/city

Port Douglas


  • Diving & snorkelling

Nudist/naturist beach


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