Best Time To Visit Great Barrier Reef

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Ideal duration: 3-5 days

Best Time: June to November (Spring) Read More

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Great Barrier Reef

What is the best time to visit Great Barrier Reef?

June to October is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef. During these months, the weather is exceptionally favourable, and the chances of rainfall are low. As it is the coast, summer and monsoons are damp and humid while winters are too cold for any water sports or beach activities. Hence, spring is a great time to go diving, swimming and snorkelling. The Spring is the time when the island is colourful with lush greenery making it the peak season to travel too. If you're a budget traveller and need more private tour on the reef, try visiting around April and early May. 

Weather in Great Barrier Reef


Upcoming Great Barrier Reef Weather

Monthly Weather in Great Barrier Reef

Month High/Low (°C) Rain
January 29°/ 27° 18 days
February 31°/ 28° 14 days
March 29°/ 26° 17 days
April 28°/ 25° 5 days
May 26°/ 24° 10 days
June 24°/ 22° 7 days
July 23°/ 21° 7 days
August 23°/ 21° 3 days
September 24°/ 22° 0 days
October 26°/ 23° 3 days
November 27°/ 24° 0 days
December 28°/ 26° 5 days

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More about Best Time to Travel to Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef in Peak Season (June to October)

During these winter months, the temperature is ideal as it stays within the range between 24 and 28 degrees celsius. Rainfall is quite uncommon in these months, thus enabling the most popular tourist activities such as diving and other water sports. Diving season is during these months mostly because the water is more clear and free from stingers (such as jellyfish and many other sea-based creatures) that cause hindrance to freely operating tourist activities.

Most resorts, hotels, and other businesses are exclusively open at cheaper rates during this time, and therefore if one wishes to plan a luxurious staying experience, then these months are the perfect choice for them. Several events are hosted around this time, and all aquatic sports are also at their peak.

Great Barrier Reef in Shoulder Season (November and May)

The weather during these months begins to transition towards the warmer side. The earlier weeks of November is still suitable for diving, and the footfall lowers during the month as well. The temperature in this season stays between 28 to 30 degrees Celsius, and rainfall is scarce during both these months, but May might experience shorter bouts of the shower.

Both the months serve as outliers of the peak season and are therefore good times to plan a vacation if anyone wants to avoid the crowd that arrives during the peak season. November also witnesses two important recreational sporting events- the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim, and the Hamilton Island Triathlon. These events attract participants internationally and are great fun to attend even for non-participants.

Great Barrier Reef in Off Season (December to April)

Off-Season is also known as ‘stinger season’ due to the increased abundance of stingers, which becomes a great obstacle in diving and many other aquatic activities in the Great Barrier Reef. Moreover, since these are the summer months, the temperature rises, ranging around 30 degrees celsius, and the rate of precipitation also significantly increases. For all of these reasons, these months are not the best time to plan a vacation to the reef. The rainfall hampers aquatic visibility as well.

Great Barrier Reef in Summer (December to February)

The summer season coincides with the offseason, which is also known as the ‘wet season’. This period is characterised by high humidity, high temperature, and a comparatively lower rate of footfall. This period is not the ideal type to go for diving or any underwater experience. However, several other vacationing activities can be planned around this time of the year, such as the grand Cairns Chinese New Year Festival.

Great Barrier Reef in Autumn (March to May)

The autumn season witnesses fewer tourists than the peak months which immediately follow. These months have an average temperature of around 28 degrees celsius, and the rate of precipitation significantly decreases when compared with the summer months. The most popular tourist attraction hosted during these months are the Port Douglas Carnivale, which is held in May. Water Sports and beach activities are not suggested during March and the earlier weeks of April, but May is well fit for swimming and diving.

Great Barrier Reef in Winter (June to August)

Fresh breeze, lower temperature, absence of stingers, and low humidity mark the winter months of the dry season. All of these reasons also justify why this time of the year is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Other than swimming and several aquatic sports, tourists can also participate in various other events during this time.

The famous Burdekin Water Festival is held in July and August, the Whitsunday Reef Festival and the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week are both held in August. However, these months also see a surge in tourists and therefore isn't the best time for budget travellers or for those looking forward to a quieter vacation. 

Great Barrier Reef in Spring (September to November)

Spring experiences an average temperature of around 27 degrees celsius, and the rainfall is quite low, increasing gradually towards the end of November. This period also has pleasant breezes, and the seawater is quite warm- owing to which tourist activities are on the rise. The Tropical Journeys Great Barrier Reef Festival, hosted during October, is one of the major cultural events held in this region which attract people from all over the world.

Other important festivals to look out for during this period are the Airlie Beach Festival of Music and the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim, organised in November, and the Palm Cove Reef Feast held in October.

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Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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