Great Barrier Reef Travel Guide

Australia  #2 in Best Beaches in Australia
Credit

Courtesy of Jeff Hunter/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Great Barrier Reef

The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to October. This peak season offers some key advantages for travelers. Temperatures hover in the low 60s to mid-80s, and rainfall is uncommon, which means clearer waters and better diving conditions. Along with the ideal weather, these winter and spring months offer cheaper prices at hotels near the central and southern parts of the reef, but keep in mind that accommodations and diving excursions in Cairns tend to fill up quickly due to the influx of tourists to the region. Meanwhile, the area's low season (known locally as the wet or stinger season) takes place between November and May and brings more rain, resulting in poorer water visibility and an abundance of deadly box jellyfish.

Weather in Great Barrier Reef

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
88.9
75
88.3
75.2
87.1
73.6
84.9
71.4
82.2
68.4
79.3
64.8
78.6
62.8
80.1
63.5
83.1
65.8
85.6
69.6
87.4
72.5
88.9
74.7
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
14.91
17.64
15.3
8.48
3.5
1.61
1.22
1.14
1.37
1.9
4.27
7.14
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

Find Flight and Hotel Deals

FLIGHTS
HOTELS

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

Press the down arrow key to interact with the calendar and select a date. Press the question mark key to get the keyboard shortcuts for changing dates.

June-October

Balmy, 70- to 80-degree days, clear waters and refreshingly cool evenings are characteristic of the region's dry season. Temperatures are a little cooler during this period (after all, it is winter and spring in the Southern Hemisphere), but they rarely dip below the 60s. To be comfortable, plan on packing some warmer layers. Since this is prime diving season, expect to encounter crowds, especially in Cairns. You may also find higher room rates at hotels in Cairns, so book in advance. If you're looking for more elbow room and cheaper accommodation prices, head south to Rockhampton or Bundaberg.

Key Events:

November-May

This is the Great Barrier Reef's wet season, with average daytime temperatures in the north hovering in the high 80s. Intermittent tropical downpours are common, meaning water visibility is blurred and conditions are muggy. The cloudy water not only poses a problem to divers, but it can also put swimmers in danger: Deadly box jellyfish roam the waters off of mainland beaches. To avoid any life-threatening stings, head to the southern part of the region (between the Capricorn Coast and Fraser Island), where temperatures are cooler and the water is safer. You can also rent stinger or Lycra suits to keep yourself protected while swimming. Hotel prices in Cairns are generally lower at this time, but vacationing Aussies flock to Queensland in summer and fall, so plan accordingly.

Key Events:

Popular Times to Visit Great Barrier Reef

Average Tourist Volumes
Average Hotel Prices   Search Hotels
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec

Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.

Explore More of Great Barrier Reef

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

I Went On a Cruise During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is What Happened.

Coronavirus concerns, itinerary changes and uncertainty lead to an unusual vacation.

5 Travel-Themed Activities to Do at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Use these suggestions to fill the travel void amid the pandemic.

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know

If you are rescheduling a vacation or booking a future trip, consider purchasing an insurance policy with the CFAR benefit.

The 21 Best Costa Rica Tours

Dive into this natural paradise on these exceptional excursions.

Social Distancing Outside: 8 Safe Places to Go and Things to Do

Here are some creative ways to enjoy the outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak.

14 Things to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed

Know your options when flight delays or cancellations threaten to ruin your vacation.

What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?

Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.

Can You Cancel Your Flight Because of the Coronavirus?

Tips, info and more on cancellations due to the pandemic.

Virtual Tours: 35 Destinations, Museums and Attractions You Can Experience Online

Stuck at home amid the coronavirus outbreak? Enjoy museums, performances and nature from the comfort of your couch.

The 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico 2020

Reserve a room at one of these all-inclusive resorts for a fun, hassle-free vacation.