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If you’re planning your trip to Australia based on the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef then this is the article for you. If you have the luxury of choosing your season then you’ll want to plan your visit for the season with the best visibility, weather and smallest chance of jellyfish.
Read on to find the BEST time to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Best Time to Visit the Great Barrier Reef by Season
The dry season at the Great Barrier Reef occurs during winter. At this time, temperatures are lower at a pleasant average of 25 degrees. There is also less rain and water temperatures in the sea are about 24 degrees. This is the best time to go snorkelling or scuba diving as the waters are at their clearest and calmest.
During spring, temperatures typically range from 25 to 35 degrees. There is a bit more rain, and water temperatures in the sea average at about 32 degrees. The downside to this increased rainfall is slightly poorer visibility.
This season can be breathtaking as the rainforests come alive and the rivers and waterfalls are at their highest.
The wet season at the Great Barrier Reef starts in summer, and the summer months witness an increase in rainfall and average temperatures. The rains usually falls only in the mornings or afternoons, so you can still enjoy a daytime boat trip. It rarely rains all day and there are still many sunny days to be enjoyed.
During this season, the weather tends to be hotter with reduced visibility due to the run off from the rivers. During hotter days humidity can also come into play, with averages of 50-75% humidity.
During fall, normal daytime temperatures are typically in the high 20’s c / 75-85 F. Because it’s still warm at this time of year, you will need to take precautions to avoid sun burn, however days will be much more of a comfortable heat than the summer.
The Best Time to Visit the Great Barrier Reef
The June to October period is the best time to see and explore the Great Barrier Reef. This is due to the reduced chance of rain meaning clearer, calmer waters. It’s also a good time to visit the Great Barrier Reef because you’re avoiding jellyfish season.
At this time of the year, the clear waters ensure more visibility to see the colourful reefs and marine fish. It may be a little cooler, but you’ll be provided with wetsuits and a Queensland winter isn’t too cold anyway.
Just make sure you book ahead of time during this time of year.
How to get to the Great Barrier Reef?
Most visitors will fly into Cairns which is the main entry point to the Great Barrier Reef. However you can also catch direct flights to islands such as Hamilton Island from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.
Airlie Beach is a great entry point for budget travellers and provides easy access to the Whitsunday Islands (the name of the group of islands off the coast).
It takes 2 hours by flight from Brisbane, 3 hours from both Sydney and Melbourne, and 4 hours from Perth.
If you’re not pressed for time, you can also take a long distance bus and travel over a period of days. This will enable you to leisurely stop at different cities and attractions that dot the Australian countryside.
Booked a Trip During Jellyfish Season? Here are Some Tips
Irukandji and Cairns Jellyfish are typically found around the Great Barrier Reef in the months of November through May (the Wet Season). This is when the jellyfish breed close to the Great Barrier Reef and are sometimes found on nearby beaches and snorkeling spots.
That said, tour companies are well prepared to tackle the invaders. Each boat includes a kit with vinegar as an emergency treatment for stings and provides safety briefings on stingers. Snorkelers and scuba divers are given full body Lycra stinger-suits just incase their encountered.
Australians do not generally avoid the waters during this time so you don’t need to be scared of jellyfish season, just make sure you’re wearing a longer wetsuit in the water, and talk to your tour guide if you’re concerned.
Even as you plan your dream vacation, it’s important to prepare for the worst and ensure you are protected. With travel insurance, should anything unexpected happen, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered.
Travel insurance providers such as World Nomads travel can customize the ideal coverage for your trip to the GBR. You can see how affordable they are on their website – see their prices here.
This includes access to a worldwide emergency assistance team that are available 24/7. Set your mind at ease by getting yourself covered for overseas medical, baggage, evacuation, theft or emergencies. Adventurous travelers can also add extra coverage for a range of adventure sports and activities.