The best and Worst times to visit The Great Barrier Reef  

One of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is commonly on many travellers’ bucket lists as a must-see destination. Picturesque beaches, a network of water canyons, 6,000 metres of seagrass beds, slopes, rare species of whales and around 2,900 separate reef systems have made this reef an unforgettable adventure for all its visitors.

Due to its widespread popularity, visitors often wonder what the best time to visit this place is. This depends on several factors such as the weather, prices, crowd and whether one wants to snorkel or scuba dive.  

Before delving into the best and worst times to visit the Great Barrier Reef, it is crucial to know how to reach there.

How to reach there?

Cairns is considered the tourist hub of Queensland and one of the most convenient places to explore the reef, and this makes it a popular destination amongst visitors who fly to the Cairns Airport and then visit the Reef. Additionally, visitors choose to visit the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas and the Whitsundays, which can be reached by the Crains Airport and the Whitsunday Coast Airport, Proserpine (PPP). 

Best and Worst Time to visit The Great Barrier Reef  

A bale of sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef.
A Bale Of Sea Turtles In The Great Barrier Reef.

I. When to go to the Great Barrier Reef based on the weather?

The seasons and weather change throughout the year and thus make a difference to the conditions in the reef. 

1. June-October:

These are the winter months in Australia, and temperatures are at their coldest. The temperature rarely drops to anything below 70°F and usually stays in the range of 77°F to 91°F. Moreover, these months are the driest in Australia, and thus chances of rain are slim. 

2. November-March:

These are the summer months when temperatures rise to about 85°F, and rain also starts to set in. These two factors combined can create a muggy climate leading to slight discomfort. However, there are plenty of accommodations near the reef which can help you escape from the humidity.

3. April-May:

The average daytime temperatures between these months are in the high 70s F and sometimes touching the low 80s. There is a lower chance of rain as well. With such a favourable temperature, this is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

II. When to go to the Great Barrier Reef for snorkelling or scuba diving?

Jewel colors of fish and coral in the Great Barrier Reef.
Colorful Shoals Of Fish And Vibrant Corals In Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is filled with abundant and beautiful marine life. Thus most visitors who go to the Reef visit to explore the wonder of the Reef, which can be done by either snorkelling or scuba diving. While it is uncommon, there are some times of the year when the waters are known to get dangerous, so it is best to know the following information before planning a trip there.

1. April-May:

As previously mentioned, the temperatures during these months are relatively mild, and there is no to very little chance of rain, making the conditions somewhat water safe. Further, the water is clear during these months, which means exceptional visibility and better conditions for seeing reefs and other marine creatures.

2. June-October:

Although slightly colder than the previous months, these months are an even better time to go snorkelling or scuba diving. The waters are immaculate, and visibility is excellent. However, keep in mind due to the favourable conditions, these are also the months that are usually the most crowded.  

3. November-March:

These months are the worst to visit the Great Barrier Reef. During this time, the water is murky, so the visibility is not good. Further, usually, dangers also lurk in the waters this time. The Box jellyfish, which are deadly and primarily present in the northern part of the reef, tend to come out during this time. While the occurrences are less in the southern part of the reef, one still needs to check with the locals before getting into the waters. 

When to go to The Great Barrier Reef based on prices and crowd?

People walking along the beach at sunset
Beachgoers Enjoying The Golden Glow Of Sunset.

As mentioned before, June to October (i.e. Australia’s winters) have the most favourable conditions to explore the reef, which makes these months the busiest time of the year. Due to this crowd, accommodation prices are at their highest as well. However, throughout the year, the tour price (listed below) remains almost the same despite the crowd. 

Great Barrier Reef Tour$115
Great Barrier Reef Premium Snorkelling Tour$189
Great Barrier Reef Cruise Deluxe$205
Great Barrier Reef Pontoon Adventure$219
2-Day Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tour $440
3-Day Great Barrier Reef Liveaboard Tour$660

How long should you spend there?

After reading this article, are you wondering how long you should spend at the Great Barrier Reef. While it will take a lifetime to explore the waters of this reef and the main attractions of Crains, this is not possible. We thus recommend devoting at least four days to the explore the Reef. This will give you sufficient time to go on island tours, scuba diving/snorkelling, liveaboard tours, daytime tours, or beyond the reef (towards Daintree Rainforest and more). 

The islands have a lot to offer and will be your once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it’s crucial that tourists, who want to come and see this natural wonder, know when the best and worst times to visit are. With this information, tourists can make better plans regarding their visits and know what they are getting into before they arrive.

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