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When Is The Best Time to Visit The Whitsundays?

Whether you’re day tripping or cruising the reef for a few days, you’re part of a dominantly outdoor activity; and as such the better the weather, the better the overall experience is likely to be. 

Realistically any time of the year you decide to visit the Whitsundays will allow you to have a good time and enjoy the tropics. Summers are hot and humid, while winter is generally drier and cooler, but all of the year is great for trips to the Whitsunday islands and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Due to the consistently sunny weather and low humidity, the month of September tends to be a popular time for travelling to the Whitsundays. It provides great conditions to travel in and around the Whitsunday region, whilst avoiding stinger season, and the school holidays for the majority of the month. Outside of the peak season September combines comfortably warm weather, with the lowest rainfall of the year and provides perfect conditions to explore the reef. 

However, besides weather, holidays and stinger season, there are many more factors to take into account when booking your ‘once in a lifetime’ experience; with the Whitsunday having generally good weather year round, it may be worth looking outside of the season to avoid the crowds, and snatch that great deal!

October to May is largely recognised as the peak season for stingers. Although this does effect diving and snorkelling to some degree, it can still be done safely so guests can enjoy the underwater experience. Where sufficient safety gear and appropriate precaution are taken, risks are minimalised. During the early peaks of this period of the year temperatures soar and humidity rises to match the typical tropical atmosphere of the area; bringing with it both the pros and cons of such a climate. 

For many coming to Australia from cooler waters, the summer months will certainly reaffirm Queensland’s tropical image, and undoubtedly produces one of the best landscapes to evidence the extent of native flora and fauna upon the reef. 

Another factor to take into account is where you’re going to be based during your Whitsunday adventure; if you’re lucky you may get to spend the duration of your time in the Whitsunday region sea bound exploring the reef. There is also the option to spend time in Airlie Beach or on one of the island resorts. Both of these bring their own benefits and difficulties, and the seasons certainly affect the price and suitability of either choice. Certainly that is not to suggest that the higher the cost the greater the expectation, but prices to some degree do reflect increased demand. 

If you’re hoping to base yourself on one of the island resorts, then the school holidays are certainly determinate of the cost and experience. Families with young children will be catered for exceptionally well, both in Airlie and the various islands; but are likely to catch a better deal financially on the mainland. Also being based on the mainland has the added advantage of having a greater wealth of trips and tours to choose from.

Ultimately the Whitsundays Region is lucky enough to have suitable weather all year round for exploring the reef, and benefits from global tourism in all seasons; so the best time to visit is going to work around you: but if you want to catch good weather, avoid the school holidays rush, and perhaps pick up the odd bargain; early September is going to be ideal.

Sam Clapham
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