Winter in the Whitsundays
Updated Mon 03 Jul 2023
Winter in the Whitsundays is somewhat of an oxymoron since the weather here tends to stay warm and sunny all year round and our ‘winter’ isn’t a typical winter in any way. Australia's winter falls in June and ends in August with average daily temperatures in winter hovering around 22°C, and water temperatures remaining at about 25°C all year. The beautiful warm weather means you can wear your sundresses and board shorts even on the cooler winter days and spend time relaxing, swimming and enjoying the beautiful sunshine. We certainly don't get snow and sandals are always the recommended footwear!
While the Whitsundays are admittedly beautiful all year and are always great for visiting, there are perks to visiting this tropical paradise in the winter months.
The winter weather is the perfect temperature for those who always wanted to visit the Whitsundays or Australia but aren’t big fans of the humid summer heat. While we still get warm weather with days full of sunshine, temperatures are much cooler than the summer months, with balmy nights and comfortable days. Snuggle up in a private cabin at night, or bring your blanket out on the deck to stargaze under the clearest night skies. Once the sun comes out the next day you’ll definitely be back down to your boardies and bikini!
Summer in the Whitsundays brings us into the wet season, and winter is when we come into what is considered the dry season. While it does still rain sometimes, most of the time the skies remain clear and the ground stays dry, making your holiday weather more predictable.
Every year humpback whales, pilot whales and minke whales migrate to the sheltered waters of the Whitsundays to have their calves, breed and escape the cold waters of the Antarctic. The protection of the islands and reefs create a safe place with calm waters for them to spend their winters, and allow for a perfect stadium for people to whale watch and witness their beautiful acrobatic shows. They are a favourite with the locals and a very much welcomed visitor to the reef. They usually show up as early as June and stay as late as September, and you have your best chance of seeing them on overnight charter boats. Learn more about whale migration to the Whitsundays and their friendly behaviours!
While Manta Rays don’t technically have a migration period in the Whitsundays, they are most easily spotted in the winter months alongside whales. This is a truly magical experience, and a well sought after bucket list tick for snorkellers and scuba divers, being one of the Great Barrier Reef’s “Great 8.”
Festivals and Regattas
The Whitsundays is host to plenty of things to do in the wintertime, including on and offshore events. The Great Barrier Reef Festival, Airlie Beach Race Week and Hamilton Island Race Week all occur in July and August, and there are plenty of events hosted throughout the town in Airlie Beach that you can experience free of charge.
Another bonus is that we are out of what is considered to be cyclone, or hurricane season in the tropics, so you won’t have to worry about cancelled tours or bad weather that can come with cyclone season.
Another bonus of the Whitsundays in the winter is that we are out of jellyfish, or ‘stinger season.’ While boat operators will still offer wetsuits and stinger suits for your peace of mind, and they can be present year-round, the likelihood drops to next to nothing as stingers typically come with hot summer waters, so this is the perfect time of year to get those bikini shots on the shores of Whitehaven Beach!
The Visibility in the Water is Outstanding
Being in the dry season, the less freshwater rain that mixes with the ocean, the clearer the visibility is. This means snorkelling or scuba diving the outer or inner Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays will result in awesome underwater photos, with visibility sometimes reaching up to 20+ metres!
It’s the Cheapest Time of Year to Book a Tour
Since most people aren’t aware of how perfect the weather is during this time of year, the charter boat tours tend to quiet down, meaning there are typically some fantastic deals offered even for advanced bookings. Chat live to our team of travel experts to find out the latest deals currently on offer.
There’s Plenty of Availability
The common misconception that the wintertime isn’t the time to travel to the Whitsundays means the crowds are certainly at their smallest this time of year, meaning there is fantastic availability on overnight and day charters this time of year. Book a tour out to Whitehaven Beach and you will find you almost have it to yourself!
Only the Best Boat Tours Run
A lot of budget charter boats plan the annual maintenance of their vessels out of the water this time of year, so only the most popular boat tours will still be running. With smaller crowds, discounted tours and often complimentary upgrades to private cabins, why wouldn’t you want to visit in the Winter? (Featured: New Horizon)
It’s a Photographer’s Dream
The clear water, blue skies and lack of crowds mean photographers can strike gold this time of year. More room on the boats to have to yourself, as well as snorkelling sites and Whitehaven Beach, allow even the amateur photographer to get that perfect Instagram photo.
The Sunsets are Out of This World
Did we mention the clear skies also bring some of the best sunsets of the year? Imagine sailing into the horizon, drink in hand while you chase the last flare of orange rays as night sets in… Or standing atop one of the many lookouts available on the islands drinking in the last of the daylight without a soul in sight. You're just about guaranteed a stunning display in the sky most evenings during the winter. Check out our range of effervescent sunset cruises! (Featured: Solway Lass)
Convinced? We thought so. Now it's time to pick your perfect tour!
Chat to our live, local travel experts today for a personalised itinerary and help in finding your dream tropical escape!