Is the Great Barrier Reef Weather always Sunny?

Great Barrier Reef Australia
Great Barrier Reef Australia

Far North Queensland is a very popular tourist destination – in part because it does indeed live up to its reputation of having absolutely incredible weather, along with the beautiful beaches and spectacular sights such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and a multitude of national parks, islands and beaches.

Queensland certainly lives up to the reputation of being the sunshine state – with Far North Queensland getting an average of 300 sunny days a year!

Depending on your reason for visiting however, you will need to pay attention to the seasons as there is definitely a ‘best’ time of year (even if it is most of it!) read on to find out more about the Great Barrier Reef weather


Sunscreen compulsory?

To find out more about what to expect, what to prepare, and what time of year is best to visit the region, we spoke with Reef Encounters, who have been operating Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest tours in the area for the past 30 years.

With a wealth of local knowledge and a true passion for the area, we discovered that you won’t always be wearing sunscreen in the sunshine state.

Being a tropical climate, Far North Queensland is rarely in temperature extremes – the climate has two seasons – one is typically dry and a little cooler, the other being humid, with the potential for dazzling thunderstorms. Note however than even during storm season the weather can be amazing – with 300 sunny days a year, your chances are pretty good!

Great Barrier Reef Scuba diving
Great Barrier Reef Scuba diving

Best time for Scuba Diving

Between May and October you’ll find the temperatures a little more moderate and the air dryer – this is the most popular time of year for diving, and you’ll want to ensure you get in quickly if you want to book. Fresh breezes are common, and the humidity is lower than during the depths of summer.

November to March the air is warm and humidity is high, however don’t let that fool you – the sun will certainly be happy to paint you brown (or red!) if you’re out too long without some sunscreen.

Note that Reef Encounter offers UV protective clothing for snorkelers – you’ll want to take them up on the offer as sunscreen should be banned on the reef due to its adverse effect on the coral and wildlife.

 When to visit the Great Barrier Reef?

November to March is also the time of year that rainfall is highest. If you’re in the mood for a Far North tropical storm, November to March is the time of year to visit. This time of year can offer everything from cooling afternoon showers to highly charged electrical storms, offering spectacular sights for photography or just sitting on a balcony with a cool drink.

When are you coming?

We would certainly encourage you to speak with the helpful staff at Reef Encounter tours to get an idea of how best to prepare and when to visit, depending on the time of year. They not only run day and multi day scuba and snorkelling trips to the reef, they run tours through the Daintree Rainforest – an amazing location to see some very unique wildlife!