The Best Time to Visit the Great Barrier Reef
You can visit and dive the Great Barrier Reef year round from Cairns and Port Douglas – each month and season offer something exciting for anyone who is looking for a stunning trip with memories that will last a lifetime.
November thru May
November marks the coral spawning season, and along with this comes balmy 27-28 degrees Celsius water. You are able to ditch the wet suits and dive comfortably in Lycra suits, and you have a chance to see the Reef come alive with various wildlife.
December brings the hot and humid weather with crystal clear water. A lot of the Great Barrier Reef fish breed in the month of December and your tour operators will tell you which fish to be careful around and which are less aggressive.
January brings warm 29 degrees Celsius water and hot, rainy weather. You can see jellyfish, siphonophores, and salps, in abundance, and because the water is so warm, you can dive in Lycra suits and remain comfortable.
February is traditionally the last summer month, and it is very wet. The water is still warm, and this month can bring you up close to nesting turtles and sharks in the clear waters.
March will bring many juvenile fish out on display, along with Black-tipped Reef Sharks pups. The water is still balmy at 28 degrees Celsius, and the first month of autumn will bring an array of new life to the Reef.
In April, the water begins to cool, but the Reef is alive with gorgeous marine life, and the waters are clear. This is a perfect time to see some of the smaller marine life that makes up the Reef.
Finally, May will bring the migratory species of fish, along with the cooler waters for the winter months. Divers may see Queensland Grouper, Lion Fish, and Gorgonian Fans on their adventure.
June thru October
June marks the first month of winter, and any tour operator you go with will provide wet suits for the 23 degrees Celsius water temperature. June is an exciting diving month because you have the chance to see Dwarf Minke Whales, and the Great Barrier Reef is the only place you can swim with these gorgeous animals.
July brings very deep blue waters will excellent visibility. If you have motion sickness, we recommend you take something prior to taking a tour because it is windy. Once you get to your destination, you’ll have a chance to see Manta Rays and stunning sea life.
August will bring you diving with humpback whales, and you may even catch a glimpse of Migaloo, who is the only white humpback whale in the world. The water is a cooler 22 degrees Celsius, as this is the official last month of winter.
If you dive in September, you may get ‘glass out’ water with excellent visibility. The Red Throat Emperors and Snappers are preparing to spawn, and you’ll see these when you dive. The waters are beginning to warm once again for a pleasant experience.
October brings the breeding season for many of the area’s birds, and you may also see more turtles than usual as well. The water is continuing to warm up to a comfortable 26 degrees Celsius, and the views are spectacular.