Getting to Know the Climate and Seasons of the Great Barrier Reef

As one of Australia’s most beloved landmarks, the Great Barrier Reef draws in millions of visitors every year from all over the world. If you’re one of these visitors, you might be wondering when the best time to visit this natural wonder is.

Because the Reef boasts a tropical climate, you’ll find that it’s relatively warm throughout the year – most corals can’t survive in waters below 18 degrees Celsius. In summer, the region boasts temperatures between 24 and 33 degrees Celsius, while winter temperatures can drop to between 14 and 26 degrees.

The important thing to note is that, because it’s a wet tropic climate, the Great Barrier Reef only sees two seasons each year, the Green season and the Dry season.

The Green Season

The Green season takes place during the summer months and tends to begin in November and stretch through to March. During this time, the reef experiences monsoonal rains – between 75% and 90% of the region’s rainfall takes place during this time.

Bear in mind that the region as a whole sees 300 days of sunshine a year, so even though you might be travelling in the Green season, it will still be warm and you’ll still need to take precautions to avoid sun burn and damage.

During the Green season, the native box jellyfish come out to play in the waters just off the coast. They tend to stick around from October until May, so look out for netted areas on the beach to swim in or ask about the local conditions before you get in the water unattended.

The Dry Season

The Dry season takes place during Australia’s winter months – between May and October. At this time, you can expect plenty of sunshine, low humidity levels, and cool breezes that sweep along the coast.

This is the most popular time to swim in the region, when the water is pleasant and the box jellyfish aren’t around. You can expect the water to be a warm 23 degrees in the Dry season – perfect for taking a leisurely dip and exploring the local scenery.

Remember, though, that the Great Barrier Reef is huge, and the different points along its length bring different climates and weather conditions to visitors at different points throughout the year. The further north you go, you’ll see less variation in temperature throughout the year, for example. Be sure to check the weather forecast and climate conditions at the time of your visit.