What is the best month to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef?

What is the best month to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 12/20/2022

Reading time: 2 mins

The world’s largest coral reef system lies in Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s top attractions!

Each year about two million travellers visit the Great Barrier Reef yearly. They come to see the fantastic coral reef system and all the marine life swimming by. The best time to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef is any time between May to October. This is during Queensland’s dry season. Because this is the best time, it means a lot of other people are also visiting the reef.

Below are the reasons why snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef during these months is best time to go!


The weather cools off a bit during the dry season. But the temperature of the water is warm and perfect for snorkelling. The weather outside is beautiful usually around 30 degrees Celsius during the day. The dry season means there is likely to be less rain, cyclones, or thunderstorms.


When going snorkelling during these months, the underwater visibility is quite high. This is due to the lack of rain. The turquoise water is beautiful and clear to snorkel in. You can easily spot any marine life swimming by through the corals. This is easily the best way to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.

Marine life

May to October bring out some of the best marine life in the reef. There are about 1500 species of fish living in the Great Barrier Reef. Clownfish, butterfly fish and angelfish can be spotted when snorkelling. May to September you can even spot some whales like humpbacks and dwarf minke whales. This is when they migrate from Antarctica.

Avoiding stinger season

When you snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef during May to October you will avoid the peak stinger season. This is where box jellyfish and irukandji jellyfish are around. These jellyfish are around all year, they are more common during the warmer months. You may still be required to wear a stinger suit when snorkelling for precaution and for your safety.

Hastings Reef

Hastings Reef is one of the best spots to go snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. But if you go snorkelling during the wet season, you can swim with the local sea turtles! Hastings Reef is filled with colourful corals.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.