There are quite a number of awe-inspiring natural wonders that one can only see in Australia. A traveler to the land down under will be served a breathtaking cornucopia of stunningly diverse landscapes—and seascapes, an amazing wildlife population with a decent number not found anywhere else on the planet, and a dream climate especially for those who like it a bit warm—all on a vast geographical expanse that would take an eternity to exhaust. It gets even better for English speakers as only a paltry 3.5% of Aussies do not speak English well or completely.
Still, to describe Australia as a travel destination and fail to mention the Great Barrier Reef would be like regaling an audience with interesting details of the sky without one mention of the sun. And so, while there are many things to see and do in Australia—all amazingly fascinating—the world-famous Great Barrier Reef should feature on every traveler’s bucket list.
Why Timing A Visit To The Great Barrier Reef Is Important
Of course, the Great Barrier Reef is not going anywhere or moving from place to place. It doesn’t also sleep. However, there’s always the best time to make a visit. This is because some days could be a bit hotter or colder for a traveler’s liking, in turn affecting the activities one can indulge in—or just more crowded and therefore a bit hurried up— to afford a memorably pleasant adventure. To have a good shot at timing, it’s important to know where the Great Barrier Reef is located.
This enormously vast reef system is located off the northeastern coast of Australia in the Coral Sea—on the southwestern side of the Pacific Ocean. It covers the coast of Queensland State in northeastern Australia—the second largest in the country. Because of its stunningly beautiful beaches, 200 national parks, and a spectacular outback, among others, the Sunshine State has carved for itself a reputation as a world-famous vacation destination. Still, the Great Barrier Reef could be the brightest star on Queensland's dazzling diadem.
Why A Visit To The Great Barrier Reef During The Dry Season Is Perfect
It’s interesting that Queensland State, unlike others, serves its seasons in only two portions: the wet season and the dry season. For the finest weather, the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June and October. Here are the reasons. First, at the start of June, the wet season which begins in November and ends in April is just over. Since the rains have ended, they’ll be more clarity—and hence greater visibility. The waters of the Great Barrier Reef, which in the wet season were a murky blue, will now be a lot clearer. Secondly, storms occur a tad more frequently during the wet season. This is not something to hope for since storms usually come with strong currents, making swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and other water sports—more difficult, or even impossible—depending on the degree. Without swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving, one will be restricted to the wrinkled surface waters, without exploring the undersea wonderland of the Great Barrier Reef. Here’s the truth: without ducking below the surface and exploring the bright, colorful world of the undersea, the Great Barrier Reef is yet to be experienced.
But that’s not all. The rainy season, usually around March or April, may witness a sporadic cyclone. Floods may also swell over roads—making driving an experts-only adventure. On top of that, the wet season normally sees a higher number of two dangerous species of jellyfish: the Irukandji and the Box Jellyfish. Of course, one can put on a stinger suit to protect himself from the harmful stings. However, it takes away the winds from the sails—of a relaxed, fun-filled experience. Then for someone who wants to catch a glimpse of whales as they majestically slide and glide —in the blue of the ocean waters, the dry season is perfect. Between June and September, these leviathans swim for over 3,000 miles from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef in search of waters that are warm enough for calving. Travelers can see Minke whales, spotting distinctive white stripes on their flippers, in the month of May. For the famous humpback whales, known for their amazing acrobatic feats, anywhere between July and September is perfect.
Curiously, the months of June to October, while winter in Australia, are usually summer in the United States and Europe. One can therefore be falsely tempted to dress lightly. As we’ve seen, this can be a big mistake.
Visiting The Great Barrier Reef During The Wet Season
For those with inflexible itineraries, visiting the Great Barrier Reef during the wet season is not all bad—there’s some silver lining. If for some consolation, there’ll be more elbow room as there’s bound to be fewer crowds. Prices can also be cheaper as demand plummets—saving travelers some dimes and dollars. Lastly, one will have the chance to experience one of the most fascinating spectacles in the natural world—mass coral spawning. This is a truly magical occurrence where corals in the sea release tiny balls of eggs and sperm in the water—all simultaneously. Sometimes as many as a hundred species of corals spawn on one, specific night—producing a colorfully stunning blizzard of white, yellow, red, and orange.
- The Best Time To See Coral Mass Spawning: Two to six days after a full moon in November or early December is perfect.
One fame of the Great Barrier Reef is that it can be viewed from space. Yet nothing compares to an up-close view—right here on earth. And to soak it all up, timing is key.