Queensland is full of exciting areas to explore, where you can have new adventures and make lasting memories. Bask in the sun along the seemingly endless coastline, go trekking through the vast expanse of the outback, and go for a hike through the luscious rainforest that sweeps along the coast. Dive and snorkel along the biggest coral reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, and take time out to explore the tropical islands that dot this natural wonder. You won’t be short of things to do in this glorious state.
The climate in Queensland can be split into two categories: tropical in the far north and temperate in the southeast.
Summer (Wet Season): December – February
Far North Queensland sees a lot of rainfall during this period and is known to experience the occasional tropical cyclone. This time of year is hot and humid, with daytime temperatures reaching 30°C. The further down the coast you go, you can expect similar temperatures, with less humidity, and purifying thunderstorms in the late afternoon.
Autumn: March – May
In the southeast, temperatures start to drop and become more comfortable. You can expect daytime temperatures of 26°C, dipping to 16°C overnight. The far north cools down slightly, and the humidity starts to recede, with daytime temperatures reaching 29°C.
Winter: June – August
Surprisingly, this is the best time to visit Queensland. Temperatures are in a comfortable range of 21°C to 26°C during the day, there is low rainfall, and you can look forward to bright blue skies and ample sunshine.
Spring: September – November
Temperatures start to climb, and the humidity picks up again. You can look forward to daily temperatures of between 26°C and 30°C. Most areas will start preparing for the upcoming rainy season at this time of year.
The 2,300km of ocean features that stretch from the tip of Cape York down the east coast of the country to Bundaberg make up the most extensive coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef. With over 900 small islands and coral cays, 3,000 stand-alone reefs, more than 1,500 species of fish and over 200 bird species, it’s not surprising that this is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site. It is an area that is remarkably protected, which has contributed to it being one of Australia’s greatest successes in conservation, as well as being one of the best-managed marine areas on earth.
27°C during summer, rashie or 2mm shorty
25°C during winter, rashie or 2 – 3mm wetsuit
As Queensland experiences a mostly tropical climate, diving is available throughout the year. However, August to December has the best visibility and the least wind and rain. From April to September dive with manta rays and hammerhead sharks that grace the Coral Sea, while June to July marks the arrival of the Minke whales. Coral spawning season prevails between November and December.
This area is made up of 20 different dive sites, most of which are only a few minutes away from the island by boat. Labelled ‘one of the ten best dives on the planet’ by Jacques Costeau, Heron Bommie is a must. It is the island’s prize dive site and never fails to disappoint.
Look forward to seeing blacktip reef sharks, turtles, manta rays and the whole company of characters from Finding Nemo. Pelagic species are also known to make regular visits.
Lady Elliot Island
If you’re visiting the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island is not be missed. With its resident population of manta rays, over 1,200 species of fish, and visibility well over 20 meters, you are guaranteed to have an incredible dive experience every time you get into the water.
Lady Musgrave Island
Located along the Southern Great Barrier Reef and close enough to Brisbane for a daytrip, Lady Musgrave Island is a pristine paradise just waiting for you to explore.
The Southern Great Barrier Reef is renowned worldwide for scuba diving, and it’s pristine unspoiled beauty. Manta Rays, turtles and migrating Humpback Whales are an icon of this area, as is the fantastic visibility all year round. The Southern Barrier Reef is where scuba divers experience face to face encounters with manta rays, reef sharks, and moray eels. Snorkellers can swim with schools of tropical reef fish, giant rainbow-coloured parrotfish, and in summer months turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. So the waters are alive with Green and Loggerhead turtles over the breeding season.
Avid birdwatchers can enjoy the sight of thousands of seabirds which nest in rookeries on the island and make for some awesome and close up photograph opportunities.
Steve’s Bommie, Ribbon Reefs
Located on the northern Ribbon Reefs and well-removed from the range of day excursions, Steve’s Bommie is a dream come true. If you are an avid photographer, pack your wide-angle lens and get ready for a spectacular display from macro creatures and big fish alike. You can look forward to seeing a flourishing assortment of hard and soft coral which are home to anemonefish, nudibranchs, flatworms, and pipefish among many others. You can also spot reef sharks, big-eye trevally, barracudas, and the occasional minke whale if you’re visiting between June and July.
Located 30km off the coast of Brisbane, Stradbroke Island is ideally situated for a day trip, or a longer break with that tropical island feel. The main diving attraction around the island is the Moreton Marine Park, home to one of the top 10 dive sites in Australia – Manta Bommie. The warmer months of the year attract a vast array of marine life, most notably, large groups of Manta Rays. You can also look forward to encountering Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Shovelnose Rays, Turtles, Pelagic Fish, Wobbegong Sharks, and Leopard Sharks. Cherubs Cave is a macro-photographers dream come true, with an astounding collection of critters that call this dive site home. It also supports a large population of Grey Nurse Sharks, as well as Anemones and Clownfish.
The Whitsunday Islands make an ideal sailing destination. Live out your dream of being a captain by hiring a yacht and plotting your course, or if you want to kick back and relax, charter a yacht with a full crew to show you the hidden gems of this beautiful area. Sail from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach and drop anchor alongside the many deserted beaches that dot the coastline.
To get an idea of the sheer size and splendour of the Great Barrier Reef take a once in a lifetime scenic flight. The views are breathtaking. Go for a day trip and take advantage of snorkelling at Mackay or Vlassoff cays, or enjoy a gourmet picnic on Whitehaven Beach. Scenic flights are available from Port Douglas, Cairns and Hamilton Island.
Whether you enjoy a leisurely stroll or prefer a brisk hike, Queensland has a walk for everyone. Take in the views from lovely lookouts, take a dip in a splendid secluded swimming hole, or go on a fantastic overnight camping trip where you will hike along one of Queensland’s Great Walks and be bowled over by the breathtaking landscape surrounding you.
Indigenous culture contributes largely to the customs and traditions that define Australia and make it what it is today. Immerse yourself in traditional dance, arts and feasts, or take in the history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and learn about how they share their knowledge with the younger generation to preserve their unique culture.
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