Queensland is famously “beautiful one day and perfect the next” but when is really the best time to visit?
It probably depends on what you want to see and do, but it’s the question we are asked most frequently. To help decide when you want to travel, we’ve jotted down some tips if you’re planning to visit the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast or Far North Queensland.
The Gold Coast sees bright sunshine for nearly 300 days a year and many will tell you there’s no bad time to visit. It’s the perfect place, and climate, to enjoy so many outdoor activities, like surfing, fishing, bush walks, wildlife watching, golfing and much more!
January to February – these summer months are when humidity is higher and it’s more likely to rain. Downpours are typically brief in the tropical heat, though you may get more overcast days, and it’s when the rainforests and hinterland are at their most lush.
March to April – weather is great and a little cooler in autumn. It’s technically low season, so things quieten down a little but it is still a popular tourist spot.
May to October – considered by many as the best time to visit (especially anyone escaping winter in the southern states). This is when you can expect sunny days and cooler evenings. Water temperatures are pleasant and it’s the ideal time for beach activities and whale watching.
November to December – as the temperatures rise and likelihood of rain increases, tourists tend to drop off. Though you can expect it to be busy around Christmas and New Year when there are plenty of celebrations on the Coast.
The Sunshine Coast gets its name for good reason and this is where it really does seem beautiful one day and perfect the next! It has all the outdoor activities that you can also enjoy in the Gold Coast, but with a bit more of a laid back, country feel. There’s also a vibrant new foodie and distilleries scene and Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo on the Coast.
January to March – these summer months are when humidity is higher and you can expect more rain or flash storms.
April to October – renowned as the best time on the Sunshine Coast, this is when you really appreciate the sunny days and cooler evenings. It’s not really winter when the average temperature is 22 degrees Celsius during the day. Water temperatures are around 20 degrees and it is the ideal time for surfing and beach activities. Whale watching season is normally from May to early November.
November to December – daytime temperatures increase (average 25 to 32 degrees Celsius) and there’s more chance of rain and thunderstorms. It can be busy around Christmas and New Year, so it pays to book ahead during peak holiday periods.
Far North Queensland, Cairns & Port Douglas
The magical north of Queensland is where you’ll find the Great Barrier Reef, stunning Whitsunday Islands and World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest. It is also where you can enjoy tropical havens like Port Douglas, which is only an hour drive north of Cairns.
In this northern part of Australia there are essentially two seasons, wet and dry.
April to October – this is the dry season, when the average temperature is an inviting 20 to 25 degrees Celsius and rain drops to around 25mm a month. For this reason and more, this is considered the best time for travellers to visit. The region comes alive with ocean activities, island adventures and it’s ideal for enjoying your time outdoors.
November to March – being the wet season, this is when it gets hot and steamy. You can expect daytime temperatures of around 30 degrees Celsius and sometimes warmer. Average monthly rainfall jumps to 375mm, but those thunderstorms can be a welcome relief from the heat. Lots of people still love visiting during the wet season. It’s when the rainforest is at its most lush and teeming with wildlife, waterfalls are gushing and there are less tourists around.
If you’re keen to explore Queensland, you can browse our trips and let us know if you have any queries.