Located on the north-eastern coast of Australia, The Queensland Islands comprises the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays region and islands lying off the coast of Queensland. The Queensland Islands are a fantastic holiday destination popular with domestic and international travelers. Welcoming approximately 8 million visitors each year, the Queensland Islands are one of Australia’s most frequently visited destinations that offers something for everyone. When planning a holiday to the Queensland Islands it helps to know when are the best times to visit. Considerations such as weather, pricing and peak seasons will all come into play when planning your tropical holiday, along with other factors such as stinger season and local festivals. Consider the following to decide when you think will be the perfect time to visit the Queensland Islands.
When choosing your ideal destination, weather is perhaps the most important consideration for holiday planning. While Summer is often the most popular time for people to travel, the Queensland Islands may not be at their best during this time. From December through February, Queensland experiences hot, humid and wet summers with an increased chance of cyclones. Winter and Spring on the other hand, are both beautiful times to visit as temperatures sit around a balmy 24°C with plenty of sunshine and minimal humidity. September is often considered the best month to visit as the climate is perfect and water temperatures are ideal for swimming, snorkelling and exploring the spectacular Great Barrier Reef. Boating enthusiasts also suggest visiting in September as the tides result in beautiful clear skies and full moon nights, wonderful to enjoy from the deck of your vessel.
The Queensland Islands are a popular destination to visit all year round, however there are specific peak periods where the islands are bustling with visitors. Like many holiday destinations around the world, Christmas/New Year, Easter and the school holidays are very popular times to visit the Queensland Islands. However, unlike other holiday destinations, Winter is considered the major peak season for the Queensland Islands. In an attempt to escape the cool climate from other parts of Australia and the world, visitors flock to the Queensland Islands to soak up the tropical sun. Hamilton Island Race week (which occurs during the end of August each year) is also another very popular time to the Whitsundays region, drawing crowds and boating enthusiasts from all over the world. During peak season, prices are generally more expensive and accommodation fills up quickly (so be sure to book in advance!) Peak season also brings more crowds, particularly during the Winter school holidays in July.
October to May plays host to what is commonly known as Stinger season. Occurring in the northern Queensland Islands waters, the stinger season period may contain the harmful box jellyfish and the Irukandji jellyfish, both of which can deliver a potentially fatal sting. Typically, stingers do not travel past the coast of Gladstone, however some have been known to reach waters off the Sunshine Coast. If you’re visiting Moreton Island or Stradbroke Island, you shouldn’t need to worry about stingers, however, always check for posted signs before entering the water. Though stinger fatalities are very rare, it is recommended that visitors wear protective stinger suits when swimming and snorkelling. While stinger season isn’t ideal, there’s no reason why you cannot enjoy the Queensland Islands during this time. If stinger suits aren't your cup of tea, there are plenty of land based activities on offer such as bush walking, sunbathing, fishing, shopping, dining and simply relaxing in the tropical ambience.
As mentioned above, Hamilton Island Race Week is a popular Queensland Islands event that occurs every August. The festival is one of the premier yachting events in Australia and has become a quintessential race on the international sailing calendar. Attendees can enjoy an exciting spectacle of sailing and a camaraderie of events throughout the week including long lunches, champagne dinners, street parties and so much more. July plays host to the Great Barrier Feast, a gourmet food festival, as well as the Whitsundays Writers Festival and Airlie Beach Running festival. To find out more information on the Queensland Islands events, click here.