Top 10 reasons to travel to the Great Barrier Reef during the Green Season

Christine Retschlag on September 4th, 2017

Without rain, there is no rainforest! Here are 10 reasons to join us on the Great Barrier Reef during our Green Season, which runs between December and April.

1. Coral Spawning

Coral, which is actually a living animal, reproduces in a number of ways and spawning occurs when it simultaneously releases an egg and sperm into the water.

This spectacular show happens around November after a full moon and when rising water temperatures have sufficiently stimulated the coral. Scientists describe this phenomenon, which lasts between a few days and a week, as an “underwater snowstorm”. 

There are a number of multi-day and overnight liveaboard cruise trips that offer night dives for certified divers to experience this amazing annual event. 

2. Green Season Weather

To truly embrace the experience of a rainforest, head here in the summer months when tropical days are punctuated by stormy nights. Sure, it’s warm, but so is the rest of the South Pacific and South-East Asia. The beauty of tropical Queensland is that just as easily as rain arrives, it clears, so you’ll often wake up to sunny skies and go to sleep to rain on the roof.

Cool off in beautiful resort pools, waterfalls and swimming holes. Enjoy snorkelling the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. And keep an eye out for some of the best photographic light as you capture a single rain droplet on a massive green leaf and some stunning sunrises along the beach.

3. Beach Time

Virtually non-existent trade winds make a boat ride and snorkelling and diving out on the Great Barrier Reef an absolute delight during this season. You’ll enjoy a smooth ride out there and crystal clear blue oceans with peak underwater visibility once you arrive.

Back on the beach, enjoy the seclusion which comes before and after school holidays. Yes, you can have an entire beach to yourself Robinson Crusoe-style. On the islands, enjoy resort activities such as SUP and kayaking without the crowds.

4. It’s Turtle Season

The Great Barrier Reef is home to six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles and at this time of year, you’re more than likely to spot one when you’re out snorkelling or diving. Your chances are even better during nesting season (November to January) and hatching season (January to March).

Some of the best places to witness turtles in action include:

Book a night tour through Bundaberg’s Mon Repos Turtle Centre to experience nesting and hatching events. And for the ultimate Great Barrier Reef and turtle experience, book a 3-Day or a 5-Day East Coast Great Barrier Reef Tour. Only 1 in 1000 turtles survive to adulthood, so spotting a turtle in the wild is an incredible privilege.

5. Waterfalls

During the Green Season, Tropical North Queensland literally gushes with waterfalls. The Barron River Falls are in full flood and considered one of the most spectacular sites with the Barron River gathering steam from high up on the Atherton Tablelands on its 165km journey through the rainforest to the Cairns coast. South of Kuranda, experience the falls as they tumble dramatically down a near-vertical rock face in Barron Gorge before they turn into a gentle waterway known as Lake Placid.

West of Cairns on the Tablelands, take the waterfall circuit and experience Millaa Milla, Zillie and Elinjaa falls. West of Ingham, in Girringun National Park, Wallaman Falls boasts Australia’s highest single drop waterfall.

A number of tours offer incredible ways in which to experience the region’s waterfalls from above and at ground level. Experience the ultimate waterfall and rainforest adventure with an exclusive helicopter flight to your very own private waterfall in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest.

6. Tropical Food

While tropical food is in season all year round, the Green Season heralds the arrival of some of that quintessential Queensland produce that is world-renowned. At this time of year, wrap your mouth around the state’s exotic mangoes which come to fruition. This is also stone fruit season where you can experience exotic fruits you’ve never seen or tasted before.

Best of all, there’s a number of food and wine tours right along the Great Barrier Reef which embrace the paddock to the plate experience. Visit farms, meet authentic farmers, and taste the fruits of their labour. It’s also a great time to visit the wineries which are putting Queensland on the map for producing some innovative drops.

7. Rainforests

If you want green, we can offer it in spades. Our emerald rainforests are truly spectacular after the rain when the flowers and berries bloom, attracting brilliant bird and butterfly life and other curious animals. At this time of the year, rare rainforest animals make an appearance to forage on the forest floor.

There are a number of guided rainforest tours in Tropical North Queensland which offer incredible interpretations.

8. Animal Encounters

The Green Season heralds a time of renewal both on land and at sea. The coral spawning event attracts the big game fish from all over the world and the big game fishermen in marlin fishing tournaments. The giant black marlin season off Cairns is world renowned as the place to catch a 453kg black marlin.

Turtles, dugongs and dolphins are in abundance all along the Great Barrier Reef and in the rainforests, record cassowary numbers are sighted.

9. It’s Quiet

For those who crave an adult-only holiday, the Green Season is the ideal time to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Head here in early November or late January to March after school holidays end, and you can claim a patch of paradise all to yourself.

Lower prices, a choice of pool lounges, room upgrades, no restaurant bookings and tours available when you want to do them, all make this an appealing option.

10. There are great deal holiday packages

If your idea of a great holiday includes discounted deals on accommodation, tours, flights and car hire, book a Great Barrier Reef break during Green Season. Your friends will be green with envy. 

Christine Retschlag

Christine Retschlag

Christine Retschlag is an award-winning Australian journalist who has worked in newspapers, magazines and online for the past 25 years in Australia, Hong Kong, London and Singapore. In 2006, she won the Australian Travel Writer of the Year award for Best Trade Story as well as the Jack Butters Memorial Award for Travel Writing Excellence. In 2007 she won Best Australian Story over 1000 words and in 2014 won Best Food Travel Story. She is also the author and architect of the successful travel blog: The Global Goddess.

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