Weather and Seasons

Tropical North Queensland boasts some of the country’s best weather. Warm all year round, the seasons are split into two distinct times of the year, known as the green and dry seasons.

The dry season

The dry season coincides with Australia’s winter months of May to November and is the most popular time of year for tourists to visit. With plenty of sunshine, low humidity and temperatures of around 26˚C during the day, it’s warmer than many other countries’ summers and is when many Australians flock to the area, seeking respite from the colder states.

The days are ideal for the beach and exploring the reef, particularly as the season for the Irukandji jellyfish is over. The evenings, while cooler at approximately 17˚C (at the lowest), are still very comfortable. It’s the perfect climate to enjoy plenty of outdoor living.

The green season

The green season starts in December and goes until April, usually with the first monsoonal rains providing much-needed relief to the increasingly hot days. Heavy overnight rains and thunderstorms are typical during the green season however the days are filled with plenty of sunshine and many tourists opt to visit this time of year instead of the dryer months. Big plusses during this season include: 

  • There are fewer tourist crowds to deal with.
  • The rainforest is flourishing.
  • Tour operators often offer reduced rates for reef and rainforest excursions.
Cooling rains and rainforests

With 75 – 90 per cent of the annual rainfall recorded during these months, this is a restorative time for the World Heritage-listed rainforest. The flora and fauna are at their prime, the freshwater streams and waterfalls are thriving, and the tropical landscape is arguably more spectacular than in the cooler months. Temperatures can reach up to 34˚C during the green season and it is the warmest time of year.

The cool tropical rainforests and mountain creeks are a wonderful retreat from the hot summer days with the Atherton Tablelands a popular destination during this season. Not only for the fact its location above sea level means it’s cooler than the coastal areas, but the renowned waterfall circuit, dotted among the quaint towns of the tablelands, make it a popular day trip destination. Rainforest tours are also a must, as are any water-based activities such as snorkelling, diving, or whitewater rafting. 


It is during the green season that the region is more susceptible to cyclones. However modern weather-predicting technology means cyclone watch starts as early as when a tropical low is in its very initial stages of brewing offshore, even if hundreds of kilometres away. If you happen to be in the area during this time, ensure you’re keeping a watch on regular news updates and above all, listen to, and heed all warnings.

Related links

Great Barrier Reef Blog