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 seems to be known as the most popular time of year for tourists to visit whilst the southern parts of Australia are in the cold winter months.

With plenty of sunshine, low humidity and temperatures of around 26˚C during the day, it’s warmer than many other countries’ summers and it is the time when many Australians flock to the area, seeking respite from the colder states.

The days are ideal for the beach and exploring the reef, and 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.

As the trade winds clash at this time of year it can cause rough windy conditions on the ocean at times, so if you do suffer from seasickness it's best to prepare before travel.

The Green season is a better time to dive and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef as the ocean is normally like a sheet of glass and the waters clear as a glass of gin and the temperatures are higher in the water. 

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 the Green season include: 

  • There are fewer tourist crowds to deal with.
  • The rainforest is flourishing with flowers and berries and baby animals.
  • The forests are full of birds and butterflies
  • It's turtle nesting season 
  • This is springtime in the tropics and you will see many more sightings of native Australian animals during the green season than any other time of the year
  • It's courting season for the crocodiles so you will spot a lot more on the banks of rivers
  • The Great Barrier Reef comes alive at this time of year with coral spawning and all the large pelagics make their way form the other side of the world to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Its the most perfect time of year for snorkelling, diving as the water is crytsal clear
  • It's the big time season for catching Marlin and other famous reef fish.
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.

All the locals go about their business leading up to and after a cyclone as it is a yearly occurance. 

Related links

Great Barrier Reef Blog