There are some fantastic reasons to visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef in winter… and with an average temperature of 23°C above the surface and 21°C below the surface, it barely seems right calling it winter at all!
1. Catch the sunrise (at a more acceptable time of the morning!)
Sunrise – it’s a seriously magical time of day on the Southern Great Barrier Reef! But if you’re not a morning person, then waking before 5am to catch the break of day can be a real punish. That’s where winter and its much more respectable sunrise time of 6:30-ish is a game changer!
2. Encounter the mighty Manta Ray
There are many types of rays to meet on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, but none more magnificent than the mighty Manta Ray. Each year from June through to August, Manta Ray numbers peak on the Southern Great Barrier Reef. So, if you’re like most underwater explorers and have swimming with these coveted creatures on your bucket list… then you’ll want to visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef during winter for your best chance of seeing them.
3. Enjoy even less crowds
Consider yourself an ‘off the beaten track’ traveller who actively avoids crowds? Then fuel your thirst for authentic and intimate experiences here on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. All year round you’ll enjoy secluded beaches and smaller tour sizes, especially in winter!
4. Have a whale of a time
Winter means WHALES… need we say more?! From June through to September each year, Humpback Whales undertake an epic migration from Antarctica up along ‘Humpback Highway’ (AKA the east coast of Australia) to feed, mate and play in the warmer waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. During these winter months, visitors are treated to regular sightings not only on whale watching tours, but also on reef day trips, scenic flight transfers and island boat transfers, as well as spotting them from the islands and whilst diving or snorkelling on the reef.
5. Soak up the sunshine & EPIC water visibility
When you think of winter you might imagine grey skies and dreary days, but not on the Southern Great Barrier Reef! In fact, winter marks the end of the rainy season… so visitors can expect blue skies and sunshine. And if that wasn’t already enough, you’ll also be spoiled with exceptional water visibility!