When to visit:
· Southern winter. Forget about snow and cold, since the Great Barrier Reef is always tropical, and May to September is considered the "dry season." This is cyclone country, so mitigating any risk of violent weather is ideal. During the daytime temps hover around 77 degrees, so it's pretty perfect despite being "winter."
· Shoulder season. Both Spring and Autumn are short-lived in this part of the world, but visitors can score some near perfect weather in April or October since the storms aren't much of a threat and the days are only just heating up or cooling down. With plenty of non-water activities like the Daintree Rainforest walk and the city action of Cairns and Port Douglas, there is still plenty to do if the odd thunderstorm rolls in.
When not to visit:
· High southern summer. Naturally, in such a tropical climate, the summer on the Great Barrier Reef can be pretty steamy and uncomfortable. The rushes of tourists escaping Northern Hemisphere winter are joined by an influx of venomous tropical jellyfish. With waters littered with irukandji and box jellyfish and storms frequently on the horizon, there's a higher chance that your vacation could be ruined or dampened in summer.
[Photos: colinwood0/Flickr, Rayme Gorniak/Jaunted]