The Whitsunday Islands are located off the coast of Queensland. The archipelago has a tropical climate with two main seasons: a hot, rainy summer and a warm, dry winter. Average high temperatures linger between 23°C and 31°C, while lows average a mild 17°C to 25°C. The water temperature averages a pleasant 23°C to 28°C throughout the year.

While the Whitsundays are a year-round destination, there are a few pros and cons to visiting in the summer and winter.

Winter (dry season)

Unlike southern Australia, winter (May to November) in the Whitsundays is near perfect. Sunshine is plentiful, rain is minimal and daytime temperatures are warm enough for t-shirts and shorts. It can feel cool at night and when you're out sailing where wind chill is at play, so pack a sweater and some long pants.

Winter is generally the best time to experience all the Whitsundays has to offer. The water visibility is excellent for snorkelling and diving due to low rainfall, and you may also get the chance to see humpback whales between July and September during their annual migration from Antarctica. Whales migrate to the warm waters along the East Coast to birth and nurse their calves.

With great weather comes larger crowds. However, dealing with a few extra people on the beach is worth it when you have the best chance of seeing the Whitsundays in all its glory. The Hamilton Island Race Week in August is a particularly vibrant time in the region, so be sure to book transport and accommodation in advance.

Summer (wet season)

The summer (December to April) brings balmy temperatures of 28°C to 31°C and high humidity. February, March and April see the heaviest rainfall, but it's usually in the afternoon and doesn't last for too long. Boat tours usually run on schedule unless the weather is really bad, but the rains can affect water visibility so you may want to factor this in if you plan on diving or snorkelling.

Warmer water temperatures between October and May also attract large numbers of harmful jellyfish, including Box and Irukandji. It’s recommended to wear a stinger suit (a lightweight suit made from nylon or spandex) to protect your skin. Stinger suits also double up as sun protection.

Excluding the Australian summer school holidays which bring an influx of tourists to the Whitsundays, the summer is usually a quieter time so you'll get to enjoy Whitehaven Beach and the archipelago's other attractions with smaller crowds.

Average temperatures in the Whitsundays

Month

Average low (°C)  

Average high (°C)  

January

25

31

February

25

30

March

24

30

April

23

28

May 20 26
June  17 23
July 17 23
August  17 24
September 19 26
October  21 28
November  23 30
December  24 31

 

Learn about swimming safety in the Whitsundays

Return to Whitsundays FAQs

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