For an American when is the better time to visit and swim/snorkel at GBF .

8 replies


American Airlines - AAdvantage

Member since 02 Nov 2015

Total posts 1

For an American when is the better time to visit and swim/snorkel at GBF ....calm water. Warming weather no rain. No jelly fish. Etc. is it April-may?


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 25 Jan 2013

Total posts 108

Hey Jack, high season in Cairns is May to October. Been up there a few times for work. 

Flights: Whilst VA and QF are full service carriers, cause it's a leisure destination their schedules aren't the greatest. Try JetStar but you can pay for bags, entertainment etc.

Accommodation: Look for somewher on or near the Esplanade. I've heard good things about the Pacific Hotel. I usually stay at Northern Greenhouse, a luxe motel turned backpackers. Whatever, suits :)

Pacific Hotel: [email protected]

Northern Greenhouse: [email protected] or 


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards Gold

Member since 04 Jul 2014

Total posts 88

Hey Jack,

Cairns/Far North Queensland has been one of my favourite holiday spots for years.

I find it is best to visit between August and October, it is warm(but not unbearable) and not stinger season. I was last there in July and it was a bit colder than I was used to there but still very nice. 


Etihad - Etihad Guest

Member since 06 Apr 2012

Total posts 85

Agree with Jack's recommendation of August > October. April-June also good.  The jellyfish usually kick in around November, and the December - March period brings you into the Monsoon/Cyclone season.  It can be a lit of a lottery if you book a holiday for this time as there is more chance of being rained out, and the higher seas whipped up by a cyclone in the Coral sea can make boat travel to the reef a liitle rough for some.   Nevertheless, it would be a great way to escape the North American winter.


Member since 18 Nov 2013

Total posts 61

If there's a cyclone in the Coral Sea then any reef trips would be cancelled. December to March is often very calm - but obviously it comes with the (low) risk of a cyclone, and it is in the middle of stinger (jellyfish) season.


Member since 12 Mar 2014

Total posts 115

I'd definitely agree on the August-October recommendations above, although SE tradewinds can make for relatively rough crossings to the reef, as well as cool conditions above water. I'm also curious as to what difference your being an American would make?

wilsoni Banned

wilsoni Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Sep 2011

Total posts 302

I think Jack the American is saying it's a long way to come and he'd like to pick the best time given the cost - especially for a family if that's the case. It's not like jumping on a plane in SYD and being on the reef a few hours later if the weather looks good.


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

Member since 06 Dec 2012

Total posts 155

I lived in Cairns for 10 years and worked on boats on the reef. I agree with most comments here, Especially as SeatNextToYours stated about the trade winds. As with anything weather related nothing is 100% accurate, but I would go for late April or for October. From Experience these two months provided the largest number of "glass out" days when the was about a 2 knot breeze and beautiful flat blue water like a mill pond. As these two months are on the shoulders of the end of the wet season (April) and beginning of the build up (October) you can get some late/early rain, but honestly it doesn't effect snorkeling that much and it doesn't have the gusty winds (trade wind period, generally July through to September). Enjoy


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 21 Jan 2014

Total posts 270

June - July, after the wet but before the SE winds get up they can make it very uncomfortable and reduce visibility, tides are generally smaller mid year which helps. Look for trips off Port Douglas for the best reefs closer to shore, The Yongala wreck off the coast of Townsville is one of the best wreck dives in the world and worth the trip and a few days cruising around the Whitsundays ain't a bad way to spend a few days. Enjoy your stay in our wonderful part of the world.

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