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Where are the best places to stay to visit the Great Barrier Reef?
Have a look for Whitsundays hotels when booking Great Barrier Reef accommodation and flight packages for direct reef access. The Whitsundays is a group of 74 islands that are surrounded by gorgeous coral and are a good base for sailing trips around the Great Barrier Reef. Each of the islands features beautiful beaches and hiking trails with scenic lookouts over the islands. Hamilton Island is one of the most popular Whitsunday islands to stay on while holidaying on Great Barrier Reef packages as is has a variety of hotels, restaurants and activities for visitors.
Cairns is the largest city with access to the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s teeming with activity both on the reef and on land. There are dozens of snorkelling and diving tours that depart out of Cairns, heading to popular spots like Michaelmas Cay, Fitzroy Island, and Green Island. You’ll also be in reach of the Daintree Rainforest by basing yourself in Cairns with your Great Barrier Reef holiday packages. There’s a great cultural scene in the city, with an excellent selection of restaurants, cafes, shops, and bars to visit in between adventures on the reef.
Several tour companies operate day snorkelling and diving tours of the Great Barrier Reef from Townsville. Base yourself here for easy access to spots like the Orpheus Islands and Lodestone Reef after booking Great Barrier Reef holiday packages. Townsville is also a 25-minute ferry ride from the picture-perfect Magnetic Island. This tourist favourite is home to plenty of snorkelling opportunities, water sports, and scenic walking trails. Back onshore, Townsville has a great restaurant and cafe scene along the foreshore plus other attractions like the Paluma Rainforest and Museum of Tropical Queensland.
When is the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef?
The exact weather you’ll encounter depends on where you’re planning to stay after booking Great Barrier Reef holiday packages. This part of Queensland has two main seasons – wet and dry. Dry season is typically the high season, and hotels and accommodation in the Great Barrier Reef tend to increase their rates at this time. Alternatively, the wet season is often quieter and the best time to score a hotel deal. There’s also a stinger season to keep in mind when planning Great Barrier Reef accommodation and flight packages.
Cairns has hot temperatures year round, averaging between 26° to 31°C. Wet season takes place between November and March, and you’re likely to come across tropical rainstorms by booking Great Barrier Reef packages at this time. However, this leads to nearby rainforests being especially green. Dry season falls between April and October, and this high season comes with low levels of rain and humidity. Stinger season in Cairns occurs between November and May
Townsville is another area to consider when booking a hotel and accommodation in the Great Barrier Reef. Wet season lasts from November to April, and this is also the stinger season. Temperatures average 30°C along with humidity and rain showers that tend to be short but heavy. Dry season between May and October comes along with cooler temperatures of 25°C with low humidity and little to no rain. This is the most popular time to travel on Great Barrier Reef holiday packages to enjoy outdoor activities.
Wet season in the Whitsundays takes place between January and March – shorter than you’ll find further north after booking Great Barrier Reef packages. Wet season temperatures average between 26° and 29°C with tropical rain showers, but extra rainfall means the waterfalls across the islands are at their most beautiful. Temperatures range between 21° and 28°C during the April to December dry season. Rain levels are low, particularly if you book Great Barrier Reef accommodation and flight packages in winter or spring. Stinger season in the Whitsundays lasts from October to May – something to keep in mind if you’re looking into a hotel and accommodation in the Great Barrier Reef during this period.
What should I pack for the Great Barrier Reef?
A strong reef-safe sunscreen, swimsuits, and warm weather clothes like shorts and t-shirts are a few essentials no matter what time of year you book Great Barrier Reef packages. Days are often hot, but evenings can get chilly, especially during the dry season. Pack a jacket and a pair of jeans to wear when the temperatures cool down. Alternatively, an umbrella comes in handy if you’re planning to travel on Great Barrier Reef holiday packages during the wet season. Going snorkelling or diving is a must-do for many travellers holidaying on Great Barrier Reef packages. Capture your memories on the reef by packing a waterproof phone case or a camera with underwater capability.