Make the most out of the Whitsundays' Wet Season

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Make the most out of the Whitsundays' Wet Season

There is a lot to be gained from booking a sailing holiday in the Whitsundays wet season, especially if you take advantage of our standby rates.

For people who aren’t used to living in Australia’s north tropics, the very idea of a wet season is enough to make them think Queensland is a holiday no-go zone. The term “wet season” doesn’t exactly sound enticing.

However, as people who live in the north know, using words such as “wet” or “rainy” to describe this time of year isn’t completely true. It would be more accurate to call February and March our “season of rain which is regularly broken by sunshine and blue skies” or a time when there is a “high chance of warm rain in the afternoon”. But these phrases don’t exactly roll off the tongue!

It’s important to highlight the fast-changing weather patterns common in the wet season and to know there’s a lot to be gained from booking a sailing holiday at this time of year. You will have access to discounted rates, options for shorter charters on our best boats, high chances of blue skies, calm seas and the Islands to yourself.

Read on to get some insider tips and learn how you can nab yourself a sailing adventure through the Whitsundays at a reduced rate. Plus, we’ll share some great activities to be enjoyed throughout the Whitsunday Islands in “the wet”.

Wet Season Whitsundays

How to make the most out of the Whitsundays Wet Season

When is the wet season in the Whitsundays?

The wet season occurs in north Queensland from January to March. In the tourism industry, we call this time of the year our low season – for you that means a time period with discounted rates.

Insider tips for booking a sailing holiday in the wet season

In the wet season, book at the last minute (our standby rates) based on the weather forecast.

Most of the booking we receive in the wet season are made by people who understand what the wet season conditions are like and how quickly they can change from cloudy to blue skies. They keep an eye on our standby rates and an eye on the weather. When the weather is clear, they quickly make a booking, taking advantage of our heavily reduced hire costs and the opportunity to enjoy the islands without the crowds.

The low season also offers these two advantages:

  1. You can book for a minimum of three nights (an option not always available in other seasons):
    Unlike other times throughout the year, in the low season, you will also have the opportunity to book a short charter for three nights. A great alternative for anyone wanting a quick trip over a weekend and even an opportunity to take advantage of a long weekend like the Austalia Day holiday.
  2. You will have access to our most popular vessels:
    A spontaneous, last-minute approach to organising a yacht charter holiday with us would not usually work any other time of the year. But because it's the low season, there is a very good chance an amazing boat from our fleet will be available over a flexible time period.

What the weather is really like in the Whitsundays Wet Season

Every year our wet season is different and sometimes we get more rain than others. This is why it’s always good to check in with what the current and forecast weather conditions are before ruling out a holiday to tropical Queensland.

Generally speaking, the temperatures in Feb and March sit around an average of 30 degrees Celsius with humidity.

A typical weather pattern for a day in the Whitsundays wet season is a heavy cloud burst later in the day or overnight with hard and fast rain. This means that the mornings and throughout the day are often calm and sunny.

The weather changes really quickly. Check out these images from Hamilton Island. These photos were taken only a few hours apart, with a rainy lunchtime spent at the marina tavern followed by a sunny afternoon at the resort pool.

Hamilton Island Marina Wet Season    Hamilton Island Marina Wet Season

What about Cyclones in the Whitsundays?

Cyclones season does coincide with the wet season in Queensland, however, the likelihood of a cyclone directly impacting Queensland is low – and one impacting the Whitsunday region is even lower.  

We have access to state of the art forecasting technology and local authorities who are all very experienced at monitoring cyclones in the interests of public safety. We can see when a large storm is brewing a week or more ahead of time and we're given several days’ warning if it’s looking like the Whitsundays will be directly affected. Once formed, cyclones tend to move slowly at about 8 to 12 knots – giving us plenty of notice if one is developing.

In the unlikely event of an approaching storm, we would recall all of the boats to our base at Shute Harbour or to Hamilton Island Marina with ample notice for your safety. We strongly advise that if you are chartering a yacht in the Whitsundays’ wet season, as an extra precaution, you should take out travel insurance to ensure that your costs are covered if there is a boat recall due to extreme weather.

When is stinger season in the Whitsundays?

Stinger season is considered to be from late October to May in the Whitsundays.

February and March are higher risk times for stingers because the weather is at its warmest.  You can still enjoy water-based activities such as snorkelling and stand up paddleboarding, you just need to wear a stinger suit which you can hire from us for $5 per person, per night.

We suggest you learn more about being safe in the stinger season so you can enjoy the water while visiting the Whitsundays in the warmer months. 

Things to do amongst the Whitsunday Islands in the wet season

There is still so much to be enjoyed throughout the islands if you get a bit of rain.

Visit Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is a great place to berth for a night or two when you’re on a bareboat charter.

A bustling resort island, there won’t be a shortage of things to do. You can hire a golf buggy and zip around seeing the sites, enjoy shopping, dining out, swimming in the public resort pools, 10 pin bowling and a visit to the Wildlife Park where you can cuddle a koala.

Don’t miss a sunset hike up to the famous One Tree Hill lookout with amazing 360 views or walking on one of the 9 walking trails taking you through the island’s stunning national parks.

Hamilton Island Sunset

Enjoy the walking tracks amongst the islands

When it rains, the forest on the islands come alive. As you walk on one of the many walking trails throughout the islands, you will hear frogs, birds and the dripping of water with the smell of rain and life around you. Just pack a light raincoat and take it all in.

Four of the best places to hike during the Whitsunday Islands wet season.

  • South Molle Island
    Located in the middle of the islands and known for its birdlife, grasslands and lush pockets of rainforest South Molle is a favourite stopover. Anchor at Baurer Bay, one of the best anchorages in the Whitsundays, and take the trail from the western beach within the bay keeping an eye out for signs. Choose from a shorter 1.7km walk to Lamond Hill, a 3.4 Km hike to the very popular Mt Jeffery’s or travel across the island on a 4.5km trail to Sandy Bay. No matter what path you take, you will be treated to hiking through stunning scenery and taken to lookouts with views that will stop you in your tracks.
  • Nara Inlet
    One of the most famous walks in the Whitsundays is deep inside Nara Inlet. Take a 20-minute moderate hike up to a viewing platform which looks at ancient cave drawings from the Islands original inhabitants, The Ngaro People. The cave's artwork and middens have been dated back to 9000 years, making the Ngaro cultural site one of the oldest indigenous sites on the east coast.
  • Shute Harbour’s Mt Rooper Circuit & Swamp Bay Track
    An advantage of booking a yacht from our base at Shute Harbour is the access it gives you to this amazing part of the Whitsundays. Book a sleep-aboard and enjoy hiking the 7.2km bushwalk through the Conway National Park before or after your charter. The hike will take you through amazing local flora and fauna to a breath-taking view across the harbour towards the Islands overlooking Daydream Island, North Molle Islands, and the Whitsunday Passage.
  • Shute Harbour's Coral Beach Walk
    A 3.7km grade two walk, the pleasant and relatively easy Coral Beach walking track starts from near our base at Shute Harbour at the top of the Lions Lookout steps. When you arrive at the beach you will be able to beachcomb through the dried corals which have been washed up onto the shore. The water is also crystal clear and the outlook across to the islands is stunning. If you walk 180 meters east along the beach, there is another small track that will take you up to views looking out over the Whitsunday Passage.
  • Whitsunday Island, the Hill Inlet Lookout
    Take a short walk from the northern end of the island, near Tongue Point up to the famous Hill Inlet viewing platform. The best time to enjoy this view is on low tide so you can see the contrasting colours and swirls made from the water and sand.

Hiking whitsundays wet season

See the Whitsunday Island Waterfalls

The wet season is it’s the only time of year you can see the Whitsunday Island waterfalls flowing.

  • Nara Inlet
    The most sheltered anchorages in the Whitsundays, if you take the tender right into the far end of Nara Inlet you'll be close to where the waterfall lands into the ocean. If you want to get up even closer to the falls, follow the Ngaro walking track past the cave paintings where you will find the falls cascading over rocks. Continue climbing up alongside the waterfalls for a dip in some freshwater pools
  • Luncheon Bay
    On the northern side of Hook Island, Luncheon Bay is perhaps more famously known as a novice scuba diving site featuring the underwater “Tunnel of love”. However, if you go ashore, you will find a small waterfall that drops into a rock pool where the kids can have a splash.
  • Butterfly Bay
    At the eastern end of Butterfly Bay you will find a little waterfall that only flows after heavy rain. Walk about 10 minutes up the creek bed and you will be greeted by a tropical, secluded oasis with butterflies dancing in the trees.
  • Stonehaven Bay
    Another Hook Island anchorage, Stonehaven is one of the most popular spots to enjoy in the Whitsunday Islands wet season. The waterfall is one of the biggest in the Whitsundays, with a countless number of rock pools and smaller falls to explore. Take care when climbing alongside the falls and look for the designated path.

Video from Sailing Yogi at Stonehaven Bay

Take amazing photographs

Many photographers know that the best conditions for photos are cloudy or overcast skies so heavy shadows and contrasts are avoided. During the wet season, the rain will downpour suddenly and clear just as quickly as it came. When it clears, the sun usually comes out, contrasting with the greys and clouds creating an athletic sky.

A great tip is to send a drone up at sunrise and sunset for an amazing light show amongst the clouds. And keep an eye out for the rainbows!

Wet season Whitsunday Islands

Visit the Daydream Island Living Reef

When you’re on a bareboat charter you have the opportunity to stop over at Daydream Island. This famous resort island has recently been refurbished and the island natural coral lagoon now offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy an open water aquarium.

You’re able to look through a large acrylic window out at a reef system where you can spot fish, stingrays and other reef-dwelling creatures in their natural environment. The Reef Experience attraction also has an exploration centre that includes activities and exhibits for all ages.

Daydream Island Reef Experience
Photo Credit Daydream Island Resort

An opportunity to relax

If you're planning to charter around the Whitsundays during the wet season, there will probably be a few rainy patches you'll need to wait out. It can be a great opportunity to force everyone to relax, enjoy an afternoon nap, a good book or some board games with the kids. There is nothing worse than coming back from a holiday feeling like you need a holiday! At least with some forced downtime thanks to the lovely rain, you'll be rejuvenated.

But perhaps the biggest drawcard to booking a sailing holiday in the Whitsunday’s wet season is you’re likely to have many anchorages and beaches all to yourself. For a world-class location with natural wonders abound, this is a real privilege and opportunity.

If you are willing to be flexible and are prepared to get wet albeit, from warm rain, you are in for a real treat. You might even become one of our regular wet season bareboater.



Join us in the Whitsundays wet season and enjoy the freedom to explore

Learn more and book or contact us today 1800 075 000 or