Trip to Northern Queensland

Old Aug 1st, 2009, 11:36 PM
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Trip to Northern Queensland

Hi there,

I'm a brit living in Victoria. A couple of friends are coming to visit in late December and want to do northern Queensland. We have discussed that it will be humid and is the start of the wet season so could be a wash out, but I'm unsure exactly how oppressive it could end up being. Can anyone shed light on the reality of northern Queensland at this time of year?

Wer'e planning on staying in Cairns, or Port Douglas. I've heard that Port Douglas is a on bit on the quiet side at that time of year, as many businesses close for the season. Is this true?

Does anyone have any suggestions about the best place to be in Queensland at this time of year?

Thanks
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:02 AM
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I see it as an all season destination, just different assets shine at different times of year.

I think up the mountains would be ideal for that time but even quieter than Port Douglas.

Quiet part of the world, what makes it so special. Tourists go the tourist trail and leave the best for the rest.

I am older so busy places not very social. Just sit in crowded bar looking at each other. Quieter areas actually meet more people. Younger people reverse seems to the case.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:23 AM
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On the weather, typically humid and hot. Some rain, how much is for the weather god. The wet season goes for 6 months and if it was always a wash out the area would be washed away all together. Rain can set in like Melbourne , Sydney or anywhere but then often rain is so hard it gets the job done and dusted in an hour. So in one day can rain more than many places in one month. So typical hot and humid and possibility of tropical downpours. Possible cyclone but then melbourne has possible 47 degree temps in summer. What is possible may happen but probably wont but no-one can say for sure.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:28 AM
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I've lived near Cairns for 17 years, and December is one of my favourite times of year. My house is a timber Queenslander, built in early 1900's and it hasn't washed away yet.

Its hot, its humid, it might rain and it mightn't. If it does it'll be warm rain, and you'll probably be glad of it. And you can't have rainforest without rain, don't forget this is an area where two world heritage areas meet, wet tropical rainforests and Great Barrier Reef. December is usually a bit early for cyclones, but once again you never know, they don't happen every year anyway. Just about everywhere is airconditioned and anywhere you'll stay has a pool. Lovely time of year for outside evening dining too, which you wouldn't want to do right now. And its mango season!

Its one of the best times to visit the reef, as well after the SE trade winds which lately have stretched through to October, so usually calm seas and great underwater visibility. And if its gets too oppressive for you, can always nick up to Atherton Tableland, which you should give some time to anyway while in area.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:54 AM
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pat_woolford says it better than me, it is good. Good this way or that beacuse it is the tropics and tropical weather is tropical! I like it.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 05:58 PM
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Pat's painted a beautiful picture - I'd like to head up myself!!!!

We used to have a motel and we had quite a number of Poms come and stay for a bit whilst they sorted out their relocation. They would arrive in February and I would be quite concerned for them with the weather being so hot and humid(and they've left behind a cold winter)and without exception when asked how they were coping they all agreed that they loved it!!!!! It actually used to make my heart soar a bit to see how they enjoyed it and certainly made me take stock and truly appreciate what we have.

I think your friends will have a wonderful time up there and there will be plenty of ways to find relief from the heat if needed.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 04:01 AM
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Thanks everyone for your responses. Some of them were very, erm... entertaining!

Seriously though, it is useful to get a local perspective, so I appreciate your time. It has given us lots to consider.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:13 AM
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Well you know, it is tropical weather. You could go now and feel cold with lots of wind and grey skies but hardly any rain. Less rain not always means more enjoyable.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 05:23 AM
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Spot on Kriol,

Awful reef conditions right now with strong wind warning from
Torres St to Cairns, I'd feel really bad about advising anyone to go out to reef in a 30knot wind. Quite typical for this time of year though, as opposed to later in year when we see the end of the SE's.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 02:31 PM
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No rain! We have had a little drizzle but no rain here for months! Very windy at the moment though as mentioned.

Go into the mountains when you need a break from the coastal humidity. It will still be humid but you’ll not feel it a. because it is cooler & b. because Poms are made of tougher stuff. They may whinge a lot about many things but not the weather.

I have to be on the top end of the Gold Coast at the end of the year and always seem to draw amazement from people when I say I am having trouble with the heat and humidity and want to go home to north Queensland. I dislike air-conditioning unless really forced into it.

I would be surprised by a year when Coolangatta did not get a higher maximum temperature than Cairns. I however do not have the time to go searching the records. I think that 2004 was the only year on record when the Atherton Tablelands got hotter than Brisbane. So there is the challenge for the defenders of the Gold Coast and other southern Australian areas.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 08:10 PM
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It is hot (although doesn't get the extreme heatwave conditions of elsewhere) and humid in December, no-one's denying it, Bushranger. That's what people expect of a tropical destination in summer, its very similar to Fiji, Bali, Singapore, southern Thailand, Malaysia, and Viet Nam where I've found weather about the same at comparable time of year.

Of course there's less tourists about in December than in peak season which includes right now (incidentally horrible reef weather with gusting winds); internationals from Northern America and Europe have their main holidays in their summer, ie, our winter. Neither does it correspond with Chinese New Year or Japan's Golden Week breaks, so Asian tourists are down as well. Domestic tourists no longer have a need to escape to a warmer climate either.

For anyone who's after the best time of year to visit the Barrier Reef, December is a top month, due to reasons already mentioned.
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Old Aug 4th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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Trouble with the internet. I saw on yahoo answers one person say the best time to visit reef is in June or July. People ask and many just want to be helpful and reply but do not have first hand experience over time. One year in June/July maybe very nice but then it can be cold. One year in December maybe very warm and quite dry with only brief heavy downpours yet another could be oppressive. However a visitor is not going to the tropics to work. They get off the plane and may think, wow hot air. then jump into air con cab to air con apartment, brief walk in warmish heat for air con dinner. Then go on breezy reef trip. So even if it is warm they are not laying bricks in it. If they go to the rainforest there is natural airconditioning plus icy cold streams. It is easier in many ways than the dry heat down south that can reach high 30's or even worse with no cooling afternoon downpours. So yes chance of being too oppresive but not that way all day everyday and chance of even being more oppressive in Melbourne.
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