When to Go?? Restricted to June or Dec Dates

Old Nov 6th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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When to Go?? Restricted to June or Dec Dates

I am in the preliminary stages of planning our next big trip and we have decided on Australia. Given we are taking our 2 children aged 13 & 17, our choice of dates are limited to when they are on school holidays (we live in the US).

We will be planning a 14-17 day trip and we are hoping to spend approx 4 days in Sydney, then sail Whitsundays - liveaboard for 3 days and 3 nights, and Daintree rainforest tour. The highlight for us will be sailing!! and of course the other water activities.

Again I am in the very early planning stages and haven't determined exactly where to go, but our dates are firm - June or Dec? Any suggestions would be appreciated!!
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Haven't been on our trip yet (planned for June 2006), so you can take my advice with a grain of salt. That said, from what I have read, if you are going to be spending some time in the Whitsundays and plan to do any snorkeling, you might want to check water temps. We were considering staying on Heron Island ( a bit south of there) until we were told on this site that the water temps could require a wetsuit. So, we are going to stay further north by Port Douglas.
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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If it were just Sydney I'd say December, but seeing most of your time is in North Qld, then June is a better option. It will most likely warm and dry then, rather than hot and wet as in December.
Early June will be better than late June/early July, when you might run into Oz school holidays.
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Yes, I would choose June also.... even though it's not as good a month for Sydney; the Barrier Reef, however, will be delightful, and having a good time there is more weather-dependent than in a major city.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 12:49 AM
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I agree with the above suggestions and Sydney can be ok in June as long as you are not planning on swimming.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 04:37 AM
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I don't know where you live in the U.S., but more than likely you will find the weather in Sydney much nicer in June than you would find the weather in your hometown in early winter (which is, of course, what June is in Australia). We lived in Canberra for several years and although most Australians think it is cold there in the winter, I thought it was just pleasantly cool compared to my home in the U.S. and I found Sydney to be almost downright balmy! So I also recommend that you go to Australia in June--it's one of my favorite times to re-visit.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 05:15 AM
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June will be cool in Sydney but Cairns will be better. Airfare will be a lot cheaper in June. Remember that the days will be shorter--getting dark around 5:00 in Sydney and 6:00 in Cairns.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 11:39 AM
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I just found out that airfare is a definitely plus in June. In fact, I was was able to book our entire trip, including all of the intermediate legs, using American frequent flyer miles. I had not thought of doing anything more than the flights from the States, but some friends suggested we try. For 95,000 each, we are flying Chicago - Sydney - Cairns - Christchurch - Auckland - Chicago! Don't know if miles is an option for you, debbie_fish, but don't overlook it, if it is.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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Thanks for all the responses!! I really wish we could travel during another time, but we want to take our kids and they are at an age that they cannot miss school. From what I gather, sounds like October would be the prime time to go to both Sydney and Cairns.

Sounds like we will be choosing mid June to early July. I guess the bonus on choosing this time frame is that I will not be in a rush to return to the US as the kids will be on summer vacation. I can extend my trip to 21 days. I have relatives in Adelaide that I haven't seen in 20 years so we would be able to add Adelaide as a possible destination as well.

Jcasale: I am hoping to use AA FF Miles too. I am actually hoping to snag 2 seats in business class for LAX-SYD portion. But I am not sure how far in advance I have to book this. Probably too late for June 2006 to find 2 reward seats! Sounds like you scored with the amount of flying you're doing for 95,000 points each! Also the trip you're planning looks wonderful!

Also jcasale, regarding water temp, were you told that you need a full wetsuit or just a shorty? How cold is the water in June? I live in SoCal and I cannot swim in the water here in the summer without a shorty wetsuit but I am a whimp when it comes to cold, of course my husband and kids swim without wetsuits.

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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 03:04 PM
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June is also the time of year up North when it is safe to swim in the water as it is not jelly fish / stingers season . Humidity is lower and all up it is a gorgeous time of year to be there .
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Average water temperature in June for Cairns/Port Douglas area is 78F; December 89F.

Box jelly fish season officially starts November 1 and can extend as long as June - coastal areas only, not generally reef, although be guided by reef crew as to need of stinger suit. Was on reef two days ago and only one person was wearing stinger suit and he said that was to protect him from sunburn. Perfect reef conditions, light breeze and great underwater visibility.

In June I'd be inclined to wear the wet suit for extended time in water (can be windy) but I'm a wimp too.
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 05:47 AM
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Whoops, sorry I just gave avg temperatures, not avg water temperatures which are 82F in December and 78F in June.
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 06:28 AM
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debby_fish,
I am the person who told jcasale about the water temps. Maybe it's 78F in June, but when I was on Heron Island in mid-July it was more like 70F. I am a wimp and heat my own pool to 86F in the Colorado summers. We rented full wetsuits on Heron and lasted exactly 1/2 hour in that water. In fact, my ears hurt, which has never happened before. Too each her own, obviously, but if I planned to swim in Australia ever again, I'd go in December.
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 11:37 AM
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oliverand harry: 78F for June referred to Cairns/Port Douglas water temperature, some 1200kms north of Heron and consequently much warmer.ol

I'd find water temperature at Heron in July far too cold too.
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Well I am flip flopping on my decision regarding when to go to Oz. Of course there are pros and cons to both times. I am now leaning towards Dec. This is a difficult decision!

Another question regarding rain in GBR in Dec.. Does it rain all day for days on end or is it more of a tropical rainshower/downpour? How would the sailing be that time of year in terms of wind? I just wouldn't want to be sailing in 3 days of continuous rain!

Side point, after researching the dangerous water critters in GBR certainly puts a little fear into swimming!! We certainly want to snorkel and possibly scuba dive!
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 03:44 PM
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All in all, I think June is a better time for Australia in general than December, not just because of the beautiful weather up north and in the outback, but also because of the fact it is not peak holiday/summer vacation season for Australians.

Heron Island would be my pick for the GBR, even in June. All you'd want is a shorty wet suit for snorkeling. My kids loved it (we went in July and August).
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Old Nov 9th, 2005, 06:31 PM
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debby - yes, it does, rain (if any) falls in tropical heavy bursts often in late afternoon and at night. And often it can be wet on mainland and dry and sunny on reef. And its "warm" rain in summer.

Winter can be very windy on reef as the prevailing wind is the south east trade which can blow for weeks, this year it was more like months. Wind has swung around now to a gentle north easterly and reef conditions are just about ideal. Last year this type of weather continued right through December and January.
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