what is the best time to sail the whitsundays

Choosing the best time to sail the Whitsundays

Given our little slice of paradise is a subtropical area, it’s no wonder it has people asking: what is the best time to sail the Whitsundays? But with an average yearly temperature of about 27 degrees, there are many ‘best times’ to set sail. Airlie Beach and it’s picturesque islands offer an amazing escape at any time of the year – especially in our winter months and as the cold creeps in down south and in other parts of the world. It really depends on what kind of traveller you are and whether you crave that warm humidity or prefer a more moderate temperature.

We’ve gone ahead and chosen a few of our favourite months for Whitsundays sailing so you can have a better idea of what’s best for you.

First things first, we recommend avoiding the crowds! Our peak season in the Whitsundays runs over our summer holidays, from around late November to late January. In Australia this is when we have our longest school holiday break and it is also the most popular time to travel for internationals so Airlie Beach (and therefore all the hot spots such as Whitehaven Beach) are extremely busy. We recommend checking school holiday periods for the year as it will be more expensive to travel in any of these times. 

This is also our ‘wet season’ in the tropics, anywhere from late December to March we experience our hot northerly winds and the most rain. The good news is, the rain usually comes in short rainfalls and then clears not long after. Although we can experience winds of +30knts during this time, our maxi yachts are built to handle it so it’s only in severe forecasts that we would need to cancel a trip (which doesn’t often happen). The rain also means the islands turn incredible shades of lush vibrant greens  too, so our bushwalks are magical this time of year (if you don’t mind the humidity!) and the islands boast a few incredible waterfalls. 

As you can probably already tell, it’s not so much a question of ‘what is the best time to sail the Whitsundays’ but more what are you looking for out of your trip. 


what is the best time to sail the whitsundays

Prosail’s pick for ‘what is the best time to sail the Whitsundays’ 

AUGUST: We’ve got a few, but August – early September would have to be up there with the best. During this time we typically experience light southerly winds and beautiful clear skies, day in and day out. The water temperature is a stunning 22 – 24 degrees and the days average around 25-26 degrees with low humidity. 

To sail the Whitsundays at this time is also magical as it’s when our humpback whales are the most abundant around the islands. They start to appear around mid-July on their yearly migration and use the Whitsundays as a breeding ground before migrating south again from mid September.

During this time it is rare to go a trip without sighting one of these beautiful creatures, often breaching and sometimes even with their young fin and tail slapping. 

It’s also not uncommon to spot manta rays around the islands in August and the encounters with these incredible creatures are so natural and awe striking. 

OCTOBER: if you’re feeling like those temperatures (both in and out the water) might be a little cold for you, and we get it trust us, then October is an amazing alternative. No more whales unfortunately but you’re looking again at typically clear days with average temperatures of 28 degrees, still light southerly winds, and an average water temp of 25 degrees. 


sail whitsundays

There are many answers for what is the best times to sail the Whitsundays – the rainier months mean lush tropical greenery and stunning waterfalls, the wind means epic sailing!

MAY: if you’re looking to travel earlier in the year then May is a nice wedge month after our typical wet season before we move into the lower temperatures of June & July. 

If you’ve come to this part in the article and you’re thinking to yourself, ah no, I can’t go to the Whitsundays in August, October or May. Don’t worry! As we said at the start, there is always something for everyone.

The rain showers and humidity mean the islands are vibrant and the waterfalls are flowing. The colder temperatures bring our wonderful marine life to call our islands home (manta rays and humpback whales), and the wind means epic sailing! All the weather predictions can be taken with a grain of salt in the tropics too, so who knows what month will hold what this year. 

We hope we’ve answered your question on: ‘what is the best time to sail the Whitsundays’ but rest assured knowing that whenever you can come and visit, there’s always something that’s the ‘best’ in that month for sailing the Whitsunday’s.  

Want to learn more about sailing the Whitsundays with Prosail?

Hopefully, we have answered your question “what is the best time to sail the Whitsundays?” and now you need more info – we have a live chat button at the bottom of your screen or feel free to contact us by email info@prosail.com.au


Prosail Author and Whitsundays Professional
International Yoga Instructor