First and foremost beaches are associated with swimming and sunbathing. Quite a few of them are scenic or outstanding at a special time. Share your favorite beach which you already experienced.
Moreton Island is a popular and beautiful paradise just 40 km from mainland Brisbane. It’s a year-round destination although the winter provides more stable weather. The island is occasionally overrun. To find out the quiet and peaceful time for your visit continue reading.
Shipwrecks at Tangalooma
Peak Season - Avoiding Crowds
The entire island is super busy on long weekends, Christmas Holidays from mid-December to late January, Easter Holidays, and for the Spring Holidays around mid-September for more than two weeks. If traveling by 4WD advanced ferry booking of up to six months is recommended, by walk-in at least two weeks. Before booking the ferry check the campground availability first. Also, lots of day trippers come by ferry either to Tangalooma or Bulwer, and cruise ships bring day trippers as well.
Fully booked ferry to Moreton Island
Weather and Crowds (Season Details)
Brisbane experiences a rainy season from November to March during the hot summer. Thunderstorms are likely to happen, cyclones are rare. April to October are drier, but showers can occur throughout the year.
Pleasant day temps on average above 25°C and night temps are refreshing cool below 20°C. Usually, not much crowded except the spring holidays around mid-September for more than two weeks. From October onwards, the sea starts to warm up and rain increases.
Day temps are on average around 30°C and night temps around 20°C. The Christmas Summer Holiday starts mid-December and lasts until late January. This is the most crowded time at all. If possible, avoid these weeks on Moreton. Often the weather is fine, but thunderstorms can happen quite frequently. The water temp is relatively warm around 25°C.
Pleasant temps in April and May. These are the quieter months on Moreton, especially during the week except the Easter Holidays which last two weeks. Campgrounds are not fully booked. The water temps are slightly cooler than in summer but still nice.
Pleasant day temps on average around 20°C but chilly nights with 10°C and below. So, bring a warm sleeping bag for camping. These months are the driest. Usually, Moreton is quieter at this time of the year except for two weeks holidays end of June/ beginning of July. The water temp is cooler almost 20°C. If you like to snorkel bring a wetsuit or shorty.
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Moreton Island from 1991-2015
Where to Stay on Moreton
If coming by 4x4, you have lots of opportunities to choose from; like one of the 5 campgrounds with facilities or one of the basic ones on the island. Pre-booking is required.
- If you visit the island by feet, take the ferry to Tangalooma and pitch your tent next to the jetty. It’s just a short walk to the 21 beautifully located campsites. Online booking for the camping permit is essential. Therefore internet access is provided at the information board. Advanced booking is recommended during weekends and holidays. A spontaneous stay is possible but not guaranteed. Showers and long drop pits are available.
- Bulwer and the Comboyuro Campground are known to be very family friendly. There is the Castaways Café, Resort, and Store with a good selection of groceries for a long term stay. They also offer beautiful cabins. It takes roughly two hours to walk from Tangalooma to Bulwer.
- The Blue Lagoon is a beach campground and also an excellent spot with the refreshing lagoon in walking distance on the eastern side. You can park your car next to your tent or trailer. Facilities are provided.
- Ben-Ewa north of The Wrecks reached by 4x4. It's a popular spot for families due to the sheltered by waters. The campground offers shady sites and protection from stronger winds.
North Point Campground can be reached by 4x4 only. The grassy sites, some provide shade are closely located to surf beach. You can't park your vehicle next to the tent in short distance only.
Queensland National Parks Campsite Booking
- Another option for those who don’t want to miss a comfy bed book one of the view accommodations in Tangalooma on Moreton Island. Accommodation Booking for Moreton
The Tangalooma Resort has some great offers; guests can rent a 4WD, guided snorkel trips are offered, and you can watch dolphins in the evening when they get fed. Tangalooma Resort
Tangalooma Island Resort
Ocean Life Highlights
- Whale watching at Cape Moreton during their migration from June to November. Book a tour to experience these amazing giants in the ocean.
- Dolphins, dugongs, turtles, and sharks can be spotted throughout the year around the entire island.
Sweet spot months without the heavy crowds and a high chance of good weather during the wet season are May and October. Both months usually bring warm and sunny conditions with brief rain showers only; often in the afternoon or late evening. There is less humidity in October than during the previous months. However, keep in mind that it's already/still rainy season and the weather can become unpredictable.
December - April (Dry Season)
If you want almost perfect weather visit between January and March: calm seas, clear blue sky, moderate temperatures Anyhow, rain shower can occur. However, it's high season and very busy (read below: Tourist Crowds)
Ao Phra Nang Beach and Princess Cave next to Railay Beach
May - November (Rainy Season)
Wet season with high humidity. The highest rainfall occurs in September. During the rainy season, everything can happen: Typical are days with 1-2 brief showers. You might even get two weeks of almost perfect dry weather or sometimes almost a week of straight rain. If you don't like crowds at all and can deal with unpredictable weather and rain, this is your season. Preferably not September, which is the wettest month. In the rainy season, no tourist crowds spoil the experience. It’s also the green season when beautiful fauna comes to life. Helpful weather overview: Krabi Monthly Weather
High season is from November/December until April. Expect massive crowds here and almost every else in Krabi. Accommodation rates start climbing in November. The only chance to avoid the crowds is either come early morning or even better spend two nights here.
Where to Stay at Railay
There are a number of accommodations around Railay. It's more convenient if you stay at Railay West or private transport is included. Our #1 choice is the Railay Village Resort perfectly situated in the heart of Railay offers privacy despite the busy location. Another excellent choice is the Rayavadee remote located offers a first class service. Shuttle from the airport to the 5* hotel is organized by the resort.
Railay Beach is full of longtail boats at midday
Tips for Boat Trips (during high season)
Longboats are operating from 8 am to 6 pm. daily. Go at a different time than most others. Either very early by taking the very first boat or book sunset trips. The beach starts to fill up quickly after 10 am, and midday is the worst; it's difficult to enjoy the beautiful scenery with so many other people. Another alternative is to go out on a diving or fishing boat. It's more expensive, but they are more comfortable and usually welcome non-divers as well as non-fishing passengers. They also take less traveled routes and visit less busy locations which are excellent for snorkeling. We'd booked a sunset tour with included dinner on the vessel of our resort the Aonang Fiore. We highly recommend a cruise along the coast, Railay Beach, to Poda Island, and Chicken Island.
Chicken Island at the sunset cruise
Cathedral Cove and the Coromandel Peninsula are one of the most popular places on the north island of New Zealand. During the summer the most important thing is avoiding the crowds at Cathedral Cove. To enjoy the rock arch with very few people come here at sunrise. The rest of the year watch the tides and the weather forecast first for the perfect experience. You get the best shot between high and low tide. Low tide is nice as well, and it's dry inside the cave/rock arch. At high tide, you may not be able to walk through it: Tide Times Cathedral Cove Coromandel
Mare Leg Cove and its Smiling Sphinx Rock
Don't miss the nearby Hot Water Beach two hours either side of low tide! Read on for more information about Cathedral Cove and all its beautiful lagoons and beaches.
Weather and Crowds (Season Details)
Coromandel is a year-round destination with a mild climate. The rainfall on the Coromandel peninsula is sometimes significant even in summer. The weather is influenced by the mountain range and the sea.
Spring (September - October - November)
Shoulder Season! Precipitation decreases; but still quite high in September with an average daily temp of 12°C and nights are around 8°C which is pretty chilly for camping. October improves with almost 14°C and above at daytime. Cathedral Cove gets busier but still bearable. November is drier almost like the summer months. Temps are pleasant.
Summer (December - January - February)
Peak Season! These are the driest months of the year and the most popular time for visiting New Zealand. Come here either for the sunrise or the sunset. Don’t worry about the tides. If you like to enjoy this magic place, try to avoid the crowds. Cathedral Cove is often overrun during the day. From December to March the parking fills up soon. The reason that there is a second parking area with shuttle transfer offered. The mean daily temp is 24°C and above even up to 30°C during the summer.
Autumn (March - April - May)
Peak and shoulder season! In autumn the temperature is getting cooler, but weather can be excellent even for swimming until late April/May. It’s still drier in March and April; rain increases in May. March is still busy until Easter. In April the crowds thin out, and in May it becomes enjoyable.
Winter (June - July - August)
Low Season! If you come here during winter and the colder months from May to September, you may experience the beach and cove almost alone, but it's too cold for swimming. Most precipitation in winter with its peak in June. This is also the coldest month but still pleasant day temps. The winter temperature can be 12°C-14°C and drop to 6°C-8°C. This time of the year is pretty cold for camping.
Picture provided by Johannes Ehrhardt
How to avoid the crowds during peak season? Before sunset, most of the people already left the beach. It's less busy in the early morning and the evening.
Where to Stay
Don't visit Cathedral Cove in a rush. Stay here at least one night. There is a huge variety of accommodations in Hahei. We spent two nights there and even that was too short for Cathedral Cove, the Hot Water Beach (we gave it a miss, unfortunately) and the Waiau Kauri Grove and Falls. We'd chosen an exceptional location for our stay in the Church Accommodation. We loved the dinner in the Church Bistro which was initially a church made of wood in the 1900s. If you like it hassle-free regarding parking and stay in close proximity to The Cove, check out our accommodation choice below (Where to Park).
Car Rental & Campervan
Please do not make the mistake and rent a car or camper at Auckland airport without pre-booking. It's much more expensive if you rent on the spot. The best price comparisons for pre-bookings can be found at Rentalcars.com - Auckland Airport. You can book any big brand (Budget, Enterprise, Alamo, ezi, Hertz, Avis, ace, etc.) or even campervans from JUCY!
The New Chums Beach is still a hidden gem. There isn't any road to the beach or cafe just pure nature. It's better to come 2 hours after high tide and around low tide here. During high tide, you may either get wet feet when reaching the beach, the beach is pretty small or you are blocked when you want to leave. It depends on the level of the high tide, the wind, and the surf.
Coromandel is a year-round destination with a mild climate. The precipitation on the Coromandel peninsula is sometimes significant even in summer. The weather is influenced by the mountain range and the sea. The "driest" months are from January to April while the warmest months are December to March mostly between 20 to 25°C. April is a bit cooler but still pleasant. Most rainfall in winter with its peak in July; also the coldest month. The winter temps is around 10-12°C and drop to roughly 6°C. Frost is not common.
The famous and popular Figure 8 Pools are safely accessible around low tide only! The tides and swell must have a low level without strong wind to enjoy the amazing pools without an accident. Many people got injured by sudden waves just for a perfect selfie. Check Official National Park Website - Alerts
Update Feb 2019: Safety First! A young international student got washed off the rocks on Monday 25th. 9 people died in the Royal National Park along the coast since 2016. Don't come here during high tide. Check the National Park Alerts first and the wave status. Two young men got hit by an extreme wave and one drowned. Want to be on the safe side? Book a tour with the only licensed tour operator for Figure 8 Pools (these guys are excellent): Figure 8 Pools Photography & Hike Tour from Sydney (via Viator - TripAdvisor Experience)
Tide Times and Swell (Safety)
Again, it's only safe to be at Figure 8 pools during low tide, low swell and without very strong wind or storm! What you should know:
- What does low tide mean? Like in most other coastal areas, you'll experience two tidal cycles over the course of one lunar day. Which means, each day there are 2 high tides and 2 low tides. However, due to park opening times (read below) you can only be there during one of the two low tide periods on a single day. Plan your visit accordingly: Garie Beach Tide Times and Heights.
- When to arrive at Figure 8 Pools? Plan to be at Figure 8 Pools about 1-2 hours before the lowest tide time. Example: Low Tide at 3 p.m. means you should arrive between 1 and 2 p.m. You need to take into account the drive from the park entrance to the parking lot (about 20 minutes) and the hike from the parking area to Figure 8 Pools (another 1 ½ hours or less). Read below for more details.
- Is it always safe during low tide? No! Keep in mind, that even at low tide it can be dangerous during critical ocean conditions when big waves reach the rock shelf. Check the official Figure 8 Pools Risk Forecast. When it's set to 'Extreme', don't go. You'll find the same information at the visitor centre when entering the park. However, we went despite of a 'High Risk' forecast (one level below extreme) and it was fine. But still, we were very careful. Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any injury, death, or consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided here. This is just our experience!
Opening Times (Royal National Park)
You can only get to Figure 8 Pools, when the park is open of course. The opening times are from 7 a.m. to 8.30 p.m (Visitor Centre from 8.30am to 4.30pm daily. The only day when it's closed is on Christmas Day). However, the park can be closed at times because of severe weather conditions or fire danger. Also, plan your way back: You have to hike back to your car and after that, drive back to the entrance/exit. That's a total time of about 2 hours. If you stay too long and get back too late, you might be stuck in the park. They always close the gates at 8:30 p.m.
Getting to Figure 8 Pools
To get to the Garrawarra Farm car park it’s a long drive through the park on sealed roads, only 1.5 km is gravel.
Space is limited, and you are not allowed to park the car somewhere else. The entrance fee is 12 $ per car if you don’t have a multi or annual park pass for NSW. The gate closes at 8.30 pm and opens at 7:00 am. The hike to Figure 8 takes a maximum of 1½ hours, and the trail is 3.5 km long one way. No worries the trail is well marked, and there is no need for a map.
Avoiding the Crowds
The park is mostly super busy during the summer holidays (mid-December to January) and weekends as well. There is a lot of traffic, and the car parks fill up soon. Come early in the peak season; the car parks get closed when they are full. Traffic jams occur pretty often at this crazy time of the year.
The area around Sydney experiences hot summers with average daytime temps of almost 30°C and mild winters with an average daytime temp of about 20°C. There isn’t a wet or dry season, but droughts happen more often nowadays. On average rain occurs throughout the year with more precipitation from January to June with its peak in March.
- From May to November you may spot whales along the coast.
- The Visitor Center at Audley is open daily from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm.
From July to November more than 700 different plants are in bloom on the plateau.
The State Park is popular for the 2 miles long beach but not crowded due to a one-mile walk to get there. The gate is open from sunrise until half an hour after sunset.
The entire 2 miles beach is only accessible at low tide. Watch the tide and don’t get trapped between rocky outcrops.
The summer is the foggiest season. Clearer skies and the best time for a visit are September and October followed by April and May.
It’s a moderate cool coastal climate with moist air. The average temperature is between 50 to 65°F year-round. Most of the precipitation occurs from October to April with up to 50 inch / 1270 mm. Fog happens between May and October usually from evening until late morning. If it’s hot in the backcountry, the fog might stay until the afternoon.
The gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California and can be spotted during mid- December and February. And again on their northward migration with their new born calves from February to May.