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Water temp for winter snorkeling - how far north?

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Philadelphia, PA
posts: 6
Water temp for winter snorkeling - how far north?

I'm heading to the Cairns area and the GBR in early July of 2006. How is the water temperature at that time? I've heard that it's cold farther south, even in the Whitsunday Islands. Is that true?

I have not heard complaints farther north, anywhere around Cairns. I'm vacationing in Port Douglas, and want to add a GBR island to that. I was thinking Green or Lizard islands, to stay as North as possible. But for the whole region, I just want to be sure we get into the water that first time and say "ahhh", not "uh oh". I don't see us as wet suiters.

How far south can one go before water temperature in winter becomes an issue? I'm interested in Lady Elliott or Heron Islands, but I think they may be too far south to be comfortable.

Or is it even something to be "dealt with" (i.e., it's decent but still not warm enough) up north as well?

posts: 712
reviews: 55
1. Re: Water temp for winter snorkeling - how far north?

Even as far north as Lizard, you will get the winter waters temps of mid 70sF, as July is at the tail end of winter. As well as water temps, you may get SE winds that will chop up the surface.

Ahhhhh happens around Oct until Mar/Apr, and most definately you will get an UhOh in winter, with even colder waters south - yes, including Whitsundays.

I am a huge fan of Heron, but winter months are just too chilly for this fishy. Water temps in July at Heron 64-73F. When I dive in June/July, I wear a 3 mil thick wetsuit with a polartech under it.....so if snorkeling, especially for extended periods of time, you will need some protection even on the sunniest of days. Lizard is only an 8 hour motor or 1 hr flight north of Cairns, so the water temps will not vary that much - maybe a degree at tops.

To me.....80-83F is a definate Ahhhhhhhhhhh

At mid 70s, shrinkage occurs(Seinfeld fan?)

Balgal Beach Nth...
posts: 1,014
reviews: 9
2. Re: Water temp for winter snorkeling - how far north?

June/July are my peak months for showing off the local islands to southern friends. We always do a bit of snorkelling and I reckon it's cold as it gets down to 20C at this time. My southern friends reckon this is good as Sydney surf rarely gets beyond 22C in the middle of summer.

It depends on what you're used to.