To Queenslanders, summer means the beginning of the ‘wet’. Starting in December and finishing at the end of February, the wet season brings increased heat, humidity, rainfall and the occasional thunderstorm.
While Australia‘s long stretches of golden coastline are still popular for tourists at this time (especially on the drier southern beaches), it is Queensland’s marine life that is really thriving, making this the best time to witness some incredible natural phenomena that take place both in the water and on the beach.
For it is in the summertime that Queensland’s marine life gets busy; and by busy I mean busy – spawning and generally making babies at an incredible rate.
In Mon Repos Conservation Park, near Bundaberg, you can witness flatback and loggerhead turtles laying their eggs at night on Mon Repos beach. This wonderful spectacle takes place throughout summer, with the first hatchlings getting ready to leave their sand nests from mid-January onwards.
If you visit during this time, you might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of both nesting adults and the babies. You can also see the turtles nesting on nearby Lady Elliot, Lady Musgrave and Heron Island.
You can witness a different miracle of life on the Great Barrier Reef from October until early December. On certain nights following the full moon, if the water is the right temperature, corals spawn simultaneously across the reefs. The rush of pink eggs and sperm to the surface of the sea has been nicknamed by marine biologists as ‘sex on the reef’.
The tiny cells form a pink spawning slick across the water’s surface, which can stretch for several kilometers. It is possible to see this visual spectacle for yourself from a glass-bottomed boat or on a night dive.