January is the wet season in Airlie Beach which means we can get 5 seasons in one day. Yes, I said 5, the fifth season is what is commonly known as a cyclone.
In January, Airlie Beach will generally hover around 30 degrees Celsius in the day and drop to 25 degrees at night. This is why air conditioning is critical at night all through the summer months.
Heatwaves and monsoonal rain comes and goes and has a dramatic effect on the temperature. A monsoonal trough can drop temperatures by as much as 7 degrees and a heatwave, generally caused by a synoptic ridge, can see temperatures soar above 40 degrees.
Temperatures like this make it perfect weather for spending your days in a swimming pool.
It will rain in January and we get all kinds of rain here in summer because we are in the tropics. It’s the same as Bali, Thailand, Cairns and any other place on a similar latitude away from the equator. More often than not, the rain will normally only fall at night. It is actually quite uncommon for it to rain during the day and when it does, rainstorms generally pass over pretty quickly.
The wind can be unpredictable too. At the front of a passing rainstorm, the wind will normally pick up significantly, normally around 10-15 knots. It’s not uncommon to see winds double in less than 30 seconds at the front of a storm. No matter where you live in the world, you have probably already experienced this first hand.
On a safety note, try not to leave umbrellas and loose towels lying around if there is some rain about as they quickly turn into projectiles.
With the rapidly changing weather in January, it’s normal to think that would have a large effect on the sea state. Luckily in Airlie Beach, we are provided with lots of natural protection.
A tour around The Whitsundays in high winds versus a tour in low winds will be more or less the same, provided you are on the right boat.
So Should You Visit Airlie Beach In January?
Sure, why not. The weather may not be as predictable as most of the other months, but that makes it more exciting. Blue skies and the low wind is boring after a while. Rain and the possibility of the 5th season (Cyclone) makes things a little bit more interesting. On top of this, North Queensland is generally pretty quiet so you will have no problems finding beaches with no other people on them.