Hayman Island, Hayman Island Hayman Island, Whitsundays – Image courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Best time to visit Australia

The best time to visit Australia is anytime. The sheer size of Australia – the sixth largest in the world – means there is always somewhere cool or warm to visit at anytime of the year.

Australian Weather

The seasons of Australia are the opposite of those in Europe and North America: summer lasts from November through March and winter from June to August.

Unlike in the northern hemisphere, the farther south you go in Australia, the colder it gets.

Seasonal variations are also more distinct in the southern third of the country.

Winter, from June to August, see Tasmania, Victoria and NSW receive cold weather while the northern states of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia bask in warm sunny weather during their dry season, which typically extends from April through September.

Summer, from December to February, brings warm and occasional hot weather to the southern regions of Australia while the northern regions receive hot, wet weather with heavy and sporadic rain extending from October through March.

The best time to visit Queensland (from Townsville northward), the Top End, the Red Centre and the northern half of Western Australia is April through September, when you can expect clear sunny days with little or no rain and daytime temperatures range from 19°C to 31°C (66°F to 88°F). June, July and August are the high season months.

On the other hand, the best time to visit southern Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia (from Perth southwards) and Tasmania is during summer from November to March.

Weather you can expect in different regions of Australia…


Northern Australia

Northern Australia receives a tropical climate with hot, dry winters (June to November) and hot, wet summers (January to March).

Darwin (Northern Territories) sees an average high of 32°C (89°F) in summer and a low of 20°C (68°F) in winter. Cairns (Queensland) enjoys an average high of 31°C (87°F) in summer and 17°C (62°F) in winter.

The Whitsundays enjoys an average high of 30°C (86°F) in summer and 23°C (73°F). Spring and autumn have an average high of 29°C (84°F).

These regions receive torrential downpours during the wet summer season interspersed by sunny humid days. Tropical cyclones may inundate coastal regions each year between December and April.

Whitsundays – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 27 27 26 25 23 20 20 20 22 24 26 27
Ave High Temp (°C) 31 30 29 28 26 23 23 24 26 27 29 30
Ave Low Temp (°C) 25 25 24 23 20 17 17 17 19 21 23 24
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 9 7 7 7 7 7 7 9 9 10 9 9
Daylight (Hrs daily) 13 13 12 12 11 11 11 11 12 13 13 13
Comfort Level High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon High heat & humidity icon
Ave Humidity (%) 76 78 77 76 80 82 81 76 71 70 71 73
UV Index 11 11 11 10 7 6 6 8 10 11 11 11
Days with some Rain 12 14 15 14 13 9 6 5 4 5 6 8
Ave Rainfall (mm) 200 295 220 140 120 50 40 25 15 40 60 120
Sea Temp (°C) 28 28 28 27 25 23 22 22 23 25 26 27
(Hayman Island, Whitsundays) J F M A M J J A S O N D

South & Southeast Australia

Southeast and southern Australia enjoy a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. This includes the states of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria as well as the southeast of Queensland and the southeast of South Australia.

This region is home to the cities of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide, as well as the year-round holiday destinations of the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

In January, summer highs average 29°C (84°F) in Brisbane, 26°C (78°F) in Sydney and Melbourne, and 28°C (82°F) in Canberra and Adelaide. Typically, inland areas experience more extreme temperatures than coastal regions. The further south you travel the colder it becomes.

Gold Coast – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 25 25 24 22 19 17 15 16 18 21 23 25
Ave High Temp (°C) 29 29 28 26 24 22 20 22 24 26 28 29
Ave Low Temp (°C) 22 22 20 18 13 12 10 11 14 17 18 21
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 11 10 8 8 8 7 8 8 9 9 9 9
Daylight (Hrs daily) 14 13 12 12 11 10 11 11 12 13 14 14
Comfort Level High heat & humidity icon High heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon
Ave Humidity (%) 75 75 75 75 75 75 70 65 70 70 70 75
UV Index 11 11 11 7 5 4 4 6 8 10 11 11
Days with some Rain 13 15 13 12 11 9 7 7 8 10 13 13
Ave Rainfall (mm) 160 170 140 90 80 70 60 40 30 90 90 120
Sea Temp (°C) 26 26 26 25 24 23 22 21 22 22 24 25
(Gold Coast, Queensland) J F M A M J J A S O N D

Byron Bay – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 24 24 22 20 18 16 15 16 18 19 21 22
Ave High Temp (°C) 28 27 26 25 23 20 20 21 23 24 26 27
Ave Low Temp (°C) 21 21 20 17 15 12 12 13 14 16 18 19
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 8 7 7 7 6 7 7 8 9 8 8 8
Daylight (Hrs daily) 14 13 12 11 11 11 11 11 12 13 14 14
Comfort Level Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon
Ave Humidity (%) 79 82 80 78 74 72 70 70 70 73 75 78
UV Index 11 11 10 7 5 3 4 5 7 9 11 11
Days with some Rain 13 14 15 13 12 10 9 9 8 10 11 12
Ave Rainfall (mm) 160 190 210 180 190 160 100 90 60 100 110 140
Sea Temp (°C) 26 26 26 25 24 22 21 21 21 22 23 25
(Byron Bay, NSW) J F M A M J J A S O N D

Central Australia

Experiences a severe desert climate with uncomfortably hot summers ranging from 32°C (89°F) to 40°C (104°F) and warm winters averaging 18°C (64°F) to 23°C (73°F). The centre of the Australia is generally hot and dry during the day, and often bitterly cold at night.


Western Australia

Experiences a similar climate as central Australia with hot summers and cool winters. However, the coastal regions enjoy a more comfortable weather. Perth sees average summer highs of 31°C (87°F) and winter lows around 8°C (46°F).

Perth – Monthly Weather

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ave Temp (°C) 24 24 22 18 16 13 12 13 14 16 18 21
Ave High Temp (°C) 31 32 30 26 22 19 18 19 20 23 26 29
Ave Low Temp (°C) 18 18 17 14 11 9 8 8 9 11 14 16
Sunshine (Hrs daily) 11 10 9 7 6 5 5 7 8 9 10 11
Daylight (Hrs daily) 14 13 12 11 11 10 10 10 12 13 14 14
Comfort Level Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Moderately hot icon Low heat & humidity icon No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity No heat & humidity Low heat & humidity icon Low heat & humidity icon Moderately hot icon
Ave Humidity (%) 50 50 55 65 70 75 80 75 75 65 60 55
UV Index 11 11 9 6 4 3 3 4 6 8 10 11
Days with some Rain 5 4 5 7 12 15 17 15 15 9 7 4
Ave Rainfall (mm) 15 10 10 40 90 170 160 110 90 40 20 10
Sea Temp (°C) 22 22 23 23 22 21 20 19 19 19 20 21
(Perth, WA) J F M A M J J A S O N D

Tasmania

Australia’s most southerly region sees the coldest temperatures in the country. Hobart receives an average summer high of 21°C (69°F) and an average low in winter of 5°C (41°F).


Seasons

High season: December to February, especially during the summer school holidays from 26 December to the end of January. Major public holidays including Easter when everyone seems to be on the move and everything from airline seats, hotels, restaurants and petrol prices are at their highest.

The winter months of June, July and August are the busiest periods for travel in Northern Queensland, the Top End, the Red Centre and the northern half of Western Australia; and the ski fields of Victoria and the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales.

Low Season: Summer, from October through March, when it is uncomfortably hot, wet and humid in the Red Centre, the Top End, North Queensland and Western Australia (except Perth and the southwest).

The wet season from November/December through March/April makes travel often very difficult due to floodwaters and many tour companies close shop, but hotels do offer great discounts.


Note: Meteorological data is sourced from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with additional historical climate data sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology in Australia.


Latest update: Best time to visit Australia: 18 November, 2018


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