Best times to visit Australia’s major cities and destinations inner banner

Best times to visit Australia’s major cities and destinations

Australia has a diverse climate, which differs considerably between the tropical north, the arid interior and the southern states. Here's a handy guide to the best times to visit the country's main cities, and what you can expect at different times of the year...
Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Sydney

Sydney

Summer is the best time to enjoy Sydney’s enviable lifestyle by the water, on the water, and in the water! Hit the harbour and the city’s amazing beaches, including iconic Bondi, Coogee, Bronte, Manly, Shelly and Palm Beach.

There’s plenty to do in Sydney during winter too. It’s a great time to check out the hottest new restaurants and galleries or rug up and spend time in the great outdoors. The Blue Mountains are stunning in the colder months. Perhaps challenge yourself to take part in the annual City2Surf fun run alongside 80,000+ other participants — from serious runners to walkers in colourful costumes.

Spring and autumn offer the best of both worlds. They bring clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and the chance for visitors to enjoy everything the Harbour City has to offer.

Sydney travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Summer is the perfect time to indulge in Sydney’s plethora of water activities.

Canberra

Summer and autumn are the perfect seasons to enjoy everything the capital has to offer, including a stroll around the picturesque parliamentary precinct. December to February is characterised by warm to hot days, low humidity, and temperatures in the mid to high 20s. From March to May, the temperature drops into the high teens and a jacket is handy for evenings.

From June to August it gets mighty chilly in Canberra. The temperature is likely to be stuck in single digits, falling to freezing overnight. From September to November, the rainy mornings tend to be crisp but days warm slightly into the mid teens. Pack enough clothing to layer up as needed.

Canberra travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Canberra

Melbourne

Melbourne famously features four seasons in one day, but you can catch the city at its best from December through to May. In summer, dry, sunny days warm up into the high 20s with occasional heatwaves raising temperatures into the high 30s.In autumn, mostly sunny days warm temperatures into the high teens, but bring a light jacket for the cool evenings.

Winter drops temperatures into the single digits. Brave overnight frost and chilly days with thick layers and a scarf. Spring is the wettest period of the year, with variable temperatures in the teens. Keep an umbrella nearby.

Melbourne travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Melbourne

Brisbane

South East Queensland’s warm sunshine is always inviting, but autumn strikes the right balance for getting out and about in Brisbane without the crowds or humidity. Temperatures average in the low to mid 20s from March to May and you’ll enjoy long, mild, sunny days.

During spring, temperatures reach the mid 20s, relieved by refreshing breezes in the evening, while for the mostly sunny days of winter, temperatures remain mild in the mid to high teens. Expect some rain and fresh early mornings. You’ll definitely need a warm layer.

In summer, humidity, rainfall and temperatures spike, pushing into the mid 30s. December and January are considered peak season in Brisbane, and on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Brisbane travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Brisbane

Hobart

Of Tasmania’s diverse seasons, summer and autumn are ideal times to be in Hobart. On the dry, warm days in January and February, enjoy a beach swim as average temperature hover in the mid to high 20s. As the leaves change in March to May, mild days keep the temperatures in the mid to high teens. You’ll need a jumper in the evening.

Winter brings icy Antarctic winds, dragging the temperature down toward zero overnight. Pack multiple warm layers. Spring sends temperatures back up to the mid teens, but the higher rainfall calls for a waterproof jacket.

Hobart travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Hobart. Image: Alastair Bett

Adelaide

Adelaide is Australia’s driest capital city, and is best enjoyed during summer and autumn. From December to February, t-shirts and shorts are all you’ll need as temperatures average in the high 20s, but can peak in the high 30s and even low 40s. From March to May the days are milder, with temperatures in the high teens to low 20s.

In winter, pack waterproof layers and warm clothing. This is the wettest time of the year and temperatures drop to the low teens. Spring pushes the average back up 5 degrees, but keep a jacket or jumper handy. It cools down quickly at dusk.

Adelaide travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Adelaide. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission

Perth

The dry days of summer and spring are ideal for the array of outdoor activities on offer in Perth. From December to February, temperatures in the high 20s to mid 30s are eased by the afternoon ocean breeze nicknamed the ‘Fremantle Doctor’.

From September to November, rainfall is rare and temperatures hover around the low 20s. A light jacket may be needed in the evening.

Perth travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Perth

Darwin

Darwin’s psyche is driven largely by its isolation and the weather. There are two main seasons — the Wet and the Dry. The Dry offers low humidity, and the months of May through September are characterised by warm days and balmy nights. This is considered peak season and grey nomads hightail it to the region in droves.

On the flipside, the Wet can be pretty spectacular with its monsoonal thunderstorms. December to March are the wettest months and while it’s hot and humid, you’re likely to pick up a great deal on your hotel.

Darwin travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Enjoy spectacular sunsets from Darwin’s Mindil Beach during the Dry. Image: Bigstock

Cairns & Port Douglas

To beat the north’s heat and humidity, the dry season from May to October is the perfect time to visit Cairns and Port Douglas. From June to August, the days are dry and temperatures hover around the mid 20s.

The wet season slowly builds up through September, October and November. The sea is calm and in terms of visibility, this is the best time of the year for diving and snorkelling on the reef.

From December to February, temperatures push into the 30s and umbrellas bear the brunt of the bulk of the region’s annual rainfall. However, storms come and go quickly.

Always be crocodile and stinger-wise. Stinger season runs from November through to May (although box jellyfish may be present at other times of the year). Netted swimming enclosures at popular beaches are your best bet. Obey all signs and beach closures. It’s for your protection!

Cairns travel guide
Port Douglas travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Port Douglas

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast’s subtropical weather makes autumn a top time to visit. Dry days and low humidity are the norm. You can still enjoy a beach swim, as daytime temperatures average in the mid 20s.

From June to August ‘winter’ sets in. Enjoy cloud-free days with temperatures in the high teens to low 20s. You’ll need an extra layer in the evening.

During spring, temperatures gradually climb back into the mid 20s — cooled by gentle evening sea breezes. Summer is peak season. Prices and humidity spike as the mercury rises into the high 20s and low 30s. Beat the heat by escaping to the Hinterland.

Gold Coast travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Gold Coast. Image: Bigstock

Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast can be enjoyed all year round, but again, autumn is the pick. From March to May rain is rare and temperatures float in the mid 20s. T-shirts and shorts are definitely the dress code, but you may need an extra layer in the evening.

From June to August things cool down considerably. Temperatures hover around the mid to high teens and you’ll need to rug up for early morning or late afternoon beach walks. Temperatures gradually pick up again between September and November, reaching the mid 20s most days.

Summers are generally humid with sticky temperatures lingering in the high 20s and low 30s. Cooling sea breezes do bring regular relief. Accommodation prices peak in December and January during school holidays.

Sunshine Coast travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Noosa, Sunshine Coast. Image: Bigstock

Broome

Broome is a popular destination throughout the year, and generally enjoys warm to hot days and balmy nights. Similar to the Top End, there are two distinct seasons — the Wet and the Dry. The Dry runs roughly from May to October and is characterised by minimal rainfall and low humidity. During the Wet from late October to late April, you can expect higher temperatures and rainfall (including some pretty spectacular monsoonal thunderstorms) and therefore higher humidity.

Accommodation prices are generally lower during the Wet. Book well in advance if you’re travelling during school holidays in either season.

Broome travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Cable Beach, Broome

Alice Springs

Anytime is a good time to visit Alice, but spring and autumn are arguably the best times for active travelers. Expect daytime temperatures in the mid 20s from March to May, and September to November. It cools down quickly at night so pack warm wear for evening activities.

With its arid climate, the Alice experiences summer temperatures in the mid 30s (and as high as the 40s), but humidity is low. Daytime temperatures in winter hover around 20 degrees, but plummet overnight. Rug up!

Alice Springs travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Alice Springs

Townsville

The tropical winter (April to November) is the prime time to visit Townsville in North Queensland. Days are warm, nights are cool, and there is unlimited sunshine and very little rain.

December to March is hot and humid and there can be rain periods which last several days. The advantage of visiting at this time of the year is that accommodation prices are low.

Townsville travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Townsville. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Airlie Beach

The Airlie/Whitsundays region enjoys a subtropical climate, with daily temperatures averaging in the high 20s. October through to May is peak stinger season (making the fabulous Airlie Beach Lagoon the best option for a splash), but October and November are generally the most temperate months to visit. Summer brings some rainfall, higher humidity and the school holiday crowds. Expect the mercury to hover around 30.

Winter is when the region really comes into its own as a balmy escape from the chills down south. While daytime temperatures sit at around 23 to 25 degrees, you’ll need something warm to pop on in the evening.

Airlie Beach travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Airlie Beach. Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Newcastle

Newcastle shines in summer when the city’s beach culture is at its most vibrant. However, the largely temperate climate makes this a great year-round destination.

Temperatures in summer average in the high 20s. In winter it can get pretty chilly at times, so pack accordingly. Spring and autumn are generally mild and lovely times to visit.

Newcastle travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Newcastle. Image courtesy of Destination Newcastle

Port Macquarie

Summer sees the biggest influx of visitors to Port Macquarie on the New South Wales central coast. It can get very hot and humid at times, so check that your accommodation is air-conditioned!

As the summer crowds depart, large-scale events bump in, including the IRONMAN challenge in May. On average March is the wettest month of the year.

Winters in Port Macquarie are generally mild with temperatures hovering in the mid-teens. Pack warmly, particularly for the evening. As temperatures creep back up to the low 20s in spring, the city gears up for its annual food festivals, including the much-anticipated Port Macquarie Beer & Cider Festival. Good weather is almost guaranteed, with the year’s lowest average rainfall in September and October.

Port Macquarie travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Port Macquarie

Geelong

Geelong has similar weather patterns to Melbourne, although the region generally receives more rain. It’s worth packing for every eventuality, as Melbourne’s infamous ‘four seasons in one day’ adage also applies here!

Summer is a great time to enjoy everything the splendid Geelong Waterfront precinct has to offer. You can expect temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s. Occasional heat waves push the mercury up into the high 30s, but cooling ocean breezes bring relief.

Autumn is a lovely time to visit the region, and the changing of the season is very evident. Pack plenty of layers. In winter, temperatures drop significantly. Expect averages in the low teens, and overnight temperatures in low singles figures.

Spring brings the highest rainfall for the year, but you’ll enjoy balmy days with temperatures in the high teens and low 20s. Pack those layers and keep a brollie on call.

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Geelong. Image: Andrew Stevenson

Launceston

With average temperatures in the mid to high 20s, summer is a very pleasant time to be in Launceston in Tasmania’s north. Just remember to slip slop slap if you’re spending any length of time in the great outdoors. While the hole-in-the-ozone-layer-over-Tassie theory has been largely debunked (the hole is actually a lot further south), the sun’s rays don’t have the same level of pollution to penetrate as they do on the mainland. That leaves fair-skinned visitors vulnerable. Expect peak visitor numbers and higher accommodation prices in summer.

The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are even milder, and the general rule of thumb is to pack for every weather eventuality. Spring sees the wineries of the Tamar Valley looking their glorious best, while autumn brings stunning colour to the city’s myriad parks and squares. Winters are cold, and generally pretty wet in Launceston, with maximum daytime temperatures below 10. But hey, it’s nothing that a local pinot noir and an open fire can’t fix.

Launceston travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Launceston. Image courtesy of Tourism Tasmania. Image: Rob Burnett

Margaret River

Western Australia’s fabulous Margaret River river has a temperate climate, but it can be very changeable. Be prepared and pack accordingly. Summer is the busiest time to visit, but you’ll enjoy balmy beach days and lots of outdoor events. Summer temperatures get up to the low 30s on average.

Winter brings cool days and temperatures are generally in the mid teens. Bring a jacket.

Margaret River travel guide

Best times to visit Australia's major cities
Best times to visit Australia’s major cities: Redgate Beach, Margaret River

Albany

Albany is one of those places where you’ll be happy just to sit and chill. The city offers easy access to some of Western Australia’s most pristine beaches, so you’re going to need good weather to do them justice. Summer is the obvious choice and is reasonably mild by Australian standards. November is the sunniest month of the year on average, with January the warmest. Expect temperatures in the mid 20s.

Albany travel guide
Torndirrup National Park, Albany. Image courtesy of Tourism Western Australia

Winter kicks in from June to August. It’s generally cool and very wet so pack your woolies and umbrella. Daily temperatures hover in the mid teens with overnight lows of less than 10 degrees.

Albany travel guide

Additional images: Bigstock

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