Best Time to travel to Australia

When is the Best Time to travel to Australia for your vacation?

Answering this question is not as simple as it may seem.  It can be significantly influenced by your interests, your budget and your preferences for what you believe is the ideal climate for you to travel to Australia.  Being Australian travel agents helping people travel to Australia since 1999, we’ve collated the most relevant factors to consider when deciding the best time to travel to Australia for your vacation.  And if you need inspiration on what to ‘see and do’ for your trip to Australia, we also invite you to browse our popular Australia Vacations or contact us directly, we’d love to help you plan your trip.   Here are the factors you should consider when you start planning your trip to Australia…

1.       Australia’s Weather & Climate

When will the Australian climate be most comfortable for you based on your planned vacation activities?  Here are some useful Facts and Resources on Australia’s Climate Averages, Rainfalls and Water Temperatures to help you decide.

 Seasons in Australia

Spring: September – November (lovely)
Summer: December – February (hot)
Autumn: March – May (lovely)
Winter: June – August (cool, but not really cold)

 Temperatures in Australia

As a starting point, its important to know that the size of Australia compared to the USA is only slightly smaller in land mass – so Australia is huge!  So there are large variances in temperatures across Australia on any day.  The further north you travel (closer to the equator) the hotter it gets, which is the opposite for the USA.

 The coldest it gets in Australia’s most visited tourist destinations is around 32F (freezing) in places like Uluru or Canberra during winter nights in July/August.  There are not any snowbound cities in Australia.

Table: Climate Averages: Minimum Temperature (at night) for popular
Australian Tourist Destinations. Measured in Degrees Fahrenheit (F).

 

Month of the Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sydney

66

66

63

57

52

46

45

46

50

55

59

63

Melbourne

57

57

55

50

46

43

41

43

45

48

50

54

Brisbane

70

70

68

63

57

52

50

50

55

61

64

68

Cairns

75

75

73

72

68

64

63

63

66

70

72

73

Great Barrier Reef

74

73

72

69

66

63

61

61

63

67

70

73

Uluru

70

70

63

55

46

41

37

43

48

57

63

68

Perth

63

63

61

55

50

48

46

46

48

50

55

59

Canberra

55

55

52

45

37

34

32

34

37

43

48

52

Adelaide

61

61

57

54

50

46

45

46

48

52

55

57

Hobart

54

54

52

48

45

41

39

41

43

45

48

52

Darwin

77

77

77

75

72

68

66

70

73

77

77

77

 

 


The hottest (dry heat) is about 100F at Uluru in the peak of summer in December/January.  And with 100% humidity it can reach about 90F in Cairns and Darwin during those same months.

Table:  Climate Averages: Maximum Temperature for popular Australian Tourist Destinations.
Measured in Degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Month of the Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Adelaide

82

82

77

72

64

61

59

61

64

70

75

79

Brisbane

84

84

82

79

75

70

70

72

75

79

81

84

Cairns

88

88

88

84

82

79

79

81

82

84

88

88

Canberra

82

81

75

68

59

54

52

55

61

66

72

79

Darwin

90

88

90

91

90

88

86

88

91

91

91

91

Great Barrier Reef

89

88

87

84

81

78

78

79

82

85

87

89

Hobart

72

72

70

64

59

55

54

55

59

63

66

70

Melbourne

79

81

75

68

63

55

55

57

61

66

72

75

Perth

90

90

86

77

72

66

64

64

68

72

79

84

Sydney

79

79

77

73

68

63

63

64

68

72

75

79

Uluru

100

97

93

84

73

68

68

73

79

90

93

99

 

For more detailed climate averages for each city in Australia see Climate in Australia, or the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology: http://www.bom.gov.au/.  Other useful statistical information on Australia can be found at the various Official Country and State Australia Tourism websites.

Australia Rainfall (Tropics)

Wet Season: November – May  (Most rainfall occurs in January, February & March.)

Dry Season: June – October

 

The “Tropics of Australia” is the region north of the “Tropic of Capricorn” (approximately the top third of Australia) and includes cities like Cairns & Darwin.  Rainfall is an important consideration if you want to spend some of your vacation exploring the Outback at Kakadu National Park in Australia’s far north – the “wet season” is not the time to do it.  However if Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef is more up your alley, then it won’t matter if you travel in the wet season – either way you’re going to get wet and have fun!

 

Table: Rainfall Averages (inches) for popular Australian Tourist Destinations

Month of the Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Adelaide

   0.7

   0.7

   0.9

 1.4

 2.2

 2.2

 2.5

 2.0

 1.9

 1.6

 1.0

 0.9

Brisbane

   6.2

   6.8

   5.5

 3.5

 3.9

 2.8

 2.5

 1.7

 1.4

 3.7

 3.8

 5.0

Cairns

 15.6

 18.0

 16.5

 7.9

 3.8

 1.9

 1.1

 1.1

 1.4

 1.6

 3.8

 7.2

Canberra

   2.4

   2.1

   2.1

 2.0

 1.9

 1.6

 1.7

 1.9

 2.1

 2.6

 2.6

 2.1

Darwin

 16.8

 13.9

 12.7

 4.0

 0.8

 0.0

 0.0

 0.2

 0.6

 2.9

 5.5

 9.8

Great Barrier Reef

 15.8

 15.2

 15.4

 8.9

 3.6

 2.2

 1.3

 1.2

 1.0

 1.3

 2.7

 5.0

Hobart

   1.6

   1.5

   1.5

 1.8

 1.4

 1.1

 1.9

 1.9

 1.6

 1.9

 1.8

 2.2

Melbourne

   1.8

   1.6

   1.5

 1.9

 1.8

 1.6

 1.5

 1.9

 2.0

 2.3

 2.4

 1.9

Perth

   0.4

   0.6

   0.6

 1.6

 4.1

 6.7

 6.4

 4.7

 2.8

 1.9

 1.0

 0.4

Sydney

   3.9

   4.4

   4.8

 4.2

 3.9

 4.8

 2.7

 3.2

 2.4

 2.9

 3.2

 3.0

Uluru / Ayers Rock

   1.9

   1.8

   2.0

 1.0

 0.9

 0.8

 0.4

 0.5

 0.7

 0.9

 1.4

 0.7

 


Stinger Season: November – May  (wet season)

Little marine critters and jellyfish that sting are collectively known “Stingers”.  They generally don’t affect the Great Barrier Reef.  Stingers aren’t overly energetic animals and have not caused any problems around the reef and islands but occur mainly around the rivers, creeks and beaches north of, and around, Bundaberg. They are easy to avoid, but cause discomfort if you are stung.  The more serious ones are ‘Box Jellyfish’ which have been known to be lethal.   Stinger season is from typically November through May.  If there are stingers present there will most likely be signs posted.  At these locations you will need to swim inside the stinger enclosures provided or wear a stinger suit.  A stinger suit is like a ‘sun suit’ – a long leg, long sleeve, one piece swimsuit typically made from lycra (or similar).

 

2.       Australian School Terms & Public Holidays

During Australian Public & School Holidays seat availability on flights, tours and accommodation may be limited, unavailable or priced very high due to high demand.  Chose your Australian vacation dates to avoid the busy seasons during Australia’s Public & School Holidays.

3.       Seasons for Flight prices to Australia (low or high season)          

Airfare pricing to Australia is significantly affected by the ”Dates” you chose to travel ranging from Basic Season (cheap) to Peak (expensive).

Airline Seasonality:

Basic (Cheap): 1MAY-8JUN and 24JUL-21SEP.

Shoulder: 1FEB-30APR, 9JUN-23JUL, 27SEP-8DEC.

Peak (Expensive): 9DEC – 31JAN.

Read our Airfare Pricing Tips and our Sale Airfares

 

4.       Activities that are “seasonal”

Seasonality of activities that are your “passion”, or events that you want to attend, may mean that all the other factors above become irrelevant.  For example, if you are a Diver, it may be a highlight of your trip to Dive with the Minke Whales which migrate to the Great Barrier Reef in June.  Or maybe you want to attend the Australian Open (Tennis) which then restricts you to dates surrounding that event irrespective of all other factors. Nevertheless, if you are at least aware of all the other factors, it may help you during the planning process to decide whether to spend more time vacationing after the event instead of before.

 

5.       The Best Time to visit Australia

For me, the best time to visit Australia is either Spring (September – November) or Autumn (March – May), not too hot nor too cold.  This avoids the busy Summer Break (School Holidays) and the peak Christmas traffic (most expensive flight prices).  If traveling up north to the tropics and with no other influencing factors, I’d choose to vacation in Spring, just before the wet season.

However, given I have family in South Australia, the deciding factor for me is to vacation around family events (Birthday celebrations & Mothers Day) which are in Autumn.

We hope you’ve found this information useful.  If you have any questions, need help or advice on planning your trip to Australia, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly Toll Free on 888-3592877 (M-F, 8.30am – 5pm CT USA)we’d love to help you plan your vacation to Australia.

Veronica Pearce
AboutAustralia.com

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