Wondering when is the best time to visit Australia? Here is my comprehensive guide!
Australia is an amazing country, and I think any eager traveler should definitely visit.
But planning a trip to Australia can be confusing, simply because the country is so huge.
Australia is a continent as well as a country. It is massive!
Each corner of the country is different from the next. You could travel to different areas and feel like you’ve entered a new world entirely.
So when considering the best time to visit Australia, you first have to decide which parts of the country you will be visiting.
In this article, I’ll break down the geography of the country as well as the seasons.
Hopefully this will help travelers figure out when to visit Australia!
The Best Time To Visit Australia
The best time to visit Australia really depends on where you are going.
Tasmania in the south has an entirely different climate to Alice Springs in the center of the country, which is different from Tropical North Queensland.
In this article, I’ll list the different areas of Australia based on climate. I’ll discuss the best months to visit each area.
Remember, Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere!
- Summer: December, January, February
- Autumn: March, April, May
- Winter: June, July, August
- Spring: September, October, November
Different Regions: The Best Time To Visit Australia
I will break this guide down into the different regions of Australia based on climate.
The regions are:
- Tropical North
- Temperate South
- Far South
I found this photo from The Outback Guide to be pretty helpful for visualizing the climates around Australia.
Many climate maps of Australia differ slightly, and this image differs slightly from the categories I am using. But you get the general idea.
The Tropical North: Northern Territory, Queensland, and Western Australia
The northern section of Australia has a tropical climate. Temperatures are hot year-round, and it is usually very humid.
Tropical weather also brings an abundance of wildlife, rainforests, and unique natural landscapes. Animals and plants are colorful, interesting, and massive. Fruits are exotic and flavorful, waterfalls are lush, coral reefs are thriving, and the wilderness is truly wild.
If you can brave the heat and humidity, the tropical north of Australia is a magical place to visit.
Some highlights in the north of Australia include:
- The Great Barrier Reef, QLD
- The Daintree Rainforest, QLD
- Cairns, QLD
- Airlie Beach, QLD
- The Whitsundays Islands, QLD
- Darwin, NT
- Kakadu National Park, NT
- Litchfield National Park, NT
- Ningaloo Reef, WA
- Cape Range National Park, WA
- Broome, WA
Best Time To Visit Australia: North
The best time to visit the north of Australia is anytime between May and October.
Australia’s tropical north has two seasons: wet and dry.
Wet Season: bad weather, no crowds
Wet season runs from roughly November until April. The weather is extremely hot and humid.
There is almost constant rain, and frequent monsoons, tropical storms, and floods. These can lead to floods and road closures, causing travel delays.
Some national parks and landmarks in northern Australia are closed during wet season, and many tours don’t run.
Rainy season is also marine stinger season, so some beaches may be closed for swimming. You can opt for beaches with stinger nets or freshwater swimming holes.
The positives to visiting at this time are the lack of crowds and the cheap flight prices.
Dry Season: Beautiful weather
If you want a better experience in the north, visit between May and October.
This is dry season, and it may still rain but not as much.
You’ll enjoy sunny beach days, clear waters for snorkeling, lower humidity, and cooler temperatures. And most beaches will be open for swimming!
The Outback/Red Center: Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Rural NSW or QLD
The Outback refers to the remote regions in the center of Australia.
The majority of the Northern Territory, South Australia, and most of Western Australia are often referred to as the Outback. But there is Outback in rural Queensland and New South Wales.
It is basically just the whole middle of the country, away from the coasts.
The Red Center (or Red Centre as the Aussies would spell it) refers to the southern part of the Northern Territory. It is the literal center of Australia, and it is home to Alice Springs and the famous red monolith, Uluru (or Ayers Rock).
Highlights of the Outback Include:
- Alice Springs, NT
- Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock), NT
- Watarrka National Park, NT
- Kings Canyon, NT
- Larapinta Hiking Trail, NT
- Karijini National Park, WA
- Coober Pedy, SA
- Lake Eyre, SA
- Broken Hill, NSW
Best Time To Visit Australia: Outback
The Outback of Australia generally has very hot, dry summers and mild or cool winters.
It’s easy to picture the desert as hot and dry all the time, but nights in winter can get pretty cold.
Visit the Outback in Winter, Spring, or Autumn
The best months to visit the rural, desert regions of Australia is probably the winter months of June through August. Most of the days will be sunny and clear, with little to no rain.
But the nights will be cold, with even a chance of frost in July and August. If you’re camping, pack a warm sleeping bag and warm clothes!
September/October in Autumn, or April/May in Spring, will have comfortable temperatures at night and hot, sunny days.
Always bring plenty of water to stay hydrated in the desert, and plan tours for the morning when the heat is less intense.
Avoid visiting the Outback in Summer
Most people would advise against visiting the Outback in Summer.
November through March can be so hot that exploring isn’t very fun. Especially in December or January, the desert heat is extreme.
So winter or the shoulder season is ideal for visiting the Outback or Red Centre of Australia.
The Temperate South: Southern QLD, Coastal NSW, South of Western Australia and South Australia
The middle south of Australia has a more temperate climate, with hot summers and pretty cold winters. The temperatures can vary a bit between states, however.
For example, most of southern Queensland fits into the temperate climate category. But some coastal places like Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Noosa, and the Sunshine Coast have hotter temperatures than inland QLD.
The most visited part of Australia is New South Wales and the Sydney region.
This area has hot summers and cool winters. The Blue Mountains just west of Sydney can get a little snow in the winter.
The south of Western Australia has a similar climate to New South Wales, but has a more humid, Mediterranean climate that doesn’t get as cold.
Overall, the climate in these areas is pleasant. It’s never too unbearably hot and the winters are chilly but beautiful.
Highlights of the temperate, southern region of Australia include:
- Brisbane, QLD
- Gold Coast, QLD
- Sunshine Coast Hinterland, QLD
- Byron Bay, NSW
- Sydney, NSW
- Blue Mountains, NSW
- Adelaide, SA
- Kangaroo Island, SA
- Canberra, ACT
- Perth, WA
- Margaret River, WA
- Esperance, WA
Best Time To Visit Australia: The Temperate South
The best time to visit the southern areas of Australia depends on the type of trip you want.
Summer: Fun and hot, yet expensive and crowded
If you want a beach vacation with hot sunny weather, outdoor BBQs and parties, and long hours of daylight, visit in the summer.
In the south, Australian summers are dreamy.
You’ll have lots of beautiful weather and plenty of time for hiking, swimming, surfing, sightseeing, and more. There are lots of outdoor beach parties and good vibes in summer.
Temperatures are hot, but not unbearable.
Summer also means higher flight prices and more crowds. Popular beach destinations like Noosa, Bondi Beach or Byron Bay will be packed.
Spring or Autumn: Lovely weather, fewer crowds than summer
Personally, I think the best time to visit places like Sydney, Brisbane, or Perth is Spring.
September through November has really nice weather but it’s not as hot and it’s not as crowded. Flights are also much cheaper than in December or January.
Perth and Brisbane are also a bit hotter than Sydney, and summer temperatures can be uncomfortable.
Autumn is nice too, from March to May. However it can be a bit rainy.
Rain is pretty consistent and unpredictable in the south of Australia, so you’ll probably get a few rainy days no matter when you visit. But the rain is nothing like the Tropical North, so your visit will still be fun.
Winter: cheap flights and no crowds
Winter is still a nice time to visit southern Australia. It will get pretty cold at night and in the early mornings. You may even find snow in mountainous, rural areas.
But winter in places like Sydney or Perth is still warm and sunny during the day. Flight prices are also super cheap and the crowds are scarce.
If you’re an experienced surfer looking for epic waves, you may want to visit NSW or WA in winter. The water can be cold so you’ll need a wetsuit, and the swells get really big. If you’re a beginner surfer, maybe stick to visiting in summer.
The Far South: Victoria, Southwest NSW and Tasmania
The far south of Australia includes Victoria, the southwest of NSW, and the island of Tasmania. Here, summers are warm and sometimes hot. Winters are cold and you can even find snow in the mountainous regions.
Highlights of Australia’s south include:
- Melbourne, VIC
- Great Ocean Road, VIC
- Phillip Island, VIC
- Snowy Mountains, VIC and NSW
- Murray River Region, VIC and NSW
- Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
- Hobart, TA
- Freycinet National Park, TA
- Cradle Mountain, TA
- Bruny Island, TA
Best Time To Visit Australia: The Far South
Summer has the best weather, Spring and Autumn are still nice. Winter is good for snow season!
The best time to visit the far south of Australia is definitely summer. Winters can be cold and not that pleasant, whereas summers are warm and sunny but never too hot.
Especially if you’re visiting Tasmania, where the main highlight is outdoorsy activities like hiking and camping, you’ll want decent weather. December through February have the best temperatures.
If you still want to escape the crowds and high flight prices, and you won’t be doing much camping or hiking, visiting the south in Autumn or Spring is nice too.
Melbourne and Adelaide are fun cities that can be enjoyed even with a bit of rain or cool temperatures.
If you’re looking to visit the Snowy Mountains or Mount Kosciuszko and go skiing/snowboarding, you’ll have to visit in winter between June and September for consistent snow.
Recap: When is the best time to visit Australia?
If you’ve read all that information, well done. I really dove into the details, but if you’re actually curious about the climate in Australia and when you should visit, this should be helpful.
Of course there are many factors that affect when to visit Australia, including:
- Which region you are visiting
- What type of vacation you want (beach, snowboarding, hiking, etc.)
- How much money you want to spend
- If you care about crowds or not
Taking all these factors into account, I would say overall the best time to visit Australia is either Spring (September through November) or Autumn (March through May).
You’ll get mild weather in most places, with potential rainfall but not too much. You’ll most likely get some hot sunny days and some cooler nights. Flight prices won’t be at their highest, and crowds will be smaller than in Summer.
Just keep in mind that certain parts of Australia have more extreme temperatures. For example:
- The Outback in the middle of summer is extremely hot
- Camping and hiking in Tasmania is difficult in winter when it’s really cold
- Rainy season in the tropics means floods, road closures, and marine stingers
However, with the right mindset, you can enjoy Australia at any time!
I visited Tropical North Queensland in January-March, right in the middle of rainy season.
It did rain often and floods made traveling difficult. But, we still had some sunny days and everywhere we went had no crowds.
We found lots of freshwater swimming holes to avoid jellyfish, stingrays, and saltwater crocodiles, and we still had so much fun.
I’ve also grown very fond of Sydney in winter. There are no crowds, the weather is still usually sunny and pleasant, and flights are really cheap.
So just have a positive attitude, do a bit of research, and enjoy your time Down Under!
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