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Patti Polluconi   Meet Patti, one of our travel experts for Australia.


Patti is a certified specialist for Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tahiti. She's also Pacific Rim ICTA certified, and has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean and is certified in many of those islands' programs. She's been to Jamaica over 15 times, as well as Puerto Rico, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Aruba, and others. She's also been all over Mexico, and has traveled through Europe several times.



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What's the best time of year to go down under and visit Australia? Advice on travel planning from the travel experts at Visual Itineraries.

Best Time of Year to Visit Australia

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Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru
Ayers Rock, photo courtesy Pete Edgeler on Flickr.


Australia is enormous, with a wide range of climates. The northern states are typically warm year-round, while the southern states have cooler winters. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.

To compare all resorts in Australia, click here.

Best time of year to go to different parts of Australia



The famous Sydney Opera House
Photo courtesy Samantha Celera on Flickr.
 

Sydney, in New South Wales, is in Australia's temperate zone. The Great Dividing Range is a major climate factor, as it creates 4 distinct zones: the coastal strip, the highlands, the Western Slopes and the flat countryside to the west.

Sydney typically sees about 340 sunny days a year, with humidity in summer around 65%.

Pictured at left is the famous Sydney Opera House.

Cairns, in Queensland, is pretty tropical--summers are hot and humid, and winters are dry and mild.

Along the coast, you can get cyclones from November through May.

Cairns is one of the places from which you can access the Great Barrier Reef, pictured at right.

Ayers Rock, seen at the top of this page, is in the Northern Territory (which isn't actually the northernmost part of Australia--that's referred to as the "Top End"), has a distinctly different climate, with a wet season running from October to April and a dry season May to September. In winter, nighttime temperatures can fall below freezing; in the summer, daytime temperatures can approach 100F, with cool, dry nights.

  The Great Barrier Reef
Photo courtesy ynwa2005 on Flickr.
Barossa Valley, wine country northeast of Adelaide
Photo courtesy Amanda Slater on Flickr.
 

Adelaide, in South Australia, has mild, wet winters (averaging about 60F) and hot, dry summers (averaging 84F).

June is the wettest month, but still averages only a little over 3 inches of rain. In the summer, it's not uncommon to have months with no rain.

At left is Jacob's Creek vineyard in the Barossa Valley, one of the important wine regions of Australia.


Melbourne, in Victoria, has a reputation for changeable weather, but generally the climate is temperate with warm summers (averaging 77F), mild spring and fall seasons, and cool winters (averaging 57F).

Pictured are the limestone formations known as the Twelve Apostles, located on the Great Ocean Road about 100 miles west of Melbourne.

Perth, in Western Australia, the rainfall is greatest from May to September. The hottest month is February, averaging 88F; winter temperatures average about 65F. A cooling breeze known as "The Fremantle Doctor" blows in from the sea to keep the city comfortable.

  The Twelve Apostles, about 100 miles west of Melbourne
Photo courtesy Rich Mulvaney on Flickr.

Tasmania, the island southeast of the main continent, the climate is mild and temperate. With no part of the island more than about 75 miles from the water, the ocean has a big effect on the climate. Because it's much farther from the equator than the rest of Australia, the seasons are more distinct. January and February are pretty dry, with temperatures averaging about 70F.

See the Australia tourism website for a detailed description of the seasons in Australia.


Average temperatures by month in Sydney, Australia

Storms in Australia

In Cairns, on the coast of Queensland, tropical cyclones can occur sometimes between November and May. Around Alice Springs and Ayers Rock, you can see thunderstorms, hail and dust storms in the spring months. In Western Australia, tropical cyclones can occur between November and April--most commonly though in January and February.


Average precipitation by month in Sydney, Australia

Airfare and Resort Prices

High season is from about Christmas through the end of January, when children are on their summer holidays, and the popular resorts fill up with the locals. In the north, June through August is peak season as Australians from the southern areas travel north to escape winter. Typically the airlines will discount airfares April through June.

Water temperature, SCUBA diving and surfing in Australia

On the Great Barrier Reef, you can dive year-round, although the best conditions for diving are from late August to early December. For liveaboard diving, the best time to go is July through November. In the Coral Sea, the visibility is best in June and in September. If you want to see the Minke whales, they're seen mostly from June to August. From April through June, the whale sharks can be seen near Ningaloo, in Western Australia. Australia Tourism has an excellent reference on dive locations and regions here.


Michael  

About Michael

Founder of Visual Itineraries, Michael lives in Portland, Oregon. He's an avid traveler, scuba diver, photographer, and a private pilot. Find on Google+ or on Twitter.


Map of all resorts in Australia