Australia’s climate varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories; there are four seasons across most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north.
Australia’s seasons are at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. December to February is summer; March to May is autumn; June to August is winter; and September to November is spring.
With endless stretches of gorgeous beach, fresh seafood and marine life encounters happening in summer, it won’t take long to understand why Australians have such an affinity for the water.
Summer in Australia falls between December and February and is famous for sunny days with high temperatures. It’s the wet season in the tropical north (November to April), which is characterised by monsoonal rains and high humidity. Many tourism operations are closed for the season, as are some national parks (such as Kakadu) due to flood risks. The same period is also the official cyclone season for areas around Cairns and the Whitsundays, although storms can also occur outside of this period. It’s stinger season on the Great Barrier Reef, meaning snorkellers and divers should wear full-body wetsuits for safe swimming.
For the ideal Australian summer, head to the southern parts of the country where you’ll find hot, sunny days to enjoy the incredible experiences on offer.
Automn (Mar−May )
Autumn in most parts of Australia is from March to May. The Tropical North’s wet season extends through April and many tourist attractions may be closed for the season, making May a better time to plan your visit to the Kimberley region or Darwin. Cairns and The Whitsundays can be hit with tropical storms during this period, but the Southern Great Barrier Reef is not usually affected. In the south of Australia, autumn brings cooler days with occasional rain. There are many exciting festivals and events on during this period, making it an ideal time to see our capital cities or head to our wine regions for a vintage celebration.
While autumn is generally a pleasant and uncrowded time to visit, be aware that the Easter holiday period (varying dates between March and April) will often mean local families are enjoying a vacation. Check the local school holidays calendar for more information on break periods.
Winter in most parts of Australia is from June to August. For the Northern Territory, this falls within the ‘dry season’, making it an ideal time to visit the north of the country, including Darwin, the Top End and the Kimberley. From balmy afternoons in the north to freezing temperatures and snow in many places south of Sydney (head to the Australian Alps and Tasmania if you’re keen for a white winter), travelling to Australia during winter is pleasant and offers a diverse range of activities and attractions to discover.
Winter in Australia is generally less crowded, but you may find more local families in the ski fields during mid-July when schools have their break period. Learn more about where to visit and great things to do across the country in winter.
Spring in most parts of Australia is from September to November. For the Northern Territory, September and October fall within the ‘dry season’, while November marks the start of the ‘wet season’, so if you’re heading for Darwin or Kakadu, aim for early spring.
Travelling to Australia during shoulder season (spring and autumn) is generally cheaper and less crowded, making it a great time to explore the country. Watch out for the school break period (late September to mid October for most states) as this is also when local families will head on their vacations. Learn more about where to visit and great things to do across the country in springtime.