Australia

15 Reasons Why Summer is the Worst Time of the Year to Visit Australia

December 4, 2017
australian summer worst time

It’s trying to look nicer than it actually is.

Many Australians spend the entire year lamenting the fact that it isn’t summer yet. This endless complaining tends to start on roughly the 1st of March and carry right onto around mid-November. That’s commitment for you and then some.

But beach! Sunshine! BBQs! Christmas! Friendship! Festivals! Isn’t an Australian summer the best?

As an Aussie myself, my immediate answer would be a loud, emphatic “NO!” There are many reasons why an Australian summer is generally the worst time to live in, or visit Australia.

Before your start gathering your pitchforks and lighting your torches – hear me out. I believe there are many reasons why Oz is a much nicer country to be in pretty much any other time of the year.

Here are some of them.

australian summer worst time

EASE OFF, SUN.

It’s generally hotter than Hades outside (and often, inside too)

Depending on where you are, (because it is a damn big country) Australia can have a fairly pleasant climate throughout the rest of the year.

The northern states like Queensland and the Northern Territory have winter temperatures that are warmer than what is considered to be “summer” in some parts of the world (England, I’m looking at you) – yet their summer temperatures, combined with the extreme humidity that the region experiences, can and will make you weep.

Even the mid-level cities like Sydney and Perth can get unbearably hot in the summer, a phenomenon that is worsening as climate change increases temperatures across the world.

Last summer in NSW, the thermometer was inching above forty degrees celsius (that’s above 100°F, folks) every few days. My grand plan of “days at the beach!” turned into “days spent slumped in front of the air conditioner at home” – it was so hot and humid that moving was rendered really difficult.

Not to mention that utilities in Australia are frightfully expensive, so you’re lucky if you can afford to run the air conditioning. For many of us, the options are limited to an $11 fan from Target or Bunnings, coupled with an ice pack at night. Fun times.

Related: The Downsides to Living in Australia

Here are some reasons why you should visit Australia any time other than the summer. Click To Tweet

…And the weather can be quite erratic

What do you picture, when you think of summer days in Australia? Perfect weather? Cloudless blue skies followed by those beautifully barmy summer nights? Yes, sometimes this is the case. But not always, my friend.

I am writing this on what is technically day three of summer, if you go by the calendar year on these things which is generally a mistake. This has been the weather pattern for the last hour – rain for five minutes. Stop. Sun pokes out for five minutes. Stop. Rain for five minutes… etc. Make up your bloody mind, weather!

Last week it was in the mid thirties for several days in a row (nineties Fahrenheit so we’re all of an understanding) in the city of Melbourne, a place which can’t seem to deal with extreme heat. It then dropped down to 13°C (55°F) while we were hit by torrential rain, in a city that also can’t really deal with flooding.

That has been the weather for the last three weeks. Unbearable heat, followed by wet weather and storms. The constant rises and drops in temperature means that there are sinus infections for all!

australian summer worst time

Zero fun in extreme heat.

Many Australian hotspots (no pun intended) are terrible to visit in the summertime

You will be seriously limited by what you can see during the summer months in Australia, with many tourist destinations being simply far too hot to navigate.

Want to visit the Outback, far north Queensland or Darwin? Save it for the winter months, when the temperatures are pleasant and the entire region isn’t undated with flies.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Australia’s Red Centre

There are bugs EVERYWHERE

Speaking of flies, summer is the season when ALL THE BUGS start crawling out of the woodwork, in the most literal sense.

The advent of the Australian Christmas beetle is usually a sign that the silly season is upon us, but they are usually the only bug that is welcomed with any kind of enthusiasm.

Expect to see an increase in spiders, cockroaches (keep your dirty dishes lying in the sink overnight at your own peril) and worst of all… it’s when the flies return.

Out of mind, out of sight, but when they reappear after the winter, you’ll recall that they are the most annoying creature to ever be birthed into existence.

australian summer worst time

How I felt about the “pockets sticking out of denim shorts” trend.

Summer fashion is the worst

Personally, I love clothes and fashion in general, but often hit a wall in the summer months. Winter is all about the layering and I appreciate this fact, but in the summer your options are – skirts, dresses, shorts… or bust. (And remember that swimwear worn anywhere other than the pool or beach, defaults to underwear).

You always have to spend the first few weeks re-breaking your feet into your sandals or thongs (flip flops) as well, which can be a most upsetting affair. When I look behind me whilst doing downward dog at my local yoga studio, I see a sea of feet, covered with bandaids.

Plus summer always tends to feature the most unforgivable fashion faux-pas. Like the pockets-hanging-out-of-shorts trend of a few years ago. Or shorts-hiked-so-high-they-become-denim-underwear. Or shirt-becomes-optional-for-dudes-with-tattoos-and-beer-guts (it’s sadly never the fellas that you wouldn’t quite mind seeing with their shirts off, funnily enough).

Not to forget the current wave of dressing like it’s 1997. And remember when the bucket hat was made fashionable in the early-2000s? I have spent fifteen years trying to erase this period of time from my memory.

Chafing becomes a daily occurrence

That being said, I do love a flirty skirt or brightly-coloured summer dress – but I do not enjoy the thigh-rubbing-upon-thigh action that comes along with it.

Unless you have legs like a giraffe, chafing in the summertime is unavoidable. I know under every skirt I wear are my bike shorts, or at the very least, Chamois Butt’r lubricant. Never leave home without it.

australian summer worst time

Head straight to the nearest air-conditioned and preferably licensed building.

You’ll sweat puddles, which can be upsetting if you’re not used to it

Us Aussies are generally really sweaty people – and apparently your childhood has an impact on that. Sweat is after all, your body’s way of attempting to cool itself down, so it makes sense that people in warmer climates will have more active glands than those who have grown up elsewhere.

So at least when we complain about the fact that puddles of sweat are pooling at our feet, we know our bodies are coping with the heat the best way they can. If you’re not used to extreme temperatures, it can be far more upsetting, as your body may find itself in a flutter, unsure of what it should do.

EVERYONE is on holiday, so there are people everywhere

Summertime is holiday time! Folks across Australia start knocking off work and school from around early-November onwards, with the school holidays officially in swing just before Christmas.

This means that there will be at least six weeks where there are people absolutely everywhere (particularly clogging up the freeways as they drive northward for their annual camping holidays). I’ve often requested to work over the Christmas break just to avoid this phenomenon. Je ne regrette rien.

australian summer worst time

An empty beach (NOW WITH ADDED HORSE) during not school holidays.

Local pools and beaches become overcrowded

If the weather is warm and all these people are off work, where are they going to go? Why, straight to their local beach or pool, of course!

Even in Sydney, visiting a beach on a weekday during any other time of the year means you might get a bit of space to yourself. For comparison’s sake, this is what Bondi Beach looks like on New Year’s Day. Just looking at that photo makes me feel like hyperventilating.

Thank goodness we have 10,000 beaches, so if you head elsewhere you might get lucky… but is it truly worth the five hour drive? Probably not.

Related: How to Avoid Looking Like a Tourist in Australia

…Along with cinemas, restaurants, shops and all the places

And if people aren’t at the beach, they’ll most certainly be wherever the free air conditioning is! Pretty much everywhere else will be packed to the rafters – the shops, the cinema, places to eat, bowling alleys. You name it, there’ll be a stack of folk and most certainly children screaming their way around there.

Don’t try to go see a movie on Boxing Day without booking a ticket in advance. You have been warned.

australian summer worst time

A view that is slightly more affordable during the cooler months.

Accommodation prices go through the roof

As this is the time of year most people are traditionally on holiday, you’ll be paying out the nose for accommodation in what is already a pretty damn expensive country to visit.

Particularly around New Year’s Eve in Sydney, as it is one of the premiere destinations for the event in the world. I remember a friend telling me last year she’d had to pay $400 AUD to rent a room in Parramatta, a suburb of Sydney that is a forty minute journey to the centre of the city.

Can you imagine how much the accommodation in the CBD (Central Business District) is during this event? I don’t want to even think about it. It’s probably roughly the same price as selling your kidney on the black market.

You will probably get the worst sunburn of your life

If you’re coming to Australia in the summer, please look after your skin. Wear a hat (and sunglasses too) and sunscreen – we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.

A tip for sunscreen wearers – make sure it is free of toxins like octinoxate and octocrylene, as they have a detrimental effect upon the coral of the world’s oceans. Goodness knows the Great Barrier Reef needs all the help it can get.

australian summer worst time

Very pretty and highly flammable.

Fire ban season is in full swing

Growing up, I was always very jealous of teenagers in American television shows who would follow on from a long summer day spent at the beach, gathering around a sand-based campfire with first marshmallows and then beer.

It’s just not a thing here – it can’t be. As soon as the weather gets hot, a total country-wide fireban is put into place.

Hot dry conditions, coupled with wind can lead to complete and utter disaster, where bushfires become a real and frightening threat, responsible for the loss of homes and life – both human and that of local fauna, every summer.

It’s not helped by the fact that our native and very prolific eucalyptus trees are highly flammable.

So, no late night campfire gatherings for Australian teenagers in the summertime. Better to be safe, than burnt out.

Related: What NOT to Do When Visiting Australia

It’s too hot to even go road tripping

I tell everyone who makes plans to come to Australia that they have to do a road trip. Our public transport sucks and it’s the best way to see the country by far… plus it’s worth getting out of the cities, to check out what regional Australia has on offer (short answer – a lot).

But if you’re planning on doing one in the summertime… well, ensure your car has good air-conditioning. Take this from someone whose first ride had a barely working fan. The suffering was real.

australian summer worst time

My feet just want to be free.

You HAVE to wear shoes which is basically un-Australian

Australians have a thing against shoes, which is probably why a slip of rubber is considered our national footwear. This seems utterly ridiculous in a country where pretty much everything is trying to kill you, but that’s just the way it is.

Less fun is trying to walk barefoot across burning hot asphalt or sand… It’s just not advisable.

So in summary, avoid Australia in the summertime! Visit ANY other time of the year (you roughly have 3-5 months to work with here, so it’s doable!).

Any commiserations you’d like to share about the Australian summertime?

Find this post amusing? Pin it!

Is summer the best time to visit the Land Down Under? Ah, maybe if you like sweating puddles, enjoy being harassed by bugs of all descriptions and are made of money. Here are a few reasons why summer is the worst time to visit Australia - come visit any other time of the year, for your own sanity's sake. #Australia #Travel #Summer #TravelTips

Is summer the best time to visit the Land Down Under? Ah, maybe if you like sweating puddles, enjoy being harassed by bugs of all descriptions and are made of money. Here are a few reasons why summer is the worst time to visit Australia - come visit any other time of the year, for your own sanity's sake. #Australia #Travel #Summer #TravelTips
Is summer the best time to visit the Land Down Under? Ah, maybe if you like sweating puddles, enjoy being harassed by bugs of all descriptions and are made of money. Here are a few reasons why summer is the worst time to visit Australia - come visit any other time of the year, for your own sanity's sake. #Australia #Travel #Summer #TravelTips
Is summer the best time to visit the Land Down Under? Ah, maybe if you like sweating puddles, enjoy being harassed by bugs of all descriptions and are made of money. Here are a few reasons why summer is the worst time to visit Australia - come visit any other time of the year, for your own sanity's sake. #Australia #Travel #Summer #TravelTips

You Might Also Like

12 Comments

  • Reply Megan December 4, 2017 at 10:24 am

    LOL this sounds exactly like where I’m from. I hated it growing up and loved the autumn/winter (which were still mild). I always said I’d never EVER move back to my home area and I’ll go somewhere north when I move back stateside (or PNW). I love that you mentioned chafing because that is easily my least favorite thing about summer. All these people wearing flowy and beautiful dresses and im literally wearing pants in a bigger effort to avoid that.

    • Reply LC December 5, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Haha I know how you feel… I keep moving further south for the same reason!

  • Reply Nat - dignifiable December 4, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Love this post!! Or trying to get into a car after it has been sitting in the street all day is a skill. As well as not being burnt by the metal buckle of the seat belt!

    • Reply LC December 5, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Or the steering wheel, urgh!

  • Reply Ashley December 7, 2017 at 1:05 am

    Haha, I can totally understand where you’re coming from, but I loved Oz in the summer! Granted, I’m always cold and don’t mind 40-degree weather. The bugs were definitely a bit much, though.

    • Reply LC December 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

      Haha yeah I think that’s why I like cool weather… sometimes you just need a break! The bugs are horrible. Waging a constant war against a summer cockroach invasion in my house.

  • Reply Alyse December 8, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Omg! Did you ever as a kid have to sit on your parent’s vinyl car seats when it was 40 degrees outside? I can almost remember smelling the hairs on my legs being singed off and thinking that would probably be the closest experience to being burnt alive. Oh, the joys!

  • Reply Mike from TravelAndDestinations December 8, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Good tips and makes me want to not visit in the summer. Sounds like summer is a very long too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Reply Kylie Neuhaus December 9, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Haha! I’ve visited in Spring and Autumn and next year I’m visiting in Winter…think I made the right choice (all the dates usually get decided around work and jobs)! Even when I visited in the Autumn the bugs were unbearable and I got burn despite constantly wearing suncream!

  • Reply Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad December 9, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Haha love it, agree with ALL of these! I worked in Brisbane for a whole summer and I walked to work… a half hour walk. That was a mission!

  • Reply Cassie December 9, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Wow. I love an honest travel post. Thanks. I’ve only been to Aus in winter so only know how it feels when it’s hot rather than baking. You paint a good picture.

  • Reply Amy Alton December 9, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Sounds like summer in Texas 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

    781 Shares
    Share88
    Tweet
    Pin623
    Flip
    +1
    Stumble70