Season By Season: When is the Best Time to Visit Australia?
When is the best time to visit Australia? In this guide, we’ll take you through each season, to determine when should plan your trip. You’ll learn what the weather is generally like and which region is best to visit (and where you should absolutely stay away from!) Read on to find out more.
As a travel destination, Australia tops the list of many.
However, travelling Down Under can be a big, expensive, time-consuming commitment. It makes sense that anyone heading to Oz would want to know when’s the best time to go to Australia.
I’ve lived in Australia for most of my life, in two different states, and have been to every state and territory, more than once.
I’m a passionate advocate for backyard travel. You could say I live, breathe and eat (our food scene is pretty damn good) Australia.
Having extensively explored my own country, I have a pretty good idea of when is the best time to travel to Australia and where to go, season by season.
I’m going to run you through what to expect of each season – the weather, what sort of activities are on offer and where the best regions to visit are, depending what time of the year it is.
Here are some other tips for first time visitors to Australia to consider.
Read more: What NOT To Do When Visiting Australia
Australia Trip Tip: Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out hotel deals for Australia on Hotels combined.|
The Best Time to Visit Australia – Season By Season
I’m going to come right off and say the best months to visit Australia are March and September. Autumn and spring are nice. We’ll cover why, later on in this post.
For now, we’ll go through the seasons as we would the calendar year, starting with summer.
As Australia is topsy turvy world to anyone in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s summer over Christmas and New Years here. Which is NICE, but I think all summer has going for it.
Anyway, all that aside – let’s crack on, to discover when is the best time to go to Australia.
Is the Best Time to Visit Australia Summer (Dec-Feb)?
Summer in Australia has traditionally been lovely.
I remember a childhood of beach holidays, sun fun, ice blocks and road trips. 32°C (89°F) was considered a hot day, but mostly the season was very nice.
These days, probably due to a steadily warming climate, summer in Australia has become quite unpleasant. It’s hot, the weather is all over the place and it’s long.
To keep things fair, let’s examine the upsides and downsides of visiting Australia during the summertime.
The pros of visiting Australia in summer
One drawcard is experiencing Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the warmer months. There’s a real nice vibe in the air, that you don’t get in places that celebrate the holidays in winter.
It seems bizarre to wander around in the searing heat, looking at decorations of reindeer, Santa is his fur-lined suit and snow, but that’s what we do here.
Plus, New Year’s Eve is a real party, with the next day traditionally being spent at the beach, or with a family barbecue.
We do like our beach time in Australia, which is good, as we have roughly 10,000 of them.
They get over-populated in the cities, but head up or down the coast and you may end up with a whole stretch of sand to yourself.
Don’t forget our oceans can be quite dangerous. Read up about beach safety in Australia here.
The cons of visiting Australia in summer
The temperature consistently hits the forties (that’s over 100° Fahrenheit). There’s nothing you can do in this sort of weather – it feels too hot to even breathe.
Not to mention, it’s bushfire season, which is a real threat in Australia, to life and livelihood.
Plus, it’s peak travel season. School is out, people take time off work. The sheer volume of people everywhere is astonishing.
The holidays mean that prices for accommodation go through the roof, particularly in Sydney, over the silly season.
And, the bugs and snakes come out. If this is something that makes you feel uncomfortable, then you may not enjoy yourself, much.
Best destinations in summer…
Adelaide in general is a very underrated destination and worth checking out, over this season. It holds its Fringe Festival at the end of summer, which is possibly the best in the country.
It’s also a good time to consider going for a road trip in Tasmania, as the temperatures are generally in the mid-twenties (seventies for you Americans). Although, I think Hobart is worth visiting all year road.
Traditionally, we take loads of road trips in Australia during the summer months. It’s a country best seen by car (our infrastructure sucks) and cars have air con!
Stay away from…
The north of the country. So, Far-North Queensland, the Top End of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. It’s monsoon season, you can’t go in the ocean due to the presence of box jellyfish and it’s humid as hell.
I’d also stay far, far away from the Red Centre (Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Alice Springs and such). It’s desert after all, and the temperatures will be through the roof.
Summer is perfect for: Experiencing Christmas and New Years in a warmer climate, long days at the beach, taking road trips.
Is the Best Time to Visit Australia Autumn (Mar-May)?
Autumn, or Fall is a truly lovely time to travel to Australia.
The weather is just about perfect – warm day and cooler mornings and nights.
It’s off-peak season, so prices are cheaper.
Plus, depending on where you are, you’ll see some truly epic foliage.
The pros of visiting Australia in autumn
It’s not too busy. Most people are back at work or school by this time of the year. This means prices are down and the crowds are gone! Huzzah!
Things get a little busy around Easter, as workers traditionally get a long weekend.
We also have a day off for ANZAC Day, on the 25th of April.
However, that’s about it!
The cons of visiting Australia in autumn
I don’t really have anything negative to say! You might find it difficult to leave?
It can get a little bit wet, but that’s no guarantee for every year.
The weather can also be quite erratic, depending on where you visit, so that can be quite hard to plan for.
Overall, autumn is very nice indeed and might be the best time to visit Australia, in general!
Best destinations in autumn
Melbourne and the entire state of Victoria is glorious around this time of the year. There’s a lot going on in Melbourne during these months, including its famous Comedy Festival.
Perth and Western Australia are nice in autumn as well as you tend to get pleasant weather, without humidity.
Stay away from…
It can still be a bit wet and hot in the Outback and Top End.
However, the closer it is to winter, the nicer it’ll be.
Autumn is perfect for: Off-peak season warm weather, exploring foliage in the southern parts of the state, crunching on crispy leaves, long hikes and camping.
Is the Best Time to Visit Australia Winter (Jun-Aug)?
I also have nothing but good things to say about taking a winter holiday in Australia, although not everyone agrees!
Did you know it snows in Australia? We regularly see the white stuff in Victoria and Tasmania and there’s a snow region in New South Wales as well.
Melbourne, where I live can get a bit cold, although I’d say the average daily temperature hovers between 7-12°C (44-53°F), so it’s not completely awful.
Overall, the season can be quite pleasant and is certainly a nice respite from summer.
The pros of visiting Australia in winter
Australia does winter well.
It’s cold, but to a tolerable degree. You get the best parts of winter – cuddling up under blankets, bonfires, cosy pubs and restaurants, beanies, coats and boots.
No blizzards, no snow storms, and it doesn’t tend to go much below freezing.
However, it’s not an entirely popular time to visit, so prices are still cheap.
Many Australians flee to warmer places in South East Asia and Queensland, or head to New Zealand to hit up the snow there.
This is also the perfect time to head to the Red Centre, or the north of the country.
Temperatures are mild and pleasant and in some places, it’s warm enough to go to the beach!
We also still get plenty of light in winter – less than summer, but not as little as some places in say, northern Europe.
The cons of visiting Australia in winter
There’s not always much going on, as everyone rugs up and stays indoors.
Looking at the events calendar where I live (Melbourne), there are massive gaps in June and July. So it can feel a bit dull… although there are some pretty fun winter festivals like Dark Mofo in Tassie.
It can also be a bit wet, but it’s not when we get our worst rainfall. In fact, some places are sadly stuck in drought, but that’s a story for another post.
Best destinations in winter
This is definitely the time to go to the Outback, Darwin and surrounds, Port Douglas, Cairns or Broome.
Queensland has their Ekka Festival in Brisbane, which is traditionally a big event up that way.
For snow, head to Thredbo and Perisher in NSW, or the Alpine region of Victoria.
I would also consider visiting Broken Hill, in NSW – an old mining town with an interesting history. I’m yet to go… maybe next winter!
Stay away from…
Tasmania and Victoria, if you hate the cold! However, I find both regions quite nice this time of the year (I thrive on cold weather!).
Beach holidays down south probably won’t seem exciting without warmer weather. However, I quite enjoy going to the beach in winter, as they’re still beautiful to look at and walk down.
Winter is perfect for: Heading up north or to the Outback, road trips in the countryside punctuated by visits to cosy pubs, bonfires.
Is the Best Time to Visit Australia Spring (Sep-Nov)?
Spring is like autumn, in that it’s the perfect season for exploring all that Australia has to offer.
The flowers start blooming and the scent of jasmine fills the air.
It feels like the world is waking up again.
The pros of visiting Australia in spring
You get the best parts of summer, but with decent temperatures!
You can start going to the beach again, go walking and hiking and comfortably camp, or glamp.
It’s beautiful too, with all the greenery emerging and flower festivals held just about everywhere.
Prices are still decent – on the rise, but not as upsetting as during the summertime.
Like autumn, spring is just about the best time to travel to Australia.
The cons of visiting Australia in spring
All the winter sport seasons are wrapping up, so it can be quite busy in Melbourne and Sydney.
Melbourne also has its spring racing carnival. Great… if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m not.
If you suffer from hayfever, the eruption of flowers will play havoc with your sinus. Take it from someone who knows how bad the nose can get!
The weather can be a bit hard to prepare for. Some days it’s hot, others it’s cool. Pack layers and bring boots.
There’s also generally a lot of rain at this time of the year. A brolly won’t go astray.
Best destinations in spring
Canberra! Our nation’s fair capital holds a lovely spring festival called Floriade. I’ve been a few times and it’s a lot of fun.
Wildflowers are abounds, particularly in Western Australia. Victoria gets a fair amount as well.
Continue exploring South Australia. Consider heading out to the mining town of Coober Pedy – it’s so hot in the summer, that residents have built a town underground!
Or, head to the Adelaide Hills and Barossa Valley to sip your way around the countryside.
Western Australia is amazing for road trips and now might be the time to take a drive from Perth, perhaps to the coastal town of Kalbarri. Make sure you pop into the Principality of Hutt River on the way!
Stay away from…
Anywhere too flowery if you suffer from hayfever!
And don’t go to Melbourne in late September or early November if you hate the sports. You have been warned.
Spring is perfect for: Checking out flower festivals around the country and wildflowers spread out across the state, camping, hiking to waterfalls, getting involved in the end of sports, picnics.
There you have it – a complete run down of the best time to visit Australia. I hope this helps you in your travel planning!
When would you like to visit Australia? Or if you have been – what do you consider the best time to visit Australia?
More resources on Australia