Climate and Weather in Australia
Australia - Climate and Weather
Australia has some of the best weather in the world but also some of the most
diverse. With eight states all so different in landscape.
The average Summer temperature in Australia is around 29 degrees and during
Winter it can drop to 13 degrees or less. Located in the Southern Hemisphere
Australia has it's seasons during different parts of the year to that of the Northern
Hemisphere. Summer is through December, January and Febuary, Autumn through
March, April and May, Winter through June, July and August and then Spring through September, October and November.
As mentioned earlier each state is so different. You will find in Queensland and Northern New South Wales the weather is more tropical and humid, where as Southern New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania have cooler months and are the only states with snow fall during Winter. South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all have dryer dessert climates. However the Northern most part of the Northern Territory can have almost tropical weather during the warmer months with sometimes Monsoon like rainfall.
Australia has some extreme weather conditions, with many of the eastern states having alot of bushy areas but still having hot weather during certain parts of the year, bushfires are often a worry. With such tropical weather in the north flooding can also be an occasional threat. However these are of course occasional and Australia does still have fantastic weather to offer.
Going to Australia for the great climate
Australia is a country with many climates and it's important to realise this when you decide to travel there. With many states and territories offering different climates, where are the best ones for your kids? Here are some tips for you when travelling to Australia.
Northern Australia (Northern Territory, Far North Queensland, North Western Australia)
These areas of Australia are generally defined by either the wet or dry season. It's very muggy and hot in these places and it's rare to actually suffer a cold day here. If you like your climate tropical and your kids enjoy this too, then definitely travel to these places. In many parts of these states you can discover a wide variety of tropical resorts and attractions that will suit your family. Be aware though that their climate also brings the chance of cyclones, and you should always act accordingly during any cyclone warning.
Eastern Australia (Southern Queensland, New South Wales)
Probably the two most popular destinations in Australia, Southern Queensland encompasses Brisbane and the Gold Coast while you will find Sydney in New South Wales. Both climates here can tend to be quite hot in summer and fairly mild in the winter. Long periods of 30+ degree days are common in summer, as is high humidity, especially in Southern Queensland. Heavy seasonal rain is also common in certain parts of the year. Bring plenty of sunscreen as Australian sun is usually pretty harsh!
South-Eastern Australia (Canberra, Victoria, Tasmania)
The south-eastern parts of Australia have a very changeable climate. In Canberra you can experience some of the coldest winters in the country and then some of the hottest summers. Always be prepared for different conditions. The same can be said for Melbourne, and it's renowned for its changeable weather. In summer it isn't uncommon for some very hot days, and winter you will find rain and cold snaps common too. A place with even more changeable weather is Tasmania, with it being possible to experience 4 seasons all in one day! Tasmania has very cold winters and you may even get to see some snow if you are in the right areas! In summer, be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen as its close proximity to the hole in the ozone layer means skin cancer is a big concern.
Central & Western Australia (South Australia, Southern Western Australia)
Both places are usually fairly hot in summer and mild in winter. The more you travel inland towards the desert, the hotter you will find it. Adelaide is renowned for some very long heatwaves, and periods longer than 2 weeks with temperatures over 35 degrees have been common over recent years. Perth too is generally always very warm, and you will even discover this during the winter months.
Weather and climate in Australia is as widely varying as the landscape. Although the perception that this country is generally dry and hot holds for many, seeing as large parts of Western Australian, the Northern Territory and central Australia are arid desert-type landscapes, there is definitely ‘shade,’ too.
One third of Australia lies above the Tropic of Capricorn, which means NT (particularly around its capital Darwin) and northern Queensland experiences warm to hot weather year round; warm and dry from May to October, and a hot ‘wet’ season from November to April. The arid inland – or the Outback, as it often referred to – has hot dry summers, cold nights and relatively cooler winters whilst only the southern parts of Australia experience something approaching European and American ‘seasons’, with cool, wet winters (especially cold are locations along the southern coast) and warm, dry Mediterranean-type summers.
As with any destination, some times of the year are more ideal than others for optimum enjoyment: in NT, for instance, Kakadu National Park is ideal early in the dry season around May (this dry season period of between April – October is also a suitable time to tour northern Queensland's rain forests and beaches, with lower levels of humidity and fewer hazardous water life such as stinging box jellyfish.
Summers in the north hover in the mid to high 30s whilst ‘winter’ (June – August) brings daily averages of 20 to 24 degrees Celsius – however, rain is rare.
Seasons ‘Down Under’ are the inverse of the northern hemisphere; new visitors should note that summer starts in December, ‘ending’ in February (although, depending on your location, the hot weather can make the summer period seem never-ending). Summer in capital cities like Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne can reach maximums in the low 40s, but generally temperatures fall between 25 and 33 Celsius.
The other seasons follow accordingly: autumn (March to May); winter (June to August), and finally spring (September to November).
From November to March, the weather is generally warm countrywide, increasingly so the further north you travel, though this is also the Wet Season in the north, affecting NT and Queensland with periods of monsoonal weather (cyclones are not unheard of from January). Rain occurs sporadically in the south between April and September and can become heavy as winter progresses.
Winter is the skiing season in the south of the continent, specifically in the Great Dividing Range and Snowy Mountains (which receives more snowfall than the Swiss Alps!) in southern NSW. Here, skiers of varying skill and holiday-makers can find developed ski fields and resort accommodation, which reach a peak in popularity in August. Lovers of native flora should mark down spring in their calendar as the time to see Australian wildflowers in all their colour and glory in Central and Western Australia.
Elsewhere in the south snow is very uncommon (and unheard of further up). In Melbourne the barometer is generally mild year round, though summers can be scorching and winters, famously rainy and cool if not too cold, unlike Australia’s capital, Canberra, in the ACT, which can experience overnight lows of below zero during winter, bitterly cold winds and chills due to its altitude and proximity to the Snowy Mountains.
Tasmania’s climate is temperate, with little in the way of temperature fluctuation tear round. One reason for this is its sheer size – no part of the state is further than 115 km from the coast. Summers in the island state are very mild, while winters can subject the western coast with much rain, and the inland to temperatures well below zero, as the Bass Strait which separates Tasmania from the mainland takes effect.
Much of the population reside in the milder southern parts of the country, but there’s always some corner of Australia’s expansive land and climate which holds charms all year around to locals and international visitors alike.
By: Leo Toh
Climate in Australia
Australia, commonly referred to as the ‘sunburnt country’, is best known for its sizzling summers, sensational surf beaches and scorching hot outback, but the weather here is actually one of contrasting extremes.
Summer in Australia, on the calendar at least, is from December to February. Though many locals will tell you it feels like summer can begin in October and finish in April. The days are generally hot, often 30°C along the coast with the heat increasing as you head in land away from the sea breeze where temperatures can soar into the mid to high forties.
Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne can have high rainfall during the summer months. Whilst Perth, Adelaide and Hobart typically have less rainfall during this period.
In the northern regions of Western Australia (The Kimberley), the Northern Territory and Queensland, the summer is referred to as the wet season – a period of high rainfall and extreme humidity. The days are very hot, usually culminating in a late afternoon thunderstorm to cool things down. The temperature is often 35-40°C during the day, and humidity is high, so when you step outside it won’t take long for your shirt to be drenched in sweat!
The autumn months, April through May are generally mild with temperatures hovering in the mid twenties. The sting in the sun is significantly less and the days are clear and crisp to enjoy the great outdoors in comfort.
Winter in Australia, or the dry season as it is known in the northern parts of the country, occurs from June to August. Temperatures vary considerably in this season. In Sydney the days are cool requiring only a light coat on most days. Brisbane, a thousand kilometres north of Sydney, has a pleasant winter temperature and a jumper (sweater) is rarely needed. Melbourne and Canberra on the other hand, south of Sydney, are much colder and frequently require a heavy coat, ‘beanie’ (woolen hat) and scarf to ward off the icy wintry winds.
Adelaide and Perth winter days regularly fluctuate in temperature and wearing layers of clothing is recommended. Darwin cools down only moderately with temperatures in the mid to high twenties. The humidity is also far less – so you can walk around outside without sweating profusely.
Snow falls during the winter months in the southern regions of New South Wales and the northern regions of Victoria, making for some splendid skiing. Accommodation is available on most snowfields including the more popular villages of Perisher and Thredbo. Or you can choose to stay in nearby towns such as Jindabyne or Canberra and make day trips by car or train to ski or snowboard.
Spring, March through to May, can be the most pleasant of seasons in Australia with temperatures in the majority of areas hovering in the early to mid twenties. The landscape awakens with blossoming flora and birthing fauna. Jacaranda trees brighten the cities whilst new lambs and calves are scattered throughout the country paddocks.
So be prepared for almost any weather condition in Australia, in the outback the days can be scorching hot whilst the night temperature drops to below freezing. Or Sydney might be experiencing a balmy spring day with people flocking to the beach for respite from the heat, whilst just a few hours south skiers and snowboarders are still enjoying freshly groomed snowfields!
This is Australia.
All different kinds of weather
Because Australia is such a large country, its weather varies significantly in different parts of the continent. Living in Australia can involve everything from sunbathing on the beach in scorching summers to knocking snow off your boots after a day of skiing and from sweating out the humidity during the build-up at the beginning of the wet season, to wrapping up snug and waiting at the bus stop in the pouring rain.
In the north there are tropical regions with high temperatures and high humidity and distinct wet and dry seasons. In the centre of the country are dry, desert regions with high daytime temperatures and low amounts of rain. In the south are the temperate regions with moderate rainfall and temperatures ranging from hot to cold.
The temperature in Australia changes with the seasons, but in general it ranges between highs of 50 degrees Celsius to lows of sub-zero temperatures. The lowest temperatures reached in Australia, however, are not comparable to the extreme lows experienced in other continents. This is partly because Australia lacks very high mountains and enjoys the presence of warming oceans around its coastal regions.
The Australian weather is so important in society, it determines what we can and can't do each day. Being such a diverse country Australia's weather is much the same. Located in the southern hemisphere the seasons are almost back to front of the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Winter is during June, July and August. Spring is during September, October and November. Summer is during December, January and Febuary and Autumn is during March, April and May.
Australia is known for its beautiful weather, with hot summers with temperatures between 30 and 40 (C) most Australians will head straight for the water, or they will be found at home with the air conditioner on.
Winter is more varied across the country with Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory having temperatures between 18 and 27 (C) usually with an average of 23 (C).
Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and South Australia have cooler winters with temperatures between 8 and 15 (C).
Autumn and Spring have milder temperatures in the northern and western states there are temperatures of 20 to 30 (C), the southern states will have temperatures of 15 to 20 (C).
The weather is not all perfect, with Victoria and New South Wales prone to bush fires in the summer months. Queensland and the Northern Territory have more monsoonal weather during summer due to their sub tropical climate, this weather has been known to cause flooding. Although these are not regular occurrences.
Each Australian state is different and so is its weather, making it a fantastic place to holiday.
Australian has a reputation around the world for unpredictable weather patterns, and there is some truth to that. But this is minimalised by the vast distances in Australia and the relatively small population of 22 million people anchored around the civilized crescent in the south eastern corner of the country. So the country has escaped many of the massive weather induced disasters that have befallen other countries. But Australia is still unpredictable, but not unpredictable enough for most people to go throughout their lives taking little interest in it.
Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, the country is the reverse to Europe that experiences its winter at the end of the year. That is summer in Australia, and the European summer is the Australian and New Zealand winter. Australia is also hotter than most of Europe and the temperature does not spike as much as it does in winter. Only the Southern Alps in Victoria and New South Wales experience a significant shift in temperature.
So, to make things easy I will explain the temperature shifts in each state and territory, starting with the inner states and territories of Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra).
VICTORIA: has a shift in temperature in the highland area of the state, but the city of Melbourne may have a shift of 20 ? 25 degrees Celsius over its yearly cycle. Victoria has hot dry summers and cold, windy winters. Victorian weather reputation has a reputation for being ?moody? and it can change from hot to cold in the matter of a few hours. But overwhelmingly is agreeable and livable.
NEW SOUTH WALES: freezes over in its high country and many of the country?s premier ski resorts and Mount Kosciusko are situated in its alpine regions. On the coast though, New South Wales experiences moderate weather and the summer months in the state are dry and hot, making it a perfect time to access many of the great beaches in that part of the country.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY: has cold winters and snows on a regular basis during that time. The hotter months are quite mild compared to other Australian regions. The Australian Capital Territory is landlocked and leafy, having no beaches, which means it, is free of hot blasts of air coming in from the sea and its summer months can be rainy, but are nevertheless quite pleasant.
The outer states of Australia are a lot hotter than the inner states being more exposed to temperamental ?Outback? and ?Asian? weather influences.
We will start with the biggest (population wise / second largest land surface in the country) of the outer states, Queensland.
QUEENSLAND: is basically two states in one, with the south east corner experiencing weather patterns similar to northern New South Wales. The south east area of Queensland is very humid in summer and its winters are mild. Very rarely does Southern Queensland experience freeze over?s, although, hills behind the city of Brisbane can have frosts on cold winter mornings. But the south east is quite moderate and the weather becomes noticeable in the summer months when the mercury can reach upwards of 30 degrees. The comfort factor is compacted by the fact that the summer is very humid. But that is nothing compared to the northern part of the state that has both a tropical weather pattern (on the coast) and a desert weather pattern in the interior of the state. Northern Queensland is hot all year round and only experiences minor spikes in its weather pattern.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: has the largest land mass of all Australian states and it has a similar weather pattern to South Australia. The northern regions of the state are very hot and have regular winds coming in from Asia that make the area very uncomfortable in the summer months. Western Australia experiences a desert heat and does not have a significant winter, although the area around and just south of the capital city Perth can be cool on winter mornings. Western Australia is rugged and beautiful, but the weather is one that only suits those people that have a love of the heat (they do exist).
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: is mostly desert, but has some beautiful beaches and a spectacular coast line. Like Western Australia, a large area of the state is desert, and therefore experiences a dry desert heat with little or no humidity. The southern tip of the state closest to the ?Great Australian Bite? experiences a cold and wet winter similar to Victoria. South Australia is also the countries driest state and has an international reputation for being the driest region in the driest continent on earth. But South Australian summers on the beaches around Port Adelaide are a treat and the swimming is a match for any of the beaches on the east coast.
TASMANIA: is the island state, and has a weather pattern similar to the North Island of New Zealand. Tasmania is very cold in winter and the wilderness that makes up much of the state is gloomy and primeval during the colder times. Tasmania is one of the coldest areas in the country and has the longest winter of all Australian regions. Tasmania also has winds coming up from the Antarctic that cool the state even more. But Tasmania can be beautiful as well, and the winter time is a good time to visit Tasmania, although it would be wise to take plenty of warm clothes.
NORTHERN TERRITORY: is a significant area in Australia, being the third largest area after Western Australia and Queensland. It is the region in Australia that is most iconic and familiar to people from other countries. The Northern Territory is home to Uluru and the Kakadu rainforest. And the region experiences only two seasons?s known as the ?Wet? and the ?Dry?. The ?Wet? is during the summer period from September through to March, and the dry is the period during the middle of the year. The Northern Territory (like North Queensland, Western Australia, and Outback South Australia) can get very hot. Being a tropical region, the Northern Territory suffers terribly with humidity, but still remains a ?Mecca? for adventurer?s from around the world.
The climate of Australia varies greatly from the arid desert regions in the centre of Australia, the tropical areas in the north, to the temperate areas of the south.
Rainfall patterns vary with the seasonal changes, especially in the tropical regions. Due to Australia’s climate, Australia is susceptible to natural events, such as drought, cyclones, floods, and massive lightning storms.
Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia's seasons follow the sequence:
Summer: December to February
Autumn: March to May
Winter: June to August
Spring: September to November
Australia’s tropical region is mainly the northern areas of the country, in states such as Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Tropical Australia has two very different seasons, the wet season and the dry season.
The wet season lasts for six months during summer and spring. Due to high humidity, there is a lot of rain in the wet season, which can cause floods in some rural regions. Cyclones also are natural hazards which are present during Australia’s wet seasons.
The dry season starts in autumn and lasts six months through to the end of winter. The average maximum temperature during the day is approximately 20 degrees.
The dry regions of Australia are the central Australia, large vast deserts with little or no vegetation due to the low rainfall. The dry regions are susceptible to drought during the summer months.
The dry regions experience intense heat during the day and intense cold during the night. Maximum temperatures can vary from approximately 40 degrees during the summer months, to an average of 20 degrees during the winter months. Minimum temperatures can vary from an average of 20 degrees during the summer months, to a winter average of 0 degrees.
The coastal regions of Australia are mainly along the South East coast of New South Wales, along the southern areas of Australia all the way around to Western Australia. The temperature can vary from a maximum of approximately 35 degrees in summer months to 15 degrees in winter months. The minimum temperatures vary from 15 degrees in summer months to 0 degrees in winter months. Bushfires sometimes occur during the summer months.
Different parts of Australia experience very contrasting weather conditions
As a result of its huge size, different parts of Australia experience very contrasting weather conditions at different times of the year – varying from monsoonal in the north to chilly and sometimes snowing in the south. The weather conditions may affect your travel experience, so it pays to be aware of when you will be here, where you will go and what you may need to bring.
Pressure Systems and the Seasons
The main influence on the climate is a subtropical high pressure belt which shifts north in winter and south in summer, influencing the timing of rainfall during the year and creating distinct climate areas.
For instance, when the high pressure belt moves north in winter, the south is affected by westerly winds bringing cold snaps and rain. This in turn affects the placement of agriculture in the country, which tends towards the cooler, wetter regions in the south and east. In summer, these southern areas become dry and hot and travellers should be aware of the dangerous effects of the sun. Keep very well hydrated and remember to wear and hat and sunscreen whenever outdoors, as the effects of UVB and UVA light are stronger here than in the Northern Hemisphere.
On the other hand, the far north experiences a much wetter summer affected by the monsoon from October to April – bringing humidity, heavy rainfall and sometimes tropical cyclones and flash flooding. Winter in the north tends to be mild and dry, which is safer and more comfortable for travelling.
Australia has an annual rainfall variation that is larger than any other continent. For the most part it is mainly a very dry country, with interior areas often affected by drought for several years – in fact, 80% of the land receives less than 600 millimetres of rain each year, whilst 50% receives less than 300 millimetres.
Although snow is sometimes experienced in some parts of the country during winter, minimum temperatures are usually not very low because of the relative flatness of the land and the impact of the oceanic weather.
The summer months in mid to southern Australia are very hot and dry, often with strong winds coming from the seas. The dry vegetation of the Australian bush combined with high temperatures and hot winds frequently leads to fires breaking out. Low rainfall and high evaporation are leading factors as well, with Australia’s annual rainfall well below that of the other continents, excluding Antarctica.
It is recommended that you avoid bushland during days of high to extreme fire danger, and keep housing clear of dry vegetation if you live near forest. An evacuation plan is a good idea – contact your local council or fire service for more information.
The world’s sixth largest country, Australia covers a total of 7,686,850 sq km.
The world’s sixth largest country, Australia covers a total of 7,686,850 sq km. As a result Australia’s climate varies from place to place. Most of Australia, however, has an arid, or semi-arid climate and, as a result, it is the world’s driest inhabited continent. This said, however, Australia boasts lush tropical areas, as well as pleasant temperate regions. Located in the southern hemisphere, Australia’s seasons are opposite to those of countries located within the northern hemisphere. As in all countries within the southern hemisphere summer falls from December to February, followed by autumn from March to May; next comes winter from June to August and, lastly, spring from September to November. From season to season Australia welcomes a variety of weather patterns.
Located in an arid and semi-arid zone, Australia’s interior is a place of wild beauty. From Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, Meekatharra in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia, these dry towns are subject to intense heat during the day and bitter cold during the night hours. Very little rainfall falls in Australia’s interior region and, as a result, it is often in a state of drought. Summer temperatures can soar to 40 degrees Celsius, and above, and on cold winter nights it is not unusual for temperatures to plummet to below zero degrees Celsius.
The northern parts of Western Australia, as well as the northern and central parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory lie within Australia’s tropical region. It is in Australia’s tropical region that one will experience Australia’s wet season and Australia’s dry season, with each season lasting, approximately, six months. It is during spring and summer that the tropical region welcomes the wet season. During the wet season Australia’s tropics are faced with heavy downpours, which often result in flooding. As the name suggests, the dry season, on the other hand, is dry. The skies are clear and days, at an average of 20 degrees Celsius, although, still warm, are significantly cooler than the often-sweltering days that accompany the wet season.
A temperate climate can be experienced along the southeastern coast of Australia; the southern most regions of South Australia, as well as the southwestern tip of Western Australia also experience a temperate climate. Australia’s temperate regions are subject to hot summers, with days reaching 30 degrees Celsius or higher, and cooler, sometimes even cold, winters. Although it may get cold during the winter season, unless one is visiting the Great Dividing Range, it is not common to experience a winter snowfall in Australia.
Australia’s varying climates and temperatures offer the best of all worlds; one can enjoy a beautiful day on the beach or, with a trip to the Great Dividing Range, one can have a fun filled day skiing in the white winter snow.