Weather in Australia

Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, NT. © Tourism Australia

Weather in Australia

Australia experiences temperate weather for most of the year but the climate can vary due to the size of our continent. The northern states typically experience warm weather much of the time, with the southern states experiencing cooler winters. Australia is also one of the driest continents on earth with an average annual rainfall of less than 600 millimetres. Like all countries in the southern hemisphere, Australia's seasons are opposite 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.

New South Wales lies in the temperate zone. The Great Dividing Range, in the east of the state, has a large impact on the climate, creating four distinct zones: the coastal strip, the highlands, the Western Slopes and the flatter country to the west. Sydney’s climate is pleasantly temperate all year round with more than 340 sunny days a year. In summer (December to February), average maximum temperatures in Sydney are around 26°C. It can also be humid at this time with an average humidity of 65 per cent. Average maximum temperatures in the winter (June-August) are around 16°C. Sydney’s rainfall is highest between March and June.

Victoria’s climate is marked by a range of different climate zones, from the hot, dry regions of the northwest to the alpine snowfields in the northeast. Average annual rainfall ranges from less than 250 millimetres in parts to in excess of 1800 millimetres over some of the mountainous regions. Melbourne has a reputation for its changeable weather, but as a general rule, the city enjoys a temperate climate with warm to hot summers; mild, balmy springs and autumns; and cool winters. Temperatures average 25°C in summer and 14°C in winter. Rainfall is highest from May to October.

South Australia’s climate varies from hot and dry in the interior to milder, wetter climates in the south and on the south-east coast. Adelaide generally has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. It is the driest of all the Australian capital cities. The average rainfall in January and February (summer) is around 20 millimetres, but months with no rain are common. June is the wettest month of the year, averaging around 80 millimetres. The average maximum temperature is 29°C in summer and 15–16°C in winter.

Western Australia has a number of climatic zones due to its enormous size. In the north-west, heavy rains mark the summer 'wet' season, although the interior is mostly dry with high summer temperatures; while the southwest has mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. Perth’s rainfall is highest between May and September. February is usually the hottest month of the year, averaging temperatures of 31°C. A sea breeze called ‘The Fremantle Doctor’, blows from the south-west providing relief from the heat. Winters are relatively cool and wet with temperatures of around 18°C.

Brisbane has a subtropical climate with warm or hot weather for most of the year. In summer (December – February), maximum temperatures average around 30°C. The city experiences most rainfall in summer which can sometimes take the form of thunderstorms with torrential rain. It can be very humid during this time.

Winter is generally dry, mild and pleasant. Most winter days are sunny with average temperatures of around 17°C. Average monthly rainfall over the year is around 96 millimetres.

Queensland’s climate is characterised by low rainfall and hot summers in the inland west, a monsoon season in the north, and warm temperate conditions along the coastal strip. The dry inland plains record the hottest temperatures during summer, when the annual median rainfall is below 200 millimetres. Cairns enjoys a tropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild, dry winters. The average annual rainfall is 1992 millimetres, mostly falling between January and March. Typical daytime temperatures in Cairns are 23-31°C in mid-summer and 18°C in mid-winter. Tropical cyclones sometimes occur from November through May in coastal regions.

Since Tasmania is an island with no place more than 115 kilometres from the sea, its climate is classified as mild temperate maritime. Summers are mild and rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the year, although the winter months are the wettest. Because of its latitude, the seasons are much more evident in Tasmania than the rest of Australia. Hobart has four distinct seasons. The warmest months, January and February, are also the driest with average temperatures of around 21°C. While exposed to the southerly winds from the Antarctic, Hobart is protected by Mt Wellington from the worst weather.

Canberra has a mostly dry, continental climate with warm to hot summers and cool winters. The average annual rainfall is 629 millimetres which is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month is October and the driest is June. During winter, snow falls in the nearby Australian Alps. January is the hottest month with average maximum temperatures of 28°C. The coldest month is July with average daily temperatures of 11°C which can drop below zero at night. Canberra has around nine hours a day of sunshine in summer, dropping to around five hours in winter.

The Northern Territory's climate is distinctly different from that of southern Australia, and varies greatly between the northern part, known as the 'Top End' and the southern extremities. There are two distinct seasons: the 'wet' (October to April) and the 'dry' (May to September). Alice Springs’ climate is one of extremes with hot summers and cold winters when night time temperatures can fall below zero. Rainfall varies dramatically from year to year, but the annual average is around 286 millimetres. Daytime summer temperatures are generally in the high 30s, with dry, cool nights. Spring can bring thunderstorms, hail and dust storms.

Broome has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers and warm winters and two distinct seasons: ‘wet’ (December to March) and ‘dry’ (the rest of the year). From October to April temperatures reach around 33°C. Winters (June-August) are mild, with average July temperatures around 27°C during the day. Overnight temperatures rarely fall below 5°C or much higher in the summer. The average annual rainfall is 532 millimetres but sometimes no rain falls for months on end. January to March is the wettest time of year. Tropical cyclones can occur from November to April, most commonly in January and February.

Darwin in the Top End of the Northern Territory has two distinct seasons, the 'wet' and the 'dry'. The wet season runs from November until April, and is characterised by high humidity, monsoonal rains and storms. Temperatures typically range from a minimum of 25°C to a maximum of 33°C. The 'dry’ season, from May until October, is characterised by warm, dry sunny days and cool nights. Temperatures typically range from 21°C to 32°C, and humidity levels are much lower. Here you will find information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help you plan your holiday in Darwin.

Queensland’s Gold Coast has a comfortable sub-tropical climate ideal for outdoor enjoyment all-year round. The Gold Coast averages 245 days of fine and sunny weather each year and has an average rainfall of about 1400mm annually, the majority of which falls in the summer period (December – February). Daytime temperatures on the coast are generally in the mid 20°C range. The Hinterland is slightly cooler with maximum winter temperatures around 16°C. In winter, clear skies and dry air mean cool nights. Here you will find some information on temperature, rainfall and seasonal activities to help you plan your Gold Coast holiday.

For up-to-date information on the weather in Australian states and capital cities visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Weather in Australia

Weather in Australia

More Information:
For up-to-date information on the weather in Australian states and capital cities visit the Bureau of Meteorology website.

 

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