Hi Everyone! I am planning to head to Australia/ New Zealand this upcoming Nov. - Feb. for a month or two... can anyone give me advice on the weather? I will be backpacking, planning to take hundreds of photos along the way and would love to have good weather for the majority of the trip... any thoughts would be appreciated Also, if you have any "must see" locations I am all ear's! Thanks so much for your advice
weather wise... you'll be here in summer and certainly for oz that means hot, hot and hotter Having said that it's not unusual to get summer thunderstorms and rain, although it's not cold that often. I'd suggest packing lighter clothing that you can wear in layers if it gets a little chilly in the evenings. A light waterproof/windproof jacket would also be a good idea - but leave the bulky jackets at home. The only time you might need warm clothing is if you are in the central desert areas (like Ayers Rock)where it gets really cold at night. If you're not going to spend that long in the desert areas (which judging by the length of your overall trip you won't) then I'd pack/pick up enroute a set of thin thermals. If you are trying to pack lightly, I'd also consider leaving most t-shirts/shorts at home as you can pick up these items really cheaply along the way.
As Australia is so big, the weather can vary significantly across the continent. Check out the Australia Bureau of Meteorology for detailed weather info: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/national/
The list of "must sees" here in Australia is enormous! My home town is Melbourne, so for a few touristy things down this way, check out:
- Great Ocean Road & 12 Apostles - do the tree-top sky walk
- Yarra Valley wineries
- Penguin Parade at Phillip island
- Healsville Sanctuary (Australian Wildlife park)
- Have coffee on Ackland Street in St Kilda & rollerblad down the St Kilda esplanade
- check out the funky shops on Smith & Brunswick st
Of course it all depends what your interests are - there's tonnes of great adventure activities too. If you've got any particular interests and want some info then feel free to drop me a line
Well Koala Girl has given good advice but like all Victorians has concentrated on her home State (hahaha). PSL KG if you read this I was born in Cheltenham. Anyway Sydney is famous for its Bondi Beach but there are other beaches just as good, there is the Opera House in Sydney, King's Cross for a look at Australia's Soho area and of course the Harbour Bridge which you can actually walk up on and over...it is apparently a wonderful experience if you can handle heights. Warning: If you go to the beaches in December-January wear something on your feet because the sand can be very hot. South Australia is okay and more renowned I think for its vineyards out of the city and some of its restaurants in the city. Queensland heading North will be nice and has a more tropical feel than Sydney or Melbourne. On the way to Queensland you might want to stop in for a day apiece at places like Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and even Byron Bay. The renowned Gold Coast is just over the NSW border into Qld. It is the mecca for young uns who like to party and surf. Brisbane is only an hour away. I wouldn't venture too much North after that during this time of the year because it can be very humid and quite wet at times. Ayres Rock might sound a nice place to visit but for a backpacker it can be expensive. I think in the time you have just take in the main coastline areas and make notes because you will want to come back again. There are incidentally backpacker hostels all over the place thesedays and they are great meeting places. Have fun.
I hope you plan Aust first and NZ second. Because in Sydney, Jan/Feb, besides being hot, also becomes very humid. At this time, shorts, singlet top and sandals (sunhat and sunscreen) are ideal. However, in November, the weather is much more pleasant. I agree with the advice about leaving your heavy clothing behind and checking the weather online. As a guide in NSW, during summer, the inland areas are hotter, around 36-42 Centigrade and the coastal areas 26- 32 degrees and more humid (these are day temps, nights are around 5-8 degrees cooler near the coast, and a little cooler still in outer western suburbs of Sydney).
As far as Sydney goes, there are quite a number of day trips, such as the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast. There are many walks around the harbour which would give you many photographic opportunities. I would be happy to take you on some of these. Please contact me if you want more specific information or want to walk. By the way, I also take hundreds of photos when I go travelling.
Nov - Feb... The height of Summer in Oz.. mmmmmm.
The tropics of Far North Queensland (FNQ) are great and idillyc locations - islands, snorkelling on ther reef, tropical rainforrest, balmy nights etc.. but you need to go there first. Nov. is still ok but, as it moves into Dec and through to March, it progressively gets very wet and humid, even tropical storms, Cyclones (Hurricanes to you) and flooding and you can become stranded for days up there. So once you have FNQ out of your system, head to the Southern States. The weather will be generally stable with hot 'beach weather' most days.
If you want to do central Oz, it is a fantastic area and I would suggest you sepend 4 - 5 days there minimum if that fits your itinerary & $$$. If thats an area you want to visit, remember it will be very hot so fly in, check it out then fly out. Don't drive to the Centre, it is too far, too hot to drive and you will waste time getting there & back.
I suggest your main time be spent on a slow drive down the East Coast, say from brisbane South - zig zagging inland to check out the hinterland and maybe go a bit further to touch the 'Outback' areas. This means making your way through New South Wales, Victorian & South Australia (if you want to go that far), check out Tasmania, there is a ferry that sails from Melbourne, the option is either day sailing or overnight. The day sailing costs about AUS$89 each and a vehicle is an extra $69.
Just take your time and do justice to the areas you chose, don't try to do and see everything - it is not possible. Leave something for another time; we'd love to have you come back again.
Enjoy your adventure in Oz, it's a great place..
Now I forgot about our cousins in NZ, that can be done anytime during Nov - Feb. I would say do NZ first then the east Coast, leaving out FNQ !!.
Or, do NZ last, the weather will be fine, and probably better in Feb but, allow a suitable ammount of time. It is a beautiful country a real contrast to Oz.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 20, 2007, at 3:55 AM by maba ]
Thank you all very much for your great insights and advice... it is greatly appreciated and I am so excited to see and experience all that Austalia/ New Zealand have to offer.
Well Koala Girl has given good advice but like all Victorians has concentrated on her home State (hahaha).
... perhaps no more so than any other Aussie Besides, I thought it best to focus on the area I knew most about - but great ideas for other states to.... of course you should also add the Giant Prawn, The Giant Pineapple and the Giant Banana in QLD - meters and meters of fiberglass wonderment not to be missed