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Best time of the year to visit Australia?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Best time of the year to visit Australia?

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1. Posted by Paul.Ralph (Budding Member 4 posts) 12y

My wife and I (late 40’s) are planning to visit Australia
for the first time. We live near Los Angeles and are interested
in a combined package flying Quantas and staying 4 nights in Sydney,
4 in Melbourne and 4 in Cairns-Great Barrier Reef.

We are considering going either in April (for her birthday) or in
late December, for the holidays. We know December is the beginning
of summer and should be warmer than April, but what about rain? We
would not want to go in full rainy season, if there is such
thing. And although we could look up the weather at many other
sites, I believe nothing is better than to hear from people who have
been there.

The question is:

How is the weather in April or December for the 3 cities we plan
to visit?
Any additional comment or suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

2. Posted by aljk (Budding Member 3 posts) 12y

Well Paul, I can really only comment on Melbourne although i can say that Sydney and the Queensland coastal area generally have a stable weather system so whatever you see on those weather sites might be a good indication.

From a melbourne perspective, we have the potential for four seasons in one day - so let your wife know that layering clothes is the best option. For example, three days ago it was 34 degrees celcius, then it went down to 21 and we had a massive storm. All in one day. Gotta love this city! April is not too bad, should be pretty mild. We are having a late summer this year, so there still may be a few warm days so I wouldn't expect too much rain. Although, it is Melbourne after all and anything is possible ;)

You should probably head to Federation Square in the city when you get here - there's an information bureau there - it's the best place to find out what's on in and around melbourne. Let me know if you have any questions though - happy to help.

3. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

Hi Paul,

I just looked up the rainfall in Cairns for December and it's 175 cm. It's not the worst month (goes up to over 400 in January, Feb, March) but it's basically starting to become rainy season then. The month before it's about 90 on average so early December would be a good option. It's 191 average in April so slightly better in December actually. There's another thing to remember with regards to this too. There are nasty little critters called box jellyfish right off the coast of Cairns in the rainy season. I don't think they'd be out yet in December but I know that swimming in Jan/Feb/March can be a painful experience...

Sydney can be a little chilly in April but December is hot. I'd go in December if possible, there is just so much happening in Sydney that month in the run up to Christmas and New Years.

Like aljk mentioned, Melbourne has four seasons in a day. I was there this past December and it's really amazing every time. My wife regretted not having more warm clothes with her. April can be quite cold there.

All around, i think I'd go for early December if you can choose :)


4. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 12y

Quoting Sam I Am

Sydney can be a little chilly in April but December is hot. I'd go in December if possible, there is just so much happening in Sydney that month in the run up to Christmas and New Years.

Hi Sam,

I'm targeting a week in Sydney in late April (last week or so) and I'd just like to know what sort of temperatures I can expect. Do I need just a jacket, or should I pack something warmer?

5. Posted by kar1181 (Full Member 21 posts) 12y

I can't speak for north eastern australia, but in the southern cities, Melbourne and Adelaide october is probably the nicest month.

I love how the air is still pretty crisp and cool, but the sun is out and it's a nice 21-24 degrees during the day. You still get a little variance in the weather too, so it may rain a little, (or a lot in melbourne :)), so you get to experience both winterish Australian weather and summerish weather.

It's my favourite time of year anyway!

6. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 11y

Hi summer910,

The maximum average is 22 in April and average minimum is 15 (both celcius). You should be fine with just a light jacket and a couple of sweaters for the colder days and the evenings...



7. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 11y

Quoting Sam I Am

Hi summer910,

The maximum average is 22 in April and average minimum is 15 (both celcius). You should be fine with just a light jacket and a couple of sweaters for the colder days and the evenings...

Thanks for the info, Sam!

8. Posted by Paul.Ralph (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y

I'd like to thank you all for your input.
Although I am still undecided, we are leaning towards taking the trip in April, one of the reasons is that April comes earlier than December :-)

It is difficult to tailor our fist Australian visit. We are now
considering going to Adelaide and Kangaroo Island instead of Melbourne (which would be left for a 2nd trip). Any comments on this?
One way or the other, we know we will love Australia.

Many thanks


9. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

I live in Sydney, and think that April or December are both good times to visit, although I'm not sure about the rainy season in Cairns.

April in Sydney is Autumn and it's a good time of the year as far as the weather goes. It's not cold, but you certainly won't be sunbathing on the beaches. December is somewhat warmer, but don't forget that it's the lead up to the Christmas Silly Season, which may be a good or bad thing depending on what you're in to.

I've never been to Adelaide, but my parents have and they say it's excellent. Not a lot to do there, but there are some top class wineries about an hour or so drive out of town. A great choice for a few days.

Melbourne is somewhat "european" (as far as a non-European city goes) and people do talk of the shopping, restaurants and cultural pursuits of the city.

There's a hell of a lot to see and do in Sydney, so I'd spend as much time here as possible.

Another tip - just watch the prices of the internal flights that Qantas quotes you. You may be able to pick up some cheaper flights at or both of which are low-cost carriers. You might be able to make your own itinerary and save some money in the process.

10. Posted by kar1181 (Full Member 21 posts) 11y

I'm from Adelaide. While I think that the city itself is quite "pretty", it lacks some of the “bustle” of the major east coast destinations. But what Adelaide is great for is acting as a hub to see the many contrasting aspects of South Australia.

For example, you can go to the Barossa Valley and see where the world’s best wines are made (and get extraordinarily drunk :)) You can hop on a regional airline and head over to Port Lincoln (it's a 35 minute flight for about 180 AUD return and it's where I grew up :)) and travel about the Eyre peninsula taking in the myriad of nature and water based activities that are set up over there.

Check out

A 30 minute drive out of Port Lincoln will take you to Whalers Way, where bluntly put, you'll see the some of the most spectacular and rugged stretch of coastline in the world.

You can drive 45 minutes from Adelaide out to Victor Habour, and go whale watching and just relax, or for a day trip take a drive up to Coober Pedy and see the harsh continental interior, and see our opal mining industry up close.

Adelaide itself is best put as "tranquil". It lacks the bustle of the eastern states’ cities, and perhaps isn't as dynamic as Perth, and in truth it is more like a big country town than a city. But this works in its favour though, you can relax, everything is cheap, and you have access to the Australia’s best produce which is grown locally. Adelaide is (arguably) home to Australia’s best seafood (I love it :)). The inner city itself is as multicultural and cosmopolitan as you will find anywhere in the world, and fine dining is compared to the east coast and especially international standards, ridiculously inexpensive.

A lot of travellers skip Adelaide because it doesn't have any "must do" activities. I think if you do a little research though, you will get to experience many of the contrasts of Australia using Adelaide as your central hub that other travellers miss out on..

Hope I've provided you with at least a little food for thought :)