The climate of Australia
has a mainly arid climate (variants of Köppen climate classification BS and BW) that ranges from semi-desert to desert type of weather. The extreme northeast has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Cfa, Cfc). The southeast corner of the country enjoys an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). Summers are hot, while winters are mild due to the far-off location from the poles. Australia lies in the southern hemisphere, in Oceania, and stretches below the Tropic of Capricorn. New Zealand lies to the southeast, the Solomon Islands in the northeast, and Indonesia further away in the north. The low latitudes, proximity to large bodies of water such as Indian and Pacific Oceans, ocean currents, subtropical high-pressure systems, and factors such as El Nino and La Nina influence the climate.
Australia, the largest island and smallest continent in the world, has a diverse landscape with a vast desert in the center, rainforests in the northeast, and mountains in the southeast, east, and southwest. The Great Barrier Reef extends over 1200 miles stretching down from the northeast, while the coastline measures a vast 21,262 miles. Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the mainland, with a height of 2228 meters. Forests in less arid regions are evergreen with eucalyptus trees, while dry areas mostly grow shrubs, like acacias. The Great Dividing Range lies in the east, with uplands and grasslands running to the coast. Sandstone cliffs and gorges lie in the northwest. Uplands, shrublands, and deserts constitute a large part of central and western Australia.
The average annual rainfall in Australia is a minuscule 406.4mm (16"). The precipitation ranges from less than 254mm (10") in the central zone to more than 1676.4mm (66") in the north. Deserts receive 76.2mm (3") to 254mm (10") of rain, with daily high temperatures often between 32.2°C (90°F) and 40.6°C (105.1°F) in the summer. Summers are hot with daily high temperatures above 26.7°C (80.1°F), while winters are mild in the majority of Australia. Heatwaves are a regular feature as many locations register between 37.8°C (100°F) to 48.9°C (120°F) during peak summer. Westerly winds blow in the southern parts of the country, while sea breezes prevail along the coast. The eastern highlands receive regular snow, as also do Tasmania and the high altitudes of the Great Dividing Range. Frost is common in the southern half during winter nights.
The Northern Territory of Australia sees a tropical wet season from October
and a dry season from May
average lows dip to 19.4°C (66.9°F), while January
average highs register 36.1°C (97°F) in a few places. The Australian Capital Territory has high mountain peaks that see significant snowfall in the winter. The average rainfall is to the tune of 635mm (25"), with the highest percentage of rain during spring and summer. New South Wales registers average temperatures ranging from -7.2°C (19°F) in the alpine zone in July
to 32.8°C (91°F) in arid areas in January. Precipitation in the eastern part of the state is between 609.6mm (24") to 1219.2mm (48"). Queensland has hot summers in its western portion, while the southern mountains experience mild to cool temperatures even in the hot season. The central part is hot and dry, with 762mm (30") to 1016mm (40") of annual rainfall.
South Australia is chiefly arid except for the southern coasts that exhibit a Mediterranean type of climate. Rainfall ranges from 152.4mm (6") in Lake Eyre basin to 1193.8mm (47") in the high mountains. Tasmania is mostly temperate with four different seasons. The average sea temperatures during the summer rarely breach the high of 21.1°C (70°F). Victoria ranges from hot in the north to temperate along the coast. The Victorian Alps are cold, with average temperatures below -17.8°C (-0°F) in the winter on the highest peaks. Western Australia is mostly hot and arid, with precipitation in the range of 304.8mm (12") to 1397mm (55"). The cold waters off the western coast keep the area devoid of moisture, resulting in a dry climate in four-fifths of the state.
Oodnadatta recorded the highest ever temperature of 50.6°C (123.1°F) on January 2, 1960, in Australia. Charlotte Pass in the Snowy Mountains recorded the coldest temperature of -30.6°C (-23.1°F) on June 29, 1994, in Australia.
The best time to visit Australia
The best time to visit Australia
is during the mild winter season, which occurs from June
in the southern hemisphere. The weather is cool and refreshing compared to the hot and dry summer. Winter also allows tourists to enjoy adventures in the Great Australian Outback, the vast desert in the core of the country. The probability of cyclones is low, but it is rainy in Western Australia, and the cold south needs winter wear. Spring and autumn are pleasant for a visit to the southern part of the country, where the climate is of the Mediterranean type.
The worst time to visit Australia
The worst time to visit Australia
is during the scorching summer from December
. The heat is oppressive, particularly in the western and central areas, and there are prolonged periods of hot weather. Summer weather is usually harsh for traveling in the majority of the country. Additionally, the interior of the country faces droughts and scarcity of water. The mountain regions in the south are an exception, where tourists enjoy temperate weather even in the hot season. For an extended trip to Australia, it is better to avoid the period of blistering heat.
is prone to severe droughts, heatwaves, bushfires, and dust storms. Occasional tornadoes, tropical cyclones, and frosts pose threats to the population. Heatwaves are frequent during the summer in many parts of the country. Dust storms are frequent in the arid regions. The hot and dry climate feeds bushfires that consume the dry vegetation as high-speed winds spread them over large areas.
Flooding is common in the extreme north, where rainfall is high. A large part, in the heart of the country, struggles with less rain, and frequent droughts. Cyclones average five to six times, mostly near the coast, with wind speeds over 321.9km/h (200mph) that inflict substantial damages on infrastructure and crops. Blizzards occasionally occur in the high mountains of Victoria and New South Wales.
Weather in January
is the hottest and wettest month of the year in Australia
as the reverse seasonal cycle peaks during the summer in the southern hemisphere. The average temperatures in Canberra, the capital of the country in the southeast, are between a moderate 13.9°C (57°F) to hot 28.9°C (84°F). Weather in January »
Weather in February
is a hot summer month in Australia
, with significant rainfall and cyclone activity. While the western, central, and northern portions of the country experience scorching daily sunshine of 10 hours and temperatures in the 26.7°C (80.1°F) to 32.2°C (90°F), the southeast has moderate summers. Weather in February »
Weather in March
brings the warm autumn season to Australia
, with a gradual decline from the summer heat. Melbourne in Victoria has average temperatures in the comfortable 14.4°C (57.9°F) to 24.4°C (75.9°F) range, while Sydney is slightly hotter between 18.3°C (64.9°F) to 25.6°C (78.1°F). The northern territory reels under the impact of rain and storms, but the rest of the country receives little to moderate precipitation. Weather in March »
Weather in April
brings comfortable temperatures in Australia
with the advance of the autumn season. Nights are between 10°C (50°F) to 20°C (68°F) in the majority of the country, with rare instances of cold or frost. Hot winds from the desert keep the temperatures high in the west and central parts of the country, as the rainfall gradually reduces in the northern territory. Weather in April »
Weather in May
is a month with pleasant conditions in the autumn season in Australia
. The northern territory is dry, but the average temperatures in Darwin are in the 22.2°C (72°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) range, with bright sunshine that lasts for 10 hours daily. Adelaide in South Australia is cloudy, with significant rainfall of 71.1mm (2.8"). Weather in May »
Weather in June
is the beginning of the mild winter season in Australia
. The northern territory receives scanty rainfall while it rains heavily in the south. Perth and Adelaide register the wettest month of the year in June. Queensland receives heavy rainfall during the winter season. The average high temperatures drop below 26.1°C (79°F) in the majority of the country, while the average low temperatures remain above 4.4°C (39.9°F)°. Weather in June »
Weather in July
sees moderate to significant cold in many parts of Australia
, with heavy precipitation in the south. Bunbury and Rockingham in Western Australia receive between 127mm (5") to 152.4mm (6") of rainfall. Melbourne in Victoria experiences its coldest month with average temperatures in the 6.1°C (43°F) to 12.8°C (55°F) and sea temperatures at 12.8°C (55°F). Weather in July »
Weather in August
is cold and wet in many parts of Australia
, with cloudy skies as well as sunny days. Brisbane in Queensland averages between 10°C (50°F) to 21.7°C (71.1°F), while the best time to visit the nearby Gold Coast is in the winter when the water temperatures are mild. Weather in August »
Weather in September
begins the beautiful spring season in Australia
with gently warm temperatures, partly cloudy skies, and a bit of rain. Nights are still cold in Victoria and Tasmania, with average temperatures in the 4.4°C (39.9°F) to 7.2°C (45°F) range. Weather in September »
Weather in October
lies in the middle of the spring season in Australia
, which sees a significant decrease in precipitation. It is a great time to visit Darwin and Kakadu in the absence of rain, with temperatures in the 25°C (77°F) to 33.3°C (91.9°F) range. Weather in October »
Weather in November
sees the end of the spring season in Australia
, which warms the conditions further. Perth average temperatures are between 13.3°C (55.9°F) to 26.7°C (80.1°F), while Melbourne is still cold between 12.8°C (55°F) to 22.8°C (73°F). Weather in November »
Weather in December
is the beginning of the hot summer season in Australia
that brings rain and cyclonic events in the northern part of the country. The temperatures soar during the day to register in the 23.9°C (75°F) to 32.2°C (90°F) in most parts except the southwest and southeast. Weather in December »