Australia Climate

Australia climate is very different in different parts of the country.

Australia is well known as a country with beautiful weather and warm climate. And by world's standards this is certainly true.

But it doesn't mean that the sun is always shining in the whole country. Australia is as big as the whole Europe or the US, and the climate varies between north and south as much as it varies between Sweden and Greece or Boston and Florida.

tropical cloud
     Tropical cloud by Vincent Brassinne via

With one difference - there is no place as cold as Boston or Sweden, but there are places warmer than Greece and Florida, because Australia is on much warmer latitudes than Europe and the US.

thunder storm
    Thunderstorm by Thomas Gatzweiler via

Australia Climate is Hot by World's Standards

Its coldest parts lie at 40° latitudes, where in the Northern Hemisphere we have Washington D.C. in the US, Beijing in China, and central Spain, southern Italy and northern Greece in Europe – places generally considered not too cold.

At 40° in Australia we have Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania, places "freezing cold" according to Australians who only visit this corner of the country summer time.

At 30° latitudes, where in the Northern Hemisphere are Morocco, Egypt, Mexico and Florida – places people travel to because they want to escape the cold - in Australia we have areas not far north from Perth and Sydney – places still relatively cool by Australian standards, where during the winter we wear a jacket.

Northern, warmest parts of Australia lie at 20° latitudes where in the Northern Hemisphere you’d be in Sahara Desert! Australia is spoiled with a wonderfully warm climate :-)

dust storm
    Dust storm in South Australia by Sydney Oats via

Local Differences and Other Factors than Latitudes

So, in the big picture, in the opposite way from the Northern Hemisphere, the further south you go in Australia the colder it gets.

But, Australia is a big country and local factors also affect climate. Altitudes for example mean that Australia's south-east - parts of Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Tasmania - are much colder than the country's south-west where Perth in fact is known for its excellent climate.

Distance from the ocean also affects local climate. Because water has a capacity to hold the temperature longer than the air, the coastal areas have much milder climate than the inland where summers/days can be extremely hot and winters/nights can be extremely cold in what is known as outback climate.

And of course, there is a whole lot of other factors that affect the local climate and every so often cause floods, droughts, bushfires and other natural disasters in different parts of Australia.

The Cool, Temperate Southern Australia Climate

But despite the local differences, there are two distinct climates in Australia in the big picture.

The climate in the southern parts of the country is cooler than the climate of the north, and in most parts it is known as temperate climate.

There are many other places with temperate climate in the world, and some of them (including Australia) support temperate rainforests.

There are also patches of other climates in southern parts of Australia, such as alpine climate in Victoria's Alps and the so called Mediterranian climate around Perth in Western Australia.

But common for them all is the fact that they have four distinctive seasons - spring, summer, autumn and winter. And their timing is the opposite from the Northern Hemisphere:

Northern Hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere

The Hot, Tropical Northern Australia Climate

While in the northern Australia we have tropical climate, which has only two seasons - the Wet and the Dry.

Southern Australia
Northern Australia
The Wet
The Wet
The Dry
The Dry

Generally speaking, the Dry season is when the climate up here is the most comfortable - and is the peak tourist season, while the Wet is to avoid.

At a closer look, there is more to it, such as the difference between the Early Wet and the Late Wet, as well as the unpredictability of the time of the start and the end of both seasons. The end of the Wet has over the years come as early as in March or as late as in June, and everything in between. And of course, the timing also depends on where in the northern Australia you are (how far north), so the table above is only for general guidance.

tropical cyclone
    Tropical cyclone by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via

The Dry season is most often characterised by sun and blue skies, while the Wet is not only rainy but is also the season for electrical storms and tropical cyclones.

But what is most annoying for travellers is that the moonsoonal rains, and the rains after cyclones, flood the roads and stop you from getting to the next place.

We who are living here are fine because we don't plan to get around too much during that time of the year, because road closures are unpredictable.

But if you are a traveller, likely with restricted time for your trip, and want to get around, even if only along the eastern coast of Queensland, even the main highway between Townsville and Cairns, and other towns, gets flooded and closed at some stage every Wet Season.

And it is not fun to get stuck and miss out places you had planned to visit.

tropical cyclone yasi
     Tropical cyclone Yasi by steve gibson via

What Does Australia Climate Mean for Travellers?

It means, it is best to plan your northern Australia trip to the time between June and September (after which it doesn't quite yet get wet but starts getting uncomfortably hot).

Plan your southern Australia trips to the time between November and March if you like it hot and sunny. During the southern winter, between May and September, it's the "wet" season down there, so it can rain quite a bit - and it also gets quite cold - not a nice combination.

And if you plan to do the central Australia, especially if you go inland, to the outback, including the Red Centre and Ayers Rock, plan that to either spring or autumn. The inland climate gets extremely hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, so by doing that you avoid both extremes.

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