Famous for its scorching winters and cool summers, it comes as no surprise that the seasons are topsy-turvy in the Land Down Under. And while packing swimwear in the middle of January might send a shiver down your spine, the back-to-front seasons can be a real treat for travellers in the Northern Hemisphere looking to warm up in the winter and cool down in the summer. Read on to discover the best time to visit Australia for your ideal getaway, whether that involves whale watching on the Great Barrier Reef, skiing in the Australian Alps or hiking the hills of Tasmania.
Travellers in the Northern Hemisphere keen to soak in some winter sun should look no further than Australia: the weather is warm and sunny and the network of white-sand beaches that pepper the southern coast - like Bondi, Byron Bay and Esperance - are at their finest. The vast outback is beautiful at this time, but the weather is generally hot and humid, with daily temperatures averaging 38°C. It is best to avoid popular spots in the north - like Cairns and the Whitsundays - at this time, as the winter months bring biblical downpours and tropical storms. If snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef is top of your list, then it’s worth knowing that this is peak stinger season, which means swimmers are required to wear full-body swimwear to avoid the harsh stings of Box Jellyfish and Irukandji. In terms of festivities, the winter is a great time to head to Sydney to ring in the New Year. The vibrant city’s world-famous fireworks, dazzling rooftop bars and exclusive harbour cruises has seen it regularly top lists of the best place to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
The Northern Hemisphere’s spring means its autumn in Australia, making it the perfect time to soak in the kaleidoscope of oranges, yellows and reds in the countryside and to enjoy the cooler weather on the beaches of the Gold Coast. The alpine peaks and lush valleys of the southern state of Victoria are particularly special at this time, as are the rolling hills and snow-capped mountains of Tasmania and the dramatic Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney. There is even the ten-day Bright Autumn Festival in Victoria's Alpine High Country, which celebrates the autumnal colours of the season. It is still best to avoid the Northern Territories as the weather can be wet and stormy; however, at the end of spring, the dry season starts to slowly creep in.
While it is technically winter in Australia, the summer is still one of the best times to visit Australia. It is (finally) a great time to head up to some of the top sites in the northern territories of Australia, such as Darwin, the Top End and the Kimberly, as the stormy weather has come to an end and the days are warm, dry and perfect for outdoorsy adventures. The Australian Alps in the southeast are awash with snow and is a great destination for those keen to gear up and hit the slopes (there are five major ski resorts in New South Wales and Victoria). For those set on squeezing some beach days in, Cairns and the Whitsundays in the north of the country are beautiful at this time, with warm days and low humidity. This is also a great time of year to explore the Great Barrier Reef, as the stinger season is over, the water temperature is very pleasant and you can even spot humpback whales on their migration north.
The final months of the year are characterised by warm, sunny days and beautiful spring colours. This is a great time to explore Australia’s many vibrant cities - such as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth - as the lush urban greenery comes alive with several species of wildflowers. The Northern Territories still benefit from warm, dry days and low humidity, so make sure to squeeze in a trip to Cairns, the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef before the long, wet season announces its arrival in November. Wildlife lovers flock en masse to the Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast to observe the adorable phenomenon of baby koalas climbing out of their mother’s pouch for the first time. Koalas are known to be very friendly and cuddly, so be sure get your photo taken with this endearing creature on your hip.