Think of the weather in Australia and one immediately conjures up images of stiflingly hot summers and dry patches of desert. Contrary to popular belief, however, Australia actually has winters!
Due to its large geographical size, Australia has a wide variety of climates – ranging from tropical in its Northern Territory to temperate in its Southern areas (think, cities like Brisbane and Perth). If you’re considering a move to Australia, here’s everything you need to know about the weather in Australia. We’ve even included some nifty packing tips for your relocating convenience!
Regional climate conditions
Northern Australia: Darwin
The Northern Territory of Australia boasts some of the countries’ most beautiful national parks and natural sights. Generally, this territory has two distinctive climate zones. The northern end (including cities such as Darwin) has a tropical climate with high humidity and two seasons: Wet, from October to April, and dry, from May to September. The central region, including Alice Springs and Uluru, is semi-arid with little rainfall during the hottest months of October to March. Generally, seasons are more distinct in this area, with the weather in Australia here being very hot summers and cool winters.
Year-round climate pattern: Tropical with little rainfall, with temperatures ranging from as high as 40 degrees Celsius during summer to 3.5 degrees Celsius during the colder months.
Eastern Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
The most populous area in Australia, the Eastern area of Australia, contains over 80 percent of the entire population. Along with the federal capital Canberra, Eastern Australia is also home to the nation’s three largest cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. In addition, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong also reside within this area. Generally, the weather in Australia here in is dominated by a humid subtropical zone, which is characterised by hot and humid summers, and cold to mild winters. Cities like Newcastle follow a slightly more moderate climate, in which temperatures don’t fluctuate too much across the year.
Year-round climate pattern: Subtropical area, with temperatures ranging from as high as 32 degrees Celsius during summer to 16 degrees Celsius during the winter months.
Southern Australia: Adelaide
The Southern part of Australia has a Mediterranean climate – meaning that the winters here are mild and wet, whilst summers tend to be hot and dry. On average, summers in Adelaide (generally from December to February) boasts temperatures of around 17 to 29 degrees Celsius. However, there is considerable variation in the weather in Australia here and you can usually expect several days a year where temperatures soar to the mid-30s even!
Like many other Australian states, the winter months (June to August) features slightly cooler temperatures averaging around 7 to 16 degrees Celsius. Frost and snow are rare, but Adelaide does experience quite a significant wind chill during winter, so it’s a good idea to layer up during this period of time to combat the cooler weather in Australia.
Year-round climate pattern: Mediterranean climate, with temperatures ranging from as high as 30 degrees Celsius during summer to 7 degrees Celsius during the winter months.
Western Australia: Perth
Western Australia is Australia’s largest state, boasting a population of around 2.6 million inhabitants, most of whom reside in Perth. Like their Southern neighbours, Western Australia has a Mediterranean climate. Generally, February is the hottest month of the year here, with an average temperature of around 31.6 degrees Celsius.
July, on the other hand, is the coldest month of the year, with an average low of 7.9 degrees Celsius. Snow is rare in the state and typically occurs in the Stirling Range near Albany, as it is the only mountain range elevated enough to garner snowfall. Fun fact: Perth actually has an average of 8.8 hours of sunshine per day, making it the sunniest capital city in all of Australia!
Year-round climate pattern: Mediterranean climate, with temperatures ranging from as high as 36 degrees Celsius during summer to 15 degrees Celsius during the winter months.
How to prepare for your move
1. Climate appropriate attire
It’s time to break out those cut-off shorts and tank top! The weather in Australia can be stiflingly hot – so don’t forget to pack light, airy clothing that keeps you cool throughout the day. Hats, sunglasses and sunblock are also a must-have here in order to combat the effects of harmful UV rays.
Clothes in natural fibres will work better to keep you cool in the heat and it’s always a good idea to pack anything sweat-wicking so your body is always dry and cool. If you’re planning to visit very hot areas (think, a day’s hike out to the desert or national park), we recommend packing a thin shirt with long sleeves and higher neckline to prevent sunburns.
2. Weatherproofing your home
With rising temperatures, the importance of keeping your home cool during the summer months is greater than ever. Aside from equipping your home with a good air conditioner, you can also consider sealing your windows and doors to prevent air leaks. These leaks are typically found around unsealed windows and doors, and account for over 10 percent of energy loss in a home! By sealing your windows and doors, you’re not just keeping your home extra cool but cutting down on utility bills as well.
Another simple tip? Consider using heat reflective paint on the roof of your home! Known as ‘cool roof paint’, heat reflective paint allows for a cooler home and reflects up to 80 percent of solar radiation, hence preventing it from being absorbed into the building and heating up your home. A cooler building equals less use of air conditioners, cheaper electricity bills and a happy environment!
3. What to prepare for a day
The weather in Australia can fluctuate up to as much as 5 degree Celsius a day! This means that a day out during Australian summers entails some preparation to help ensure you stay comfortable throughout the day. Aside from sunblock, it can be a good idea to carry along a lightweight jacket with you, especially as seasons begin to change and nightfall causes temperatures to drop.
1. Climate appropriate attire
Layers, layers and more layers! The weathers of Australia’s winters can be hard to dress and even harder to pack for. Given the varied climate patterns and large temperature fluctuations throughout the day, layering your outfits is the best way to ensure you are always prepared for any weather condition. Generally, Australia’s winters are considerably mild.
Whilst this means that you don’t have to break out the thick woolly parka, it’s still a good idea to pack heat-trapping jackets that you can layer over a long sleeve shirt. To combat wind and rain, look for outer layers made from nylon, which is particularly good at keeping you dry and warm. For shoes, swap out those summer sandals for a sturdy pair of boots or insulated shoes to keep your feet warm.
Our top tip for combating Australia’s colder months? Invest in a good pair of thermal underwear and thermal undershirts. A warm inner shirt allows you to layer on and remove coats as and when the weather shifts throughout the day.
2. Weatherproofing your home
It may be a no-brainer to install a heater in your home for the colder months, but do you know how energy-efficient your heater is? Older heaters do not convert energy into heat very well and waste a lot of energy, driving your electricity bill through the roof. Invest in a modern, energy-efficient heater to help you save on utility bills and keep your house warm during the winter months.
Consider opting for ‘blockout’ curtains to better insulate your windows and home. As the name suggests, these curtains block out light from the outside, meaning you can easily regulate the level of brightness in your house. In addition, blockout curtains also help to regulate the temperature in your home. During summers, they can be drawn to keep hot air from seeping into your home. Comparatively, this thick lined fabric will trap warmth inside the home during the colder months.
3. What to prepare for a day
Ever heard the saying, keep your feet warm and your body will follow suit? Whilst this saying might be an old wives’ tale, it’s definitely a good idea to invest in a pair of good footwear to keep you warm during winter. Given that snow is a rarity in Australia, thick woolly boots are probably not the first item you’ll want to break out during winter. Instead, opt for sturdy waterproof footwear (to combat those rainy days) that have anti-slip soles.
More on The Finder:
Natural Disasters In Australia: What Are They + How To Be Ready For One
Everything You Need To Know About The Climate And Weather In Melbourne
Universities in Australia: The Ultimate Guide For International Students