Below are my notes for visiting Australia. These travel tips for visiting Australia are obtained from a variety of sources including some of the following: my first hand observations, personal conversations, magazines, newspapers, websites, books and so forth.
Best Time to Visit Australia
Short Answer: November if heading to eastern Australia and September if heading to Western Australia…
Australia is in the southern hemisphere so the winter is in the June-August timeframe and the summer is in the December – February timeframe.
Note that you should always check the Australian school calendar to see when the holidays happen. For instance, December and January is a popular time for the kids to get out and when that happens, your prices rise.
Starting with the south-central and moving counter-clockwise:
Best Time to Visit Adelaide
Don’t visit Adelaide. Well, the areas outside of it were nice when I was there. Joking aside, Adelaide is good to visit in the September through November and mid-Feb through May timeframe. You can visit in the summer (December thru February) but prepare for heat waves. The winter (June to August) should generally be avoided as it can be cold and wet with not much to do.
Best Time to Visit Melbourne
October to March, with the peak season in the December to February timeframe. However, while Melbourne and Sydney generally share best times to go, note that Melbourne is not as nice in the winter as Sydney and should probably be avoided.
Best Time to Visit Tasmania
mid-December through early-May is the best time as the climate is nice for hiking, etc. The cold usually disappears in November or December, and returns in May. The nicest weather is typically February but March is also great and there isn’t as much visitor traffic. So, really, the best time would be February through mid-April but anytime from late December to early May should be great.
Best Time to Visit Sydney
October to March. It is okay to visit Sydney June-August, but it won’t be beach weather. The upside is that you will not be battling tourists or hotel rates. October and November are nice seasons coming into summer and March is a nice season coming out. April and May are beautiful times to visit, just the weather is getting cooler. September is nice. December-February would be where the peak season lies.
Best Time to Visit Gold Coast / Sunshine Coast / Brisbane
Mid-March through November. The hotter December through February timeframe is the wet season.
Best Time to Visit Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
Most likely you are visiting to see the Great Barrier Reef. I was there in November and water visibility was good, but I do recall there being lingering showers throughout the visit. By December and running through March you should realize that there is a large increase in rain (which really doesn’t impact anything below the surface) and by January or so, jellyfish. That said, you can still have good dives, and the water is at its warmest, but generally I’d steer away from this timeframe. March is better than February.
(As an aside, if you want to see waterfalls in the rainforest and such at their best, then this timeframe is right up your alley)
As April runs into May, the precipitation decreases. The crowds haven’t all showed up yet and the diving/snorkeling is good with water still warm enough that you don’t need wetsuits. So for lower rates and a good time, this is a good time to visit.
As June approaches, the Great Barrier Reef water continues getting colder necessitating wetsuits (which will be necessary for the next five months or so) and the winds kick up making boat trips more rocky (which die out by September). However, not only is the winter (June through August) a great time to dive in general with clear (albeit cold) waters and good species, but this is also when Minke and Humpback whales show up.
September through November are great times to go.
Best Time to Visit Darwin
Late-April to early-October which is the dry season. Winter (June-August) is a great time to visit with cooler nights and great daytime temps.
October and November can be quite hot/humid and uncomfortable, with rain coming in by December. Also, poisonous jellyfish and other characters are in the water between October and March and so swimming isn’t really an option.
Best Time to Visit Broome and Exmouth Area
June, July, August, September. Good swimming, good temperatures.
Best Time to Visit Perth
Best are April to May and September to mid-November.
September into November is quite nice. December through March can be quite hot but dry, good for swimming. April and May are quite nice. June through August are rainy and should generally be avoided.
Miscellaneous Travel Tips for Australia
It seemed best to me to rent a car to get around. Kangaroo Island was cool. Tasmania was nice.