When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, Australia is basking in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, and vice versa. Midwinter in Australia is July and August, and the hottest months are November through March. Remember, unlike in the Northern Hemisphere, the farther south you go in Australia, the colder it gets.
The Travel Seasons
Airfares to Australia are lowest from mid-April to late August—the best time to visit the Red Centre and the Great Barrier Reef.
High Season - The peak travel season in the most popular parts of Australia is the Aussie winter. In much of the country—particularly the northern half—the most pleasant time to travel is April through September, when daytime temperatures are 66[dg]F to 88[dg]F (19[dg]C–31[dg]C) and it rarely rains. June, July, and August are the busiest months in these parts; you’ll need to book accommodations and tours well in advance, and you will pay higher rates then, too.
On the other hand, Australia’s summer is a nice time to visit the southern states, and even in winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing.
Generally, the best months to visit Australia are September and October, when it’s often still warm enough to hit the beach in the southern states, it’s cool enough to tour Uluru, and the humidity and rains have not come to Cairns (although it will be very hot by Oct).
Low Season - October through March (summer) is just too hot, too humid, or too wet—or all three—to tour the Red Centre. North Queensland, including Cairns, suffers an intensely hot, humid wet season from November or December through March or April. So if you decide to travel at this time—and lots of people do—be prepared to take the heat, the inconvenience of potential flooding, and the slight chance of encountering cyclones.
Australian National Public Holidays
On national public holidays, services such as banking, postal needs, and purchasing of alcohol might be limited or unavailable. There also may be additional holidays as declared by individual states and territories, such as Melbourne Cup Day: Based on the country’s most famous thoroughbred horse race, Melbourne Cup Day is celebrated the first Tuesday of November, and the race is nicknamed “the race that stops the nation.”
* New Year’s Day, January 1. Expect the usual fireworks and festivities to begin the night of December 31 to ring in the New Year.
* Australia Day,January 26. This national day recognizes the First Fleet’s arrival in 1788, when 11 ships made their way from England to establish a colony here in Australia.
* Good Friday, the Friday before Easter. The Christian commemoration of Jesus’crucifixion and his death. In Australia, Good Friday is observed the first Friday after the full moon (on or after Mar 21).
* Easter Monday, day after Easter Sunday. The Christian commemoration of Jesus’resurrection from the dead.
* Anzac Day, April 25. ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day recognizes those who have served the nation in times of war.
* Christmas Day, December 25. When Christians celebrate Jesus’birth. Note:If Christmas is on a weekend day, the next Monday is termed a public holiday.
* Boxing Day, December 26. Originally a British tradition involving gift-giving, Boxing Day is now an Australian holiday, and some sports kick off their seasons on this date. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the next Monday is deemed a public holiday. If it falls on a Sunday, the next Tuesday is the holiday.
Steer Clear of the Vacation Rush
Try to avoid Australia from Boxing Day (Dec 26) to the end of January, when Aussies take their summer vacations. For popular seaside holiday spots, hotel rooms and airline seats get scarce as hen’s teeth, and it’s a rare airline or hotel that will discount full rates by even a dollar.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.