Australia and New Zealand Weather Overview
The weather variation across Australia is just as wide as the country itself. With Mediterranean conditions in the south western, tropical conditions in the north and north east, temperate in the east and arid in the remaining majority- you can be sure to witness a huge range of weather as your travel across and around the continent. Almost 90% of Australiaâs population lives on the 34,218 kilometers of coastline, with all but one of the countryâs capital cities lying on the vast coast line (the exception being the nations capital of Canberra.)
Starting with Perth on the West Coast is where we can begin with the overview of Australian weather. Perth is home to what could be described as the most enviable weather in the whole country.
The summers, December to February are long and hot (at time they are scorching, known to reach above and over 40 degrees in the very height of the summer.) Rainfall is at an absolute minimum during this period and temperatures are consistently high. Pert is subject to water restriction rules in which residents can only water their gardens after 6pm and on selected days of the week depending on their house number. This is partly due to the decreasing winter rainfall as well. When previously Perthâs dams would be filled up during the winter months, the effect of weather change has resulted in winters becoming increasingly drier as well.
Every summer Perth will normally receive at least one day in excess of 40 degrees, historically the hottest day on record in Perth was in February 1991 when the mercury tipped a blistering 46 degrees Celsius. February is typically the warmest month with the average daily temperature sitting at 30 degrees, with December and January seeing average highs of 28 to 29 degrees.
Winters in Perth are incredibly mild, the average maximum very very rarely falls below 16 degrees, and central Perth has seen the barometer record sub zero temperatures one only one occasion.
Perth enjoys a Mediterranean climate, and the scorching highs of summer are interrupted by the local sea breeze known as the âFremantle Doctor.â This local wind washes over the city in the evenings and brings temperatures down by 3 to 4 degrees and provide for very comfortable conditions.
(see average weather conditions for Perth here)
Across the entirety of Western Australia the conditions vary quite a lot, which is understandable as it makes up a third of the continent and 2,645,615 km². The southwest sees idyllic conditions and is a very popular surfing area. Margaret River, a town in the very south west is a world acclaimed surfing spot and is also home to the beautiful Margaret River wine region which produces some of the worldâs greatest wine.
The north of the state sees some great diving spots, which Broome and Exmouth being popular tourist destinations that host some of states most beautiful beaches. Further inland toward Kalgoorlie sees weather conditions getting mildly more extreme, colder nights and hotter days- this is due to the desert nature of the terrain.
As you head east you will reach the state of South Australia with its capital city of Adelaide- known as the âcity of churchesâ due to its large number of churches across the city. Adelaideâs climate, like Perthâs, is also Mediterranean, however it doesnât reach the scorching highs that Perth sees. Like most typical Mediterranean climates, the summers are dry and hot and the winters are mild and see most of the annual rainfall.
Adelaide is the driest capital city in the country, and while rain fall does fall year round it is relatively scarce outside of the winter months. Summer (December, January, February) sees average daily highs of 27, 28 and 29 degrees respectively and average minimums of 15 to 17 degrees. Winter, sees average highs of 15 to 16 degrees and minimums of 7 to 8 degrees, which is fairly mild and reasonably comfortable. Occasionally the city will see temperatures touching 1 to 2 degrees but this is generally pretty rare.
On the east coast you will find the popular cities of Sydney and Melbourne. The state of Victoria lies in the lower southeast corner of Australia, hugged by South Australia and New South Wales. Victoria is the smallest of the Australian states, but it is the most densely populated and despite its small size it actually plays host to a wide range of weather conditions. In the very north west the conditions are semi arid and can get very hot, however once you hit the coast the conditions become much more mild and temperate.
Melbourne is famous for its very changeable weather, much like London, where you can experience alternating rainfall and sunshine within the same hour.
See here for weather averages for Melbourne.
Australiaâs largest mountain range, The Great Dividing Range, lies across the state of Victoria and consequently causes a much cooler, mountain climate in the heart of the state.
The Great Dividing Range stretches for more than 3500km, beginning in the northeastern tip of Queensland and running the entire length of the eastern coastline right through New South Wales.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Heading up to north east you will reach New South Wales and its capital city of Sydney, home to the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. Spectacular Sydney harbour is a world famous tourist destination and is filled with yachts and luxury liners year round as boating enthusiast take in the beautiful scenery and glorious weather.
Sydney doesnât reach the highs that other capital cities see, and the main difference in weather conditions that sits Sydney apart is that it generally sees rainfall consistently throughout the year. While rainfall is at is heaviest during winter, each month on average sees 10 to 12 days of rainfall, whether it be heavy downpours or light showers. On average the daily highs on Sydney throughout summer reach about 25 degrees, and minimums of 17 to 18 degrees. Spring is when Sydney is at its driest, while rain does fall on 11 days per month the rainfall is often nothing more than a light spring shower.
(see here for weather averages for Sydney)
Like the rest of Australia, conditions become more harsh as you head inland, the nights are cooler and the daily heat in the midst of summer is higher.
The East Coast of Australia, particularly around Sydney is prone to flooding, as result of the heavy rainfall that can occur at times brought by the East Coast Lows. There is a low pressure depression which deepens off the state usually in winter and early spring which can bring changeable weather and has been known to cause damage from the heavy rain, cyclonic winds and huge swells.
In the north east of Australia is the âsunshine stateâ of Queensland, which has slightly more tropical conditions than the rest of Australia. Particularly as you reach the far north in Cairns.
Brisbane is the states capital and plays host to a humid subtropical climate that consists of hot, humid summers and milder drier winters.
From late Spring through to early Autumn, heavy and spectacular thunderstorms occur over greater Brisbane, occasionally the more severe events accompanied by large damaging hail stones, torrential rain and destructive winds.
(See here for the weather averages for Brisbane)
Lying in the north amongst these tropical conditions, home you can find the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world's largest coral reef. The 2,000 kilometer reef lies a very short distance off the north-east coast and is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
As you head further north the conditions become increasingly more tropical as you near the tropics. Cairns and the surrounding region experiences a wet season between December and April which includes tropical monsoon and also a dry season between May and November. The dry season, however, is not completely dry like it is in most of tropical Australia and there are in fact fairly frequent but light showers for most of this period.
The Northern Territory and its capital city of Darwin is not as readily visited by tourists as other states in Australia, however it is in the Northern Territory that you will find one of Australiaâs most symbolic landmarks- Uluru (Ayers Rock.) In the NT you will also find the states other spectacular natural rock formation Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) which are each major tourist attractions, both more readily visited than the regions capital city.
In the very north of the territory is the Kakadu National Park, which is home to some of the countryâs most spectacular scenery and native wildlife.
Like the rest of the country, the weather is more mild toward the coast and increased in extremities as you head further inland. In the interior of the state the conditions are harsh and the land is barren, here the days are hot and the nights are freezing and there is often very minimal cloud cover to keep you warm at night. However if you head toward the coast, to the capital of Darwin, conditions become slightly more mild.
Darwin is home to a tropical monsoon climate, that has two distinctive seasons- wet and dry. The weather in Darwin is very similar to the weather in Singapore as, unlike the other capital cities, Darwin sits well and truly inside the tropical zone.
May to September is the dry season and during this period dry sunny days are plentiful, rainfall is very minimal and average relative humidity is a very low 30%.
June and July is when Darwin is at its âcoolestâ â" in saying this the temperature very rarely drops below 14 degrees!
From December to March is the âwet seasonâ and during this time you can occasionally see tropical cyclones and monsoon rains and is when Darwin and surrounding areas see most of the annual rainfall. This period sees a dramatic change in the average humidity, with humidity picking up to 70% on average. The hottest month in Darwin is November which falls just before the onset of the main rainy season.
See here for average weather conditions for Darwin