I used to hate winter when I lived in the UK, but now I’m a huge fan of winter in Australia. In Queensland, where I live, winter is our dry period and it’s actually the best time to visit if you aren’t a fan of sticky, humidity as average temperatures range from 10 degrees to a balmy 21 degrees during the day.
The country is vast, so the months of winter in Australia can feel very different depending on where you go with some places being hot in winter and others actually getting snow!
If you’re wondering when is winter in Australia, what is winter in Australia actually like and what are the best and worst things about winter in Australia then this post covers what you need to know about our distinct seasons and the winter weather in different parts of Australia.
Winter Australia: Why might winter be the perfect time to visit?
The winter months are the coldest months in Australia. Yet winter in the southern hemisphere gives us sunny days and cool nights. Winter in Australia is so different from my experience of winter in the northern hemisphere where it was more like a constant wet season with grey skies, plenty of frost, and some snow.
Although saying that it does depend on where you go in Australia as the country is so big the winter season looks different across the states and territories.
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When is winter in Australia?
The first day of winter in Australia is 1st June. The winter months in Australia are June, July and August.
It can also feel cooler and a little wintery in the autumn and spring shoulder months of May and early September.
The winter season in Australia feels really short. When we lived in the UK, it felt like the winter season cold weather stretched from October through until May because it was so chilly. Here in Australia, it’s the opposite way around. In many states, it feels like our warmer weather runs from mid-September until mid-May. The Australia winter months speed by in the blink of an eye and before we know it we’re back to the warmer months again. And even during an Australian winter, we can have plenty of really hot days that are hotter than a UK peak summer’s day!
Because our winter season in Australia feels so short, it’s actually a nice change from the heat of our hot summers. I actually enjoy putting on jeans and wearing socks for a few weeks of the year – it makes me appreciate the hot summer weather even more.
Winter Australia: temperature
These are the average temperatures for winter in Australia:
Brisbane in winter can be 9.5 – 21.7 degrees
Melbourne in winter can be 6 – 15 degrees
Sydney in winter can be 7.1 – 18.3 degrees
Adelaide in winter can be 8 – 16.1 degrees
Perth in winter can be 8 – 18.9 degrees
Darwin in winter can be 19.3 – 31.3 degrees
Canberra in winter can be 0.1 – 13 degrees
Hobart in winter can be 4.6 – 13 degrees
(Winter Australia data from Australia.com)
The above winter statistics really do highlight the variety of winter weather in Australia!
When does winter begin in Australia and how does winter feel in Australia?
Winter in Australia may officially begin in June but, for me, I think winter in Australia really begins when a few things happen:
– I dig out my hoodie from my winter clothes drawer.
– I replace my shorts and t-shirt pyjamas with thicker long leg/sleeved winter pyjamas.
– I switch the ceiling fans to winter mode so they rotate in the opposite direction to create an updraft that circulates the warm air around the room.
– I start putting the air conditioning unit on heat mode when we get up in the mornings.
– I turn the car air conditioner onto heat for the drive to school drop off (although it goes back on cool for the journey home as by then the sun is warm again!)
When winter starts in Australia, for the locals it can feel like a bit of a shock to the system as it can suddenly feel cold after the balmy autumn temperatures. Of course, when you think about how cold is winter in Australia, it’s not actually THAT cold, it just feels like it because the temperature can drop quickly so you really feel the difference.
Ways to stay warm this winter in Australia
It can feel cold at night and in the early morning inside during winter as houses in Australia aren’t built to the same standards as UK homes. It’s not common to have cavity walls for insulation or double glazing. In fact, our home in Australia didn’t have any insulation in the loft at all so we’ve slowly been installing it (it’s a really big job as our house here is a low set property with a lot of floorspace – not like our tiny three-bedroom, two-story house in the UK!). This build quality and lack of insulation not only makes houses cold in winter, but it keeps them hot in summer too so it’s worth investing some effort in solving the issue as much as possible.
If you live in Australia, there are lots of things you can do to make life more comfortable during an Australian winter.
– Install insulation in your loft.
– Add curtains to bedrooms.
– Use draft excluders where you can.
– Put the ceiling fans in reverse to circulate the warm air.
– Wear layers so you can strip off when the sun comes up.
– Get electric blankets that are suitable for leaving on overnight on a low heat.
– Invest in some warm clothes like dressing gowns, winter pyjamas, hoodies, slippers (and if you live in a much colder part of Australia than Queensland, you could get winter boots, winter gloves, hats etc. – but that is overkill for a Queensland winter!)
– Eat more hot food – I love using food flasks to send the kids to school with hot lunches.
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Best things about winter in Australia
The months of winter in Australia have a very different feel to the Australian summer months and I know many people who feel winter is the best season for a visit. Personally, I love the hot, hot weather, but my husband has to work outside a lot and he adores winter time in Australia as it’s a more bearable temperature.
If you’re planning a visit to Australia, here are some of the advantages to visiting Australia during the winter:
- While our wettest months are our summer season, winter is our dry season in Australia. There are fewer major storms, fewer tropical cyclones and fewer heavy downpours (if you’ve neer experienced one of Australia’s big storms, it can honestly feel like monsoonal rains when it comes down so it’s not the best weather for travelling around Australia). If you’re travelling on a road trip or wanting to get out on a boat to explore the Great Barrier Reef or whatever you might have planned for your Australia holiday, it is less likely to be disrupted due to heavy rains at this time of year.
- Winter temperatures in a lot of parts of Australia are mild with warm days and cooler nights. Our maximum temperature in winter is similar to a UK summer’s day!
- Not only do we have a dry winter, but the heat is dry too at this time of year. It’s not humid or sticky or as intensely scorching as it can be in summer (and even in spring and autumn). It’s just lovely sunshine with clear, crisp blue skies. It’s still sunny enough to be outside in the fresh air, but you can hike and go for bike rides without dying from heat exhaustion or collapsing in a wet puddle of sweat! I love going out for walks in winter as in summer it is often too hot for it (as an example, in our warm summers, we can’t walk our dog during the middle of the day as it’s just too hot for his paws on the pavement!)
- Many places like Alice Springs, and tourist destinations like Kata Tjuta and Uluru are so much nicer to explore in winter when it’s cooler. (As someone who visited Uluru and the Northern Territory in the hottest months, I can safely say I would have much preferred exploring at the start of winter instead of the height of an Australian summer!)
- It can be quieter and better value in the Australian winter months, especially if you’re travelling during the calendar months that aren’t school holidays!
- If you’re interested in finding snow in Australia, winter is the time to visit an alpine region! The Snowy Mountains in New South Wales are just one of the places where you can try out winter sports in Australia. (Yes, we DO get snow in Australia and winter holidays in Australia are a thing!) You’ll find the best snow conditions in July and August – that is high season for the ski resorts.
I know a few family members that prefer coming out to visit us in winter as the high humidity is just too much for them in our summer. It’s a huge difference coming from the UK climate to our extremely warm temperatures in peak summer, especially if you’re heading to the top end or to our semi-arid climate regions! It can be a real shock to the system when you’re used to cold weather in other parts of the world, so coming to visit Australia during winter can be much easier to manage.
The worst things about winter in Australia
The disadvantages of visiting Australia during winter are:
- It gets cold overnight in Australia’s winter. New arrivals might not feel it as much, but you quickly acclimatise when you move here, and especially if you go to southern areas you’re going to feel chilly at nights and in the early mornings!
- Houses here aren’t of the best build quality. It means that they aren’t very adaptable to Australia’s seasons. In summer, houses can get very hot, and in winter (especially in southern states) homes can feel really chilly.
- If you’re travelling in a motorhome or campervan, it can feel very cold in the mornings and it’s not much fun walking outside to go to the toilet/shower block on a winter night!
- Lack of daylight saving in some states may mean you get less daylight hours to enjoy in winter. In Queensland, for instance, we don’t have daylight saving and in the winter months the sun can set before 6pm.
- It’s too cold to swim in unheated outdoor pools during the winter months. We close our swimming pool up after Easter and don’t open it up again until early October. (One day we’ll get a pool heater!)
What’s the warmest place in Australia in winter?
If you’re keen to find some winter sun in Australia, the best places to go are Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Lots of travellers flock to these warmer zones during winter to enjoy the winter sunshine.
Winter clothes: Australia winter clothing tips
What to wear in winter in Australia really varies depending on where exactly you’re going. While in Queensland average minimum temperatures are usually 10 degrees, in Tasmania it can go down to 4 degrees! (Check out the Australian Bureau of Meteorology otherwise known as BOM to check out the current winter temperature where you’re heading and be sure to read my post about the weather in Australia.)
When it comes to shipping belongings or packing for an Australia winter holiday, people often ask me if they need winter gloves, winter boots or winter coats in Australia. The answer is yes, you would need those things IF you’re heading to cooler places. Winter in Melbourne Australia can feel freezing, and it can be a lot cooler in the hinterland. Places like the Blue Mountains will feel much colder than Sydney and inland national parks and ski resorts definitely warrant winter boots and hats!
However, saying that here in Queensland where I live, those winter clothes are overkill. Even on our coldest day in Brisbane, I just wear a hoodie and jeans. I don’t even own a winter jacket – just a light waterproof jacket and I’ve only worn that on a couple of occasions when we’ve gone to hinterland locations like Tamborine Mountain, the Sunshine Coast hinterland and Lamington National Park. We brought gloves, woolly hats (known as beanie hats in Australia) and scarves with us in our shipping container but we haven’t worn them (other than the kids wearing hats for hat day at school!) In hindsight, we’d have been better off not bringing all of our winter gear with us as it just doesn’t get that cold in Queensland.
My top tips for winter clothing in Australia is to layer up as even though the days can begin and end feeling chilly, during the day when the sun is in the sky, we can get good weather and it can feel really hot.
You will find winter boots, winter coats, gloves, scarves and hats too warm if you’re heading to the northern part of Australia. You can still get away with wearing shorts and t-shirts in winter in Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia if you want to – just make sure you have a jumper to layer up in the cooler mornings.
Protecting your skin from the winter sun
Don’t forget you can still burn during the winter. The sun is still really strong, even if the air temperature can feel a little cooler sometimes. Don’t forget your sunscreen and hat and still take beach shade if you’re heading to the beach.
The other thing that is common during winter in Australia is for your lips to get chapped and for your skin to feel dry. Over the years we’ve spent here, I’ve narrowed down my favourite products to help with this. For lips, I swear by Lucas’ Papaw Ointment. It is honestly incredible! One of my sons gets really chapped lips and after trying out so many brands of lip balm, this is the one that solved it and it’s really inexpensive.
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For my dry arms, I love MooGoo Udder Cream. I discovered this after talking to a pharmacist about products to help my daughter’s dry skin so I initially bought it for her but now I use it too! It’s amazing and exactly what my dry skin needs during the cooler winter weather. I also keep it on my desk and use it instead of hand cream now too.
Things to do in winter in Australia
Looking for things to do in winter? Australia is a great place to spend your winter holidays! Check out these fun things to do in winter below.
Road trip! Taking a road trip when the weather is cooler is a perfect way to travel.
Wrap up warm and enjoy the hinterland. It’s the perfect chance to enjoy hot chocolate, stews and delicious winter food in Australia.
Go whale watching! Whale watching season in Australia starts in June and runs until October. Winter is a great time to go as it’s not too hot. Make sure you layer up and don’t forget your sunscreen!
Take a break somewhere that has a private hot tub outside like O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. It’s incredible sitting in the warm spa when the air temperature is a little chilly.
Enjoy winter markets. To me they feel so festive.
Speaking of festive, why not celebrate Christmas in July? Being from the UK, the chilly weather in July actually feels more Christmassy than Christmas time in Australia! Lots of people have a mini festive celebration in July. Who doesn’t love the idea of celebrating two Christmasses?
Head north to enjoy the beach and the sunshine. Or head south to enjoy the snow!
The top end and Red Centre are excellent choices for winter holidays in Australia – make the most of the dry season and explore these iconic destinations!
Enjoy your winter in Australia
Overall, if you’re looking for sunny skies, mild winters and low season prices and you want to avoid rainy season and high temperatures, winter is a lovely time of year to explore Australia!