Almost as large as the continental U.S. and Europe, Australia is MASSIVE, featuring a variety of unique destinations that transform each season. Picking the right place and time to visit Australia can be tricky, especially when factoring in wet vs dry seasons, Southern Hemisphere seasons, national holidays, and peak travel seasons – but don’t worry! We’ve put together a short guide detailing the best times to visit Australia for you to easily plan your trip Down Under.
Running from December to February, Summer is peak travel season in Australia, filling out hotels, flights, and tours with travelers from around the world looking to enjoy the warm weather in the Southern Hemisphere. Major cities will be packed with not only tourists but families and students on vacation for Christmas, New Years, and Boxing Day.
Instead of fighting the crowds in Sydney or Melbourne, get off the beaten path in Tasmania, which, while being one of the most popular regions year round, is a stunning landscape to get lost in. If you’re worried about tours filling up, rent a car and enjoy a self-drive itinerary along the island’s coasts and mountains. Make sure to visit one of the wineries and vineyards near Hobart, the capital, to taste some of the finest wine in the country, perfectly paired with delicious food during The Taste of Tasmania food festival in December.
If you want to experience the famous Australia waves, journey north of Sydney to Byron Bay by bus, plane, train or car, one of the liveliest hippy towns in Australia. Relax in the laid-back atmosphere while learning to surf with the locals.
Daring to visit the city? Make sure to experience White Night Melbourne, a dusk till dawn event in mid-February featuring dazzling light displays across the city’s historic buildings.
Whether you’re traveling to Australia for the harvest season or Autumn colors, March to May is a perfect off-peak season to experience this country. Sydney is enjoying comfortable weather while the peak tourist crowds are away, giving you the perfect chance to explore the capital of New South Wales. Melbourne and Brisbane are also good options if you want to hit up the other major cities on the East Coast while enjoying lowering prices on accommodation and flights.
But if you want to experience Australia’s wild-side, then head North to Darwin where you can discover Australia’s tropical wonders. Take a nature safari through Litchfield National Park and discover hidden waterfalls, jungles, and swimming holes.
Make sure to visit Sydney in March for the Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras, Sydney’s premiere Pride festival that transforms the city into a colorful party.
If you’re looking to experience Aboriginal culture first hand, travel to Ayers Rock for Tjungu Festival, a celebration of Australia’s Indigenous culture near one of the most sacred sites in the country, Ayers Rock.
One of the most enchanting festivals during Autumn is Vivid Sydney, running from May to June, where the city’s major attractions, from the Sydney Harbour to Taronga Zoo, come alive with music, lights, and creativity!
Most other countries would scoff at Australia’s Winter, where temperatures hardly drop below 65 F (15 C), but June to August is one of the best times to visit Australia, as the weather cools down and the crowds are limited to the major ski resorts.
This is your chance to travel to the Outback, specifically the Red Centre, to see the mighty Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock. This sacred Aboriginal plateau is a short but stunning visit from Ayers Rock Resort or a 3 day trip from Alice Springs, which lets you enjoy Kings Canyon ,the Garden of Eden and the Kata Tjuta National Park.
Still want to visit the beach? Head to Western Australia and cool off in the growing capital of Perth. From here you can explore fine wines along Margaret River, swim with dolphins in Rockingham, or journey up the coast to Exmouth and swim with whale sharks in the Ningaloo Reef.
If you journey to South Australia in August, prepare to be astounding at SALA, aka the South Australian Living Artists Festival. This statewide festival features artists and events in every major city, including the capital of Adelaide.
Visitors to Tasmania can also revel in the arts with Dark Mofo, a winter festival hosted by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), one of the most controversial museums in the world.
Spring is the time to shine across Australia as flowers bloom and wildlife come out to play from September to November. The steady transition from cool to hot weather makes this one of the most comfortable seasons in Australia, perfect for basking in the beauty of nature.
Take this chance to visit the capital of Canberra, host to dozens of free museums and galleries to explore on a budget, as well as a series of amazing wineries. Take in this green city in September and October to experience Floriade, Australia’s most beloved spring festival of colorful gardens at the national Arboretum, all for free!
Wildlife enthusiasts cannot miss out on Kangaroo Island, which rests just off the coast of Adelaide and offers the chance to see koalas clinging to trees while friendly seals laze on the shore. This amazing island is filled to the brim with amazing wildlife to spot either on a day trip or overnight stay at one of the island’s lovely eco-resorts.
Visitors to Melbourne won’t be able to ignore the exciting Melbourne Cup, Australia’s largest horse race, in early November. Even if you’re not a fan of horse racing, expect to be captivated by the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which features vintage fashion styles, music, and events in Flemington.