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Climate & Seasons

Australia’s experiences a variety of climatic conditions, primarily due to the vast size of the continent. There are six distinct climate groups; Equitorial, Tropical, Sub-tropical, Desert, Grassland and Temperate.

The Temperate zone occupies the coastal regions of New South Wales (Sydney), Victoria (Great Ocean Road, East Gippsland, Phillip Island), Tasmania and most of South Australia (Kangaroo Island, Eyre Peninsula). Four seasons are apparent in this area according to the following cycle (opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere). 

  • Summer: December to February (Average Temperature: Minimum 16°C and Maximum 26°C)
  • Autumn: March to May (Average Temperature: Minimum 11°C and Maximum 20°C)
  • Winter: June to August (Average Temperature: Minimum 6°C and Maximum 14°C)
  • Spring: September to November (Average Temperature: Minimum 10°C and Maximum 20°C)

 The climate in the southern outback is generally dry and sunny year round. Over the summer months from December to February/March it can get very hot during the days and quite warm in the evenings. In winter months from June to August the days are pleasant with nights getting cold, often dropping below 0°C.

Image Courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology

Climate Map

The two other zones affected by the temperate seasons are Grasslands and Deserts. The Grasslands are a belt surrounding the arid and semi-arid desert areas, seeping into areas of the Red Centre (Uluru, Alice Springs), Flinders Ranges and Northwest Cape around Exmouth and Ningaloo. Desert arid and semi-arid areas are found across the centre of the continent, with this area characterised by high temperatures during the day and chilly conditions at night. Temperatures range from 40°C in the summer to between 16°C and 24°C in the winter. At night the temperature can vary from 19°C to 0°C.

Three climatic zones are found in the tropical regions of Australia. The Tropical zone covers the Top End of the Northern Territory including Kakadu and Arnhem Land. The Sub-tropical zone comprises of the coastal and inland fringe along the Queensland coast, with Lady Elliot Island falling in this zone. Rather than the four seasons found across the Temperate zones, the tropical regions of Australia have distinct wet and dry seasons.

The dry season across Kakadu and Arnhem Land lasts about six months, usually between April and October. Temperatures are lower and the skies are generally clearer during the dry. The average temperature is around 20°C. The 'build up' is the humid time of year between the wet and dry seasons. It usually lasts for three or four months. The wet season occurs between November and March. It is hotter than the dry season, with temperatures often over 30°C and high humidity in the air. During the wet season there can be large amounts of rain, especially in the Tropical zone.