When's the best time to visit Australia

(21 Posts)
ChampagneAndCrisps Wed 07-May-14 18:55:15

As the title says...
We're hoping to go for a three week family holiday to Australia - thinking Syndney, Melbourne, Cairns at least.
Originally we planned to go this Christmas - but now worry it will be too hot.
Any advice? Should we try for October next year instead?
Thanks

specialsubject Thu 08-May-14 14:30:47

the hugeness of Oz means it is always a good time somewhere. Xmas is of course summer for Sydney and Melbourne, but if you are thinking Sydney for new year you need to book yesterday. It will indeed be hot.

I spent a fun Christmas on a campsite in the Flinders ranges in South Australia, just on the limit of what is feasible for the outback. Very, very hot of course. I wouldn't go any further!

Cairns has no beach. You can't swim in the sea in the tropics round Oz for much of the summer due to jellyfish. Rivers are out due to crocodiles. I think it is also monsoon season, 'the wet' which makes a lot of places inaccessible.

So in Aussie summer go south, in their winter go north. October...interesting choice!

PeppermintInfusion Thu 08-May-14 15:27:07

I went for my honeymoon last year in September, so a similar time. We had to rule out Melbourne as it was going to be too cold and wet, so did 5 days Sydney and 5 days in Brisbane/Gold Coast.
Sydney was very mild, though the weather was changeable- starting out hot (by uk standards anyway) then cooling down and breezier later or vice versa. However it was certainly still very pleasant, and even the coldest days just required a cardi/light jacket and we still sat outside in bars and restaurants etc.
Brisbane was balmy, although we got an unseasonable storm.
One thing I would say is that we regretted not going somewhere that wasn't a city, as it felt like a series of back to back city breaks(we had stopovers in Singapore and Hong Kong too). So Cairns would give you the experience of the rainforest/GBR/etc, or Fraser Island or the whitsundays. They're on the list when we eventually return!

Scotinoz Fri 09-May-14 21:45:34

Not that it really helps, but Melbourne weather is weird. Forecast for next week is 20degree sunshine. Hello late autumn!

I reckon November/early December is nice in Melbourne, as is March. Jan/Feb are generally stinking hot.

Christmas is super expensive though - it's when we all go on holiday too.

ChampagneAndCrisps Fri 09-May-14 21:57:52

Thank you - food for thought

ShanghaiDiva Sat 10-May-14 03:32:12

February is a good time to go as I think most children are back at school and it is not so expensive or crowded. We went to Sydney and Tasmania in February a few years ago and weather was lovely.

CrystalDeCanter Sat 10-May-14 03:39:26

March/early April is great. Feb absolutely roasting - well it is down here in Adelaide (think Greece in August) but not so sure about Sydney

This is a good link (Australia Bureau of Meteorology) you can check out average temps for different places.

CrystalDeCanter Sat 10-May-14 03:42:30

Also remember that if you go in spring/early summer (Oct-Nov/Dec) then the countryside outside of Melb/Syd will be lovely and green. If you go in Autumn (Mar-May) it will be totally dry and brown. Which can be nice (very distinctively Australian) but a bit odd looking to UK eyes I think. It did take me a few years to appreciate it and not long for rolling green hills.

MadonnaKebab Sat 10-May-14 04:08:25

I vote for late spring, ie Oct-Dec
Unless you have lots of time I wouldn't do both Sydney & Melbourne, too similar (I'd pick Sydney, but stay very central)
Canberra is actually great to visit, very underrated
Then Queensland eg cairns, and if you have time the Red Centre

MaMaPo Sat 10-May-14 04:29:43

October/November would be nice - weather in Melbourne would be changeable (and possibility of wet) but it's lovely. I got married at the start of Nov near Melbourne a couple of years ago - it was 32ºC.

Previous poster was right - it'll be nice somewhere, whenever you come. Enjoy planning!

HowsTheSerenity Sat 10-May-14 04:58:45

Cairns is soooooo boring.
I'd go our west instead. Or further down the QLD coast.
Summer is too hot and it's school holidays so everything is mire expensive. March is nice. Also October.
I'd do Sydney for the iconic places. Brisbane is good to relax and you are close to the gold and sunshine coasts and the hinterlands.

MaMaPo Sat 10-May-14 05:38:37

Yeah, I adore Melbourne (am born and bred) but as a tourist, go to Sydney. Fraser Island is nice too.

Jenny70 Sat 10-May-14 06:16:58

Cairns itself isn't much - but is a good base to take day trips to the Great Barrier Reef, rainforest etc. Also can do white water rafting etc. Bit north of Cairns (Port Douglas) are the resorts where it is sit by pool and feel very luxurious.

Melbourne is the most "European" city, whether or not that is a good thing depends on your taste. Loads of restaurants, galleries etc. Good public transport too, which opens up the city to day trips without needing a car.

Sydney has lovely areas, but is a big city, with traffic snarls and personally not my taste, but I imagine a tourist wouldn't feel they'd done Australia unless they had seen the Opera House and Bridge... and they do have nice beaches. We took a lovely day trip to Ku-ring-gai Chase - a National Park about an hour drive north of Sydney, beautiful bushland, amazing inlet and you could hire a little boat to putt around in... and some amazing houses overlooking it.

Maybe choose 2 destinations (rather than Melb, Syd & Cairns), and try to do something a bit more "out of the box" in one place - an overnight trip into bushland, national parks or something less mainstream.

Sounds fun.

specialsubject Sat 10-May-14 11:35:04

...for which I'd recommend Adelaide - wonderful beaches nearby (there's Glenelg at the end of a tram and the glorious Fleurieu Peninsula an hour away), Mt Lofty, Cleland wildlife park and then head off for a little bit of outback, time of year dependent.

Squirrelsmum Sat 10-May-14 11:44:06

It is beautiful this time of year in between it being brain burningly hot and too cold. For doing the tourist thing it would suggest autumn, it gets hot here in summer, January is our hottest month and it sucks. Early April it has cooled off enough that you escape the hot in the north but it isn't too cold in the south. We live halfway up the coast and the kids still swim until the Easter school break.

angelcake20 Sun 11-May-14 23:25:13

I would recommend November or February for the south but it depends whether you are tied to school holidays, and that would be the wet season in Cairns. We have just returned from spending 2.5 weeks in Australia for the Easter holidays thinking that it would provide a decent balance and be reasonable in both Sydney and Cairns. Instead it rained for most of our first week in Sydney and we had to leave Cairns after 48 hours as Cyclone Ita was about to hit. Fortunately the last 5 days in Sydney and the Blue Mountains were clear, if not really warm. Our conclusion - you can't see both north and south at their best in one trip. We are going back next year, budget allowing, in July, to do Cairns, Uluru and possibly Darwin, as we were devastated not to be able to get to the Reef. We managed to get to the Rainforest in our one day in Cairns, which was spectacular, but the Blue Mountains was my highlight. Sydney is a really lovely city but the kids would have much preferred to have gone while it was beach weather. On the other hand, everyone kept insisting that the weather shouldn't have been like that!

JassyRadlett Mon 12-May-14 00:44:57

We go every Easter - the best chance of good weather everywhere. Flights are ok too, the double in cost at Christmas.

If you have 3 weeks, I think that's more than enough for 3 centres and Sydney (train up into Blue Mountains, spectacular), Melbourne and perhaps Uluru would be my pick. Don't go to Cairns unless it's as a hopping off point to the Reef - not worth it, quite dull.

I don't get the Adelaide love but Brisbane is increasingly fab - my very culture-loving husband always finds enough to keep him busy in Brisbane and it's handy for the Gold and Sunshine Coasts - some of the best beaches around.

ThePost Mon 12-May-14 00:47:04

March / April, October / November. Warming up nicely but no stinking hot 40C days.

EverythingCounts Mon 12-May-14 00:56:32

Christmas is massively expensive - for hotels, flights, everything. If you are at all budget conscious and can go at another time, do.

HowsTheSerenity Mon 12-May-14 01:34:20

I'd avoid Cairns. If you want to seethe reef then stay one night. Even Port Douglas has become very tacky and plasticky.
I'd go to Adleiade and explore the vineyards and German areas (for the food). What about Perth? Swim with dolphins and whale sharks.
Or go to the Northern Territory and Kakadu, Ayers Rock/Uluru etc

Mutley77 Mon 12-May-14 05:57:31

I certainly wouldn't go to Melbourne or Sydney in February - that is still summer and you have a high chance of 40 degree (or over) days. I find Feb a lot worse than December as the ground, the buildings etc have all heated up throughout the summer and the 40 degree days are totally unbearable particularly right in the city.

And the optimum time to do Uluru, North Queensland and Darwin would be July/August so it may be hard to combine both.

But October sounds like a pretty good compromise particularly if you aren't going to be North for very long.

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