The Year-round Weather of Australia – the Land Down Under

Australia has its seasons in reverse to the majority of the world. When it is winter in Europe and America, it is summer in Australia, and vice versa. While it may be difficult to imagine Australians sunbathing on the beach and swimming and surfing in the ocean in December, that is generally how they spend their Christmas holiday.

Australia is a huge country, around the size of the contiguous United States, and it has several distinct climactic zones. The different climates create different types of landscapes: desert, mountain, rain forest and sunny beaches. Also, to the surprise of some, it does snow in Australia, there are winter snowfields in several states; and one of the most popular skiing areas is the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Australian’s ski season runs from June to September.

Although Australia does receive some snowfall, it is one of the driest places in the world, second only to Antarctica. Mulka Bora in South Australia is one of the country’s driest places, averaging around 4 inches of rain per year. In some parts of the huge, dry interior of the country, known as the Outback, it has not rained in several years. On the other hand, sudden downpours in the Outback can cause flash flooding and fill huge salt flats with water.

Most visitors to Australia arrive in Sydney; and the best time to visit the city and the surrounding area is the summer. Airfare tends to be lowest however, from around mid-April to mid-August. It is important to keep in mind that Australians often take their main vacation somewhere between Christmas and the end of January. Similar to the UK, Australians consider Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, to be a holiday.

Much of the vast interior of Australia is hot, and some inhabitants have created inventive ways to deal with the heat. The small town of Coober Pedy in South Australia is famous not only for being the opal mining capital of the world, but for having most of its homes and businesses underground, in order to escape the fierce summer heat. The advantage of a home carved from the rock is that the temperature remains constant year round; it also saves on air conditioning bills.

A driving trip through the Outback is an unforgettable experience. It is a good idea to carry extra water with you as well as such essential items as spare fuel, towing ropes and perhaps a satellite phone. The town of Alice Springs makes a great base for exploring the Outback and nearby Uluru (Ayers Rock). Alice Springs experiences some of the country’s highest temperatures, often reaching 100F degrees. Keep in mind that even though it can be hot during the day, temperatures can plunge overnight.

Parts of Northern Australia enjoy a tropical climate; much of Australia is closer to the equator than many people think. Winters in this part of the country are generally mild and pleasant, around 70F degrees; while summer temperatures can easily reach 100F. In this part of the country, summer is the rainy season. If you are visiting during June, July and August, expect bigger crowds.

One of the biggest attractions in Northern Australia is the huge Kakadu National Park, a World Heritage Sight covering over 4 million acres. The dry season, which occurs May through October, is definitely the best time to go, although you should try to book your tours and accommodation about a year in advance, if possible. However, Kakadu is also a wonderful experience in the wet season, which is generally November through April. Crowds are fewer and the rains can cause waterfalls to swell and create spectacular lightning storms.

No visit to Australia is complete without seeing one of the wonders of nature, the Great Barrier Reef. It is impressive any time of the year, but July through November is considered to be the best time; there is less chance of rain and the temperatures are a little bit cooler. The waters around the Barrier Reef are some of the clearest and cleanest in the world. If you are diving to see the reef, as thousands of vacationers do, August through January is peak visibility time.

Also, if you are visiting the northern coast of Australia, especially the northern Queensland area, you should be prepared for possible cyclones. These strong winds are caused by warm sea temperatures and generally occur from November to April. If a cyclone is likely, the local TV stations will broadcast a warning. It is strongly suggested that you should take shelter immediately or evacuate the area in the case of a cyclone.

Australia is absolutely a land of extremes, and that includes the climate. However, regardless of the weather, a trip to the Land Down Under is an unforgettable experience.

By: Craig Elliott

About the Author:

About Author:
Craig Elliott is a freelance writer who writes about topics pertaining to vacations and the travel industry such as Australia Travel | Flights to Australia

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