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During Australia's winter you can ski down snow-capped mountains, bask on tropical beaches and drive across outback deserts - all in the same week! Ther options are endless: if you're visiting Oz in June, July and August, here are the best things to do and see.

Australian Winter

When is Winter in Australia?

Australian winter begins in June and lasts until the end of August. 

Australia's winter is warmer than some Northern Hemisphere countries in summer...
Is Australia cold in winter? It's cooler than summer, but if you're travelling from the Northern Hemisphere, you'll almost certainly find the temperatures much warmer than at home.

...but winter temperatures differ from state to state.
In Australia's southern states, expect cool (but often sunny) days followed by cold nights. A few places may experience freezing temperatures and snow in the mountains. In contrast, the northern Australian states have a much balmier winter. It's warm enough to enjoy surfing, swimming and lounging on the beach.

Check out winter temperatures in your favourite Australian cities.

Winter may be a better time than summer for visiting certain Australian icons...
Winter is the ideal time to tackle the Top End and Northern Territory: the weather will be cooler and dryer so you can enjoy Uluru, Kakadu, Litchfield National Park and Darwin to your heart's content.

Winter is also one of the best times to visit the Great Barrier Reef: low rainfall means clearer waters and better views, the temperature is mild, and there are no stingers (box jellyfish) to avoid!

...and it may be a better time for your wallet too.
It's safe to say that Australian winter has something for everyone - great news for families in the UK, Europe and USA, as it falls right in the middle of the summer school holiday period there.

Sounds promising? Read on for our month-by-month guide to winter Down Under.


Australia in June: Winter is Coming

You can ski by day...
Winter officially begins on 1 June, but the action starts a few days later: the Queens Birthday Weekend public holiday, held on the second weekend in June, marks the opening of Australia's snow season. Head to the slopes in New South Wales, Victoria or Tasmania to get your powder fix.

...and celebrate by night.
There are plenty of winter festivals in the cooler southern states. Sydney's Vivid festival takes advantage of June's early sunsets to fill the city with incredible illuminations after dark. Meanwhile, Melbourne's world-renowned International Jazz Festival will get your toes tapping... and not just to keep them warm.

Your piggy bank will thank you for travelling in June.
There aren't any major Australian school holidays in June, which helps to keep accommodation costs low. Since June is seen as low season by many major airlines, your wallet will thank you for travelling this month!


Kakadu National Park

Australia in July: Midwinter Down Under

Have you ever heard of Christmas in July?
Don't be surprised to see cheesy Christmas sweaters and turkey dinners on offer at the pub. In New South Wales, the Blue Mountains region even hosts Yulefest every year: expect log fires, Christmas food, singalongs and even Santa if you're lucky!

July is a great time to "go troppo"
For fun in the sun, make your way to Australia's Tropical North. Beat the winter blues on the beaches of Northern Queensland and Western Australia, where you can swim among the gorgeous coral reefs or watch migrating whales as they breach the ocean surface. 

Avoiding July's busiest periods:
If travelling in July, do be aware that local schools will usually be on holiday for the first 3 weeks of the month. You may find tourist areas busier than expected, and accommodation prices higher.

Tropical Beach

August in Australia: Discover the Desert

Travel in August to beat the extreme outback heat...
August is the ideal time to tackle the Top End and Northern Territory: the weather will be cooler and dryer so you can enjoy Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kakadu, Litchfield National Park and Darwin to your heart's content. 

Another advantage of visiting the Top End at this time of year? Far fewer mosquitoes!

...but you might feel chilly when the sun goes down.
Remember to pack warm clothes: outback deserts may be warm by day, but temperatures drop considerably in winter at night.

Australia's world-renowned reef is a prime August destination.
August is also a wonderful time to visit the Great Barrier Reef: low rainfall means clearer waters and better views, the temperature is mild, and there are no stingers (box jellyfish) to avoid. 

Budget-conscious travellers should choose wisely.
With no school holidays to worry about, accommodation in Australia in August tends to be plentiful and budget-friendly. 
Alpine areas are an exception: during peak snow season, the rates are often far higher than the warmer months.

Red Centre

Best Australian Winter Destinations

Now that we've persuaded you to take a winter trip to Oz, we'll let you in on some of our favourite winter experiences:

Western Australia: The Coral Coast
Beginning 2 hours north of Perth, the Coral Coast stretches 1100 km from Cervantes to Exmouth. Its white-sand beaches, pristine coral reefs and pinnacle-filled deserts should be high on your list of winter holiday adventures. Winter's a great time to visit, with low humidity and comfortably warm temperatures.

Coral Coast Sample Itinerary - 11-day Perth to Exmouth Self-Drive for Families

Queensland: Cairns and the Far North
With its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, Cairns is a haven of scuba diving, snorkelling, reef cruises, all types of fishing, rainforest walks, native bird and wildlife watching. Dry Season (May to November) is the best time to enjoy the World-Heritage-Listed natural wonders of this tropical region.

Looking for winter sun? Try our 9 Day Tropical North Queensland Itinerary

Sydney & New South Wales
Sydney may not be tropical, but its winters are mild: you can leave your big winter coats and woolly sweaters at home! Bondi Beach is at its emptiest, and you can enjoy oceanside walks in the winter sun without fighting the crowds. Explore the wider Sydney region with day trips to the gorgeous Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley.

Our 11-Day Sydney to Brisbane Coastal Explorer Self Drive Itinerary visits the Blue Mountains, Hunter Valley and much more

South Australia: The Authentic Outback
Australia's outback is too hot for many during the summer months - it's far more comfortable to tackle it in winter. Rekindle your sense of adventure with an outback road trip through South Australia's former mining settlements, historic gold rush townships and vast landscapes of deep red Outback earth. It's a side of Australia often missed by visitors.

Follow the footsteps of the pioneers with this 12 Day Outback Self Drive itinerary

Uluru and Australia's Red Centre
With untamed surroundings, jaw-dropping rock formations, and ancient indigenous history & mythology, Australia's Red Centre is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the most iconic and well-known attraction, but Kata Tjuta's mysterious rocks, King's Canyon gorges and the MacDonnell Ranges are utterly spellbinding neighbours who deserve a visit too. The daytime temperatures will be pleasantly warm, but be the desert will be freezing cold at night, so pack accordingly.

Ready for a thrilling journey to the Red Centre? Our 6 Day Red Centre Active Adventure itinerary could be just the ticket.

Byron Bay

Australia's Best Winter Events & Activities

VIVID Sydney: A light show like no other
VIVID is Sydney's festival of light, music and ideas. Over two million people flock here in June to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge bathed in colour from the mesmerising city-wide light installations. When night falls, even the ferries are illuminated in bright colours.

Tasmania: Dark Mofo Winter Feast
Dark Mofo is Tasmania's winter solstice celebration, with a gigantic banquet featuring the state's top food venues and growers. Innovative art, light and music shows dominate Hobart each June and you don't want to miss the atmosphere.

Whale Watching
Humans aren't the only species to flock to Australia for winter sunshine: whales want to keep warm too! They migrate to Australia between May and November, and you can see them off the coast of... well, every state with a coast. Southern right whales prefer South Australia and Victoria's temperate waters, while Queensland and New South Wales attract the humpbacks. Hervey Bay in Queensland, Jervis Bay in NSW and Warrnambool in Victoria are all well-known whale-watching hotspots.

Uluru Sunset Tour
See the many moods of Australia's iconic Rock as the colours change with the setting sun. Take a tour with an indigenous guide to visit the waterholes and rock art sites: you will learn the local Tjukurpa (Aboriginal creation stories) and see how these stories are mapped out in the landscapes right before your eyes. Then relax and witness a spectacular sunset and absorb the majesty of this powerful place: it will take your breath away.

Skiing in the Snowy Mountains
Stunning Kosciusko National Park is home to the Snowy Mountains, one of Australia's premier snowsports destinations. Not keen on skiing? Try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, tobogganing, hiking, mountain biking, or simply enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

Travel Tips For Australia in Winter


  • Pack for warmth during the day, with cosy layers for night time. 
  • Though there's plenty of sunshine in winter, Don't forget your waterproofs.
  • Weather-wise, winter is the most comfortable time to visit Australia's tropical, desert and outback regions.
  • Even in winter, the Australian sun packs a punch - don't forget your sunscreen.
  • Winter is generally a budget-friendly time to travel to Australia - but book early for alpine ski resorts or if travelling during major events (like Sydney's VIVID festival) - accommodation prices will rise if you leave it too late.
  • Winter weather varies drastically from state to state! Click here for month-by-month Australian temperature and rainfall statistics in major locations.


More Seasonal Guides to Australia

Whenever you're travelling, we have tips for every season:

Guide to Spring in Australia (Sept-Nov)
Guide to Summer in Australia (Dec-Feb)
Guide to Autumn/Fall in Australia (Mar-May)


For expert help with your holiday, try our free Itinerary Planning Service today - our expert Travel Specialists will work with you to create the Australian vacation you've always wanted.

Australian Self Drive Tours
Submitted by
Marianne Davies
: 17 Jul 2019 (Last updated: 15 Oct 2019)

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