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New South Wales (NSW) & Sydney
NSW can be roughly divided into the following four regions: the coastal strip; the Great Dividing Range, about 100km inland from the coast; the Blue Mountains west of Sydney; and the Snowy Mountains in the south. West of the Great Dividing Range is farming country: dry plains that cover two-thirds of the state. The plains fade into the outback in the far west, where summer temperatures can soar to over 40ºC. The major rivers are the Murray and the Darling, which meander westward across the plains. In winter, the Snowy Mountains live up to their name.
Sydney is blessed with a pleasant climate, rarely dropping below 10ºC at night and with average summer temperatures of around 25°C. Summer temperatures can reach 40°C and high humidity can make it oppressive, but heavy downpours often break the heat between October and March. Winters are cool rather than cold. The weather in March-April and October-November is delightful, with clear, warm days and mild nights.
For more information about Sydney and surrounding area, view the NSW - Fact sheet (pdf 56kb or rtf 265kb) and/or visit the NSW Government Visitors website.
Victoria (VIC) & Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria enjoys manageable summers, glorious springs, mild autumns and crisp winters. With its variable climate, Melbourne is warm to hot in summer (December to February), mild in autumn (March to May), cold and damp in winter (June to August) and cool in spring (September to November).
Victoria's warmest months are January and February where the average temperature is 25.8°C - this is the time when picnicking, cycling, sailing, windsurfing, swimming and surfing are at its peak. In contrast, June and July are the coldest months where the temperature ranges between 5.9°C and 14°C - during these months skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing are enjoyed in the picturesque High Country, one of the most beautiful alpine regions in Australia. For those in-between months, Victoria's climate is perfect for fishing, playing a round of golf, mountain biking, horse riding, rock climbing or touring the many wine growing regions and stopping off at farm gate and roadside stalls offering local produce.
For more information about Melbourne and surrounding area, view the VIC - Fact sheet (pdf 51.3kb or rtf 273.61kb) and/or visit the Study Melbourne website.
South Australia (SA) & Adelaide
The fourth largest of Australia’s six States and two Territories, South Australia is a sophisticated, modern, stylish and affordable place to live, work and study. It has a population of 1.4 million with more than 1.1 million residing in the capital city of Adelaide.
South Australia’s climate is Mediterranean with a hot, dry summer; a mild autumn; a cool, wet winter; and a mild spring, with most rain falling between May and August. While 75% of the state is dry and semi-desert, the south-east of the state is home to rich farming and grazing land plus the famous Barossa Valley region producing some of Australia’s best food and wine.
Adelaide has all the characteristics of a major urban centre with both modern and classical architecture, a bustling retail hub and a multi-cultural population. The city’s Mediterranean climate is perfect for people who enjoy outdoor, healthy, vibrant lifestyles with residents enjoying clean, sandy beaches and scenic hills, both about 30 minutes drive from the city centre. Adelaide’s average summer temperatures range between 17°C – 29°C and average winter temperatures range between 7°C – 16°C.
For more information about Adelaide and surrounding area, view the SA - Fact sheet (pdf 197kb or rtf 2.16mb) and/or visit the South Australian government website.
Western Australia (WA) & Perth
WA is the country's largest state, comprising one-third of its land mass. Interesting variations in landscape include the Kimberley, in the extreme north of the state, which is a wild and rugged area with a convoluted coastline and stunning inland gorges. The Pilbara, in the northwest of the region, is magnificent ancient-rock and gorge country. Away from the coast most of WA is a huge empty stretch of outback: along with the Nullarbor Plain and the Great Sandy Desert, the Gibson and Great Victoria Deserts cover much of the state. The southwestern corner of the state is a fertile area of forest and vineyards, and is only small in comparison to the rest of WA.
WA is tropical in the north, where the dry and wet seasons replace winter and summer. Port Hedland experiences a cyclone at least every two years. In the interior the climate is semi-arid and arid. The southwest of WA is temperate: it's often above 25°C while the average temperature along the Kimberley Coast is 28°C. Up in the Pilbara temperatures can soar to 48°C. Perth has a long and hot summer where little rain falls and the temperature can stay around 30°C, especially in January and February. Winds off the sea, known as the 'Fremantle Doctor' help cool the city. Winter brings coolish weather and rain, with an average temperature of 18°C.
For more information about Perth and surrounding area, view the WA - Fact sheet (pdf 47.4kb or rtf 268.83kb) and/or visit the Western Australian government website.
Northern Territory (NT) & Darwin
Although roughly 80% of the NT is in the tropics, only the northern 25%, known as the Top End, has anything that resembles the popular idea of a tropical climate. It's a distinct region of savanna woodlands and rainforest pockets – in the northeast, the Arnhem Land plateau rises abruptly from the plain and continues to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Much of the southern 75% of the Territory consists of desert or semi-arid plain.
Like Australia's other far north regions (in WA and Queensland), the Top End's climate is described in terms of the Dry and the Wet, with year-round maximum temperatures of 30°C to 34°C and minimums between 19°C and 26°C. In the centre, temperatures are much more variable, plummeting below freezing on winter nights and soaring above 40°C on summer days. The most comfortable time to visit both the centre and the Top End is June and July, though the centre is pleasant as early as April. The Top End (including Darwin) has its good points during the Wet – everything is green, and there are spectacular electrical storms and relatively few tourists. However, the combination of heat and high humidity can be unbearable and some national parks are either partially or totally closed.
For more information about Darwin and surrounding area, view the NT - Fact sheet (pdf 47.5kb or rtf 264.68kb) and/or visit the Northern Territory government website.
Queensland (QLD) & Brisbane
Queensland is dominated by the coast. It's no surprise that most of the settlements and tourist attractions are concentrated in this narrow coastal strip, which has some amazing natural features such as the Great Barrier Reef and lush rainforests. Inland is the Great Dividing Range and the tablelands, fertile areas of flat agricultural land that run to the west. Then there's the barren outback, which fades into the Northern Territory. In the far northern Gulf Country and Cape York Peninsula there are huge empty regions cut by countless dry riverbeds, which can become overflowing rivers in the wet season.
Northern Queensland seasons are more a case of hot and wet or cool and dry than of summer and winter. November/December to April/May is the wetter, hotter half of the year, while the real Wet, particularly affecting northern coastal areas, is January to March. This is also the season for cyclones. Queensland doesn't really experience 'cold weather', except inland or upland at night from about May to September. Temperatures in Brisbane, in the south of the state, rarely drop below 20°C and, while it doesn't suffer the stifling humidity you'll find further north, the climate is still most pleasant in winter (June to August).
For more information about Brisbane and surrounding area, view the QLD - Fact sheet (pdf 43.8kb or rtf 264.11kb) and/or visit the Queensland government website.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) & Canberra
The ACT lies in the southeast of New South Wales. It covers 2,366 sq km and features rugged blue-grey ranges in the south and west, with Canberra, located in the northeast corner. The splendid ridges, forests and pristine rivers and waterholes of Namadgi National Park cover 40% of the territory.
Summer days across the ACT range from warm to hot, though the temperature doesn't often get to 40ºC. Winter days are cool and sometimes gloriously sunny, with little wind, and often start with early morning frost and fog. Winter nights hover around 0ºC during July. Canberra gets a lot of sunshine and receives an annual average rainfall of 630mm, most of it falling in the west of the territory. Snow in the city is rare, falling twice a year at most, but is more common in the ranges of Namadgi National Park.
For more information about Canberra and surrounding area view the ACT - Fact Sheet (pdf 59 kb or rtf 272 kb) and/or visit the ACT Government Visitors website.
Tasmania (TAS) & Hobart
The first thing you might notice about being in Tasmania is the air – it’s the cleanest air in the world.
Our island enjoys a temperate maritime climate with four distinct seasons, without regular extremes of heat or cold. In summer the days are generally warm rather than hot, while the nights are mild.
Conditions are usually warm up until March, when temperatures (and leaves) begin to fall. Autumn is generally characterized by cool sunny days. Winter can be quite cold with occasional frosty nights, but with stunningly clear sunny days.
Like the rest of Australia, Tasmania's population is predominantly based around its coastline, with two major cities: Hobart (the capital city) and Launceston. Based on European styled architecture, our cities are vibrant and offer all the attractions of modern western culture – but without the traffic jams and pollution. Within a short drive from our cities, the island’s rugged west coast contains rich forests and mountains, almost all of it World Heritage-listed, while Eastern Tasmania is very different. It is known for its sunshine and idyllic beaches. Tasmania’s fresh produce is renowned around the world, especially our seafood, and is readily available from restaurants in our cities.
For more information about Hobart and surrounding area, view the TAS - Fact sheet (pdf 50kb or rtf 271.46kb) and/or visit the Tasmanian government website.