Australian weather and the seasons

Like all countries in the southern hemisphere (the hemisphere south of the Equator), Australia's seasons follow the sequence:

  • Summer: December to February
  • Autumn: March to May
  • Winter: June to August
  • Spring: September to November

This means that the Australian Christmas takes place at the height of summer. It also means that the mid-year break for students happens in winter. The end of year break for students is commonly known as the 'summer holidays', or the 'Christmas holidays'.

Even though the four 'official' calendar seasons have the same names as the northern hemisphere seasons, the weather during these seasons is very different to northern hemisphere weather patterns. Australia is generally a very dry place, so summers can get much hotter. The pattern of rainfall is also distinct - some places have abundant rain at one time of the year and almost none at other times.

A quick look at major cities:

Mean Temperatures (°C) Rain
January July (mm)
Location Max Min Max Min Annual
Adelaide
28.5 16.6 14.9 7.5 553
Alice Springs 36.1 21.2 19.5 4.0 274
Brisbane 
29.2 21.0 20.6 9.5 1189
Canberra  
27.8 12.9 11.1 -0.2 631
Darwin
31.8 24.8 30.4 19.3 1666
Hobart
21.5 11.7 11.5 4.5 624
Melbourne
25.7 14.0 13.3 5.8 661
Perth 31.5 16.8 17.7 8.1 869
Sydney
26.3 18.5 16.9 6.7 1220
Information provided Courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology

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