Bureau of Meteorology, major climatic zones
Due to the size of the continent, there is not one single seasonal calendar for the entire continent. Instead there are six climatic zones and this translates as two main seasonal patterns.
There is a Summer / Autumn / Winter / Spring pattern in the Temperate zone, also affecting the Desert and the Grassland climatic zones and, a Wet / Dry pattern in the tropical north which includes the Equatorial, Tropical and sub-tropical zones.
Depending upon where you are each Month, the season will vary on whether the weather is defined by the Temperate zone seasons or the tropical seasons.
Climatic zonesThe temperate zone: a Summer / Autumn / Winter / Spring patternThe Temperate zone occupies the coastal hinterland of New South Wales, much of Victoria, Tasmania, the south-eastern corner of South Australia and the south-west of Western Australia. The seasons in the temperate zone are described in terms of European seasons applied to the southern hemisphere in the following sequence:
- Summer: December to February
- Autumn: March to May
- Winter: June to August
- Spring: September to November
Autumn is a fantastic time to explore Australia, and I actually recommend these months over high summer when it is sometimes too hot and too crowded to fully enjoy yourself. In autumn, the sun shines strong and many people still head to the beach. It’s also helpful that many of the flights to Australia will drop in price a bit from those of the summer months.
In the tropical north areas of Australia, such as Cairns and Cooktown, the wet season is still leaving its mark, producing highly humid weather adding to the already hot temperatures. It won’t be until the winter months that this humidity drops to a more manageable level. You can still visit these areas though; just be prepared to sweat a bit more than normal, drink plenty of fluids and jump into a swimming hole now and again.
If you’re a wine lover, then autumn is a perfect opportunity for a visit to the Yarra Valley or Hunter Valley for a tasting getaway. Check out the Australian tours page for more touring ideas involving the grape. There are also a number of food and wine festivals happening during this season.