Australia's Climate

Australia is bisected by the tropic of Capricorn; much of Australia is closer to the equator than any part of the USA. Accordingly, the northern Australia enjoys a tropical climate, and southern Australia a temperate one.

The tropical states Queensland and the Northern Territory have highly predictable weather. In ``winter'', typical daily maximums are from 20 to 24 degrees Celsius (68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and rain is rare. The beaches and tropical islands of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are perhaps at their most pleasant at this time of year. Further south, the weather is less dependable; in Melbourne in August maximums as low as 13 (56F) degrees are possible, but can reach as high as 23 (72F) degrees.

In summer, the northern states are hotter and wetter, while the southern states are simply hotter, with temperatures up to 41 (105F) in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne but generally between 25 and 33 - very pleasant indeed.

Snow is rare in the southernmost capitals Melbourne and Hobart, falling less than once every ten years, and in the other capitals it is unknown. However, there are extensive, well-developed ski fields in the Great Dividing Range, a few hours drive from Melbourne and Sydney. Late August marks the peak of the snow season, and the ski resorts are a popular destination; perhaps too popular for some tastes. An alternative skiing destination is New Zealand, which provides skiers with excellent snow and facilities at lower cost.

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These pages were prepared by Justin Zobel and Michael Fuller and do not represent the official views of RMIT or any tourism authorities.