When you think of Australia you probably picture white pristine beaches with tanned locals running into the waves and kangaroos lounging in the sunshine. You may even think that we all look like model extras from Neighbours or Home and Away. So why would you bother booking a trip here in the winter time? How are you going to land yourself the next Margot Robbie or a Hemsworth brother in the winter? Well, let me assure you, Australia has so much to offer year-round, and one of the best times to score the cheapest flight deals, experience the best festivals and explore this amazing country is during winter! From skiing in the south to enjoying the sunshine in the north, you’ll love winter in Australia.
Winter weather in Australia
The winter months in Australia run from June through to August – but the weather differs dramatically depending on where you’re heading. Remember, Australia is roughly the same size as Europe, so while some people may be lapping up the sunshine on their surfboards, the other side of the country could be curving up the powder on their snowboards. Over in Western Australia, we experience an extremely mild winter. When it hits 20 degrees Celsius (approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit for our American friends), we’ll all start complaining and grabbing our tracky dacks and uggs (that’s Australian for comfy pants and warm boots). That won’t stop us from heading to the beach when the sun peaks through the clouds though. Queensland also shares this mild winter, boasting its highest rainfall during the summer. The top end of the Northern Territory has its own tropical climate which is classified as the wet and dry season. Winter falls in the dry season which makes it one of the best times to visit. It’s not as humid which means you won’t be rocking the frizzy hair and can go out without frying under the sun. The two cities that come to mind when you think of Australia, Melbourne and Sydney, are where you can expect some of the coolest weather during an Aussie winter. However, these cities are also where you’ll find some of the best festivals and winter adventures.
Does it snow in Australia?
When you think of a snow holiday you probably picture the Austrian Alps or Japan’s slopes. Here in Australia we also have our fair share of slopes to try have a go at skiing, snowboarding, or if you’re a chicken (like me) just enjoy making snow angels. A three-hour drive from Melbourne you’ll find Mt Buller, which boasts over 700 acres of skiable territory. If you want to check out the ‘Powder Capital of Australia’ you’ll have to head to Mt Hotham which holds the record for the most annual snowfall in Victoria. Perhaps the best-known ski slope though is Thredbo, located in between Melbourne and Sydney and home to some of the longest slopes in Australia. Perfect for beginners, Thredbo also poses challenges for more advanced skiers with its steep terrains.
Australian events and festivals in the winter
Winter in Australia also offers some of the best festivals our country has to offer. From music and art to beer and mosh pits, here are my top picks of the best things to do in the winter.
Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas. Innovative light installations take over the city, transforming it into a free exhibition showcasing insane designs and creative pieces. Local and international acts inhabit the Sydney Opera House, as well as other venues and bars across the city, to provide an eclectic range of performances guaranteed to suit even the pickiest of tastes. After you’ve got your creative juices all warmed up, it’s time to attend one of the many professional development events to discuss new ideas and explore the future of our creative industries.
📅 25 May – 16 June 2018
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Winter is the best time to jump over the Bass Strait to attend Dark Mofo in Tasmania, a celebration of the darkness that the winter solstice brings through the installation of insane lights. Highlights of the festival include the Nude Solstice Swim (reckon you can handle the cold beach?) and performances from artists such as Tim Minchin.
📅 8 June – 24 June 2018
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Adelaide Cabaret Festival
The capital of South Australia, Adelaide, is often forgotten when visiting Australia. However, if you’re into live performances then you should not skip this city! Every summer Adelaide hosts the second largest Fringe Festival in the world, and to keep the fun going into winter they’ve introduced a cabaret festival to showcase some of the best acts from around the country. If you like glitter, drag queens and dramatic costumes, this is where you’ll want to be.
📅 8 June – 28 June 2018
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Naidoc week is a nationwide celebration of the history, culture, and achievements of the traditional owners of the land, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s held in the first full week in July and includes many cultural and educational activities such as listening to traditional music (I still don’t understand how a didgeridoo can make all those incredible sounds), learning about Aboriginal art and watching traditional dance.
📅 8 July – 15 July 2018
Splendour in the Grass
Splendour is one of the most loved music festivals in Australia. Held in New South Wales, punters come from all over the country to catch music from artists such as The Strokes, The Cure, and Blur to Kanye West, Mark Ronson and The XX. Prided to be Australia’s largest winter music festival, Splendour delights crowds year after year with great musical line-ups, as well as fun activities such as Splendour in the Craft (get that hot glue gun warmed up), yoga in the Bohemian Lounge, and even a comedy club!
📅 20 July – 22 July 2018
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A free food and wine festival in Brisbane… need I say more? In July the sunshine state shows off all things tasty with celebrity chef appearances and food and stalls serving up tastes from around the world. Regional Flavours attracts all walks of life, from wine connoisseurs to those of us who just love a good food stall and a drink outside with our mates.
📅 21 July – 22 July 2018
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Beer Can Regatta
It’s no secret that Australians like to drink. Give us a cold beer and we’ll be all ‘maaaaaaate you’re a leeeeegend’ (yes, achieving legend status is literally that easy here). It’s also no secret that we can be a bit lazy with our slang words. For example, the word tinny, which can mean both a can of beer and a small boat. Well, at this festival in the Northern Territory, you can literally turn your tinnies into a tinny. Still with me? Basically, the locals drink as much beer as possible and then use the cans to make a boat to enter the race. This is not only fun, but it helps clean up the beaches and encourages recycling, a true win-win.
📅 22 July. 10am – 5pm
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Melbourne International Film Festival
Every August, Melbourne shows off the spectacular world of cinemas through documentaries, art house films and shorts from Australia and around the globe. It’s one of the oldest film festivals in the world and a great event for movie buffs or travellers looking for a bit of culture during a relaxing evening.
📅 2 August – 19 August 2018
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If you’re all about those outside community festival feels then look no further then Darwin Festival. This 18-day festival celebrates all things music, theatre, visual art, and dance. Darwin is usually scorching hot but this festival is held in August, making it an ideal time to visit and enjoy the warm weather.
📅 9 August – 26 August 2018
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Triple J’s One Night Stand
This annual free party hosted by one of Australia’s most popular radio stations brings in some of the biggest names in music to play in some of the smallest Aussie towns. This year Vance Joy will take to the stage in the remote town of St Helens in Tasmania! The One Night Stand is a great chance to get off the beaten track and see a different side of Australian life.
📅 1 September 2018
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Ever heard of Burning Man? You know, that massive festival in the desert that offers a week of creativity and craziness within a cash-free community? Well, Burning Seed is its little sister held in New South Wales. Rather than having headlining acts and expensive food trucks, Burning Seed advocates for active participation and contribution, so that it’s made BY its participants, rather than for them. Its cash-free approach is not based on trade or bartering, but rather through gifting. So, get your wildest outfits together, think about what makes you unique and get involved in one of the most inclusive festivals around the world.
📅 26 September – 2 October 2018
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