Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
temperatures are 66°F to 88°F
(19°C-31°C) and it rarely rains. June,
July, and August are the busiest
months in these parts; you'll need to
book accommodations and tours well
in advance, and you will pay higher
rates then, too.
On the other hand, Australia's sum-
mer is a nice time to visit the southern
states—New South Wales, Victoria,
South Australia, Western Australia
from Perth to the south, and Tasma-
nia. Even in winter, temperatures
rarely dip below freezing, and snow
falls only in parts of Tasmania, in the
ski-fields of Victoria, and in the
Snowy Mountains of southern New
South Wales.
The best months to visit Australia, I
think, are September and October,
when it's often still warm enough to
hit the beach in the southern states,
cool enough to tour Ayers Rock and
the humidity and rains have not come
to Cairns and the Top End (although
it will be very hot by Oct). And the
wildflowers are in full bloom in West-
ern Australia.
LOW SEASON October through
March (summer) it is just too hot, too
humid, too wet, or all three, to tour
the Red Centre, the Top End, and
anywhere in Western Australia except
Perth and the southwest. The Top
End, the Kimberley, and North
Queensland, including Cairns, suffer
an intensely hot, humid Wet Season
November or December through
March or April. In the Top End and
Kimberley, this is preceded by an even
stickier “build-up” in October and
November. Some attractions and tour
companies close, floodwaters render
others off-limits, and hotels drop their
rates, often dramatically. So if you
decide to travel in these areas at this
time—and lots of people do—be pre-
pared to take the heat, the inconven-
ience of floods, and in tropical coastal
areas, the slight chance of encounter-
ing cyclones.
In addition to the period from
December 26 to the end of January,
when Aussies take their summer vaca-
tions, the 4 days at Easter (from Good
Friday to Easter Monday) and all
school holidays are very busy, so book
ahead. The school year in Australia is
broken into four semesters, with 2-
week holidays around Easter-time, the
last week of June and the first week of
July, and the last week of September
and the first week of October. Some
states break at slightly different dates.
There's a 6-week summer/Christmas
vacation from mid-December to the
end of January.
Almost everything shuts down on
Christmas Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26),
and Good Friday, and much is closed
New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, and
Easter Monday. Most things are closed
until 1pm, if not all day, on Anzac
Day, a World War I commemorative
day on April 25.
Among the major public holidays
are: New Year's Day (Jan 1); Australia
Day (Jan 26); Labor Day (2nd Mon in
Mar, WA); Eight Hours Day (1st Mon
in Mar, TAS); Labor Day (2nd Mon
in Mar, VIC); Canberra Day, (3rd
Mon in Mar, ACT); Good Friday;
Easter Sunday; Easter Monday; Anzac
Day (Apr 25); May Day (1st Mon in
Steer Clear of the Vacation Rush
Try to avoid Australia from Boxing Day (Dec 26) to the end of January,
when Aussies take their summer vacations. In popular seaside holiday
spots, hotel rooms and airline seats get scarce as hen's teeth, and it's a rare
airline or hotel that will discount even a dollar off their full tariffs.
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