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Summer in Australia starts in December and lasts to the end of February. Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means the seasons are the opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, with Australian summer falling at the same time as Northern Hemisphere winters.
The summer solstice (which is the longest day of the year), usually happens on 22nd December, but can be one day either side of that.
What Does Summer Feel Like In Australia?
Australia is massive, so how summer feels across the country is very different.
In the far north of the country in Darwin, there are temperatures from a low of 20°C (68°F) to a high of 35°C (95°F) in summer. Darwin is usually considered as having just two seasons, a hot, wet season from November to March, and a warm, dry season from May to September (with two ‘transition’ months). December, January and February are the three highest months for rainfall of the year, with about 60% of the yearly rainfall occurring in these months, with over 20 days a month seeing rain between December and March.
On the east coast in Brisbane, it is also wet, with the highest rainfall of the year in summer and frequent rainstorms. Average temperatures range from 21-30°C (70 – 86°F).
In Melbourne, on the south of the mainland, it is the driest time of the year, with less than five days a month of rain on average, with average temperatures between 14-25°C (57 – 77°F), and the hottest month of the year in January where temperatures regularly exceed 30°C.
In the far south of Australia, on the island of Tasmania, it is warm (for Tassie at least!), with mean temperatures from 11-21°C (53-70°F), with January and February having the lowest rainfall of the year.
Out west in Perth, it gets as hot as Brisbane, but without the rainfall, with less than two days a month of rain usually recorded between December and February. Temperatures range from 17- 30°C (63 – 86°F).
At Alice Springs in the centre of Australia, it gets hot, with temperatures of 20-35°C (60-95°F), but with a record high of 47°C (115°F) and most years hitting 42°C+ (108°F), you’ll need to pack lots of sun screen! It is also wet season in Alice Springs, though that still means less than five days a month of rain.
Do Aboriginal Calendars Recognise Summer?
The short answer is yes, but with over 250 tribes (or mobs) of indigenous Australians around the country, most have their own calendar which often have six seasons or more.
For the Noongar people of Western Australia’s South West for example, the summer months would cross two seasons, Birak and Bunuru.
Birak is represented by the colour red, as it is a hot season, and was traditional a time the Noongar people would burn parts of the country to support with seed germination and to create grazing for animals.
Bunuru is represented by orange, as it’s the hottest time of year, with little to no rain
For the Banbai people of New South Wales, summer would be included in their longest season, which is translated as ‘wildfire time’ and runs from November to March.
AUTHOR – BEN REEVE
Reeves Roam, is a first-hand travel blog. The Reeves have lived in the UK, South Africa and Australia and have travelled extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.
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Thanks – Ben, Becca and Gracie