Though it might not be the Australian capital, Sydney more than makes up for it with its sublime harborside attractions including the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, and the promise of a day at Bondi Beach or another of the city’s world-famous stretches of Indian Ocean sand. Come nightfall, its brash, bold, and youthful population parties like nowhere else in Australia, while you’re never far away from the glories of the country’s unique wildlife in the Blue Mountains or elsewhere.
With so many potential attractions to consider, and with many of them heavily reliant on knowledge of Sydney’s weather, its vitally important to know when the best time to visit Sydney is. But as well as the weather conditions themselves, knowing when prices and tourist numbers are at their height is also important.
In this Sydney guide, we provide you with all this information, detailing the top times to visit Sydney before leading into a month by month breakdown of the weather conditions in Australia’s most populous city, and also some of the highlight events you can attend across the year in Sydney.
Perhaps the most important thing to note from the start is the – perhaps obvious – fact that Sydney lies in the southern hemisphere. This means that anyone visiting from the northern half of the planet will find the seasons inverted, which can work both for and against the visitor.
This is our INSIDER GUIDE for the best times to visit Sydney!
Sydney’s summer, therefore, falls from October through to February and sees the city’s sunniest weather, making this the perfect time for sightseeing and hitting the beaches, particular on either extreme of this period when humidity levels and temperatures highs aren’t as great.
The high season lasts from December until the beginning of February, while low season from June through to August see the lowest accommodation costs and number of people visiting the city, which makes it the best time of year to visit Sydney for budget-wary travelers. But perhaps the best time to visit when considering the weather, cost, and visitor numbers are the two shoulder seasons.
Is Sydney safe?
While nowhere in the world is 100% safe, as long as you use your common sense, you’ll likely be fine in Sydney.
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What months are the best time to visit Sydney?
Sydney’s two shoulder periods run from mid-February through to the end of May, and then from September through to November. Being generally outside of the major school holidays, it can make it an impossibility for families looking to visit Sydney during these months, but those that do can enjoy clear skies, cool nights, and only infrequent bouts of short-lived rain.
The weather is pretty much guaranteed to be hot and humid from December until the beginning of February if that’s your main concern in visiting Sydney, though as the high season it also sees some of the highest accommodation prices, which tend to peak around the Christmas and New Year periods as a result of the closure of schools and offices in combination with the fact Sydney hosts one of the most popular New Year’s Eve Firework displays anywhere on the planet.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in January (Photo credit – surf-forecast.com)
Sydney weather in January
One of the hottest and driest months in the Sydney year, January experiences a daily average of nine hours of sunshine and sees average daily temperatures of 73°F (23°C), with highs and lows around five degrees on either side of this. When it comes to rain, the city receives around five inches across half the month.
Sydney events in January
New Year’s Day
Sydney’s harborside is famed for its New Year’s Eve celebrations (see below), but the city is also a fantastic place to mark the beginning of the year. Traditionally a day when Sydneysiders head to the beach for a barbeque, there’s also the Field Day music festival, held in the Domain, in the heart of the city.
Celebrated on January 26 each year, Australia Day is the country’s birthday, marking the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in the Port Jackson area of Sydney – putting the city front and center of the celebrations. Expect concerts, parties, and a massive fireworks display on the harbor.
Taking place over three weeks in January, Sydney Festival is one of the city’s main cultural events. Its mainly free performances range from concerts by top international talent, to theatre, comedy, and street art.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in February (Photo credit – Daily Mail)
Sydney weather in February
As Sydney’s summer comes to an end in February, the month sees temperatures identical to those in January, although hours of sunlight drop slightly to an average of eight hours daily. Levels of rainfall are also similar to the previous month, and the ocean remains warm at an incredible 73°F (23°C) too!
Sydney events in February
Chinese New Year
Taking place in late January or the beginning of February, Chinese New Year is at its height in Chinatown in inner-city Sydney and the suburb of Parramatta. Streets are decorated with traditional paper lanterns, restaurants offer up special menus, and there’s even dragon boat races on Darling Harbor.
Sydney Mardi Gras
This fortnight of events in the second half of February is Sydney’s gay pride event, with activities taking place around the Oxford Street area and right across the city, leading up to the parade finale which welcomes thousands of participants and spectators to the streets.
Is your trip getting close? Jump over to our hotels in Sydney guide so you’re sure to get great accommodation!
Read below for information about Sydney weather in March (Photo credit – ellaslist.com.au)
Sydney weather in March
The start of fall, the leaves of many of the city’s trees begin to fall, though average temperatures drop just one degree to 72°F (22°C), with highs and lows also dropping by just a degree. Rainfall jumps to 6.5 inches without affecting the number of sunshine hours you’ll get to enjoy.
Sydney events in March
Saint Patrick’s Day
March 17 sees Sydney turn green in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, from where many Sydneysiders can trace their ancestry. If nothing else, it’s an excuse for the people of Sydney to party hard, so expect plenty of Guinness and silly costumes!
Beginning in mid-March and continuing June, this is one of Australia’s most important contemporary art festivals. Taking place in galleries and venues throughout the city, and has now worked with more than 1,800 artists from more than 100 countries.
Open-air cinema screenings
Two temporary open-air cinemas open up in March, with the country-wide Moonlight cinema screening hundreds of films from parkland in the Paddington area of the city. Closer to the center of Sydney, the Lunar Park Theme Park holds the Rooftop cinema event with each visitor being given a pair of personal headphones for maximum enjoyment.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in April (Photo credit – Daily Mail)
Sydney weather in April
The end of the heat and humidity of summer, April average temperatures decline to a still pleasant 66°F (19°C), with nights, in particular, becoming a little cooler. That said, the amount of rainfall the city sees falls back down to 5 inches, affecting around 12 days in the month.
Sydney events in April
Sydney Royal Easter Show
With a history as an agricultural show, today close to a million people pay a visit each year to this celebration of what it means to be Australian. There are fairground attractions and theme park rides, in addition to livestock shows, and an incredible atmosphere.
Sydney Comedy Festival
Running from the second half of April and into May, the Sydney Comedy Festival welcomes hundreds of comedians from across the globe to entertain the Sydney crowds, and includes a number of gala events too, such as that held at the Sydney Opera House. The top acts sell out quickly, though you’ll almost always find someone doing something funny somewhere in the city.
April 25 is a thought-provoking day during which Australians remember those who have died serving their country. A dawn service of remembrance takes place at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, culminating with a military parade of veterans which finishes at Hyde Park, while communities all over Sydney hold various smaller and more local events on this public holiday.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in May (Photo credit – trover.com)
Sydney weather in May
The month when fall generally turns towards winter, temperatures peak at 68°F (20°C) and average 61°F (16°C). While the amount of sunshine you’ll witness does drop a little more to seven hours daily, so does the amount of rain, with May experiencing four inches.
Sydney events in May
Sydney Writers’ Festival
A celebration of writing in all its forms, more than 300 events are scheduled in spaces including the Town Hall and City Recital Hall. Previous attending authors have including crime writer Ian Rankin, Armando Iannucci, and Booker prize winner Julian Barnes.
The largest festival of light, music and ideas in the southern hemisphere, Vivid Sydney sees many of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House, decorated by a stunning light display at night. In addition, there are a huge range of TED talk-style discussions that take place.
Although its name might not give much away, Semi-Permanent is a gathering of the artistic and creative that takes place across six countries and 16 events, including that in Sydney. The festival is based around a central theme such as ‘truth’, and how that is interpreted by those attending.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in June (Photo credit – Daily Mail)
Sydney weather in June
The true beginning of winter means Sydney can experience some surprising cool weather – and strong winds racing across the city from the coast. As a result, the average temperature for the month doesn’t make it beyond 57°F (14°C), with around 5.5 inches of rain.
Sydney events in June
Sydney Film Festival
Australia’s premier film festival, this events screens somewhere in the region of 250 different films, from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to small indie films thought to deserve a larger audience. Make the most of the festival by getting your hands on a Flexipass, giving access to 10, 20, or even 30 different screenings.
Culinary Carnivale is a cookery showcase for the flavors of Spain and Latin America. Alongside all the food offerings, from tacos to paella, you’ll find Brazilian dancers, Mexican mariachi bands, and traditional Spanish music in this family-friendly atmosphere which also includes amusement rides and a 15-feet long barbeque.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in July (Photo credit – canberratimes.com)
Sydney weather in July
The coldest month of the year, July average temperatures settle at 55°F (13°C) and can see temperatures as low as 46°F (8°C). The good news for July is that raindrops to just over two inches, with 11 rainy days, and seven hours of sunshine. Sea temperatures actually remain higher than air temperatures, at 64°F (18°C), the lowest of the year.
Sydney events in July
With many of Australia’s celebrations concentrating on the descendants of early European settlers, NAIDOC week is a much-needed event which highlights the role of Aborigine and Torres Strait Islander people in the country’s past, present, and future. Events intend to educate the general public about these sometimes forgotten people and times to create a more inclusive Australia for everyone.
Head to the Sydney Opera House after dark in July and experience the wonderful seven-minute projection that tells the story of the region’s people, the Gadigal, in the most-colorful of visual means, using the sails of the Opera House as giant screens. The Gadigal were the traditional owners of the land on which the Opera House now sits, making these screenings all the more special and important.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in August (Photo credit – timeout.com)
Sydney weather in August
Temperatures are back on the up, with an average of 57°F (14°C), while levels of rainfall and sunshine begin to steady themselves for the second half of the year. However, the wind can continue to be strong and gusty, sometimes meaning the cancellation of harbor ferry services.
Sydney events in August
Sydney Tea Festival
Held in the middle of August, Sydney Tea Festival is designed to be a carnival of loose-leaf teas. You’ll be able to talk with artisan makers, have something to eat at one of the on-site food trucks, learn to pair teas with food, or simply enjoy a really good cup of tea with some cake.
Sun Herald City2Surf fun run
You don’t need to own a surfboard to take part in the City2Surf event, but a pair of running shoes would definitely come in handy. This 10 mile race regularly has 80,000 participants, many raising much-needed funds for local charities, and stretches from the city center to the beach as the name suggests.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in September (Photo credit – easyvoyage.co.uk)
Sydney weather in September
The weather in Sydney in September is as changeable as it was in May, with the southern hemisphere spring promising to appear at some point during the month. When it comes to temperatures, the average for September is 61°F (16°C) but lows can still fall to 54°F (12°C).
Sydney events in September
Festival of the Winds
If you needed an excuse to visit Bondi Beach, this is it. Free to attend, this one-day event turns the famous sands of Bondi into the location for aerial kite shows, circus performances, craft making workshops, and live music.
Sydney can sometimes feel like a very new city, but behind its shining towers, there’s also a lot of history, as can be discovered with the special events that take place during History Week, which aims to bring the city’s unique past to life.
Cabramatta Moon Festival
Usually taking place on the last Sunday of the month, the Cabramatta Moon Festival has been running for more than twenty years and brings together the community with food and entertainment. Head to Freedom Plaza for traditional harvest celebrations alongside Chinese lion dancers and some fantastic South-East Asian cuisine.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in October (Photo credit – tripsavvy.com)
Sydney weather in October
Halloween months see the definite return of warmer weather, 64°F (18°C) being the average, while highs can hit 72°F (22°C). Rainfall is limited to around 3.5 inches, while the amount of sunshine has now crept back up to nine hours daily.
Sydney events in October
Oktoberfest in the Gardens
Bavaria comes to the Domains parklands of central Sydney, where visitors will find two large beer halls, authentic German food such as Bratwurst sausages, and entertainment in the form of roving musicians and traditional brass bands. If you enjoy beer, this is definitely the place to come, while the performances around the beer tents mean anyone will enjoy some time here.
Sculpture by the Sea
Sculpture by the Sea is a temporary outdoor exhibition of artworks using the incredible landscapes of Bondi Beach as a backdrop. Running from the last week of October and into November, there are more than 100 sculptures to explore on the coastal path that runs between Bondi and Tamarama.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in November (Photo credit – Daily Mail)
Sydney weather in November
The last month in which to enjoy Sydney’s pleasant spring weather, in November the average temperature reaches a delightful 68°F (20°C) with highs and lows roughly eight degrees on either side of this figure. Amounts of rain and sunshine are comparable to those of October, while sea temperatures hit 66°F (19°C).
Sydney events in November
Held at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, Newtown Festival is a fully-licensed music festival with live performances from somewhere in the region of twenty bands, karaoke, a dog’s show, and plenty of food and drink, all aimed at raising funds for the local community’s needs.
In Western Sydney, the Real Festival brings together not only bands but all manner of performers from both Australia and further afield. Generally taking place in the first week of November, the festival also boasts a variety of hands-on activities for those with a creative mind.
Read below for information about Sydney weather in December (Photo credit – abc.net.au)
Sydney weather in December
December is the start of the summer period when a sunhat and sunscreen are more or less essential given the strength of the sun. Temperatures easily reach 72°F (22°C), and can rise to 79°F (26°C) without taking the humidity into account. Sea temperatures increase to 70°F (21°C).
Sydney events in December
Christmas Day itself sees much of Sydney shut down, however, the period leading up to it is one of lights, carols, and the Christmas in the City festivities, a day when the Christmas tree in Martin Place hosts a sound and light display every 15 minutes, and fireworks ignite the night sky.
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Departing from Sydney’s harbor, these fast-moving racing yachts complete to reach Hobart, the provincial capital of Tasmania, in the quickest time. A great contrast to most Christmas traditions, it takes place on Boxing Day (December 26) each year.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
One of the most famous fireworks displays anywhere in the world, the harbor-front is again the main location for this annual Sydney party, where a million people wait patiently for the last moments of this year and the first minutes of the next.
What is the best time to visit Sydney weather wise?
To have sunny skies and warm temperatures – both on land and in the sea – without the highest humidity levels on your visit to Sydney, we would have to recommend the city’s two shoulder periods on either side of the summer months as the best time to visit Sydney.
The first of the year runs for more than three months from the middle of February through to the end of May. At the end of the summer, given Sydney’s reversed southern hemisphere climate, there’s definitely enough time during this period to find a couple of weeks to get away.
Alternatively, the second shoulder period exists in Sydney from roughly the beginning of September through to November, in the period between the end of spring and the beginning of the summer.
Bear in mind that if your primary interest is in the sea, for surfing or other water sports on the likes of Bondi Beach, the waters are warm right around the year, while heading to Sydney over December or January will see the city in its festive costume and preparing for its world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks.
Final thoughts on the best time of year to visit Sydney
One of the world’s best outdoor cities, to make the most of your time in the southern hemisphere’s premier city you’re going to want to visit when the weather allows you to make the very most of your time. That said, there are plenty of indoor attractions should the weather take a turn for the worst, with museums and entertainment spots galore!
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Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties. When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.