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Does it snow in Australia? Understanding Aussie winters

As an international student, you might be wondering just how cold it gets during an Australian winter

A man wearing a beanie drinks a warm cup of coffee
A man wearing a beanie drinks a warm cup of coffee

Australia has a wonderfully diverse climate, and while winter can be sunny and hot in some parts of the country, it’s frosty and cold in others. 

As an international student, you might be wondering what to expect, or whether there will be any snow you have to prepare for. To help, we have answered some of your questions to help you feel prepared for a unique Aussie winter.  

So, does it really snow in Australia? 

While not typically considered a cold country, some locations in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia all experience snowy conditions - that is, enough to enjoy some snow sports! - during the winter months from June to August. 

However, not every part of the country will be cold enough for this - in fact, far from it. The weather will differ wildly across Australia - even within each state and territory!   

What can I expect from winter in Australia? 

Australia has eight different climate zones ranging all the way from alpine to equatorial. Typically, the coldest places are to the south, while more tropical regions are further north. 

Melbourne, Canberra, and Hobart are generally considered the coldest capital cities during winter. Canberra goes between a chilly 0 – 12℃ during July, while Melbourne and Hobart generally range from 5 – 15℃. 

Sydney, Adelaide, and Perth experience milder conditions. The temperature in these cities ranges between 7 – 18℃ in July. Perth and Adelaide also have temperate climates, meaning winter comes with a lot of additional rainfall. 

Further north, things heat up. Brisbane is dry and sits between 9 – 20℃ in July. Moving towards Darwin, the seasons switch to what is known as the ‘dry season’ (May to October) and the ‘wet season’ (April to November). The dry season coincides with Australia’s winter, however, the days are warm and sunny, typically between 20 – 31℃. 

Winter and your health 

Importantly, the change in seasons and weather conditions can sometimes impact our health and wellbeing. With shorter days and nightfall coming earlier, the temptation to spend more time indoors at home where it’s warm, plus being away from friends and family back home, it’s particularly important to take care of yourself during winter. 

If you are feeling either physically unwell or need some additional mental health support during these colder months, nib makes it easy to contact a GP through our Telehealth services, so you don’t even need to leave your couch to speak to a doctor! 

Where can I go to see snow in Australia? 

If you are keen to see snow in Australia this winter, most states and territories will have a couple of spots for you to enjoy. 

Kosciuszko National Park in NSW is in the Snowy Mountains, about a five and a half hour drive from Sydney or two and a half hour drive from Canberra. It’s home to the famous ski resort, Thredbo

Located in the Victorian Alps, Mount Hotham is loved for its natural beauty and generous snowfall. Roughly a four and a half hour drive from Melbourne, the village is perched at the slope’s snowy peak - meaning you get amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges.  

Tasmania’s Ben Lomond National Park is the state’s best-known snow spot. Roughly a three hour drive from Hobart, the National Park is home to some of the country’s most iconic wildlife, such as wombats and wallabies. 

Bluff Knoll in WA experiences snowfall only a couple of times a year, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on the forecast before heading off to its peak! Located in the Stirling Range National Park, the summit is about a four and a half hour drive from Perth. 

What sort of snow activities can I enjoy in Australia? 

If you are into adventurous snowsports such as skiing and snowboarding, Thredbo and Mount Hotham have a range of slopes for visitors to explore. If you are a beginner, consider checking out the local resort’s lesson plans and range of gear hire options.   

If you’re interested in taking it slower, you can always try activities such as tobogganing, dog sled tours and snowmobile rides! If it’s safe to do so, you can also enjoy hiking. 

Winter in Australia unlocks a variety of unique experiences. Prepare to make the most of this time of year by knowing what to expect, what to do, and how to stay healthy during the season.