Australia’s Winter Reality: Does It Really Snow?

Australia is a bucket list destination for many people because of its landscapes and diverse wildlife. Being located in the Southern Hemisphere, it has a different climate and experiences seasons different from regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Although associated with a desert climate, it is not always hot in Australia; yet, does it snow in Australia? 

It does snow in Australia in some regions, including the Snowy Mountains, Victorian Alps, and parts of Tasmania. Snow usually falls in mountainous terrains, making Australia a great destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.

In this article, I will discuss when and where it snows in Australia.

I will cover how cold it gets in Australia, the coldest place in the country, and if the climate produces snow year-round. I will also share the various snow activities available when visiting Australia during the snowy season.

Does It Snow in Australia?

It does not snow everywhere in Australia. Snow depends on the region, weather conditions for any given year, and moisture levels.

For instance, much of the Northern Territory and Western Australia has a tropical climate where winter is marked by a dry season with warmer temperatures. Most cities in these regions, such as Darwin or Perth, don’t get any snow.

It is uncommon to see snow at sea level, and snow in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne is very rare. It is also rare to see snow in Southern Australia. Tasmania experiences snow in its alpine regions but rarely at sea level. 

Most snow in Australia is limited to mountainous terrains. Some places with recorded snowfall in Australia include:

  • Mount Kosciuszkouch and the Snowy Mountains
  • The Victorian Alps
  • Mountain Field National Park, Tasmania
  • Mount Buller, Victoria
  • Oberon, New South Wales 

What Months Does It Snow in Australia?

Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice begins in June instead of in December, like in the Northern Hemisphere. September to May are Australia’s warmer months, and it is less likely to see snow during this timeframe.

The months it snows in Australia are June, July, and August, during the winter season. Yet, some colder regions may experience snowfall a few weeks earlier or later than this timeframe. Occasionally, Australia may see snowfall in May or October, depending on the annual climate.

Australia’s ski season typically runs from June through August when it snows, sometimes extending to later in October, depending on the weather each year.

Does Australia Have Snow All Year Round?

Australia does not have snow all year round. Much of the region will only see snowfall for a few months beginning in June or July. Most snow melts once the climate changes in the warmer months of September and October.

If you are planning to visit Australia and want to see snowfall, it is best to visit from June to September. The months after September and through May are generally warmer and do not have snowfall, although there is still much to experience and do during the warmer months in Australia.

How Cold Is Australia in Winter?

The temperature in Australia in winter is as cold as 2.2°C (36°F) in the coldest regions. Generally, winter temperatures range between 8 – 17°C (47 – 62°F) on average, and how cold it gets depends on which state you are visiting. 

For instance, average temperatures in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, are between 8 – 17°C (47 – 62°F), with temperatures getting as low as below freezing on particularly cold days. Notably, the Snowy Mountains, which see snowfall in the winter, are located in New South Wales. 

Victoria also has cooler winters, with below-freezing temperatures in its alpine region.

Other regions such as South Australia, Queensland, and parts of the Northern Territory experience milder winters, with temperatures rarely dropping below 9°C (48°F). Western Australia also has a warmer winter, with average temperatures in the 8 – 19°C (46.4 – 66.2°F) range.

Tasmania tends to have colder winters, with the average temperature being 2.2°C (36°F).

I recommend researching the weather in different parts of Australia before visiting due to the wide range of potential temperatures during the winter season depending on the state, territory, and climate conditions in any given year.

What Is the Coldest Place in Australia?

The coldest inhabited place in Australia is Liawenee, located in central Tasmania. Average winter temperatures do not increase above 6.6°C (44°F), and it snows, on average, 42 days of the year. Even the summer temperatures in Liawenee are cooler than winter in some parts of Australia. 

Fun fact: The population of Liawenee per the most recent census is only three people.

Things To Do in the Snow In Australia

If you are planning on traveling to Australia during the winter season, you might be wondering if there are any winter activities to participate in. While best known for its outback and summer activities, Australia is also home to many ski resorts, such as Perisher Ski Resort and Falls Creek.

There are many options for activities to do during the winter season at Australian ski resorts, such as skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snow tubing. Many resorts offer lessons where you can practice and gain confidence in your winter sporting skills. The best months to visit ski resorts in Australia are July and August when it snows, but the season can extend until October, depending on weather conditions.

Conclusion

While it does snow in Australia, it only happens for a few months in specific regions. Many regions in Australia, such as Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory, experience mild winters and rarely see snowfall. Yet, Tasmania, New South Wales, and Victoria may experience a cold and snowy season. Take time to research where in Australia you plan to visit to see if you can anticipate snow while you are there.
To learn more about where to expect snow when traveling abroad, check out my posts, Does It Snow in Mexico? and Does It Snow in Japan? Chilling Facts.