When is the best time to visit Sydney?

There are lots of things to consider when you are trying to choose the best time to visit Sydney. The weather, public holidays and school holiday periods can all impact how much you enjoy your holiday, affecting costs and crowds.

Below we have covered the most frequently asked questions we receive about when is the best time to visit Sydney.

Weather and Average Temperatures

Our location in the Southern Hemisphere means the seasons are opposite to Europe, North America, and most of Asia.

  • Spring – September to November (7 days of rain on average)
  • Autumn – March to May (8 days of rain on average)
  • Summer – Dec to Feb (8 days of rain on average)
  • Winter – June to August (6 days rain on average)

The wettest month of the year is generally March, which has an average of eight days but can get quite a few more.

Average Temperatures

These temperatures refer to the last 12 months. This has been a particularly wet year that is not yet reflected in this statistics, so these rainfall numbers are only an indication.

Note these are average highs and lows. Summer sees plenty of days over 35°c.

Month CelsiusFahrenheit Rainy days
last year
January 25.9-18.7° 79.7-67.3° 12
February26-19 °79-66° 6
March25-18 °74-64°6
April23-15° 63-43° 2
May19.8-11.8° 54-67° 1
June18-10° 64-50° 8
July 17-8° 79.7-67.3 5
August 18-9° 64-48° 4
September 21-11° 50-68° 4
October 22-14° 72-57°15
November 24-16° 61-75° 7
December 25.8-18.6° 64-79°11

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What are the travel seasons for Sydney

I love reading the general blurbs in most travel guides about Sydney’s travel seasons. While they are reasonably accurate for flight prices they don’t really hone in on the local fluctuations that happen for special events and festivals.

High Season

Traditional this the summer period from December to February, but it’s more than that. Flight and hotel prices rise dramatically during school vacations (we call them holidays). Events like VIVID Sydney and Mardi Gras also push prices significantly.

Christmas Eve to 2 Jan is its own beast with any hotel within an hour of the city tripling its usual prices and many having minimum stays. Even many hostels require five nights over this period. For these days book as far in advance as you can.

A stay at the YHA in Sydney Harbour now has a minimum seven days stay for NYE is usually fully booked by October.

Shoulder Season

In a general sense, shoulder season runs from mid-February to the June and then again from September to November, BUT there are two big exceptions.

The first Saturday in March is the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade which marks the end of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Festival..

The Mardi Gras Festival, which begins almost 2 weeks before the parade sees a tremendous surge in visitor numbers. Hotels in the CBD, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills and the Eastern suburbs are heavily booked.

Another blimp in shoulder season is the 23-day VIVID Sydney Festival of Light and Ideas. Each year, the festival attracts over 2 million visitors. If you are planning a visit in late May and early June, book as early as you can.

There are smaller price increases in the July and September school holiday periods and for the June and October long weekends.

Low Season

Like most places in the world, winter means low season. In Sydney, the last week of June and most of July and all of August are great times for bargain flights, hotels and deals. There can be some really exception flights deals from the USA at this time of year.

When is the best month of the year to visit Sydney

So what are the pros and cons for the best time to visit Sydney? Well, there are some variables, so let’s cover these month by month.

You might also like to take a look at our Sydney What’s On pages that list the city’s best festivals and events.

Sydney is warm and sunny most of January, the Festival of Sydney runs for three weeks and offers lots of free and paid performances across all genres of the arts.

The School holiday continues so there are lots of kids around and plenty of extra child-friendly activities. The peak season for accommodation and flights. This is one of the most expensive (and exciting) times to visit Sydney.

January is perfect beach weather, and the heat can get pretty fierce. The Cancer Council recommendation of Slip Slop Slap* should be heeded at this time of year!

*Slip on a shirt, slop and sunscreen and slap on a hat

The kids are back at school in February, so prices and availability of accommodation improve, weather can be hot and more humid than other months. Rain tends to fall in heavy afternoon showers rather than day-long drizzle.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the biggest events in the city and parade weekend sees hotel rooms across the city heavily booked. The festival runs for three weeks, but the week on either side of the parade is hectic.

If you want to stay near the action book at least six months out for the best choice. Easter may also fall in March and push prices up.

There is a public holiday for Anzac Day on April 25th. Accommodation around this date can become more difficult to find in the city centre, so book early.

If Easter is in April things, get even busier. It’s a lovely time to be here, but with daylight savings coming to an end on the first weekend in April the days get shorter rather quickly.

The weather gets pretty chilly come may, and it’s time to grab a jacket when you head out in the early morning or at night. Most of May is fairly quiet, but the last week sees the beginning of the Vivid Festival. If you are keen to see the light shows, I think this is the best week to attend.

June is officially the beginning of winter. Temperatures can be cold, and there is usually quite a bit of rain. Vivid is in full swing. Book as early as possible if you intend to visit at this time.

It can snow over the winter in places like the Blue Mountains, Canberra and Central West NSW so if you are heading outside the city on trips be sure to dress warmly.

This past July has been fantastic but usually, days are cold but the skies lovely and blue. The Blue Mountains, west of Sydney hold their Yuletide Festival where the cold temperatures.

Whale Watching Season is in full swing, and from now until November you can spot these gorgeous creatures making the way north for the winter and then back south as spring kicks in.

August temperatures are cold but the skies can be lovely and blue. This is great weather for exploring the bars and restaurants of the city.

The beginning of spring and the perfect month to explore sydney on foot. You will still need to pack a jacket but its starting to get back to t-shirt weather. Gardens in are pretty and September is a great time of year for a picnic.

My personal favourite time of year. It’s warm and sunny, but not so hot that you ever feel uncomfortable. It’s when outdoor dining is back on the cards and afternoon walks on the beach are fun.
Daylight saving begins on the last weekend of October, and you can tell summer is around the corner.

In November, the weather is as close to perfect as it gets, warm days, not too hot at night. This is the perfect time to hit the beach while the locals are still busy at work and school, leaving plenty of space on the sand for you.

There are no public or school holidays, so price and availability of accommodation are good.

It’s finally summer, we have all been craving its arrival, but we pretty quickly start complaining about how hot it is. The mood about town in December is great with everyone looking forward to the holidays ahead.

Locals are rushing about with Christmas preparations. There are lots of Christmas markets and celebrations to join in. You will also want to book early for the best choice of NYE Parties and cruises.

When is the best time to visit Sydney according to Sydney expert?

We think the best times over to visit Sydney are early March and late October.

We suggest you consult the key holiday periods below and avoid booking your visit at these times if you are travelling on a budget.

School Holidays in NsW 2024-2025

Autumn break:15 – 26 April 14 April – 24 April
Winter break8 – 19 July7 – 18 July
Spring break:30 Sept – 11 October29 Sept – 10 October
Summer break:23 Dec – 30 Jan 202522 Dec – 26 January 2026
Source: NSW Department of Education

These holiday periods vary slightly from state to state.

NSW Public Holidays 2024-2025

While public holidays mean most of us get the day off, there are very few days when there is much impact on visitors. Other than Christmas Day and Good Friday shops in the city open most of the other public holiday. Attractions are also generally open.

Holiday 20242025
New Year’s Day + Monday Holiday 01 and 02 January01 January
Australia Day26 January27 January
Good Friday29 March 18 April
Easter Sat.31 March19 April
Easter Mon.01 April21 April
Anzac Day25 April 25 April
King’s Birthday 10 June09 June
Labour Day07 October06 October
Christmas Day25 December 25 December
Boxing Day26 December 26 December
Source: NSW Government March 2024

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3 thoughts on “When is the best time to visit Sydney?”

  1. excellent summary.

    Perhaps you might include that you can do whale watching in Sydney from June till Nov, with best months – I´m not sure, I think Aug-Oct? – which can be quite nice reasons to pick other timings then Dec/Jan/NYE

  2. Great write up. Where is the best place in Sunday to do whale watching?

    I firmly feel on returning I am likely to return October/into November time.

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