The best time to visit Sydney is from late September to November, when flights are affordable, tourists are few and Aussie kiddos are in school. March and May are also great times to visit, because you’ll get good weather and fewer crowds. Avoid December, when flights are priciest and the kids are on holiday break.
September in Sydney marks the beginning of spring and brings along with it all the hallmarks that make this season so ideal. September is the month of the year with the lowest amount of rainfall, and the days are consistently warm.
Traveling to Sydney between March and May allows you to experience the best of the autumn leaves and vibrant colors. Also, visiting in March or May means avoiding the busy school break periods while also being able to experience warm weather.
The seasons in Australia are reverse from the US. Here’s how that breaks down:
- Summer. December to February.
- Fall. March to May.
- Winter. June to August.
- Spring. September to November.
Expert take: Stephanie Yip
Our Aussie travel editor, Stephanie Yip, lives and works in Sydney — here’s her expert take on the best time to visit:
“I’d personally recommend visiting in January. Yes, it is a peak month but it’s packed with festivals and events such as the Sydney Festival and Australia Day celebrations. The summer weather also makes it ideal for hitting the famous beaches of the city. Rainfall tends to be quite low in January as well.
If you’re after a quieter season I’d recommend visiting in November. The school holidays haven’t started yet in Australia so you won’t families out and about. But, as it’s the end of spring/early summer you’ll often still get hot beach-worthy weather. In November you can also catch the famous Sculpture By The Sea walk along the coast from Bondi to Tamarama Beach”
If you’re looking to experience comfortable temperatures, visiting Sydney from September to November is best, when the weather hovers around a comfortable 74° F.
|High||79° F||79° F||77° F||73° F||68° F ||63° F ||63° F ||65° F||69° F||72° F||74° F||78° F|
|Low||66° F||67° F||64° F||59° F||53° F ||49° F||47° F ||48° F||53° F||57° F||60° F||64° F|
Average yearly temperatures sourced from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in February 2021.
The cheapest time to fly to Sydney is in August, according to data from Kayak.com, since flights are 15% cheaper than normal. Avoid December, when flight prices spike by 36%.
Just keep in mind that August is winter in Australia, so it may be too chilly to spend long days on the beach. But since its off-season for tourism, you should be able to find good deals on accommodations, tours and activities.
We also recommend avoiding Sydney’s school break periods, since Australian families will be vacationing and prices for hotels, tours and activities will likely be higher. Typically, school breaks are from late December to January, and for a couple of weeks in early September.
Holidays, festivals and special events in Sydney
- Australia Day. On January 26, Australians celebrate this national holiday with barbeques and outdoor parties.
- Sydney Festival. The city’s biggest arts and cultural festival lasts three weeks in hot and sunny January, with concerts, plays, musicals and other visual and multimedia arts.
Kids head back to school in February, so you’ll get warm weather and fewer crowds if you visit then.
- Chinese New Year. The exact dates vary depending on the lunar calendar, but you can expect 17 days of fireworks, parades, food and high-energy festivities in Sydney during Chinese New Year.
- Tropfest. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and head to Parramatta Park to watch short films during this annual festival.
- Taste of Sydney. In mid-March, Sydney embraces its foodie side with a four-day festival.
- Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival. This is the largest horse-racing event in Sydney.
- Royal Easter Show. Head to the Sydney Olympic Park for two weeks of agricultural exhibits, shows and events. There’s a rodeo, an alpaca promenade, petting zoos and rides.
- Fashion week. See Aussie designers and models strut their stuff.
- The Sydney Biennale. This international festival of contemporary art is held every two years, with the next show slotted for May 2022.
Since Australia’s winter starts in June, the days will be shorter and the temps will be cooler if you visit then.
- The queen’s birthday is celebrated with a long weekend on the second Monday of June, so Aussies may be on vacation if you visit during that time.
- NAIDOC week. Starting on the first Sunday in July and lasting eight days, NAIDOC week is dedicated to the history, culture and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.
Since the weather is coolest in August, it’s not great for long days at the beach. Instead, check out:
- Vivid Sydney. This is an annual festival of music and light, with immersive performances and installations by artists from around the world.
- Bledisloe Cup. Rugby is popular in Sydney, and this tournament sees the Wallabies play against the All-Blacks from New Zealand.
- City2Surf Run. Over 80,000 people gather each year to run 14 kilometers — or nearly nine miles — from Hyde Park to Bondi Beach.
September marks the equivalent of what we call spring in America, with blooming flowers and warming weather.
- Festival of the Winds. This family event is all about flying kites, and happens on Bondi Beach.
- Sydney Running Festival. Just as it sounds, Sydney Running Festival features a marathon, a half-marathon and a fun run.
- Labor Day. The first Monday in October marks a long weekend for many in Sydney.
- Manly Jazz Festival. Also typically on Labor Day, the city’s jazz festival takes place at multiple venues.
- National Rugby League Grand Finale. Revel with rugby enthusiasts during the pinnacle match of the season.
- GRAPHIC. The Sydney Opera House hosts this annual celebration in honor of storytelling and art. It lasts for a week.
- Sculpture by the Sea. Wander along the trail next to Bondi Beach to see a temporary sculpture garden installed for this special event.
- Bondi Christmas Bash. This is exactly what it sounds like — a Christmas celebration, but on the beach!
- New Years Eve. Catch fireworks over the harbor on the last day of the year.
- Beaches: If you’re looking to catch some waves at Sydney’s best beaches, visiting between September and December is best, as this marks the beginning of spring and early summer, when the temperature is perfect for days out.
- Vivid Sydney: If you are hoping to experience the Sydney festival scene, traveling between May and June is ideal, as Vivid Sydney takes place during this period and is one of the most beautiful ways to see the city.
- Hunter Valley: If you’re looking to experience the best the Hunter Valley has to offer, visiting from March to May is the most postcard-worthy, when the autumn leaves are their most vibrant and the temperature is still warm.
- Blue Mountains: Visiting the Blue Mountains during March, April or May is ideal, as the autumn leaves are at their most beautiful.
- Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge: If you want to climb the Harbour Bridge, booking your trip during September is best, as it statistically has the lowest rainfall during the year and offers comfortable climates.
- Visiting the Opera House: If you want to experience the Opera House at its best, picking a date from September through November offers comfortable temperatures and crowds that won’t be too overbearing.
- Luna Park: Visit outside the school break periods during September or October when the weather’s still warm and comfortable.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test
for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.
When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.
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