Australia is a huge country -- after all, it's also its very own continent -- with cities dotted along its incredible miles of coastline. But it's not just big in terms of square miles. There's a wide range of geography, from the Outback to world-class beaches to the Blue Mountains. All that climatic and geographical distance, plus the fact that it's "down under" the equator, can be tricky to plan around. But U.S. News and World Report crunched the data on weather and prices trends to narrow down two distinct timespans that were optimal times to visit. Read on to find out what they are.
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March to May
U.S. News and World Report's findings indicated that March to May -- a short fall season -- is the first perfect window to visit Australia, particularly Sydney, whose tourists have all cleared out after peak season. It's right at the end of the country's summer and goes through the end of fall, meaning that those who do come during this time get shoulder-season prices, though plenty of businesses are still open and activities available to do. Even the end of the window is still great, temperature-wise: Just bring a jacket for chillier evenings. Plus, oenophiles will be able to catch all the harvests happening in Australia's wine country.
Of course, some of this depends on geography. Adelaide and nearby Kangaroo Island, for example, are ideal in March, when temperatures are cooling down from peak February temps, but the humidity isn't as bad there as compared to northern locations. The Gold Coast and Brisbane are ideal in April and May, with mild temperatures that lend themselves to Brisbane's plethora of outdoorsy activities. The Gold Coast, meanwhile, eases off its uncomfortably high temperatures (and insanely high UV ratings) by this time, and families on holiday have largely cleared away since kids go back to school.
Melbourne is another perfect city to visit within this window: The flowers in the its many gardens are in full bloom. Plus, the city, also known for its gastronomy, hosts more than a few festival homages to this distinction during its autumn season (the Food and Wine festival is not to miss).
September to November
This springtime window is also an ideal time to visit, because it's right before the country amps up for its summer high season, and northern cities are at their driest. Temperature in September can still reach the low 80s, so you can get your summer on while avoiding the tourist hordes and the expensive prices that come along with them. It's also a fun time to be in country: The Sydney Fringe is in September and the Night Noodle Markets go on in October.
Alice Springs, in the Outback, is particularly great in September, with 12 hours of daylight each day, not to mention mild temperatures and humidity that allow newcomers to get used to the desert without the shock that comes with other seasons. Uluru is also a great pick for a visit during this time, thanks to more pleasant temps than usual and wildflowers in bloom.
City-wise, Perth is great in September, thanks to a huge concentration of events going on in the underrated city and mild weather.
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