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The Best Time to Visit Sydney - Summer

Beaches, Festivals, Daytrips

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Summertime on Manly Beach

Summertime on Manly Beach

Copyright 2002 Larry Rivera

The best time to visit Sydney really depends on what you want to see, do, experience.

It could certainly be during the Australian summer which starts on December 1 and ends on the last day of February.

This is a time of great cultural activity -- outstanding theatre, street performances, art exhibitions -- as well as a time of pilgrimage to the beach.

Festival time

The Sydney summer is actually a season of festivals, starting from the Christmas season in December. Christmas is fun if you have family and friends in Sydney.

On Boxing Day, December 26, the grueling, potentially deadly Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race starts in Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Festival, a month-long celebration of the arts, is on in January and runs until Australia Day, January 26. The Sydney Fringe Festival may be held within this period as well.

The Great Ferry Race is held on Australia Day in Sydney Harbour. You may be able to ride on one of the racing ferries.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, said to the biggest of its kind in the world, is generally held in February. Doubts have been expressed as to whether the festival will continue to be held because of financial problems and high insurance costs.

Summer weather

Expect warm to hot weather conditions. The average temperature should range from around 19°C (66°F) at night to 26°C (79°F) in the daytime in midsummer. These are averages and temperatures can rise above 30°C (86°F).

  • Cautionary note: Bushfires may occur in periods of high temperature and gusty winds anytime from late spring to early autumn, which may curtail some outdoor activities and pose danger to bushwalkers.

Expect from 78mm to 113mm of rain in a month, with the most rain in February.

Dress for the weather.

Summer accommodation

Prices will generally be in the high range, particularly from the middle of December through all of January to most of February. Best to book in advance.

School holidays

Australia’s school holidays occur from mid-December through most of January, so expect much entertainment to be geared towards families and school children on holidays.

Expect beaches, theme parks, picnic grounds, holiday resorts to be crowded.

Summer activities

Do a walking tour of Sydney. Visit the Rocks, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, Chinatown, Darling Harbour.

Go to the beach. A visit to Sydney is incomplete without at least a day on the beach.

Go surfing, try windsurfing. Go hang-gliding and paragliding.

Take a harbour cruise. At the very least, cross the harbour to Manly.

Drive up the Blue Mountains and meet the Three Sisters. Take a daytrip north, south and west of Sydney.

Go bushwalking. But be sure there are no warnings of bushfire danger where you want to go.

Take a breather at the Royal National Park.

Sample Sydney cuisine.

Surviving Sydney

See our travel guide.

The Best Time to Visit Sydney > Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter

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