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Winter in Australia

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June, July, August
Skiing at Falls Creek in Victoria, courtesy Falls Creek Resort

Skiing at Falls Creek in Victoria

Courtesy Falls Creek Ski Resort

Winter in Australia begins on June 1 and ends on August 31.

Winter weather

As is to be expected with the winter season, generally cooler temperatures are forecast for all areas of Australia. Winter snow occurs mainly in the Australian mountains, such as in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, the Alpine region of Victoria and mountainous areas of Tasmania.

Tropical north Australia remains relatively warm with temperatures in the 24-30°C range. Central Australian regions would have temperatures in the 18-24°C range, with the southernmost continental areas in the 12-18°C range. The Alpine regions of New South Wales and Victoria and much of Tasmania would have temperatures from 6 to 12°C. Note that these temperature ranges are based on averages and actual temperatures may be higher or lower on a day to day basis.

Except in Tasmania, rainfall is generally low and may range from about 14mm in the Northern Territory, which is in the middle of its dry season, to 98mm in New South Wales and 180mm in Victoria. The average rainfall in Australia in 2011 was just over 56.3mm.

Winter skiing

Winter in Australia is the season for trekking up the mountain slopes and enjoying snow activities.

These generally mean skiing and snowboarding, and the places to go are the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Victoria's high country, and mountain areas of Tasmania.

In the Snowy Mountains the two main ski resort areas are Thredbo and Perisher Valley, which are close to each other, and on the northern side of Mt Kosciuszko, the family-friendly Selwyn Snowfields.

If coming from the north, the road trip to Thredbo and Perisher Valley starts at Cooma on the Monaro Highway Highway south of Canberra. Head west on the Snowy Mountains Highway, making sure to take the turn to Jindabyne Rd and Alpine Way. For Selwyn. continue along the Snowy Mountains Highway in a generally northwesterly direction past the town of Adaminaby.

From the south, it's the Princes Highway, Monaro Highway and Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma. From the east it's the Snowy Mountains Highway to Cooma from just north of the town of Bega between Narooma and Eden on the New South Wales coast. A northerly route from the coast is from Batemans Bay through Kings Highway, then south on the Monaro Highway.

Thredbo and Perisher Valley are full-blown ski resorts with accommodation in the resorts themselves or in nearby Jindabyne. There is no accommodation at Selwyn and skiers usually find a place to stay at Adaminaby, which is about 45 kilometres (and some 40 minutes) away.

In Victoria, the ski slopes are actually much closer to Melbourne than the New South Wales ski fields are to Sydney. The main resorts are Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller and Mt Buffalo.

Tasmania would have ski slopes at Ben Lomond, Mt Field and Cradle Mountain National Parks.

Indoor attractions

For those who prefer the warmth of indoor activities, the museums and galleries of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and other Australian cities and towns beckon.

The Australian national capital itself, Canberra, has much to offer in winter.

Then there are the various theatre offerings in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities and major towns of Australia.

Of course, there’s also the attraction of simply staying in, having a beer or a glass of wine in convivial company and in front of a roaring log fire.

Winter events

The only national public holiday in the Australian winter is the Queen’s Birthday holiday which takes place on the second Monday in June in all Australian states and territories except Western Australia which celebrates it later in the year.

Because Christmas takes place in the Australian summer, the Blue Mountains in New South Wales celebrates its Yulefest in winter with Christmas in July.

At Australia‘s Top End, the Darwin Beer Can Regatta usually takes place in July at Mindil Beach.

The big Brisbane country festival, the Royal Queensland Show, more popularly known as the Ekka, usually takes place in August, the last month of winter.

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