So you have decided that you want to travel around Australia in a campervan, but when is the best time to go? More than likely you will be restricted by your work and family commitments, but once you have the green light from your boss/wife/husband/dogsitter, then it’s time to consider when and where you want to go in Australia.
Many travellers underestimate the size of Australia and don’t realise that the weather can vary greatly from side to side and from top to bottom. Remember that Australia is the same size as continental USA, so you probably wouldn’t consider going to Florida during hurricane season or driving through a snow blizzard during Minnesota’s winter. We have outlined a rough guide to when you should travel to make the most of your campervan holiday in Australia.
For the most part, Australia has two distinct seasons – summer and winter. Of course we also enjoy spring and autumn (”fall”) but these seasons don’t have as big an impact as summer and winter. Keep in mind that Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so the climate in Australia is opposite to the climate in the Northern Hemisphere. Within Australia, the weather can also be very different between the northern and southern states.
Summer: December to February
Autumn: March to May
Winter: June to August
Spring: September to November
With summer in Australia, the main thing to keep in mind is that this is the “wet season” in the northern states. This includes the northern half of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. During the wet season, there is a lot of rain (with possible cyclones), very humid conditions and many roads are cut off by flooding. Summer is a great time to explore the rest of Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth but just ensure you are prepared for hot weather (around 30+ degrees Celsius / 86+ degrees Fahrenheit). As you would expect, this is when campervan hire prices reach their peak for the 2WD campervans (2/3 Berth, 4 Berth and 6 Berth motorhomes).
Conversely, winter is the best time to visit the northern cities of Cairns, Darwin, Broome and Alice Springs. This is the busiest time for 4WD campervans as a lot of people want to explore the fantastic attractions of the Outback, including the Kimberley region (e.g. Broome to Darwin), Kakadu National Park (a couple of hours from Darwin), Uluru / Ayers Rock (4-5 hours from Alice Springs) and the Great Barrier Reef (off the coast of Cairns and Townsville) Winter in the southern states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania is pretty chilly but this is when campervan hire prices are at their lowest.
For the best Australian campervan holiday experience, make sure that you consider the weather and how it will impact on your trip. Many travellers come unstuck when they realise that they cannot reach their final destination due to flooded roads, or they hadn’t counted on hot days and nights in their campervan without air-conditioning. A little bit of planning will go a long way and save you some sleepless nights.