February in Australia: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Crowded Bondi beach, Sydney, Australia

Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

February is the last month of the Australian summer, so expect it to be crowded with tourists and locals enjoying the warm temperatures and sandy beaches. The country also hosts plenty of festivals, parties, and other events as part of summer celebrations.

Australian students return to school from summer break at the end of January, so although February is still high season for tourists and you should book accommodations well in advance, it shouldn't be as busy as visiting in December or January.

Australia Weather in February

Australia is a massive piece of land with a wide range of climates. The temperatures are generally warm to hot, similar to August in Northern Hemisphere countries. As you travel north, temperatures generally go up, while the southern parts of the country are milder in February.

  Average High Temp. Average Low Temp.
Cairns 87 F (31 C)  76 F (24 C) 
Brisbane  84 F (29 C)  70 F (21 C) 
Sydney  79 F (26 C)  68 F (20 C) 
Melbourne  78 F (26 C)  58 F (14 C) 
Perth  86 F (30 C)  65 F (18 C)  

But temperature doesn't tell the whole story. February is also the rainy season for many parts of Australia, especially in northern cities like Cairns. As you travel south to Brisbane and Sydney, rain is less of an issue than humidity. The days can be muggy, oppressively so, but the beaches are nearby to cool off and refresh (the average ocean water temperature is a balmy 77 degrees Fahrenheit). Melbourne and Perth probably have the most comfortable weather, with little chance of rain, low humidity, and usually clear skies.

Being the peak of the summer season, February brings the possibility of wildfires. While the flames are usually limited to the rural interior, it's possible for the smoke to reach the big cities and cause air quality problems.

What to Pack

Expect sunny, hot days and nights that are equally warm. The Australian sun is especially harsh, so combined with temperatures that are sometimes uncomfortably hot, it's important to pack accordingly. Australia's style is mostly casual and eclectic. Don't feel like you need to pack five-star duds to fit in here. A good start for your packing list should include:

  • T-shirts made from breathable linen or cotton
  • Shorts, especially denim cutoffs
  • Flip-flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Maxi-dress or other "dressy" attire
  • Wide-brimmed hat for sun protection
  • Jeans
  • Leather sandals
  • Breezy blouses or button-downs
  • Sunscreen

February Events in Australia

There are no Australian public holidays in February, but there are several major events during the month include Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the Asian Lunar New Year celebrations, and the Twilight Taronga Summer Concert Series.

Many events in Australia during February 2021 have been scaled back or have new guidelines in place, so be sure to confirm the most up-to-date details with event organizers.

  • Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: One of the major Australian events of the year and largest gay pride events in the world, Mardi Gras in Sydney is a city-wide event that spans from February 19 to March 7, 2021. Take part in balls, concerts, film festivals, art shows, and the culminating parade on March 6.
  • Melbourne Midsumma Festival: Although it doesn't have the same international reputation as the Sydney Festival, Melbourne Pride still draws tens of thousands of participants. Melbourne's gay pride festival also typically takes place this month, but the 2021 festival was moved to April 19–May 5.
  • Lunar New Year: The Lunar New Year usually occurs in February, and a significant Chinese and Southeast Asian population in Australia means there are festivities throughout the country. All of the major cities celebrate some type of traditional activities, such as dragon boat races, lion parades, lanterns, and lots of holiday food. For 2021, the Lunar New Year is on February 12 with festivities happening throughout the two weeks leading up to it.
  • Valentine's Day: February 14 is recognized as St. Valentine's Day and is a celebrated day for romance much like it is in the United States. If you are traveling in Australia with your partner and want to do something romantic, make sure to plan in advance.
  • Sydney Twilight at Taronga Summer Concert Series: Throughout February, the Taronga Zoo in Sydney usually features evening concerts and performances. Just a 12-minute ferry ride from the city, visitors can sit out in the open-air amphitheater and bring picnics while enjoying live music and the breathtaking view of downtown Sydney. If you arrive early, the award-winning zoo is one of the most famous attractions in Sydney and is home to over 4,000 animals from Australian natives to exotic species. The zoo is open in February 2021, but the Twilight at Taronga series is canceled until 2022.

February Travel Tips

  • Being midsummer, February is still a popular beach time in Australia, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. But be safe on Australian beaches: The poisonous box jellyfish, including the deadly Irukandji jellyfish, are common along the north Queensland coast past Great Keppel Island.
  • Summer is a favorite time for visitors, but the January school holidays have ended. Still, hotels can be booked almost a year or more in advance, so plan ahead for the best deals or expect to pay a premium. Rental cars are also more expensive.
  • In many parts of the country, bugs like flies and mosquitoes are prevalent. Pick up a bottle of insect repellant while you're there.
  • Heat can be excessive throughout much of Australia. Prepare yourself by drinking plenty of water, seeking shade (or air-conditioning) during the hottest parts of the day, and applying plenty of sunscreen. Additionally, the wet season in the tropics can cause excessive humidity in some places. Tropical cyclones, or hurricanes, aren't frequent but do occur on occasion.