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

Floriade festival
Manfred Gottschalk / Getty Images

October in Australia is one of the nicest times of the year to gallivant across this great continent, with flowers in bloom, warm weather, and glorious landscapes everywhere you go. The season is particularly perfect for spending your days by the beach (there are a number of festivals in beach towns across the continent). Keep in mind that the weather can be quite hot the farther north you go, and much more temperate in the southern areas.

Australia in October
TripSavvy / Emilie Dunphy 

October Weather

Right in the middle of spring, October is a time of warming temperatures just before the summer heat hits the continent. At Australia's Top End region in the Northern Territory, weather in the city of Darwin is certainly tropical with a daily average high of 91 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius). The cities of Alice Springs and Cairns can also hit above 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).

In most other capital cities, the average high can hover around the 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20-degree Celsius) mark, with Hobart experiencing an average high of approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) and Sydney at 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius).

A combination of wind and warming weather can result in bushfires in the country's forests. Rain is generally light in the capital cities throughout the continent this time of year.

What to Pack

As Australia's climate is variable depending on the destination, check the weather closely before your trip. If you're heading to the northern reaches of Australia, you'll find summer-like temperatures, so it's best to pack lightweight, airy clothing to keep cool. Don't forget sunscreen—Australia is notorious for strong rays. If you're heading to the more southern cities like Sydney or Melbourne, the weather will be mild, so pack a combination of warm-weather gear like sundresses or light button-down shirts for day and jeans and sweaters for cooler evenings.

Events

October is a great time to visit because of its many public holidays, festivals, and events.

  • Floriade: Canberra's immensely popular monthlong flower festival, Floriade, starts in mid-September and continues through mid-October. The annual Floriade Flower Festival displays more than one million blooming flowers. These flowers, teamed with incredible choices of entertainment, make the nation's capital the place to be in October. One of the best things about this festival is its ability to raise awareness about the importance of nature.
  • Melbourne International Arts Festival: In Melbourne, the month of October is dedicated to celebrating the arts across music, dance, theater, visual arts, and more via free events around the city, plus a number of paid ticketed events.
  • Renmark Rose Festival: For about 10 days each October, the town of Renmark in South Australia's Riverland celebrates all things roses. Visitors are invited to walk through gardens, shop a fair with numerous market stalls, and attend a gala dinner.
  • Adelaide Film Festival: Established in 2003, the Adelaide Film Festival is an eleven-day event held each October, during which some 150 films are screened.
  • Byron Bay Film Festival: Though this festival originally took place in Australia autumn, the event has moved to the spring, occurring over nine days in October. It's the largest regional festival in the country, held in the town of Byron Bay, New South Wales.
  • Island Vibe Music and Arts Festival: On North Stradbroke Island, the last weekend in October is dedicated to the Island Vibes festival, which celebrates art, music, performance, and culture—particularly of indigenous and Pacific Islander peoples.
  • Seafarers' Festival: This one-day festival held in Hobart, Tasmania, takes on a nautical theme and has music, shopping, food, and more.
  • IGA Perth Royal Show: If you're interested in learning about Australian agriculture, this is the place to go. The event is hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia and takes place for a week at the very end of September and beginning of October.
  • Mushroom Valley Festival: Located in Queensland near the Whitsunday Islands, the annual Mushroom Valley festival fêtes the arts and music, plus holistic healing practices.
  • Sculpture by the Sea: Held twice annually, the Sculpture by the Sea festival is one of the largest outdoor sculpture events in the world—and it's free to the public. The Bondi Beach, Sydney, portion of the program occurs in late October and early November.

Travel Tips

Keep this advice in mind when considering a trip to Australia in October:

  • ​Australian daylight saving time, also known as Australian summer time, begins the first Sunday in October and ends the first Sunday in April, so be sure to change your watch accordingly.​ The regions that observe daylight saving time are Australian Capital Territory and the states of New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria. The Northern Territory and Queensland also do not observe daylight saving time.
  • With many public holidays occurring in October, you can enjoy the "long-weekend vibe" and events designed to take advantage of time off. However, note that in-country flights and accommodation prices may spike during peak holiday weekends. You might experience more crowds than you would otherwise during shoulder season.
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