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

Spring flower display at the Floriade at Commonwealth Park.
Manfred Gottschalk/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

September is Australia’s first month of spring, the season that allows Mother Nature to really show off. It is the most popular month in the country for weddings and also tends to be a peak travel period, particularly around the school holidays.

It is a large country with a variety of climates, but most of Australia has four seasons, which land at opposite times to those in the northern hemisphere. Here, September to November is spring. If you are seeking a ski trip, you'll want to head south, but if you are hoping for a beach vacation and warmer days, the north will be your destination. Outdoor activities like walking tours, waterfalls, hiking, hot air ballooning, and other sports are all possibilities on your September trip to Australia.

It's also a great time for also attending the many flower events held all over the country, along with arts and cultural festivals.

Australia Weather in September

Unless you're traveling to the more tropical north or the snowy mountains, Australia has mostly temperate spring weather that is neither hot nor cold, though nights are a bit cooler. In most states, aside from Queensland and the Northern Territory, average maximum temperatures in the major cities are below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) and average lows are under 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain at this time is generally light and infrequent, with average rainy days ranging from two per month in the Northern Territory to 12 in Ballarat, Victoria and Bunbury, Western Australia.

What to Pack

As you prepare for a trip to Australia, how you fill your suitcase depends on where you are going, though in general you will find mild weather. Layering clothing works well to cover your bases. Also, check the weather forecasts before you go to plan accordingly.

  • If you are going somewhere warm, bring along T-shirts or lightweight shirts, shorts, skirts, a jacket for cooler evenings, swimsuits, and comfortable shoes. You'll probably also want to have sun protection from hats to a sun umbrella to sunscreen.
  • For tropical areas, it's helpful to have some mosquito repellent and breathable clothing.
  • If a cooler destination is in mind, you'll want long pants and long-sleeved shirts, a sweater/jacket, comfortable close-toe shoes, and the like.

September Events in Australia

This is the season for all nature lovers to explore Australia’s vast beauty. There are many festivals celebrating flowers held throughout the month, and a diversity of other events from arts festivals to running marathons take place this month.

  • Floriade: One of Australia’s most notable month-long flower festivals in the capital of Canberra, Floriade celebrates everything that spring has to offer. By showcasing a million flowers in their prime, while also offering plenty of activities during both day and the night including food, art, and entertainment, there's something for everyone.
  • Kings Park Festival: This is truly a must-see with thousands of varieties of Western Australian wildflowers and more than 3,000 native plant species. Located at Kings Park and Botanic Garden, it is the most relaxing flower festival in all of Australia.
  • Bowral Tulip Time Festival: If you are planning on visiting Sydney, the New South Wales Southern Highlands celebrates spring with their festival renowned for its 75,000 colorful tulip bulbs, and wonderful, live musical entertainment in the gardens.
  • Wangaratta Orchid Show: This weekend event celebrates the beauty of exotic, tropical orchids in all variations with potting demonstrations, advice for growing and maintaining orchids at home, photography demonstrations, books for sale, and more.
  • Brisbane Festival: For 10 years, this festival has entertained about a million people annually with its theater, music, dance, circus, opera, and other programs offered in various venues. Enjoy several days of the arts in September.
  • Desert Festival: Typically running over seven weeks from August into October, this event has over 20 live shows including theater, music, arts, and children's activities in Alice Springs. It kicks off with the opening street parade at the Alice Springs Town Council Night Markets. 
  • Melbourne Fringe: For more than two weeks in September, the city displays numerous types of art by over 3,000 artists in more than 170 venues from galleries to bars to laundromats. This huge event began in 1982.
  • Blackmores Sydney Running Festival: On the third Sunday of September, it's all about health—so run, jog, or take a social walk in one of the four run distances offered—at a marathon known around the world, which originated after the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
  • Sports Events: Sports fans may want to check out Australian football, a local rite of passage. Or get to know the National Rugby League and the Australian Football League (Aussie Rules) which typically hold matches throughout September, leading up to their respective grand finals.

September Travel Tips

  • Traveling to Australia during the spring is usually cheaper and less crowded, so it's a good time to explore. However, during school holidays which are usually from late September to the middle of October, you may find yourself competing and paying a premium for flights and accommodations, so keep this in mind before booking and plan in advance.
  • Though Australia has no public holidays during September, because school children are on holiday two weeks of the month, there are countless activities and things to do that will entertain the young ones.
  • Keep in mind the country is huge—the sixth largest in the world—and unless you have months to spare, it's not easy to see everything in one trip, so take as much time as you can to enjoy each stop.
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