The Best Time to Visit Melbourne

Cityscape of Melbourne city of Australia during the sunset.
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The most important thing to consider when planning a trip to Melbourne is the weather. The best time to visit Melbourne is during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months of December to February. During this time of year, the weather is hot and sunny, and there are plenty of things to do across town. The city comes alive during this time of year, hosting outdoor festivals, events, and things to do. But with hot weather comes more crowds and higher prices. 

Weather 

Ask any Melburnian about the weather in their city, and they’ll tell you that sometimes you’ll experience all four seasons in one day. It’s true. Melbourne’s weather has a mind of its own, but in terms of seasons, it follows the Southern Hemisphere’s summer (December to February), fall (March to May), winter (June to August), and spring (September to November) agenda. 

From November to February, temperatures will range from 70 to 80 degrees F. Peak summer weather can be ultra steamy, so much so that the city is known to have experienced power outages because of extreme heat. But that doesn’t stop Melburnians from frothing (Aussie slang for loving) the summer after a long winter. 

During the winter, temperatures don’t usually drop below 40 degrees F, but it’s accompanied by a gloomy and gray atmosphere. Winter is the off-season for tourists as it’s not the most attractive time of year to visit Melbourne.

Spring and fall are both very unpredictable in terms of weather. For instance, during the spring, you could wake up, and it would be 45 degrees F, and when it hits mid-day, it’s 70 degrees F. And then, of course, the temperature drops as soon as the sun goes down. Spring is known to be a bit wetter as the season transitions into the warm months of summer. It’s best to pack a warm jacket if you visit during spring or fall.

Crowds and Tourist Attraction Availability

Crowds in Melbourne increase during the summer months thanks to the hot and sunny weather. It doesn’t have a particular attractions—like Ayers Rock in Alice Springs or the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns—that crowds flock to at certain times of the year. Most of the top-rated tourist attractions in Melbourne are open year-round, such as Queen Victoria Market or Luna Park. Melbourne is a city that thrives on seasonal events and festivals. For instance, QVM is open all year, but it hosts a summer night market from November to March and a winter night market from June to August.

Price

The price of airfare and accommodation in Melbourne may increase during the summer months when there’s an increase in domestic and international travelers. From November to February, hotel prices increase marginally, but not significantly. Prices may also rise around significant events throughout the year, such as the Australian Open (summer), Melbourne International Comedy Festival (March/April), and Formula 1 Grand Prix (March). 

Prices for hotels and airfare will drop during the off-season winter months. 

Key Holidays/Festivals/Events

Melbourne hosts a bunch of international events throughout the year. These events attract visitors from all over the world. Don’t let the crowds deter you from visiting Melbourne when there’s a big festival happening! Instead, you should look at available tickets so that you can participate in the fun. See a complete list of events by month below. If you plan on traveling to attend one of these, get an early start on booking flights and accommodations.

Australia celebrates national and state-specific public holidays. Victoria takes a public holiday for Melbourne Cup (November), the Friday before AFL Grand Final (September), Labour Day (March), and the Queen’s birthday (June).

National holidays include Australia Day (January), Anzac Day (April), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. These holidays may affect travel in terms of crowds, as well as the hours of operation for public transportation, tourist attractions, and restaurants. 

Melbourne skyline
Richard Sharrocks / Getty Images

January

January is an ideal month to visit Melbourne—not only because of the temperature but also for things to do. The city experiences summer mode in full swing, so crowds (domestic and international) and prices may increase. Consider wearing sunscreen and a hat when walking around the city during this month as the sun is unforgiving.  

Events to check out: 

  • The Australian Open kicks off in January. Professional tennis players compete in the first of four Grand Slam events played at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Court Arena, and Melbourne Arena. 
  • Midsumma Festival is an annual celebration of LGBTQA+ arts and culture. It happens over 22 days with events at more than 80 venues across Melbourne.
  • FOMO music festival is an annual one-day music festival that tours across Australia. It brings together local and international musicians on one stage.

February

Warm weather continues into February, with daily average temperatures sitting at 70 to 80 degrees F. It won’t be as scorching hot as January, so outdoor events and festivals are a bit more enjoyable. 

Events to check out: 

  • St. Kilda Festival is a free, one-day music, art, and food festival on the beach. It attracts thousands of visitors each year, so expect a mass of crowds in St. Kilda during this time. 
  • Zoo Twilights is a month-long music event at the Melbourne Zoo. The event is all about music against wildlife extinction, with ticket proceeds going toward saving critically endangered species.

March

The month of March slowly transitions the city into fall. The temperature is comfortable and the global events are plentiful. 

Events to check out:

  • Melbourne kicks off the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit each year in March. As this race tours the world, it attracts a massive crowd of domestic and international travelers. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the cars zoom past you!
  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the largest comedy festivals in the world. It hosts a program of comedy sets, theater, and street performances by international and local talent. This festival takes place over three and a half weeks of March and April.
  • Melbourne Food and Wine Festival comes to the city of Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria each year in March. It showcases the best of Australia’s restaurants, winemakers, and chefs.
  • Moomba Festival is a free community festival run by the city of Melbourne. You’ll find carnival rides, parades, music performances, and athletic events along the banks of the Yarra River. It’s a family-friendly event. 
  • Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is held each year in March. It showcases the best in Australian fashion with runway shows, beauty workshops, retail events, and industry seminars.

April

April is peak fall weather. The leaves change to a bright orange color and the temperature sits around 65 degrees F. This is a great month to visit if you’re on a budget or like to explore without the crowds. Melbourne is quiet during April with no significant events taking place. Most locals take advantage of the Easter long weekend to travel.

April is an excellent time to visit the Great Ocean Road as the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition takes place at Bells Beach. It might also be worth it to make a day trip to the Dandenong Ranges because of the colorful Tesselaar KaBloom festival of flowers.

May

The month of May rides the curtails of April. It’s slightly colder (about 60 degrees F), but equally as quiet. The cool weather makes it a good time of year to check out the national parks, such as the Grampians or Wilsons Promontory. 

Events to check out: 

  • Grampians Great Escape is a regional food, wine, and music festival. It’s not in the city of Melbourne, but a three-hour drive away. Grampians National Park is a great day trip from Melbourne. 

June

Hello, winter! When June rolls around, the city of Melbourne gets noticeably colder, wetter, and grayer. It may be the off-season for tourists, but Melbournians power through thanks to the rise of winter events that pop up. If you visit during June, get cozy in one of Melbourne’s hidden bars or shop at one of many indoor malls. 

Events to check out:

  • Melbourne International Jazz Festival is an annual event that takes over venues across the city. It brings together modern masters of jazz.
  • Good Food & Wine Show is an exhibition that lets visitors sample local foods and wines. It’s less fancy than the food and wine festival as it’s more of a learning and tasting experience over one weekend. 
  • Oz Comic-Con takes place over one weekend in June. It brings together pop culture fans of television, movies, books, and comic books. 

July

July is cold. Temperatures range from 40 to 55 degrees F, and the atmosphere is usually wet, gray, and gloomy. Not many tourists visit Melbourne during the winter as they’ll find warmer weather in Brisbane or Sydney. While the city might be dreary, it’s an excellent time to head to the surrounding mountains for skiing or snowboarding. Mount Baw Baw, Mount Buller, Mount Hotham, and Falls Creek are all accessible from the city. 

August

Come August, Melburnians are itching for summer. It’s still cold, wet, and gloomy, but there are a few events that get people out of the house.

Events to check out:

  • White Night is a three-day, all night global art festival. Light projections appear on city buildings and there are large scale performances. It’s one of those events that you have to see to believe.  
  • Melbourne International Film Festival is an annual event that spans over three weeks in August. It’s an extensive showcase of Australian filmmaking. 
  • Melbourne Writers Festival is a multi-day event that gives writers a platform to share their work but also teach and inspire other writers to continue their craft. 

September

Melbourne shakes off its winter jacket as the temperatures begin to rise to the 60s F in September. Melburnians come out of hibernation to be more social on the weekends.

Events to check out:

  • Melbourne Fringe is a two-week cultural festival. It unites artists of all genres to showcase their work, whether it be at a comedy show or a theater performance.

October

Spring has sprung in Melbourne. The temperature creeps up into the low 70s F, but the weather itself is unpredictable. It can be cold, rainy, sunny, and hot in one day. Pack everything before you leave the hotel! October is an excellent month to visit Yarra Valley as the countryside fully embraces spring.

Events to check out:

  • The Melbourne Marathon brings together thousands of athletes from around the world to race on one day in October. 
  • Melbourne International Arts Festival connects people, art, and ideas from around the world. It’s a 17 day festival with a range of dance, music, theater, and visual arts events. 

November

Temperatures in November sit at a comfortable 65 to 70 degrees F. This month may not be flocked with tourists, but you’ll notice more locals out and about. Mainly because of the public holiday around the Melbourne Cup. It’s also a great month for hikes in national parks or wine tasting in Macedon Ranges or Mornington Peninsula.

Events to check out:

  • Melbourne Cup Carnival is an annual horse race on the first Tuesday of November (which is a public holiday). The race attracts thousands of visitors, all wearing their Sunday best to cheer on their favorite horse. A handful of other races follow the Melbourne Cup throughout November.
  • Macedon Ranges hosts a food and wine festival called Budburst Festival. A festival pass will get you access to all venues for wine tastings, live entertainment, and hospitality. 

December

Hello, summer! Melbourne thrives in December. Domestic and international travelers come here during the holidays to take advantage of the hot and sunny weather. Temperatures bounce around 75 to 80 degrees F, making it enjoyable for days spent by the beach. You’ll find people at outdoor restaurants, rooftop bars, and open-air cinemas. There are not many significant events happening during December, other than Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

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