Spring in Australia

Bowral Tulip Time Festival
••• Bowral Tulip Time Festival. © Destination NSW

The Australian spring starts on September 1 and ends on November 30, heralding the arrival of summer.


The Weather

It’s a season of generally fine weather although late spring could bring cyclones, and wind and rain, to parts of the northern regions of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, when the northern wet season begins around late October.

Australia occupies such a large geographical area parts of it lie north and south of the Tropic of Capricorn.

At the southern summer solstice, within the week before Christmas Day, the sun is directly above the Tropic of Capricorn and Australia has its longest day of the year from sunrise to sunset. At this time the northern hemisphere is at its winter solstice and has the shortest day.

Spring in Australia happens some three months before the summer solstice, in the month of the spring equinox.


Average Temperature Band

You could consider Australia's average temperature band as running roughly — and irregularly depending on the contours of the land — along the Tropic of Capricorn. This would take in areas such as Western Australia's Ningaloo Coast and the Pilbara, Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, northern South Australia, southern Queensland, northern New South Wales and somehow, weather-wise, the New South Wales coast.

North of this band you would find warmer weather in areas of northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory from Darwin south to the Tanami Desert, most of coastal Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef.

The weather gets progressively cooler as you travel south.

Generally, spring weather lies between the cold of winter and the heat of summer with minimum mean averages in the Capricorn band of around 12°C to 15°C and maximum mean averages of around 24°C to 27°C. Spring is usually considered a time of less rain although 2010 — just to prove weather's fickle nature?

— had Australia's wettest spring.

Also note that in the desert heart of Australia, daytime temperatures could be very hot and nighttime temperatures exceedingly cold; and in northern Australia, the seasons are more appropriately divided into two seasons: the wet and the dry.

Elsewhere in Australia, with the earth waking up from its winter slumber, spring sprinkles the fields and gardens with the blossoms of the season.


Flower Festivals

It is a time of Australia’s best known flower festivals, the most notatable of which is arguably Canberra’s Floriade usually held for a month from around the middle of September.

In Perth, Western Australia, the Kings Park Festival, also popularly known as the Wildflower Festival, usually takes place during the first whole month of the Australian spring.

Among the New South Wales springtime flower festivals are the Tulip Time Festival in Bowral in the Southern Highlands, Lilac City Festival in Goulburn, Australian Springtime Flora Festival in Kariong near Gosford, Jacaranda Festival in Grafton, and Leura Garden Festival in the Blue Mountains.

In Victoria the Tesselaar Tulip Festival takes place at a working tulip farm some 40 kilometres east of Melbourne, while at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne, the Wildflower Festival is another drawcard for visitors.

Queensland has its Carnival of Flowers in Toowoomba and Tasmania has two tulip festivals, one at Hobart's Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and another at Wynyard northwest of Launceston.


Public Holidays

Interestingly, there is no one Australian public holiday celebrated nationally on the same day in the spring season.

Labor Day is in October in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and South Australia, but not in the other Australian states and the Northern Territory where Labor Day or its equivalent is held on other dates in other seasons.

The Queen's Birthday holiday takes place in the spring in Western Australia but in winter in other states and in the two major mainland territories.

In Victoria, Melbourne Cup Day is a public holiday on the first Tuesday in November, the day Australia's best known horse race is run.

In northern Tasmania, Recreation Day is a public holiday in November.


Spring Activities

Aside from strictly winter activities, spring is an ideal time for almost all types of indoor and outdoor activities, except you might want to wait until the weather warms up in mid- and late spring before venturing out to the beaches in the southern states. This would not be a problem for beachgoers along the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef and in the northern regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The traveler in Australia is fortunate in having visitor centres along major roads and highways in almost all principal cities and towns and popular visitor destinations where information on what to do and where to go is available in sufficient detail.

Edited and updated by Sarah Megginson