Tips For Surviving Summer in Sydney

Beaches, Festivals, and Daytrips

Sydney Opera House Panorama
seng chye teo / Getty Images

The best time to visit Sydney depends on what you want to see and do, though the quintessential time for any tourist dreaming of getting the most out of their holiday is summer.

During the Australian summer, which starts on December 1 and ends on the last day of February, you will find yourself constantly exploring the infamous Australian sunny way of life. It is a time of great cultural activity as theatre, street performances, and art exhibitions are rampant within the city at this gorgeous time. If that’s not your thing, you can always take a quick trip down to the beach and see everything that Mother Nature has gifted to this glorious city.

Festival Time

The Sydney summer is a season of festivals, starting from the Christmas season in December. With this grand festivity in the air, it’s clear to see that the summers in Australia are already off to a great start! If you’ve got friends and family living in Sydney, summer is the perfect time to visit. It’s also a great Christmas getaway for anybody itching to escape the snow.

On Boxing Day, December 26, the grueling Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race starts in Sydney Harbour. The Sydney Festival, a month-long celebration of the arts, is on in January and runs until Australia Day, January 26.

The Sydney Fringe Festival may be held within this period as well. The Great Ferry Race is held on Australia Day in Sydney Harbour. You may even be able to ride on one of the racing ferries. The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said to the biggest of its kind in the world, is generally held in February. Doubts have been expressed as to whether the festival will continue to be held because of financial problems and high insurance costs – but for now, it’s going strong.

Summer Weather

Expect warm to hot weather conditions. The average temperature should range from around 19°C (66°F) at night to 26°C (79°F) in the daytime in midsummer. These are averages and temperatures can rise above 30°C (86°F).

Cautionary note: Bushfires may occur in periods of high temperature and gusty winds anytime from late spring to early autumn, which may curtail some outdoor activities and pose a danger to bushwalkers.

Expect from 78mm to 113mm of rain in a month, with the most rain in February. If you want to have a successful holiday, make sure you dress for the weather.

Summer Accommodation

Prices will generally be in the high range, particularly from the middle of December through all of January to the beginning of February. Best to book in advance.

School Holidays

Australia’s school holidays occur from mid-December through most of January, so expect much entertainment to be geared towards families and school children on holidays.

Expect beaches, theme parks, and picnic grounds, holiday resorts to be crowded.

Summer Activities

Do a walking tour of Sydney. Visit the Rocks, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, Chinatown, Darling Harbour. Go to the beach. A visit to Sydney is incomplete without at least a day on the beach. The options are endless for anybody itching to get into some engaging outdoor activities. You could go surfing, windsurfing, hang-gliding, and paragliding or even take a harbor cruise. At the very least, you could cross the harbor to Manly.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could take a long drive up the Blue Mountains and meet the Three Sisters. Alternatively, you could take a day trip north, south and west of Sydney that is perfect for bushwalking. But be sure there are no warnings of bushfire danger where you want to go. You can always take a breather at the Royal National Park or sample the finest Sydney cuisine.

Edited and updated by Sarah Megginson.

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