As the capital of the Sunshine State, Brisbane is the cultural and economic hub of Queensland. To enjoy mild weather and lower crowd levels, the best time to visit Brisbane is from March to May (fall) or September to November (spring).
Unlike tropical Far North Queensland, Brisbane experiences a relatively dry and sunny climate all year round. It is an affordable, diverse, and laid-back city, with plenty to see and do no matter when you visit. Whether you're road-tripping up the East Coast of Australia or flying in for a city escape, read our guide to get the most out of your trip.
The Weather in Brisbane
Brisbane is known as one of the sunniest cities in the world, with around 260 days of sunshine a year and a subtropical climate. In summer (December to February), temperatures reach highs of 84 F degrees, while winter lows dip down just below 50 F degrees. Compared to the rest of Australia, the city experiences less extreme hot and cold conditions.
Rainfall is reasonably low, although there are some thunderstorms in the summer. February is generally the most humid month, with humidity reaching 65 to 70 percent. Spring and fall are warm, often with a breeze, making these seasons an ideal time to visit the city if sightseeing is on the itinerary.
Brisbane is on the river, around a half-hour drive from the coast, but it is surrounded by some of Australia's best beaches. Water temperatures range between 70 and 80 F degrees depending on the season; they reach their warmest in February and coldest in August. Summer is generally considered the best season for surfing in South East Queensland, but you'll be able to find decent waves at different beaches throughout the year.
Popular Events and Festivals
Brisbane's events calendar is largely consistent, with most music festivals taking place during the summer holiday period, sports events during the cooler months, and the huge Brisbane Festival in September. You'll also be able to attend regular events like art exhibitions and farmers' markets during your trip, no matter the season.
Like the rest of Australia, Brisbane observes public holidays at Easter, Christmas, New Year, Australia Day (January 26), ANZAC Day (April 25) and the Queen's Birthday (celebrated on the first Monday of October).
Services like banks and the post office, as well as many stores and restaurants, may be closed on these days. Brisbane also has a special public holiday for the Royal Queensland Show on the second Wednesday in August.
Peak Season in Brisbane
Tourists flock to Brisbane during the Australian school vacation periods, especially around Christmastime and as the cooler weather descends on Sydney and Melbourne in June and July.
The Brisbane Festival in September is another big drawcard. Outside these times, the city is hardly ever uncomfortably crowded and you shouldn't have trouble finding accommodation if you book a week or so in advance.
If you're planning to travel further north to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, be aware that Far North Queensland experiences a tropical monsoon season. Read our guide to the best time to visit Cairns for more information.
Summer in Brisbane
From December to January, average temperatures range from around 70 to 85 degrees and humidity and rainfall are at their peak. January is a popular time to visit Brisbane, which usually results in higher hotel prices and crowds at pools, beaches, museums, and galleries. Book accommodation in advance if possible and double-check that your room has air conditioning!
Events to check out:
- Woodford Folk Festival is a six-day extravaganza of art, dance, theater, music, comedy, and environmentalism between Christmas and New Year.
- Wildlands is a one-day dance music festival held in late December.
- From mid-February to mid-March, Brisbane Comedy Festival hosts dozens of local and international acts.
Fall in Brisbane
From March to May, average temperatures drop to the 60s and 70s, with the city experiencing low humidity and fewer rainstorms. This is a pleasant time to visit Brisbane, after the school vacation period has ended and the milder weather has arrived. You will see a slight spike in crowds over Easter, but the extra visitors shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
Events to check out:
- Australia's biggest Greek festival, Paniyiri, is a two-day celebration of food, dance, and culture in May.
Winter in Brisbane
Winter in Brisbane (June to August) brings clear days and cool nights, with the water still warm enough to swim in many places and average temperatures ranging between 50 and 70 degrees. This is also the start of humpback whale season off the coast of southern Queensland, which runs until October.
School vacations usually run from mid-June to mid-July, bringing visitors from the southern states and local families out for a day of sightseeing.
Events to check out:
- The Brisbane Marathon Festival is a popular running event held in early June.
- The Brisbane International Jazz Festival also takes place at the start of June.
- The State of Origin three-game rugby league series takes place in June and July between the Queensland and NSW teams.
- The Royal Queensland Show (known as the Ekka) brings agriculture, food, carnival rides, and fireworks to Brisbane for a week in August.
- The Bridge to Brisbane is a long-distance fun run held each August.
- The Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival is a series of world-class concerts in incredible natural settings that takes place in late July.
Spring in Brisbane
Temperatures begin to warm up between September and November, and can range from 60 to 77 degrees. Rainfall and humidity also start to rise and accommodation may fill up in September, but the city is otherwise quiet and comfortable. A beach trip or river cruise are good options during this time of year.
Events to check out:
- Brisbane's Oktoberfest is Australia's largest German festival, with food, beer, and live entertainment.
- The Good Food & Wine Show brings some of the country's top chefs and producers to the city over a weekend in October.
- Across 11 days in October, the Brisbane International Film Festival presents new features, documentaries, and short films.
- Held in September, the Brisbane Festival is the city's premier international arts and culture event.
- The finalists of the Brisbane Portrait Prize exhibit their work at the Powerhouse at the end of September.