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Sydney is blessed with wonderful weather, even in winter the temperature rarely falls below 10°C.
Spring is positively gorgeous in Sydney. The average temperature ranges from 13°C (55F) at night to 22°C (72F) in the day.
The weather is cool but is usually very pleasant and sunny. Spring is normally Sydney's driest season, the 2000 Olympic Games were held mid September for this reason. Spring commences September 1st and extends through to November 30th.
Autumn is lovely with sunny clear days . Autumn starts on March 1 and ends 31st May.
Winter in Sydney can be chilly with strong westerly winds. Winter starts June 1 concludes August 31.
Summer in Sydney is what all Sydneysiders love. It's truly beach weather, so slap on the sunscreen and head to one of the wonderful beaches. Summer starts on December 1st and finishes on February 28/29th.
Swimming and Water Temperature
The Australian east coast is influenced by the East Australian Current which brings warm water down the coast from the Coral Sea. Its effects vary from year to year but are strongest in summer and weakest in winter.
Summer water temperatures in Sydney are generally around 22°C. The water is usually most comfortable for swimming between Christmas (25 December) and April. Earlier in December the air temperature is lovely, but the water is colder. As autumn progresses the air temperature is cooler and the water may still be warm.
Rainfall and Coastal / Inland variations
Australia experiences regular drought. Winter can be cool or cold (to local sensibilities) but have clear blue skies. In a protected position out of the wind it can be very pleasant indeed. Summer can be humid.
The coastal suburbs and beaches get more rain than further inland. You might find it's pouring rain in central Sydney or at the beach, but clear at Parramatta if you're thinking of heading out that way. Most of the time in summer rainfall comes as thunderstorms after a hot day and passes quickly.
Inland areas have greater daily temperature variations than the coast, with more days over 40°C. Summer nights inland maybe cooler than they are by the coast, however this may depend on the wind direction. In the mountains, winter is of course colder still, but cooler than the coast in summer, so bear in mind these variants when day tripping or if you're in the western areas for a sunrise balloon flight For "inland" read Parramatta and anywhere as far west as that eg Richmond, Windsor and Camden areas.
Which time to go?
All seasons are wonderful but a favourite time in Sydney is summer and spring. On the other hand, if you're not so much into the beach culture, autumn and winter are good - in autumn you may still swim, it's more comfortable for bush walks and other active pursuits away from the water.
The most popular holiday times for Australians are Christmas - January, the April Easter school holidays and October School Holidays. This can make advance planning an essential idea at these times if you're heading to satellite areas around Sydney overnight. It's a good time to be in Sydney itself though, because many of the locals have taken holidays, so public transport and roads are not as busy. If you have kids, school holidays has the benefit of offering additional activities for kids at museums and zoos and in the National Parks (see the Travelling with Kids page).
Note: For travellers who don't cope well with temps in the summer over 25°C, avoid Australia between Oct-Mar. Temps over 30°C between Oct - Mar can be stifling for those who are not used to hot summers. It should be noted temperatures around 20°C in the winter in Australia are not unusual and makes for ideal sightseeing conditions.
Trying to decide a time for a trip to both the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney?
If you're trying to balance a trip that takes in different areas of Australia, you'll need to be balancing the weather in the different areas and this will generally involve a compromise, especially if you want to take in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) as well as the southern capitals. Sydney beaches are at their best when Far North Queensland (FNQ) isn't unfortunately. No getting around it. The main thing you'll need to decide is whether you want to surf. You can do this in Sydney but not FNQ.
Note: The best time of year for the GBR is the southern winter up to September. After that you start getting into the hot, wet season. So best time if you are visiting Sydney and the Reef would be September / October.
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