Australia is a renowned country for sunny days, beautiful beaches, and blue skies, but knowing where to go and what time can really benefit your camping trip.
All states or territories have different climates and if you don’t plan your trip in the right month, you can be really disappointed.
To answer what is the best time to go camping in Australia we have to break it down by states and territories. In our guide, we assume that camping in cold, rainy, or snowy weather is something you are not looking for.
Apart from the weather, there are two other important things to consider: road closure and school holidays.
During school holidays every caravan park or national park is busy with campers. The good thing about going camping during this time is that most of the caravan parks organise activities for kids, so while kids play together or watch a movie outdoor parents can relax a bit.
However, if you don’t like crowds or you don’t travel with children it is better to plan your camping at a different time.
The road closure is important when you go off-road or visit national parks. Occasional rainfalls can cause some dirt roads or even main routes are not passable so refer below to our road closure links to check before you go camping.
Also, some national parks are closed seasonally due to high temperatures, e.g. the Simpson Desert.
Tasmania is the coldest Australian state. If you don’t like shivering in rain or snow, plan your trip outside of winter months, and preferable in summer.
Many say that Autumn is the best time to come as this time of the year resembles the European weather with blue skies and red, gold, and orange leaves dropping from trees. Indeed it is beautiful, but maybe too cold for camping. It is up to you.
If you visit Cradle Mountain in summer, expect very cold nights (even below zero)
Victoria is not as cold as Tasmania, but it is similar in many ways. When you ask anyone living in Victoria how do you describe the weather, they say one word: unpredictable.
We used to live in Melbourne for 8 years and, indeed the weather is out of kilter. A sunny sky can turn into heavy wind and rain in just 15 minutes.
I remember coming from Wodonga in summer on a hot, 45 degrees Celsius day. When we were about 50 km from Melbourne the temperature suddenly dropped to 20 degrees in 15 minutes.
Victoria as a state offers many attractions that can be visited all year round, but going camping is perhaps limited due to cold nights. Normally in Victoria, the temperature at night doesn’t drop below zero, but it is still cold. During the winter months, you can even go skiing in Mount Buller.
Conversely, it is not unusual to have heat waves with the daily temperatures reaching 45 degrees. Hopetoun in Victoria with its 48.8 degrees is home to the highest temperature recorded in the state.
If you visit a mountainous area like the Grampians, the night temperature can drop below zero in wintertime.
New South Wales
New South Wales is a very diverse state with plenty to do. Visit one of many beautiful beaches, go hiking in World Heritage-listed rainforests, hunt for opals in the red outback, climb Mount Kosciuszko or go 4WD driving on many off-road tracks.
New South Wales coast has a subtropical climate with warmer temperatures than Victoria. Usually, during the summer months, there is quite a lot of rain, especially in January and February.
However, in southern parts of NSW, it can get still pretty cold, and when you visit Snowy Mountains or Alpine region in winter, expect snow.
When visiting the outback, experience cold nights, and crisp days with sunny weather. There is not much rain up there, but when it does rain unsealed roads could be closed.
Australian Capital Territory
Compared to other Australian states or territories, ACT is very small. It features the capital – Canberra with Lake Burley Griffin and Namadgi National Park.
Due to the high altitude over 500 meters above sea level, it is a cold place, and if you plan to go camping do it in summer. January is the warmest month with an average temperature of 28 degrees. In winter expect daily temperatures of 10 degrees, with nights below zero.
South Australia, similar to other states has many attractions to offer. Apart from the capital, the well-known places to visit are Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island, Limestone Coast, and the Yorke Peninsula.
The best way to explore all places is to jump in the car and drive around.
The winters are milder than in Victoria, but nights will be still cold for someone liking warmer temperatures.
On the other hand, summer can be very hot. Occasional heat waves with 40 and over temperatures can really spoil your camping plans.
Western Australia is the biggest state of Australia. Perth, the capital, is a modern and well-urbanised city that should be on your bucket list. Leaving the city though will open endless possibilities for sightseeing, hiking, 4WD driving, or fishing.
Due to its size, Western Australia is home to many different climates. On the south-east, the climate is temperate with four seasons, but the more north you go the climate changes to tropical with a wet and dry season. Away from the coast, in the outback, the land is getting arider and you will not see much rain.
When camping in the northern part of WA, consider cold nights in winter. Going south to Broome and Kimberley is only recommended during the dry season as in the summer months between January and March the rain is pouring almost every day.
Best Time To Go Camping in Western Australia
Southern WA – September to May
Middle WA – All Year
Northern WA – May to October
Northern Territory is our favourite place to go as it has a very unique atmosphere and hot weather that we like. Apart from that, the territory is home to many attractions.
The climate in Northern Territory is tropical monsoonal with dry and wet seasons. We recommend visiting NT only in the dry season as the summer months are very wet and you won’t be able to camp or do any four-wheel driving due to flooded roads and the closure of many attractions.
Regardless of the month, in the top end of NT, you will not get any cold weather. The daily temperatures in Darwin in winter or summer are between 28 – 34 degrees and at night it only drops to 18 degrees. It is a perfect place for someone liking warm weather.
Queensland is the second-largest state in Australia with numerous tourist attractions that bring many visitors from overseas and colder Australian states.
What to see in Queensland? Let’s list some most renowned places to visit: The Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays, Sunshine and Gold Coast, World Heritage Daintree National Park, Cape York, kangaroos in Cape Hillsborough, and vast outback.
Let’s also not forget about Brisbane, which is a beautiful, modern city with many parks and places to visit.
The climate in Queensland is sub tropical between Brisbane and Rockhampton and tropical going north. It is never cold here, except if you want to camp in the outback in winter.
Places like Stanthorpe or Injune can record negative temperatures during winter, so plan your camping in warmer months or buy a warm sleeping bag. However, if you stick to the coast the coldest you get at night will be 12 degrees, so not so bad.
Best Time To Go Camping in Queensland
Cape York Penisula and Wet Tropics – April to September
Rest of the east coast – All Year (Jan and Feb wet )
Outback – March to November
Best time to go camping in Australia – summary
As you probably noticed there is some pattern to follow.
If you travel to the southern parts of Australia, the best time to do it is in the summer months. You get hot days and warm evenings.
If you visit tropical Western Australia, Northern Territory, or Queensland the best time is winter, between May and September.
If you add it up, you can really fit it all into a nice trip around Australia.
Enjoy your camping!
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