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Australia Weather in May

A view of the autumn weather in Sydney, Australia
Enjoy a soothing walk through different parks in Sydney, Australia

Australia in May sees cooler temperatures in its southern cities, while coastal cities and those in the north are warm and dry. Since it is located along the coast, Sydney stays warm for much of the month with average highs of 20°C, while average lows hover at around 12°C. Southern cities like Hobart, Canberra and Melbourne are much cooler.

With the dry season commencing in the tropical north, temperatures in Brisbane, for example, can go as high as 24°C, barely falling below 15°C, while those in Darwin can soar up to a sweltering 32°C.

For a month-by-month rundown, read our travel article on the best time to visit Australia.

Weather in Australia in May - Rainfall and Temperatures

Avg Daily (°C)262625232018171820141618
Avg Nightly (°C)1919181512108912222426
Avg Daily (°F)797977736864636468576164
Avg Nightly (°F)666664595450464854727579
Avg Rainfall (mm)1311261641331011405699658811685

Why Visit Australia in May

Every 14 day Australian itinerary should include a trip to Uluru
Explore the magnifience that is the Uluru Rock, Australia
The view from Mt Ainslie of Canberra city and the Brindabella hills
Hike to Mount Ainslie as it is a strategic position to enjoy the sunset over Canberra city, Australia

A pleasant weather in most parts of the country along with a bevy of festivals means that, in May, you may be jostling with crowds for a share of Australia’s best sights, especially in the north, where touristy destinations like Whitsundays and Cairns attract hordes of holidaymakers.

Southern destinations offer more breathing room, but popular cities like Sydney and Melbourne are always full. With the weather just right for outdoor excursions, make sure that you include a few of the country’s national parks in your itinerary.

  • Great weather: Travelers who despise Australia's hot and humid weather will experience a more comfortable climate in June. With winter just around the corner, most places are generally cooler. Now is the perfect time to explore Brisbane or Perth.
  • Outdoor escapades: With splendid weather and less rainfall, this is a great time to enjoy Australia’s diverse wildlife and geography. Explore popular national parks like Litchfield and Kakadu, or get lost in the Australian outback.
  • Whale-watching trip: If you are a fan of these massive ocean mammals, head to the Ningaloo Reef where whale sharks return in April and May. Their arrival is celebrated in Exmouth with talent shows, market stalls and a cinema.
  • Festivities: Ring in winter with vibrant lights and musical performances at the vivid Sydney Winter Festival, catch international artists in Poss River Resort’s Wide Open Space festival or pay tribute to Captain Cook during the 1770 Festival.

Where to go and what to do

The view of a vineyard landscape in Australia
Enjoy a glass of wine basking in the autumn weather, Australia

Given an exceptional weather, the best places to visit in Australia in May depends on your preferred activities more than anything else. However, although the northern parts of the country offer the perfect weather for swimming, the seas of the northern side of Western Australia and northern Queensland are off-limits, as poisonous box jellyfish make the waters too dangerous to approach. Therefore, you might want to enjoy adventures on land instead during your stay in these regions. Explore Northern Territory’s UNESCO-listed parks like Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu and spy on their unique wildlife.

Further down south, the water is still too cold for a swim. But despite this, you have an abundance of things to do. Visit indoor attractions like museums and exhibits, of which there are plenty in both Sydney and Melbourne, and go restaurant-hopping in both these cities! You will find more information about how many days to spend in Australia with our travel guide.

What to bring

Australian outback, driving in the flinders ranges
Flinders Ranges is situated 500 km north of Adelaide and can be reached in a 4X4, Australia
The view of the Melbourne cityscape from the Shrine of Remembrance
Visit the grand city of Melbourne and enjoy its cosmopolitan vibes, Australia

With varying climates, it is essential that you track the weather at your destination before you arrive. You can get away with light fabrics on a trip to the hotter northern regions, but southern and inland cities may require that you dress in layers as they tend to get colder in the evenings.

With winter on the horizon, Australia in May offers a pleasant respite from the oppressive heat and humidity of the previous months, making it the perfect time for exploration. The north has a wealth of national parks just waiting to be explored, the Australian outback thrives with wildlife, and southern cities offer a bevy of museums, restaurants and art galleries for culture vultures.

With so many going for it, bear in mind that May is a popular month, and you may have to contend with crowds in popular destinations. Accommodations and flights to Australia in May can be expensive, so make sure to book your tickets in advance. Connect with our travel experts in the country for a customized tour to Australia.

You might also want to check out our tours to Australia in May.

More Information

Australia tours in May
Published by David Lee, updated on April 10, 2024

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