Australia in May: Weather, Tips & Outdoor Escapades
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From the warmer climes of Darwin to the cooler temperatures of Melbourne and Adelaide, the mercury tips both ways when you take a trip to Australia in May. Despite this being the last month of autumn, Sydney stays relatively warm, while a hot, dry spell kicks in throughout the tropical north, opening opportunities for national park visits. No matter where you find yourself, May is an exceptional month to visit the Land Down Under.
Australia Weather in May
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)||26||26||25||23||20||18||17||18||20||14||16||18|
|Avg Nightly (°C)||19||19||18||15||12||10||8||9||12||22||24||26|
|Avg Daily (°F)||78.8||78.8||77||73.4||68||64.4||62.6||64.4||68||57.2||60.8||64.4|
|Avg Nightly (°F)||66.2||66.2||64.4||59||53.6||50||46.4||48.2||53.6||71.6||75.2||78.8|
|Avg Rainfall (mm)||131||126||164||133||101||140||56||99||65||88||116||85|
Why Visit Australia in May
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
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
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.