Australia in
January

For the ultimate escape from the cold and dark weather that dominates the northern hemisphere in January, visit Australia and experience summer all over again. This incredible island is known for its outstanding wildlife and scenery, and its huge size accommodates a range of different cities, towns and villages that are full of different things for travellers to see and do.

Australia has been a firm choice for extended holidays for years now, equally popular with families, couples and solo travellers or backpackers because of its range of attractions. Arriving in January will present you with incredible weather that is perfect for the many miles of beach surrounding the country, but there’s also a huge number of national parks, museums, galleries and resorts in Australia that mean you’ll never struggle to find something to keep you occupied during your stay. 

Reasons to Visit Australia in January

Sydney Australia
  • January is right in the middle of Australia’s summer season, offering fantastic weather across the country
  • Although January is part of the country’s peak tourist season, Australia’s size means that it is easy to find solitude and quiet if you travel away from busy cities and beaches
  • Numerous cultural events take place in Australia in January, so if you visit during the month you’ll find heaps of things to do

Weather in Australia in January

The weather in Australia differs quite a lot across the country, so it’s worth checking out the forecast of wherever you are going to be staying before you travel. As January falls within Australia’s summer season, you’ll find warm and sunny weather almost everywhere, with some parts of the country seeing a lot more rain than others throughout the month. 

Temperature

The temperature in the central Australian outback has been known to reach up to 40°C in the summer months, with an average high temperature of 37°C and an average low temperature of around 22°C. In Mediterranean Perth, the average January high is 31°C and the average low is 18°C, tropical Darwin has a high of 31°C and a low of 26°C, and Sydney has an average high temperature of 26°C in January and a low of 19°C. 

Sea Temperature

Sea temperatures around Australia vary depending on which part of the coast you are visiting, but are at their highest in January when the air temperature is also high.  Average temperatures range from 18°C to 29°C, with Queensland being the warmest part of the country to enjoy the water.

It’s worth noting that you are strongly advised against swimming in the sea around Australia’s northern coast in January, as there is a huge amount of box jellyfish in the water at this time of the year which can be deadly if you get badly stung by one of them. 

Clouds and Rainfall

Again, rainfall in Australia in January depends greatly on where you are visiting. The north of the country sees much more rain than the south, with Darwin getting an average of 22 days of rain whilst Sydney sees 16 and Perth only experiences 5 days on average in January.

Australia is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones, which mainly affect the northern coasts of the country. These storms will usually just be prolonged periods of very heavy rain and are not usually dangerous, but there is a chance that they will happen if you are visiting Australia in January. 

Sunshine Hours

Hours of sunshine vary across Australia in July, with hotter areas like Perth seeing 13 hours on average a day whilst Sydney has 9 and Darwin only has an average of 7. Sunrise tends to be before 6 am and the sunset is just before 7 pm, so there are around 13 hours of daylight every day during the month.

Where to go in Australia in January

Melbourne

If you’re visiting Australia in January then you’re going to want to spend at least some of your time on the coast, soaking up the sun and enjoying surfing or swimming in the ocean. Melbourne is a city in Victoria, Australia, and is home to a fantastic range of beaches, restaurants, accommodation options and tourist attractions.

One of the best things to do in Melbourne in January is to hire a vehicle when you arrive in Australia and journey along the Great Ocean Road which lines the coast near to the city. Or if you want to stay put, you can escape the heat in many of Melbourne’s air-conditioned galleries, museums and shops, or enjoy the green spaces around the city and try and spot some of Australia’s famous wildlife. 

Tasmania

If you’re really wanting to escape to the wilderness for a while during your holiday in Australia, you can hop across the Bass Strait and visit the small island of Tasmania. Australia’s smallest state, this beautiful location is a stunning, laid-back part of the country that is home to a huge variety of scenery.

Tasmania is home to beaches, caves, forests, mountains and fields, so it’s a brilliant place to come if you’re a keen adventurer and love the great outdoors. For those who prefer culture however, Tasmania has a variety of towns and cities with exciting cultural scenes along with exceptional local food and wine.

Things to do in Australia in January

Blue Mountains Australia

BBQ on the Beach

January provides perfect weather for the beach in Australia, and you can enjoy the warm weather and sunny skies whatever part of the coast you are on. After spending the day sunbathing or trying your hand at surfing, gather around a BBQ as the sunsets and enjoy a truly authentic Australian experience. 

Hike the Blue Mountains

To the west of Sydney are the famous Blue Mountains, so named because of the blue haze that forests of eucalyptus trees produce, making the area seem to glow from a distance. Here you can explore hiking trails, follow tours led by aboriginal guides, and admire the range of trees, rocks, lakes and mountains that make up this protected part of the country. 

Scuba Dive in The Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is famous for the levels of biodiversity that exists beneath the surface of the water, and there’s no better way to enjoy this marine paradise than with a scuba diving expedition. There are numerous diving schools along the coast that can provide the correct equipment and take you out to explore the reef, with January’s warm weather providing ideal water conditions for spending a long time in the water.

Crowds & costs

January is part of peak season for tourism in Australia, with the hot weather coinciding with many people’s Christmas holidays and filling the country’s cities and holiday resorts with both tourists and locals. Prices for flights and accommodation will be very high, so make sure you plan your trip well in advance to secure the best deals.

The country’s beaches will be particularly busy in January because the weather is so good, so be prepared to have to share the sand on a lot of Australia’s popular beaches. If you want to escape the crowds then there are plenty of beautiful, rural parts of the country to explore where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.

January festivals & events

Sydney Festival

Sydney Festival began in 1977 and has grown to be one of the biggest cultural events in all of Australia. The festival celebrates the city with art, music, theatre and dance performances from a range of artists from the country, and makes January one of the best months for culture in Australia’s calendar.

Australia Day

Celebrated on the 26th of January every year, Australia Day commemorates the arrival of troupes and the raising of the British flag at Sydney Cove in 1788, which signalled the beginning of European colonisation in the country. Whilst a number of the country’s residents believe that this shouldn’t be celebrated because of the destruction it brought to Australia’s natives, but it remains a national holiday that is celebrated across the country.  

The Australian Open

Melbourne hosts the start of the Australian Tennis Open, which begins at the start of January. If you’re a fan of tennis, there’s no better place to be to watch this international sporting event.

Beach in Australia

Frequently asked questions about Australia in January

What is the season in Australia in January?

January is right in the middle of the summer season in Australia, meaning you’ll get a lot of sunshine, heat and blue skies when you visit. 

What is the safest city in Australia?

According to a 2015 report, Sydney is the world’s 6th safest city, making it the safest place to visit in Australia. Melbourne was 9th on this list as well, so is the second safest part of the country to visit.

Summary

January is a popular time of year to come to Australia for a reason: the weather is irresistible to those who have been living in winter for months and provides ideal conditions to enjoy the huge range of outdoor attractions that the country is home to. Combined with the local laid-back attitude and the host of events that take place during the month, deciding whether to visit Australia in January is simple. Why would you say no?

Want to find out more about the top destinations in Asia and Oceania to visit in January? Read our guides to Oman and Rajasthan, or take a look at our rundown of Where to Go in January.

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