Australia, the country famous for its outdoor lifestyle, constant sunshine and laid back living. All these statements are true, Australia is brilliant but after living in the country for a year I found I few misconceptions about the wonderful land down under. The biggest being, it’s sunny in Australia all the time, therefore, how can there be a perfect time of the year to visit? Well, Australia may be blessed with glorious sunshine all year round. That, however, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be tactical as to the time of year you visit. Especially if you’re visiting Queensland. Queensland also known as the ‘sunshine state’ is probably my favourite. The East Coast is phenomenal and Brisbane is the city we called home for most of our time living in Australia. As much as I love Brisbane one things for sure, I could never live there full time. Why? Because of the stinking hot, humid and unbearable summers! After spending two winters in the sunshine city, I can safely say that it’s the best time to visit Brisbane.
Why Summer isn’t the Best Time to Visit Brisbane
Brisbane is Australias third biggest city after Sydney and Melbourne. It often gets outcast by its popular sisters but I love it. The city is a lot smaller than the other two and has a great vibe. It attracts an array of different people from travellers, young families, retirees and a lot of permanent expats from all over the world. You’ve got the insane east coast on your doorstep and only a 1.5-hour drive to the likes of the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and only a further 30 minutes to the amazing Byron Bay. It has everything you need in an Australian city except for one tiny weeny problem that I cannot get over. The summers are unbearable.
They call Brisbane the sunshine city which is accurate after all, it’s sunny all year round but it’s also very humid. We found the temperatures in Brisbane reasonable throughout the year. In winter, Brisbane sits at a comfortable 11 to 25 degrees Celsius but honestly, I’ve rarely seen it drop below 21 in daytime hours whilst the sun is up.
The city does get a little rain but summer is the wettest time of year in Brissy. Of course, crisp mornings and cold nights can be expected before and after the sun rises in winter. In summer the temperatures in Brisbane don’t seem to soar to the ’40s like some other Australian cities. The average temperature in summer sits between 20 to 30 Celsius which is perfect, not so hot that you can’t do anything but by no means cold. So why isn’t summer the best time of year to visit Brisbane? One Word.
Humidity in Brisbane
Due to its location from the coast, Brisbane is blessed with wild humidity both in winter and summer. Brisbane can reach up to 50% humidity in winter and in summer the humidity is up there at 70-95%. Imagine going for a shower, driving to work and feeling so wet that you need to shower all over again! Enjoying any sort of hiking or walking is out of the question because it’s simply too hot and sticky.
The best way to be able to enjoy Brisbane in summer is to be out in the water. Of course, that’s what all the locals do to avoid the humidity in Brisbane. Sailing, kayaking, beach days, BBQ days, water polo, lounging by the pool, water fights are all very popular activities in Brisbane in summer. Another popular option is to head down south to escape the humidity because up north in the likes of Cairns and Darwin it’s just as bad if not worse.
Even though I’ve acclimated to the Australian heat I’m undoubtedly still very British and I just cannot handle Brisbane in summer. If I could give you one tip on the best time of year to visit Brisbane it would be winter. Because of the amazing weather, you can enjoy summer in winter, sounds perfect right? Now before this post turns into some sort of thesis on Brisbane’s weather habits let me talk why else Brisbane is epic in winter.
If you do want to learn about the weather in Brisbane you can do so here!
Other Reason Why Winter is the Best Time to Visit Brisbane
- Fewer Tourists – People still flock to Australia in the summer months and Brisbane is, rightly so, always on the itinerary. We found winter to be far quieter in Brisbane than the summer months.
- Enjoy the scenic hikes – Brisbane is a gateway from amazing day hikes, with the Glass House Mountains – way to humid in the summertime!
Foodie Heaven – July is a brilliant time for food in Brisbane as it welcomes the Night Noodle Markets and so much more as July is Good Food Month!
- Regional Flavours – More food comes to Brisbane but more importantly, WINE too!
- You can see Humpback Whales during June – November
- Accommodation prices will be cheaper as will flights. We flew to Cairns from Brisbane for just $39 PP in winter!
- Enjoy bearable beach days and BBQ every weekend even in winter!
- Everything you can in summer you can do in winter in Brisbane (except see the whales)
Things to Do in Winter in – Making it the Best Time to Visit Brisbane!
Go Whale Watching
This is hands down one of my most memorable days in Brisbane. I lie, not just in Brisbane, in Australia. One it was my birthday so that was awesome and two we saw so many whales in their natural habitat which I just think is magical. What an honour it was to be in the presence of such amazing creatures.
To go whale watching you have to take a day trip from Brisbane and I recommend using Brisbane Whale Watching. Their vessel has been specially designed to help protect the whales and the captain is amazing. Kerry has been watching whales for over ten years and knows her stuff, you’ll learn an abundance of information about these majestic creatures!
Hikes and More Hikes!
It’s way too hot to hike in Brisbane in the summer. As an avid hiker and lover of all things outdoors that’s a big reason why winter is the best time to visit Brisbane! Brisbane is a gateway to some beautiful national parks with glorious hikes. The Glass House Mountains is one of my favourites and only a short drive away or 1-hour train journeys straight from Brisbane. Mount Ngungun is a fantastic hike that’s steep but fairly easy otherwise. The sunset and sunrise over at the Glass House Mountains is supposed to be sweet!
Enjoy the Food and Drink Festivals
Winter is like food heaven all year round but ramps up a gear in winter. July is Good Food Month in Brisbane where South Bank turns into an international food market. From Regional Flavours, Night Noodle Markets and Brisbane BBQ festival there’s a food event every weekend!
Tenerife Festival is also awesome, we went last July and the vibe was perfect. Tickets are around $5 each but worth it. Watch the streets of Tenerife come alive with food trucks and music acts. This event is loved by the locals which is a nice change compared to more touristy places like the Brisbane Wheel or South Bank.
Great weather all winter? Okay, let’s have an outdoor cinema! Often a summer activity but in Brisbane, you’ll find pop-up cinemas throughout winter too! In June post office square hosts ‘Rom Coms and Nom Noms’ a free cinema where you can watch all the classic romantic films for free which is perfect! It’s often held on a Wednesday perfect to get you through hump day!
Enjoy Quieter Long Weekends to the Islands
Brisbane is a gateway to numerous Aussie islands in Queensland. Moreton Island, St Helena Island, North Stradbroke Island and South Stradbroke Island are just a short distance away. Escape the crowds and take a winter long weekend.
We visited North Stradbroke Island in June and it was perfect. The weather was still warm enough for swimming and the area was super quiet. I think, other than Fraser Island, North Stradbroke Island was my favourite getaway immediately from Brisbane. You can catch the ferry from Cleveland for just $10 per person if you don’t have a car and then use the bus service on the island. If you do have a 4WD I recommend taking it because the sand tracks are so fun!
Go Ice Skating
Ever been Ice Skating whilst it’s twenty degrees outside? Whilst now you can. It’s a different experience and it does make me laugh when I see locals all wrapped for the skating. On Adelaide Street, King George Station see the square transformed into a winter wonderland whilst the sun is blazing down. Don’t go too late in the day though because the ice melts more by the second!
Enjoy South Bank without the Crowds
The only thing that Brisbane has going against it is that it’s not on the coast. So if you can’t have Brisbane on the Coast then why not bring the coast to Brisbane?! On South Bank, you’ll find Streets Beach which is a man-made beach right in the city. If lounging on the beach is your thing then you’ll love streets beach. It’s completely free to lounge on the beach and swim in the lagoon.
The only downside of course in summer is that it gets swamped! Families are there all day every day along with travellers and just about everyone else that’s in the city. The locals tend to stay away in winter (too cold for them) and although the water will be cold the temperature is still great to sunbathe in! Just make sure you check for winter closures as they often change the water/clean the sand.
Free Yoga at Felons Brewery on Monday Night
Keep those muscles warm in winter with free yoga at Felons Brewery right underneath story bridge. You might need a jumper because when the sun goes down it does get a little chilly and this yoga class is right on the river!
These are just some of the many things to do in Brisbane but these things are specifically good in winter!
Where to Stay in Brisbane
If you do decide to visit Brisbane in winter then accommodation prices will drop. When it comes to choosing somewhere to stay in Brisbane some of the best suburbs to look into are:
- New Farm – Quiet suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the city but only a 30-minute walk along the river into the CBD
- Newstead – Again farther from the city but a lovely area taking 25 minutes to walk in
- Fortitude Valley – If nights out and partying is what you’re looking for then Fortitude Valley is the place. Find all the nightclubs and bars in this area along with China Town!
- South Bank – Again it’s in the middle of everything going on. South Bank is lined with restaurants, bars, shops and cafes. A lot of the nice hotels are found on South Bank so expect to pay a little more.
- Brisbane CBD – As any high rise building in the CBD will offer views of the city it will again come at a price. There are some gorgeous places in town but it won’t be cheap!
During our time living in Brisbane, we lived in Newstead and spend some time New Farm both I would recommend, especially on Air BnB. There are hundreds of listings in these areas which are a lot nice than staying closer to the city. The New Farm River Walk is also a great experience in winter too. The walk runs from New Farm to the Botanic Gardens along the river and under Brisbane’s Iconic Story Bridge. You’ll also pass Felons Brewery and a bunch of new restaurants which opened up in November 2018. A great pit stop for a pint.
Winter is seriously the best time to visit Brisbane
The weather is perfect and the humidity low with so much going on the city! You can expect this awesome weather from the whole of the East Coast making winter a great time for a road trip. We road tripped from Cairns to Sydney in October and even though summer was getting closer it was still so quiet! If you’re looking to save some $$ in Australia then winter is going to be the time to do it in the whole country, not just Brisbane. If you do decide to visit other places in winter then check the weather first, Sydney and Melbourne will be considerably colder than any place in Queensland and South Australia even get snow!
I hope you enjoyed this post explaining why winter is the best time to visit Brisbane! If you did enjoy it I would be so thankful if you could share it with your friends or family!
Happy and Healthy Travels,