Planning to do a vacation in Australia in January? Here’s everything you need to know about the weather, festivals, places to visit, including the least-crowded destinations in January!
Deciding whether to visit Australia in January depends on your preferences, interests, and tolerance for heat and crowds.
Pros of visiting in January include the warm summer weather, ideal for beach activities, outdoor exploration, and water sports. It’s a great time to visit iconic coastal cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast.
There are also several major events in January, such as the Australian Open tennis tournament, the Sydney Festival, and Australia Day celebrations, providing unique cultural experiences. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, January is the time to witness baby turtles hatching in Queensland.
However, there are also cons to consider. The summer heat can be extreme, especially in the central and western regions of the country, which could be uncomfortable if you’re not used to high temperatures.
Additionally, in the northern regions, January falls within the wet season, so you may experience tropical storms and high humidity.
Read on and find out if Australia in January fits your traveller needs. And if you ever make it here, you know I live here so get in touch! I would love to meet you!
📅 Is January a good time to visit Australia?
Being the height of summer, January brings hot weather, particularly in the central and western regions of the country. This is great for beachgoers and outdoor enthusiasts but can be uncomfortable for those less tolerant of high temperatures.
In the north, January is the wet season, marked by high humidity and frequent rainstorms. The lush landscapes and full-flowing waterfalls can be a sight despite the rain.
Furthermore, January is a month of significant events, such as the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne and Australia Day celebrations on the 26th.
Remember that Australian school holidays also fall in January, making popular tourist spots quite busy. Overall, the suitability of a January visit depends on the individual traveller’s preferences and intended activities.
🌡️ Weather in Australia in January
Australia in January is immersed in its summer season, resulting in generally high temperatures across the country, although the specific conditions can vary depending on the region.
In the northern regions of Australia, areas such as Darwin in the Northern Territory experience warm and humid conditions with frequent rain since January falls in the middle of the wet season. Temperatures typically range from about 25°C (77°F) to 33°C (91°F).
In eastern Australia, cities like Brisbane and Sydney endure warm to hot temperatures. Sydney’s temperatures can range from 19°C (66°F) to 26°C (79°F), while Brisbane can be more generous, with temperatures fluctuating between 21°C (70°F) to 30°C (86°F). These areas can also experience occasional rainfall.
In southern Australia, cities like Melbourne and Adelaide also experience warm to hot conditions. Melbourne’s temperature generally varies between 14°C (57°F) to 26°C (79°F), while Adelaide can get hotter, with temperatures ranging from 17°C (63°F) to 29°C (84°F). Occasionally, heatwaves can push temperatures even higher.
On the western side of Australia, cities like Perth typically have hot and dry weather, with temperatures ranging from about 18°C (64°F) to 31°C (88°F).
Finally, Australia’s arid interior, including places like Alice Springs, can experience extremely hot temperatures in January, often exceeding 36°C (97°F).
However, these are broad generalizations, and actual conditions can vary from year to year. For the most accurate information, it’s always best to check specific forecasts closer to the travel time.
🥵 Humidity in Australia in January
Humidity in Australia in January varies widely depending on the region. In northern parts of the country, including Darwin and Cairns, the wet season brings high humidity, often exceeding 70%. The tropical climate in these areas can make the heat feel more intense.
Eastern coastal cities like Sydney and Brisbane can also experience high humidity in January, although it tends not to be as extreme as in the tropical north. Western Australia, including Perth, and southern regions, such as Melbourne and Adelaide, typically have a dry heat in summer, meaning humidity is lower.
In the arid interior of Australia, the humidity is generally very low, contributing to the extreme heat that is common in places like Alice Springs in January. However, these are broad trends, and specific conditions can vary year by year.
🎉 Events and festivals in Australia in January
The Australian Open
One of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the Australian Open, usually takes place in Melbourne over the last two weeks of January. The tournament has a history dating back to 1905 and has been played on hard courts since 1988.
It attracts the best tennis players worldwide, and its high-energy matches are a must-see for sports enthusiasts. Beyond the tennis, there are food stalls, live music, and other attractions around the grounds, making it a fun event even for non-sports fans.
Celebrated on January 26th, Australia Day marks the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788. The day is a national public holiday observed by community events, concerts, citizenship ceremonies, and sports matches nationwide.
The most famous events are perhaps the fireworks displays, with the one in Sydney Harbour being particularly spectacular.
While it’s a day of celebration for many, it’s also a day of protest for some Indigenous Australians and their allies, who see it as a day of mourning, making it a complex but significant day in the Australian calendar.
Held every January, the Sydney Festival offers a program of around 100 events across theatre, dance, music, visual arts, and more. It began in 1977 to attract people into the city centre during the holiday month.
Over the years, it has become one of Australia’s largest annual cultural celebrations. Performances occur in various venues around the city, including parks, theatres, and concert halls. It’s a must-see for art and culture lovers.
Tamworth Country Music Festival
This is one of the biggest music festivals in Australia and is typically held in the last half of January. Since its inception in 1973, it has become a significant global country music calendar event.
The festival takes place in Tamworth, New South Wales, and features concerts, buskers, awards, and more. With a mix of ticketed and free events, it’s a must-see for country music fans.
Tour Down Under
This is the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere, held over nine days in January in and around Adelaide, South Australia. Since its start in 1999, it has become a UCI World Tour event, attracting top international cycling teams.
Aside from the race, the event includes street parties, concerts, and a cycling expo. It’s a must-see for cycling enthusiasts and those who enjoy a festive atmosphere.
📍 Best places to visit in Australia in January
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney experiences temperatures ranging from 19°C (66°F) to 26°C (79°F) in January. It’s a great time to visit iconic sites like the Sydney Opera House ($42 AUD, around $30 USD) and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Beachgoers can enjoy Bondi Beach or Manly Beach, and you could also take a ferry ride to Taronga Zoo ($49.92 AUD, around $37 USD). The Sydney Festival also takes place in January, with a mix of free and ticketed events.
Melbourne sees temperatures from 14°C (57°F) to 26°C (79°F) in January. It’s a cultural hub with numerous galleries and museums, including the National Gallery of Victoria (free entry). The Royal Botanic Gardens is a beautiful spot for a summer picnic (free entry).
Melbourne is also home to the Australian Open in January. Tickets for ground passes start at around $49 AUD (around $36 USD) but can go much higher for main court seats.
Gold Coast, Queensland
The Gold Coast has warm temperatures in January, ranging from 21°C (70°F) to 29°C (84°F). It’s a great destination for beach lovers, with beautiful spots like Surfers Paradise.
The area is also known for its theme parks, such as Warner Bros. Movie World ($89 AUD, around $66 USD) and Sea World ($89 AUD, around $66 USD).
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide’s temperatures in January range from 17°C (63°F) to 29°C (84°F). Known for its vineyards, a trip to the Barossa Valley for some wine tasting is a must.
Prices vary, but a full-day guided tour with tastings starts at around $150 AUD ($110 USD). The city also hosts the Tour Down Under cycling race in January, with many associated free events.
Hobart is cooler in January, with temperatures between 12°C (54°F) to 22°C (72°F). It’s a perfect time to explore the stunning natural beauty of Tasmania, including Mount Wellington and the Tasman National Park.
A visit to the renowned Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is also recommended ($30 AUD, around $22 USD).
🗺️ Off-beat places to visit in Australia in January
January is high season in Australia, so if you are looking for places to visit that will have lesser crowds, consider the following destinations below:
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
In January, temperatures range from 15°C (59°F) to 29°C (84°F). It’s a haven for wildlife lovers with its kangaroos, koalas, and sea lions.
Visit the Flinders Chase National Park ($11 AUD, around $8 USD) or take a guided tour to Seal Bay ($37 AUD, around $27 USD). Despite its beauty, international visitors often overlook it, making it less crowded.
Broome, Western Australia
Broome experiences a hot and humid climate in January, with temperatures from 26°C (79°F) to 34°C (93°F). It’s an ideal destination for those who enjoy solitude and stunning natural beauty.
Visit the famous Cable Beach, take a camel ride at sunset (from $90 AUD, around $66 USD), or explore the unique horizontal waterfalls via a scenic flight (from $795 AUD, around $583 USD).
Flinders Ranges, South Australia
With temperatures from 16°C (61°F) to 35°C (95°F), Flinders Ranges offers an outback experience without the crowds. Explore the stunning landscapes via hiking or a 4WD tour.
The Flinders Ranges National Park entry fee is $10 AUD ($7 USD). For a unique experience, take a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound (from $195 AUD, around $143 USD).
Port Fairy, Victoria
In January, temperatures range from 13°C (55°F) to 22°C (72°F). This charming coastal town offers beautiful beaches, historic buildings, and a picturesque fishing port.
Visit the nearby Griffiths Island (free), home to a large colony of shearwaters. Prices for whale watching tours start from around $80 AUD ($58 USD).
Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
January temperatures range from 6°C (43°F) to 18°C (64°F). It’s a fantastic spot for hiking, with well-marked trails and stunning views.
Visit the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park ($16.50 AUD, around $12 USD) and try the world-famous Overland Track (walkers fee for the track is $200 AUD, around $146 USD).
💵 Cost of travel to Australia in January
Australia is a popular travel destination in January due to the summer weather, and the cost of travel can reflect this high demand. Flights from the United States can range between $1,200 to $2,500 AUD ($880 to $1,830 USD) depending on the departure city and how far in advance you book.
Accommodation prices vary widely depending on the type and location. Still, budget travellers can expect to pay around $30 to $80 AUD ($22 to $58 USD) per night for hostels, while mid-range hotel rooms typically start around $150 AUD ($110 USD) per night.
Dining can be relatively expensive, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around $20 AUD ($15 USD) and a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costing around $80 AUD ($58 USD).
Car rentals start at about $40 AUD ($29 USD) daily for a compact car but can go much higher for larger vehicles or premium models.
Admission prices for attractions and activities vary, but the budget is around $20 to $50 AUD ($15 to $36 USD) for most museums, zoos, and tours.
As for money-saving tips, planning and booking in advance is key. Flights and accommodations can be cheaper if you book several months before your trip.
Consider staying in less touristy areas or looking for accommodations that offer a kitchen so you can save money by preparing some of your meals.
When dining out, look for “early bird” specials or set lunch menus which often provide good value. Instead of renting a car or taking taxis, use public transportation, such as buses or trains. Additionally, research free or low-cost attractions and events to include in your itinerary.
⁉️ FAQ: Australia in January
How warm is it in Australia in January?
In Australia, January is typically the warmest month of the year, as it falls during summer. Average temperatures can vary across the country, but generally, they range from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) or higher.
Coastal cities like Sydney and Melbourne usually experience temperatures between 20°C (68°F) and 26°C (79°F), while northern regions such as Darwin may see temperatures above 30°C (86°F).
Where is it good to go in Australia in January?
In January, some of the best places to visit in Australia include Sydney for its iconic landmarks and beaches, Melbourne for its arts and culture scene, the Gold Coast for its theme parks and beaches, Adelaide for wine tasting in nearby Barossa Valley and Hobart for the MONA museum and beautiful nature.
Additionally, you can explore the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland or take a road trip along the scenic Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Remember that January is the peak summer season, so be prepared for warm weather and larger crowds in popular tourist spots.
Is Australia crowded in January?
January is a popular time to visit Australia, as it is the peak of summer and coincides with school holidays. Many Australians take vacations during this time, and international tourists also tend to visit due to the warm weather.
As a result, popular tourist destinations and attractions can be more crowded than usual. However, given Australia’s vast size, you can still find less crowded places and experiences by exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations or visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
What months are cheap to visit Australia?
The cheapest months to visit Australia are generally during the shoulder seasons, which fall between the peak and off-peak periods. These months include April to June (autumn) and September to November (spring).
During these times, you’ll likely find lower airfare prices, more affordable accommodation, and fewer crowds at popular tourist attractions. The exact timing may vary depending on the region you’re visiting, but these months typically offer a good balance of pleasant weather and budget-friendly travel options.
Born and raised in Australia, Noah is a professional content creator and expert in Australia travel. He currently resides in Melbourne, where he shares everything you need about his home.