Roaming Down Under

Reasons to avoid January travel in Australia

Disadvantages travellers may face in Australia during the summer peak

If you're thinking of visiting Australia from the northern hemisphere, it might be tempting to visit in January - swapping the cold dark northern winter for the warmth and sunshine of summer down under. While not wanting to discourage anyone, it's only fair to mention some of the downsides of January travel in Australia.

It may seem odd to emphasise negatives on a website portraying good things about Australia. But while I aim to highlight places overlooked by tourist brochures, highlighting travel challenges overlooked or glossed over by tourist brochures is another way of providing some balance.

Here then are my top reasons why January may not be the best time to visit Australia, and why you're not likely to find me roaming around at that time:

Beach at Barker's Bay, near Albany, Western Australia

This beach may look nice ... but the flies could be unbearable, and the sand too hot to walk on with bare feet

Some of these negatives - relating to accommodation, costs and crowds - can be substantially offset by delaying travel until February when school holidays have finished. The other environmental "challenges" still apply then, but can be largely avoided by travelling in spring (Sep-Nov) or autumn (Mar-May) when conditions are more friendly.

Having said all that, plenty of people manage to have enjoyable holidays in Australia in January. It just helps if you have some more realistic expectations than those presented by the travel industry.

More information:

Bureau of Meteorology climate information - How hot is hot? With a bit of hunting from this page you can get detailed climate information for just about any weather station in Australia.
School holiday dates - This page has links for all the school holiday and public holiday dates for each Australian state.