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Best time to visit Sydney New South Wales
Experience Oz + NZ Presents

The Best Time to Visit


by Experience Oz + NZ staff

Sydney is one of the most popular cities in Australia for international and interstate tourists alike, but when is the best time to visit the New South Wales capital? We'll break down the answer here.

With its generally comfortable climate, world-famous harbour, multicultural social mix and diverse array of things to see and do, it's no surprise that Sydney is continually ranked among the lists of the "World's Most Liveable Cities".

Weather is perhaps the most obvious variable when deciding when to visit Sydney and while its climate is fairly moderate, the peaks of summer and winter can bring along with them some uncomfortable hot and cold spikes, respectively. Summer in Sydney has a habit of throwing together strings of scorching hot days while winter brings with it some icy-cold mornings and evenings.

This then rules out the summer and winter months for being the best times to visit, however, if you prefer hot summer days and cold winter mornings then make your way to Sydney from December to February and June to August.

We recommend planning your trip to Sydney in the September to October shoulder season, for a range of reasons. See why below.

Best time to visit sydney New South Wales Opera House

A brief summary of this article

  • The period bridging September - October named the best time of year to visit Sydney
  • Season offers best balance of weather and price
  • Average temperatures: Min 12.3 degrees Celsius (54.1 degrees Fahrenheit) Max 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Essential spots to visit in the city: Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney Tower Eye, Bondi Beach, Queen Victoria Building, National Maritime Museum, Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Taronga Zoo
  • Top destinations for day tours/short trips: Blue Mountains, Canberra, Jenolan Caves, Hunter Valley, Jervis Bay

Why Sydney in September and October?

September in Sydney marks the beginning of Spring and brings along with it all the hallmarks that make this season so pleasant, the days range from cool to warm, humidity is low, and there's annually a high volume of sunny days in the month.

September is statistically the month of the year in Sydney with the lowest amount of rainfall - a reason why the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games were held in September - and this extends largely through to the majority of October as well.

Temperatures during this crossover period average a comfortable maximum of 21.0°C (69.8°F) and a slightly chilly yet bearable 12.3°C (54.1°F) minimum. As a result, it's basically shorts and t-shirt weather during the day time, with only some light additional layers needed in the evenings.

The end of September signals the beginning of the Australian school holiday period. From the end of September to the beginning of October, you may see a rise in prices for accommodation, flights and various attractions, however, if you're planning to visit with the kids during the holidays this would be one of the best times to do so.

If you're looking to avoid larger crowds and are adamant on receiving lower prices then we suggest visiting in the first half of September and the second half of October. Additionally, if you're planning an extended trip to Australia from abroad and intending to use Sydney as your base and aren't too fussed about crowds and pricing then September and October are safe bets.

Best time to visit Sydney Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley

Many of the top day trip destinations that surround Sydney also thrive during this part of spring, for a variety of reasons, and further opportunities for exploration open up as a result.

Wine enthusiasts or those who simply enjoy good food can head to the verdant Hunter Valley which lies just a 3-hour drive from the city and is Australia's most-visited wine region both due to its proximity to Sydney and sheer volume of wineries and vineyards.

Add to these the many options for gourmet and culinary experiences as well as general relaxation (think spa retreats, golfing and other laid-back travel enterprises) and the Hunter is the perfect destination for foodies and relaxation lovers.

Suggested Post: Must-See Sydney Sights

Those interested in more marine-focused activities can instead take part in the likes of whale watching (Sydney's season runs from May through November) to see the humpbacks with a cruise departing either Circular Quay or Darling Harbour. If you're looking to head out of the city, you can make the trip south to the popular Jervis Bay region, a locale renowned for its dolphins and other aquatic life.

Of course, we'd also be remiss if we didn't mention the combination of the Jenolan Caves and the Blue Mountains that rank up there with the larger Sydney region's most essential natural highlights.

This duo of natural attractions are perhaps two of the natural destinations that that can comfortably accommodate crowds which is fitting for those planning to visit during the school holiday period as it's one of the most popular spots for families.

Image: Captain Cook Cruises

Lastly, those looking to simply enjoy Sydney won't be disappointed at this time of year. Aside from the benefits that good weather provides those looking to enjoy the outdoors and more mainstream tourist attractions, a range of events take place during this period adding to the already-lively atmosphere of the city.

The Sydney Botanic Gardens are especially beautiful at this time of year and their idyllic location alongside Sydney Harbour make for an extremely pleasant day out located close to the Opera House and Circular Quay. The annual Sydney Fringe Festival also takes place during September and is a massive and colourful showcase of all forms of art and independent creativity.

In terms of sporting events, the National Rugby League grand final also takes place during this period, and while it occasionally may take place in venues outside of New South Wales, you'll almost certainly notice its influence during your time in the city as various teams are represented and bars and other public viewing spaces are packed to the brim with fans.

In all, Sydney's broad appeal and a wide array of diversity coupled with a comfortable climate for a flagship city make it one of Australia's true year-round destinations, and as such any time is a good time to visit. However, if you're after the safest bet and the best possible balance in assuring yourself a quality experience in Australia's most famous metropolis, then September and October will help stack the odds in your favour.

In addition, if you're looking for a range of things to do in and around Sydney not only in September/October but various other times throughout the year as well, be sure to check out our main Things to do in Sydney section to browse and book online.

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