Climate and Surf Seasons

Climate and Surf Seasons


Although mild in comparison to that of Europe and North America, Australia's climate varies greatly due to its sheer size and diverse geography. The seasons in Australia are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. The northern tropical zone has two distinct seasons, the wet in summer and the dry in winter. Heading south down both the east and west coasts into the temperate zone, warm summers and balmy winters exist along with the four seasons. You'll be greeted with warm days and water at Queensland, North West Australia or Northern New South Wales at any time of year.

The southern coastline (including Tasmania) also experiences four seasons that are more defined and along with mild, dry summers and the coolest winters of the nation. Summer heatwaves are common. Down south gets very cold and wet in winter and to surf here at this time of year requires a very thick wetsuit and booties. Whilst it does rain along the coastal fringe of Australia at any time of year, be prepared for lots of sunny days, so take your sun cream and hat with you to the beach as the sun in the southern hemisphere is surprisingly strong.


Surf Seasons in Australia

Good quality waves can be found all around Australia at any time of year, and beginner and progressing surfers can find waves suitable for practicing on most days. The most consistent time of year for swell is around autumn and winter (March to September) when strong low pressure systems form off the southern half of Australia, producing powerful groundswells that light up the west, southern and east coasts. Swell direction is typically from the south (SW to SE) and favourable offshore winds are common during these cooler months. The waves in spring and summer are often smaller around the nation, but locally generated wind swells can create some fun surfing conditions. Mid summer to early autumn trade wind and cyclone swells can produce epic big waves for experienced surfers in the northern surfing regions of Queensland, New South Wales and even in the remote North West Australia region.

The most crowded time of year for surfing is during the peak summer school holiday season between Christmas and the end of January, as almost every Australian resident and tourist migrates to the coast to enjoy the warm, sunny weather and long days at the beach. Outside of summer, and away from the populated cities and regional centres, finding empty beaches mid week is easy for those willing to explore. Autumn in particular is a special time of year for surfing in Australia, as the water is still warm, and the first clean swell lines of the year begin to line up around the nation, marking the start of the swell season along with the return of that knowing grin to every Australian surfer.

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