Weather in Australia in May

Is May a good time to visit Australia?

May is a blissful “shoulder season” in Australia – autumn brings cold, sunny and dry conditions to the extreme south, moving through warm to hot as one travels north, with the horrid, muddy rainy season over in Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef and Northern Territory. Inland the impending winter sees a slight drop in temperatures, and the tourist season kicks in at Uluru and Alice Springs, where temperatures become warm and pleasant. Anyone wishing to go “walkabout” through the various regions of Australia is advised to set out in May for the best weather prospects all round.


Climate in Australia in May

The weather across Australia in May is warm and sunny, the hottest area being along the coast of the Northern Territory and the north-west corner of Queensland, including the Great Barrier Reef, which enjoys average temperatures  of between 27.6°C (81°F) and 19°C (66°F). The wet season has tailed off in the tropical north, which during May month has an average of 20 days of sunshine and rainfall of around 99mm (in the form of evening tropical showers).

Inland the searing heat of summer gives way to comfortable sunny days, with very cold nights. One of Australia’s top tourist attractions, the mysterious Uluru rock in the Northern Territory, can be explored in an average temperature of 23°C (73°F), under virtually guaranteed blue skies. Likewise Western Australia – often unbearably hot in the summer months – becomes far more comfortable in Autumn, the May average temperatures in the city of Perth hovering between daytime highs of 22°C (72°F) and night-time lows of 10°C (50°F). Perth, with a Mediterranean climate, is rather wet in winter, but in May month the rain has yet to gain a foothold and there should still be a preponderance of sunshine.

Along the south-east coast of Australia May is decidedly cool, the mercury touching just on or below 20°C (68°F) during the day in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and surrounds. Rain in these regions is spread evenly throughout the year, so May is no wetter than any other month.

The coldest place in Australia in May is Tasmania – the temperature in Hobart will struggle to top out at 15°C (59°F) - but autumn in the beautiful Tasmania landscape is pure pleasure, and it the weather in Tasmania is relatively dry.

What’s on in Australia in May

Looking for a party? Then Port Douglas on the Queensland Coast is the place to be in Australia in May, for the annual Carnivale with music, arts, sport, great cuisine, cultural entertainment and a host of happenings which involves the entire community of this seaside resort. May is also the month for having a flutter at the prestigious Wagga Wagga Gold Cup Racing Carnival in New South Wales. The first Monday in May is a public holiday in the states of Queensland and the Northern Territory.


What to pack for a holiday in Australia in May                 

There is a definite autumnal nip in the air in the south-east of Australia during May month, so if you are jetting off to Sydney or Melbourne take along a warm jacket or cosy fleece, especially for evenings. Those from colder climes may well find it warm enough to bare their legs, but for most jeans and trousers are a better bet.  In Western Australia it is still possible to catch a tan on a sunny day, so don’t leave your swimsuit behind when you pack for Perth. Beach-goers can confidently concentrate on bikinis and sarongs for a holiday in northern Queensland or the Great Barrier Reef, but if you plan on taking on the inland desert regions be prepared to wrap up warm, especially at night.