Where: Central Australia
Characteristics: Inland Australia has very high summer temperatures; very high evaporation; a dry summer with prolonged drought is common. The semi-arid northern part has a hot, dry summer and mild winter.
Best time to go: May to September is the most pleasant.
Where: Central Australia
Characteristics: Inland Australia has very high summer temperatures; very high evaporation; a dry summer with prolonged drought is common. The more arid southern part has a hot dry summer and cold winter with an average annual lowest temperature of -5 degrees C.
Best time to go: May to September is the most pleasant during the day but expect very cold nights.
The warm temperate zone includes inland Queensland, New South Wales tablelands, the coastal region south of Sydney and north to Coffs Harbour. In WA it is approx. the coastline south of Exmouth to Geraldton and inland to Meekatharra.
Characteristics: Cool winters with light frost, usually non-existent on the coast. The ocean moderates temperature in the coastal zones. The rainfall is reliable year round; average annual lowest temperature 5 degrees C. Warm summer, average January maximum < 30 degrees C. Temperate zones experience the distinct four seasons.
Best time to go: All year round. Avoid winter (July to August) if you don't like cold nights.
Where: The Mediterranean zone includes much of southern coastal Australia from Melbourne, Adelaide through to Perth.
Characteristics: It is shares many of the features of the Warm Temperate zone, except for rainfall which is predominantly in winter with a low summer rainfall. The winter is cool, average annual lowest temperature 5 degrees C. The summer is warm to hot but with a low humidity.
Best time to go: All year round. Avoid summer (December to February) if you don't like warm to hot summers. Wildflower season (June to August in the north; August to October in the south) in WA is recommended.
Cool temperate and Alpine
Where: This zone includes Tasmania, Canberra and the ACT, all high mountain areas including the Granite Belt of SE Queensland, the high areas of the NSW tablelands (Armidale, Glen Innes), the Southern Tablelands of NSW and the high areas of Victoria.
Characteristics: Cool temperate zones experience cold winter temperatures with heavy frosts during the cooler months: spring is a longed-for event. Summers are warm and mild, average annual lowest temperature 0 degrees C to -5 degrees C. Alpine areas experience snow.
Best time to go: Summer (December to February) and Autumn (March to May). Can be cold and wet in winter; Spring (September to November) can be changeable.