Does it snow in Australia? Yes it does!

Does It Snow in Australia? The Ultimate Traveller Guide [2024]

“Does it snow in Australia?” — My travel partner asked me this when we were considering going to Australia. As North Americans, our association with Australia is hot weather, kangaroos, etc. We’re not actually taught much about the country, and in our experience, the same can be said of the people around us.

We were shocked by the answer. This post is everything we wish we’d been easily able to find all in one place before booking a trip to Australia. If you’re not someone who thrives at the beach and you want to get away from the North American heat then Australia might just be the right spot for you.

Does it Snow in Australia?

Yes, it does snow in Australia — not across the country, but it does snow! Enough that there are ski hills. We don’t associate Australia as being a snowy country because we’re taught that it’s one of the hottest places on earth, but it’s actually got a very variable climate that does allow for snow in the winter.

Australia’s snowy winters are one of its best-kept secrets.

How Much Does It Snow in Australia?

The Australian Alps—a mountain range across New South Wales and Victoria—receive an average of 70-150 inches of snow annually. This snowfall varies year to year, but it consistently creates a winter wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts.

Is snow common in Australia?

Snow is a regular occurrence in specific regions. The Australian Alps are the snowiest areas, but Tasmania’s Central Plateau and Ben Lomond also experience consistent snow cover. While other elevated areas might see occasional flurries, these alpine regions are where you’ll find the most reliable and abundant snow.

What months does it snow in Australia?

Australia’s snow season aligns with its winter, running from June through August. While snowfall can start as early as May and linger into September, June to August is the prime time for experiencing Australia’s snowy charm.

Can You Go Skiing In Australia?

Yes! Australia has many great ski resorts.

Snow in Australia
What can I expect from winter in Australia? 
Winter in Australia offers a unique blend of activities. While the coastal areas enjoy milder temperatures, perfect for exploring cities and wildlife, the alpine regions transform into snowy playgrounds for skiers, snowboarders, and anyone seeking that Christmas in July feeling.

When is Winter In Australia?

Winter in Australia runs from June to August, opposite to the Northern Hemisphere. This makes it an ideal escape for those who want to extend their snow season or experience a different kind of holiday.

I talk a lot on this site about how I hate beach vacations and I’m regularly too hot in the summer, so I like opposing weather climates to North America for holidays as it keeps me cool. Australia is perfect for that because it’s also not too cold if you stay in the more mild regions of the country.

Is it worth it to go to Australia in winter?

While many travelers flock to Australia during the summer months to soak up the sun on its famous beaches, winter offers a unique and often overlooked charm. If you’re wondering if it’s worth venturing Down Under during the colder months, the answer is a resounding yes!

Winter in Australia brings a refreshing change of pace. The coastal cities, while cooler, remain pleasant for sightseeing and outdoor activities. Imagine exploring Sydney’s iconic Opera House without the summer crowds or enjoying a leisurely stroll through Melbourne’s vibrant laneways.

But the real magic of winter in Australia lies in the alpine regions. The snow-capped peaks of the Australian Alps beckon skiers, snowboarders, and snow enthusiasts of all levels. Picture yourself carving through pristine powder on world-class slopes, then cozying up by a fireplace in a charming mountain lodge. You won’t really be able to do that in North America unless you head to the bitterly cold Alaskan slopes or Canadian North.

Beyond the snow, winter in Australia offers a host of unique experiences. You can witness the migration of humpback whales along the coast, go truffle hunting in Western Australia, or explore the vibrant cultural scene of cities like Canberra and Adelaide.

What is the coldest month in Australia?

July is typically the coldest month in Australia, with temperatures varying significantly depending on location.

Does it snow in Australia? Australian Mountain Top

What sort of snow activities can I enjoy in Australia?

Australia’s snow-covered landscapes offer a playground for winter enthusiasts. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or seeking a more leisurely snowy escape, there’s something for everyone.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Australia boasts world-class ski resorts like Perisher, Thredbo, and Falls Creek, catering to all skill levels. From gentle beginner slopes to challenging black runs, you’ll find the perfect terrain to carve your way through the fresh powder. Ski schools and rental shops make it easy to get started, while experienced skiers and snowboarders can tackle the steeper slopes and off-piste adventures. The laid-back Aussie atmosphere adds to the fun, creating a welcoming environment for all.

Tobogganing and Sledding

For a family-friendly thrill, tobogganing and sledding are popular options. Many resorts have dedicated areas for these activities, providing safe and exhilarating fun for all ages. Feel the wind in your hair as you race down the slopes, then warm up with a hot chocolate at a cozy lodge.

Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

Venture off the beaten path and explore the serene beauty of the Australian Alps on snowshoes or cross-country skis. These activities offer a peaceful way to connect with nature, allowing you to wander through snow-covered forests, admire stunning alpine vistas, and perhaps even spot some unique wildlife. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there are trails to suit all abilities.

Scenic Snow Play

Even if you’re not a skier or snowboarder, there’s plenty of fun to be had in the snow. Build a snowman with the kids, have an epic snowball fight, or simply relax and soak in the breathtaking scenery. Many resorts offer scenic chairlift rides, providing stunning views of the snow-covered landscape. Don’t forget to pack a camera to capture the magic of a white Christmas Down Under!

Unique Aspects of Australian Snow

Australia’s snow experience isn’t just about the pristine slopes – it’s also a great time to socialize and spend time with your family. Here’s what sets it apart:

Wildlife Encounters: Where Kangaroos Hop in the Snow

One of the most enchanting aspects of Australian snow is the chance to encounter iconic wildlife in a wintry setting. Picture this: you’re gliding down the slopes, and suddenly, a mob of kangaroos bounds past, their powerful legs propelling them effortlessly through the snow. It’s a truly surreal and unforgettable sight.

Keep your eyes peeled for wallabies, too, as they’re often spotted near the ski resorts. These smaller cousins of kangaroos are equally adept at navigating snowy terrain.

If you’re lucky, you might even glimpse a wombat waddling through the snow or catch a fleeting sight of the elusive snow gum possum, a nocturnal marsupial that thrives in the alpine environment.

Après-Ski with an Aussie Twist: BBQs, Brews, and Laid-Back Vibes

Forget the traditional European après-ski scene with its fondue and mulled wine. In Australia, the après-ski experience is infused with a distinctly Aussie flavor.

Instead of crowded bars, you’ll find lively outdoor BBQs where sizzling sausages and juicy burgers take center stage. Pair your meal with a refreshing craft beer from one of the region’s many breweries or sip on a glass of local wine as you bask in the warm glow of the setting sun.

The atmosphere is relaxed and convivial, with live music often adding to the festive ambience. Kick back and chat with fellow skiers and snowboarders, share stories of your day on the slopes, and soak up the laid-back Aussie vibes.

Indigenous Culture: Connecting with Ancient Traditions

Australia’s snow-capped regions are steeped in Indigenous history and culture. Take the opportunity to learn about the traditional custodians of the land, their deep connection to the mountains, and their unique knowledge of the environment.

Ski resorts like Charlotte Pass offer guided tours and cultural experiences led by Indigenous guides. These tours provide valuable insights into the stories, traditions, and spiritual beliefs of the local Indigenous people.

Natural Hot Springs: Nature’s Spa After a Day on the Slopes

After a day of exhilarating snow sports, there’s no better way to soothe your muscles and relax than with a dip in a natural hot spring. Several hot springs can be found near the Victorian ski resorts, offering a rejuvenating experience amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Imagine soaking in warm, mineral-rich waters as you gaze out at snow-covered peaks. The combination of heat and breathtaking scenery creates a truly magical experience, leaving you refreshed and ready for another day of adventure.

Diverse Landscapes: From Snow to Sea in a Single Trip

One of the most unique aspects of Australia’s snow regions is their proximity to diverse landscapes. You can easily combine your snow adventure with exploring nearby national parks, lush rainforests, or even the picturesque coastline.

Imagine skiing in the morning, then hiking through a rainforest in the afternoon, or perhaps even taking a scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road. Australia’s varied landscapes offer endless possibilities for exploration, ensuring that your winter getaway is anything but ordinary.

Stargazing: Witness the Majesty of the Milky Way

Thanks to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the Australian Alps provide some of the best stargazing opportunities in the world. After the lifts close and darkness descends, look up and marvel at the dazzling display of stars above.

Many resorts offer guided stargazing tours, where you can learn about constellations, planets, and other celestial wonders. Even if you don’t join a tour, simply stepping outside and gazing up at the night sky is a breathtaking experience. The Milky Way stretches across the horizon, revealing a universe of stars that will leave you in awe.

What Is The Ski Season In Australia?

Australia’s ski season typically runs from June through August, aligning with the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months. This makes it an ideal destination for snow enthusiasts looking to extend their season or experience a unique winter adventure. While some resorts may open earlier or close later depending on snowfall, the peak season is undoubtedly during these three months.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect during each month:

  • June: As the winter solstice approaches, the excitement for the ski season builds. The school holidays often coincide with this time, making it a popular period for families to hit the slopes. While snow cover might be variable early in the season, the festive atmosphere and anticipation of fresh powder are palpable.
  • July: This is typically the coldest month and often sees the most consistent snowfall. The slopes are in prime condition, and you’ll find a wide range of activities and events taking place across the resorts.
  • August: As the season progresses, the days get longer and the snow softens, creating perfect conditions for both beginners and experienced skiers and snowboarders. Many resorts host special events and festivals during this time.

It’s worth noting that some resorts, particularly Perisher, may offer limited skiing outside of the traditional June-August season. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you might be able to snag some early or late-season deals.

A joey in the snow in Australia

What is Australia’s Average Climate?

Australia’s vast size and unique geography means it’s got a climate that varies significantly across the country. Australia experiences a wide range of weather patterns:

  • Coastal Regions: The coastal areas generally enjoy a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. Cities like Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth experience comfortable temperatures year-round, making them ideal for outdoor activities and beach days.

  • Inland Areas: Moving inland, the climate becomes more arid and extreme. The Outback is known for its scorching summers and cool winters, with vast temperature fluctuations between day and night.

  • Tropical North: The northern part of Australia experiences a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are warm and relatively dry.

  • Southern Regions: The southern states, including Tasmania, have a cooler climate with four distinct seasons. Winters are cold with occasional snowfall in the mountains, while summers are mild and pleasant.

It’s important to research the specific climate of the region you plan to visit to ensure you pack appropriately and choose activities that suit the weather conditions.

What is the coldest it gets in Australia?

While Australia isn’t known for its frigid temperatures, it can get surprisingly cold. Especially in the alpine regions during winter. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Australia was a bone-chilling -23°C (-9.4°F) in the Snowy Mountains.

The Australian Alps regularly experience sub-zero temperatures during winter, with average lows ranging from -5°C to 0°C (23°F to 32°F). Other high-altitude areas in Tasmania, New South Wales, and Victoria can also see temperatures dip below freezing.

Even in the coastal cities, temperatures can drop to single digits Celsius (40s Fahrenheit) during winter nights. So, while you might not need a heavy parka, it’s wise to pack layers and warm clothing if you’re traveling to Australia during the colder months.

Does it snow in Australia? Yes it does!

Where Does It Snow In Australia?

New South Wales: The Snowy Mountains Playground

New South Wales is home to the iconic Snowy Mountains, the heart of Australia’s snow country. Within this region, you’ll find three major ski resorts renowned for their diverse terrain and vibrant après-ski scene:

  • Perisher: Australia’s largest ski resort, Perisher boasts a sprawling network of lifts and trails, catering to all levels. From gentle slopes for beginners to challenging terrain for experts, there’s something for everyone. The resort also offers a lively village atmosphere with numerous restaurants, bars, and shops.
  • Thredbo: Known for its steep runs and vibrant après-ski scene, Thredbo is a favorite among experienced skiers and snowboarders. The village exudes European charm with its alpine architecture and cozy atmosphere.
  • Charlotte Pass: Nestled at the highest point of the Snowy Mountains, Charlotte Pass is a unique ski-in/ski-out resort accessible only by oversnow transport during winter. It offers a more secluded and intimate experience, with stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

Victoria: Alpine Adventures in the High Country

Victoria’s High Country offers a diverse range of ski resorts, each with its own distinct character and appeal:

  • Mount Buller: Easily accessible from Melbourne, Mount Buller is a popular destination for families and beginners. The resort boasts a lively village atmosphere with a wide range of accommodation options, restaurants, and bars.
  • Falls Creek: Renowned for its cross-country skiing and snowboarding trails, Falls Creek is a paradise for those who love to explore the backcountry. The resort is also known for its family-friendly atmosphere and excellent ski school.
  • Mount Hotham: Often referred to as the “Powder Capital of Australia,” Mount Hotham is a haven for experienced skiers and snowboarders. The resort boasts steep terrain, challenging runs, and abundant snowfall, creating a thrilling experience for those who love to push their limits.

Tasmania: A Snowy Escape with Rugged Beauty

While often overlooked, Tasmania offers its own unique snow experiences, distinct from the mainland’s offerings:

  • Ben Lomond: Rising dramatically from the Tasmanian landscape, Ben Lomond boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in Australia. While its ski area is relatively small, it offers stunning views and uncrowded slopes for those seeking a more serene winter escape.
  • Central Plateau: The Central Plateau is a vast wilderness area with rugged mountains, glacial lakes, and unique flora and fauna. While not as developed as the mainland resorts, it offers opportunities for backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, and other snow adventures for the more adventurous traveler.

Other Snowy Spots: Beyond the Main Resorts

While the Australian Alps and Tasmania are the primary snow destinations, other areas across the country experience occasional snowfall:

  • New South Wales Tablelands: Elevated areas like the Blue Mountains and Barrington Tops can receive light snowfall during winter, creating a magical winter wonderland.
  • Australian Capital Territory: Canberra, the nation’s capital, occasionally sees snow flurries, transforming the city’s parks and landmarks into a picturesque winter scene.
  • Victoria’s High Country: Beyond the major ski resorts, smaller towns and villages in the High Country, like Bright and Dinner Plain, can also experience snowfall, adding to the region’s winter charm.

Best places to see snow near Sydney

While Sydney itself doesn’t receive snowfall, there are several fantastic places within a few hours’ drive where you can experience the magic of snow during the Australian winter:

  1. The Blue Mountains: Just a 2-hour drive west of Sydney, the Blue Mountains occasionally receive snowfall in the higher elevations, particularly around Blackheath and Katoomba. Witnessing snow-dusted eucalyptus trees and dramatic cliff faces is a unique and unforgettable experience.
  2. Oberon: About a 3-hour drive from Sydney, Oberon is known for its picturesque rural landscapes and often receives light snowfall during winter. Explore the charming town, visit the Mayfield Garden, or take a scenic drive through the snow-covered countryside.
  3. Orange: A 3.5-hour drive from Sydney, Orange is a charming city surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards. During winter, the surrounding areas can receive snowfall, creating a picturesque backdrop for wine tasting and exploring the local villages. But you have to go on the day that it snows, as it can melt quickly.

Tips for Planning Your Snowy Day Trip

  • Check the Forecast: Before heading out, check the weather forecast to ensure snowfall is expected in your chosen destination.
  • Dress Warmly: Even if it’s not snowing heavily, temperatures can be cold in the mountains, so dress in layers and bring warm clothing, gloves, and a hat.
  • Drive Safely: Roads can be icy and slippery during snowfall, so drive cautiously and allow extra time for your journey.

Does it snow in Canberra?

Yes, it does snow in Canberra, but it’s not a common occurrence. Snowfall is typically light and infrequent, usually occurring during the coldest months of winter. While you might wake up to a dusting of snow on the ground or see flurries falling, it rarely accumulates to a significant amount.

Does it snow in Adelaide?

Snow in Adelaide is rare, but not unheard of. Adelaide has a Mediterranean climate, which is characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. While snow is a rarity in the city center, the nearby Adelaide Hills, particularly Mount Lofty, occasionally receive a light dusting of snow during the colder months.

These snow events are typically short-lived and don’t lead to significant accumulation. However, they create a buzz among locals and tourists alike, who often flock to Mount Lofty to witness the rare sight of snow-covered peaks so close to the city.

Does it snow in Brisbane?

No, it doesn’t snow in Brisbane. Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters. Snowfall is extremely rare in this region due to its warm temperatures and low elevation.

2 women on a ski hill dressed in ski clothes

Do Any Parts of Australia Receive Heavy Snowfall?

Yes, certain parts of Australia experience heavy snowfall, particularly within the alpine regions. While it doesn’t snow across the entire country, the areas that do receive snow often experience significant snowfall, particularly during peak winter months (June-August).

Areas with Heavy Snowfall:

  • Snowy Mountains (NSW): This region receives the heaviest and most consistent snowfall in Australia. Annual snowfall can reach 150 inches or more, creating ideal conditions for winter sports and activities.
  • Victorian Alps (VIC): This part of the country often exceeds 100 inches per year. Resorts here are known for their deep powder and challenging terrain.
  • Tasmanian Highlands: While not as extensive as the mainland alpine regions, Tasmania can also experience heavy snowfall, especially during particularly cold winters.

When Is The Shortest Day Of The Year In Australia?

In Australia, the shortest day of the year is June 21st, On the winter solstace, the Southern Hemisphere is tilted furthest away from the Sun. The exact time of the solstice varies slightly depending on your location within Australia:

  • AEST (Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania): 6:50 am
  • ACST (South Australia, Northern Territory, Broken Hill): 6:20 am
  • AWST (Western Australia): 4:50 am

After the solstice, days gradually get longer as the Earth tilts back towards the sun.

Best Australian Ski Resorts

Perisher (NSW)

Perisher is Australia’s largest ski resort, encompassing four interconnected villages: Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega, and Blue Cow. With over 1,200 hectares of skiable terrain, 47 lifts, and a variety of runs for all levels, it’s a haven for skiers and snowboarders alike.

Beginners can find their snow legs in dedicated learner areas, while intermediates can cruise down scenic blue runs. Experienced skiers and boarders can challenge themselves on steep black runs, moguls, and terrain parks. The resort also boasts an extensive network of cross-country trails for those who prefer a more leisurely pace.

Beyond the slopes, Perisher offers a vibrant après-ski scene with numerous bars, restaurants, and shops. The village atmosphere is lively and welcoming, with plenty of options for families, couples, and solo travelers. Accommodation choices range from cozy lodges to luxury hotels, ensuring there’s something to suit every budget.

Thredbo (NSW)

Thredbo blends European charm and Aussie hospitality. Nestled at the base of Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, it’s a delightful mix of alpine architecture and modern amenities.

The resort’s terrain is known for its steep runs and challenging terrain, making it a favorite among experienced skiers and snowboarders. Thredbo also boasts one of Australia’s longest runs, the Supertrail, which descends over 5.9 kilometers from the summit.

Off the slopes, Thredbo’s vibrant après-ski scene is legendary. Stylish bars, gourmet restaurants, and lively pubs create a buzzing atmosphere. The village also offers a range of activities for non-skiers, including scenic chairlift rides, snowshoeing, and spa treatments.

Charlotte Pass (NSW)

Nestled at the highest point of the Snowy Mountains, Charlotte Pass is a unique ski-in/ski-out resort accessible only by oversnow transport during winter. This isolation adds to its charm, creating a truly secluded and intimate experience for those seeking to escape the crowds.

The resort’s terrain caters to all levels, with gentle slopes for beginners, intermediate runs through scenic valleys, and challenging off-piste adventures for experienced skiers and snowboarders. The snow quality at Charlotte Pass is renowned for its dryness and abundance, often resulting in excellent powder conditions throughout the season.

The village itself exudes a rustic charm, with traditional lodges and historic buildings creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Accommodation options are limited, adding to the resort’s exclusivity and intimate feel. However, the cozy lodges offer comfortable rooms, hearty meals, and welcoming communal spaces where guests can mingle and share stories of their adventures.

Beyond skiing and snowboarding, Charlotte Pass offers a range of other snow activities, including snowshoeing, tobogganing, and cross-country skiing. Scenic chairlift rides provide breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, while guided tours offer insights into the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

Evenings at Charlotte Pass are a delightful affair, with guests gathering around roaring fireplaces to enjoy après-ski drinks and lively conversations. The resort’s remote location also makes it an ideal spot for stargazing, with the Milky Way stretching across the clear night sky.

Mount Buller (VIC)

Located just a three-hour drive from Melbourne, Mount Buller is a popular destination for day-trippers and weekend getaways. The resort offers a diverse range of terrain, from gentle slopes for beginners to challenging runs for experts.

Mount Buller’s village is known for its lively atmosphere, with numerous bars, restaurants, and shops catering to all tastes. The resort also boasts a thriving après-ski scene, with live music and events throughout the season.

Families will appreciate the dedicated tobogganing and sledding areas, as well as the numerous childcare options. Mount Buller also offers a variety of activities for non-skiers, including scenic helicopter flights, snowshoeing tours, and spa treatments.

Falls Creek (VIC)

Falls Creek is a true ski-in/ski-out village, where you can step out of your accommodation and onto the slopes. Its pedestrian-only village center is filled with charming lodges, restaurants, and shops, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The resort is renowned for its extensive cross-country skiing and snowboarding trails, offering over 65 kilometers of groomed tracks through picturesque alpine scenery. Falls Creek also boasts a variety of downhill runs for all levels, making it a great choice for families.

The resort’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its eco-friendly initiatives, including renewable energy sources and waste reduction programs. Families will appreciate the numerous child care options and activities, making Falls Creek a top choice for a memorable winter vacation.

Mount Hotham (VIC)

Mount Hotham, often referred to as the “Powder Capital of Australia,” is a haven for experienced skiers and snowboarders seeking exhilarating terrain and abundant snowfall. Located in the Victorian Alps, it’s a playground for those who crave adventure and pristine powder.

The resort’s terrain is known for its steep runs, challenging moguls, and expansive bowls, making it a true test of skill for even the most seasoned skiers. Mount Hotham boasts a variety of lifts, including the iconic “Gotcha” chairlift, which provides access to some of the most challenging runs on the mountain.

But Mount Hotham isn’t just about extreme skiing. The resort also offers plenty of options for beginners and intermediates, with dedicated learner areas and gentle slopes. Families will appreciate the child-friendly facilities, including the Kids Snowzone and the dedicated toboggan park.

Beyond the slopes, Mount Hotham’s village exudes a unique alpine charm, with a mix of modern and traditional architecture. The village center is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, providing ample opportunities for après-ski entertainment.

For those seeking adventure beyond skiing and snowboarding, Mount Hotham offers a wealth of activities. Dog sledding tours, snowmobiling, and scenic helicopter flights are just a few of the options available. The resort also boasts a thriving nightlife scene, with live music and events throughout the season.

If you’re looking for a challenge on the slopes and a vibrant après-ski scene, Mount Hotham is the perfect destination. Its reputation as the “Powder Capital” is well-deserved, making it a must-visit for any serious snow enthusiast.

So yes, to answer your question—it does snow in Australia. Quite a lot, and you’ll be able to see it as long as you go during the right time of the year.