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Best time to visit brisbane

When is the best time to visit Brisbane Australia? Let us guide you through each season so you can plan your ideal trip to Brisbane. Discover Brisbane weather year round, what to expect, what to do (and what to avoid!) each season.

roses at New Farm Park with Brisbane city skyline
It’s beautiful year round – but when is the best time to visit Brisbane?

Find the best time to visit Brisbane Australia

As a holiday destination, Brisbane is often top of the list for many. However, it can be confusing to work out when is the best time to visit. Having lived in Brisbane most of my life, I have a rather good idea of when is the best time to visit Brisbane and what to do, season by season.

The capital of Queensland and bustling river city, Brisbane makes an ideal jumping-off point for visiting much of the state. With a thriving arts scene, numerous parklands and open spaces, stunning river views and its trademark sunny weather, its no wonder Brisbane attracts millions of visitors each year.

Its location in the south-east of the state, positions the city centrally between two major Queensland drawcards – the Gold Coast to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north, making it an ideal base for travel in this part of Australia. Combine its location with a high number of sunny days and clear blue skies and you’ve got a recipe for success.

However, the seasons in Brisbane are not without their downfalls. For those visiting from interstate or overseas, you’ll no doubt want to avoid the school holidays, as accommodation prices climb, attractions become crowded and traffic becomes incredibly congested on major routes in and out of the city.

When trying to choose the best time to visit Brisbane there are lots of factors to consider. The weather, public holidays and school vacation times may all affect your holiday in terms of price and how crowded things become.

The following guide will take you through what to expect during each season – including the weather and activities on offer at that time of year, allowing you to plan ahead.

Brisbane weather seasons involve a whole lot of sunny days and bright blue skies!

Brisbane weather seasons and average temperatures

Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Brisbane’s seasons are opposite to that of Europe, North America and some parts of Asia.

  • Summer – December to February (8 day of rain on average)
  • Autumn – March to May (7 days of rain on average)
  • Winter – June to August (4 days of rain on average)
  • Spring – September to November (5 days of rain on average)

The wettest month of the year (with the highest rainfall) is generally January and the driest month is usually July.

The following table shows the average Brisbane temperature by month, together with the mean number of rainy days in Brisbane.

MonthHigh/Low (Celsius)High/Low (Fahrenheit)Days of Rain
January30o – 21o86o – 70o8
February29o – 21o84o – 70o9
March28o – 19o82o – 66o9
April26o – 17o79o – 63o7
May23o – 13o73o – 55o6
June21o – 11o70o – 52o5
July20o – 10o68o – 50o4
August22o – 10o72o – 50o4
September24o – 13o75o – 55o4
October26o – 16o79o – 61o6
November28o – 18o82o – 64o6
December29o – 20o84o – 68o8

All statistics sourced from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology.

Note that the above temperatures are averages. Brisbane experiences many days over 30 degrees – plus the high humidity levels make a 30 degree day feel so much hotter!

Pro Tip: With high UV levels right throughout the year, visitors to Brisbane should always protect themselves from sun exposure. Whenever outdoors, make sure to use a SPF30+ sunscreen, wear sun-safe clothing (including a hat), wear sunglasses, and avoid the sun during the middle of the day.

No matter what the season, the iconic Story Bridge always features

Best time to travel to Brisbane – season by season

I’m just going to say it upfront – in my opinion, the best time to travel to Brisbane is in autumn (March to May) with spring coming a close second. I’ll explain why, further on in this post.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at each of Brisbane’s seasons, starting with summer.

Brisbane sign and skyline
Enjoy Brisbane’s long summer days

Summer in Brisbane

Summer in Brisbane runs from December to February. It’s the time for all water-based and outdoor activities including camping, swimming, surfing and snorkelling, to name just a few.

However, for those not accustomed to the heat, Brisbane summers can be utterly unpleasant. It’s stinking hot, there are thunderstorms and lightening, and the humidity is next level!

In order to avoid being one-sided, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of visiting Brisbane during the summer months.

Story Bridge at dusk
Brisbane is ready-made for summer!

Pros of visiting Brisbane in summer

One major benefit of visiting Brisbane in summer is taking advantage of the many nearby beaches and waterways. With Brisbane city surrounded by amazing coastlines both to the north and south, getting in some beach time is an easy day trip away. Or, closer to home, hit up the man-made Streets Beach in the South Bank Parklands.

And who could forget a visit to White Water World or Dreamworld for some amazing aqua fun?

For those from the Northern Hemisphere, visiting during December may also give you the chance to experience a unique Aussie Christmas. Watching a Christmas light show depicting snow and reindeer whilst exploring Brisbane city in the blistering heat will definitely make for a Christmas to remember!

Plus, why not join in the Aussie tradition of spending New Year’s Day lying on a sandy beach as you recover from the night before.

With sunrise occurring at around 4.50am and sunset at 6.40pm, Brisbane summers boast long hours of daylight, allowing you to experience all that the riverside city has to offer.

lightening over Brisbane city
Summer storms are frequent during summer in Brisbane

Cons of visiting Brisbane in summer

With temperatures easily reaching 30°C (85°F), the summer season is also Brisbane’s rainy season, which sees frequent thunder-and-lightning storms. In this sort of weather, it’s really too hot to do much at all.

Plus, its peak travel season (school is out for part of December and all of January) and this is therefore the time many Aussies take their annual holidays. It can get really crowded in the tourist hot spots (but you can alleviate this somewhat by heading even further up the coast).

The summer months mean accommodation prices rise dramatically and availability is scarce, particularly in popular beachside areas such as Noosa and the Gold Coast.

And summer is the time for mossies and snakes. If you love bushwalking and camping, this may be something you wish to consider.

Best things to do in summer in Brisbane

Despite the heat and humidity, Brisbane can definitely be enjoyed during the summertime. Head to one of Brisbane’s nearby islands (Moreton Island, Fraser Island, Bribie Island and North Stradbroke Island) where you can cool off in inviting waters. Alternatively enjoy an early morning forest walk or hike to a nearby waterfall in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Autumn is the perfect time to visit Brisbane

Autumn in Brisbane

The autumn months of March to May are the ideal time to visit Brisbane. Boasting sunny weather and lower amounts of rainfall means that Brisbane in autumn is much more comfortable. April and May have milder temperatures – be aware though that March can still be hot and humid.

With warm days and slightly cooler mornings and evenings, autumn is a truly lovely time to explore Brisbane. However, you’ll not need to bring anything more than a light jacket as the average temperature in Autumn is 24°C (75°F), with an overnight minimum of 14°C (57°F).T

Sunshine Beach in Autumn
Beaches in autumn are free of tourist crowds

Pros of visiting Brisbane in autumn

Autumn is shoulder season, meaning accommodation prices are cheaper during this time and you’ll avoid the holiday crowds of summer. It seems like once February has finished, the tourists all disappear. Hurray!

In addition, the calmer weather conditions mean it’s the ideal time to visit nature-based destinations such as Moreton Island, a short ferry trip from Brisbane. Surrounded by teeming ocean life, including dolphins and sea turtles, the boat trip is much more pleasant without the heat and storms of summer.

Similarly, this is the season to explore the parklands and green spaces dotted throughout Brisbane city. The temperate weather makes picnicking on the grassy slopes of Southbank Parklands, Roma Street Parkland or the attractive Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot Tha an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

My personal preference for visiting Brisbane, autumn is still warm enough that you can swim if you want to. It’s also the perfect season for hiking and outdoor activities, and exploring Brisbane city itself. Ideal for a regional road-trip too.

View of Glasshouse Mountains from Mount Ngungun
Autumn in Brisbane is the perfect time for hiking to the top of Mount Ngungun in the Sunshine Coast hinterland

Cons of visiting Brisbane in autumn

Umm – I can’t really think of any! You may never want to return home?

It does get quite busy around Easter with locals getting away for the long weekend, but in general, autumn is just superb!

Best things to do in Brisbane in autumn

This is the time for all outdoor activities, from hiking and bush walks, to camping and seeking out waterfalls. It’s my favourite time to picnic in one of Brisbane’s many beautiful gardens, search for street art or head to Mt Cootha for a bush walk!

Story Bridge
Brisbane simply does winter well!

Winter in Brisbane

Brisbane does winter exceptionally well.

Lasting from June to August, a winter holiday in Brisbane is fantastic! Even though the weather is cooler, the average daily temperature is still around 21°C (70°F), dropping overnight to a mere 11°C (52°F).

With the sun still shining and the sky a beautiful clear blue, winter rarely sees any rain. It’s the perfect time to don a warm jacket for a change.

In addition to the glorious weather, Brisbane also hosts a couple of major events including the Royal Queensland Show (the “Ekka”) and the Regional Flavours Food and Wine Festival, showcasing the state’s best food and wine.

Brisbane city skyline
Brisbane in winter is perfect for photography

Pros of visiting Brisbane in winter

Yes – this is winter in Brisbane! It’s somewhat cold – but there’s little rain, no snow and the temperature rarely dips below zero. In fact, it’s so mild you can still swim at the beach!

An oft-asked question is “Does it snow in Queensland?” Whilst is doesn’t snow in Brisbane city, there have been light snowfalls in Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt in southern Queensland.

Brisbane also experiences the best sunrises and sunsets during winter, so it’s a great time for photographers to visit Brisbane (head out to One Tree Hill Maleny for glorious sunset views).

And probably the best reason to plan your Brisbane holiday during winter – its whale watching season! Brisbane sits along the Humpback Highway, hosting the annual migration of thousands of humpback whales travelling through Queensland waters. Running from mid-June to the end of October, witness these majestic creatures on their way to and from the Antarctic.

Cons of visiting Brisbane in winter

The mild winter temperatures mean winter is a popular time for those in the Southern States (New South Wales and Victoria) to head north to Queensland. Be prepared for elevated accommodation prices and crowds around the school holiday period (see below).

Brisbane days are shorter in winter, with the least amount of daylight. Sunrise occurs at around 6.30am with the sun setting at approximately 5.00pm.

Brisbane city from Highgate Hill
Wintry views from Highgate Hill Park

Best things to do in Brisbane in winter

Head to the Scenic Rim or Granite Belt to experience a real “winter” as you snuggle in front of an open fire. Winter is the time to grab an iconic strawberry sundae at the Ekka, shop at the Queen Street Mall, or pick your own strawberries at The Berry Patch at Chambers Flat.

Winter is also the time to experience footy fever at a game of AFL (Australian Rules Football), rugby league or rugby union.

An avenue of Jacaranda trees
A purple hue descends over Brisbane in Spring

Spring in Brisbane

Spring in Brisbane runs from September to November. Like Autumn, this is the perfect time for exploring all that Brisbane has to offer.

Brisbane gardens are at their blooming best and the Jacaranda season sees a vivid purple hue spread across the city. Throughout October (and depending on the season, parts of September and November), will see Brisbane city and suburbs transformed by huge swathes of lilac – just be careful where you tread, the fallen petals are very slippery.

With warm days and cool nights, daytime temperatures hover around 24°C (75°F). This is also the time for the Brisbane Festival, which runs for most of the month of September, culminating in a spectacular display of fireworks (known as Sunsuper Riverfire) on the river. The Brisbane Festival sees hotels at near capacity during this time. If you plan to visit during the Brisbane Festival, be sure to make your accommodation bookings well in advance.

Brisbane Festival at night
The Brisbane Festival is a highlight of Spring

Pros of visiting Brisbane in spring

Spring in Brisbane gives you all the benefits of summer – but without the fierce heat and humidity!

This is the time to return to the beaches once again, go on walks, hike to a waterfall, pack a picnic or comfortably camp without the extremes of weather. Plus, this is when you’ll see Brisbane at its best, with all the gardens blooming and the parks just inviting you to picnic on their greenery. Spring is ideal for visiting the Karoomba Lavender Farm & Winery or the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, held during mid-September each year.

Cons of visiting Brisbane in spring

The weather can be a bit unpredictable with some days cool, and others quite warm. If visiting Brisbane in spring, be sure to wear light layers.

If you’re prone to hay fever, the blooming flowers may wreak havoc with your sinuses.

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers
Flowers, flowers everywhere!

Best things to do in Brisbane in spring

Grab a good book and head to one of Brisbane’s many parks and gardens. Southbank Parklands, City Botanic Gardens, Mt Cootha Botanical Gardens and New Farm Park are all spring-worthy destinations.

Alternatively, stroll the Brisbane River, lunch at Howard Smith Wharves, hunt for Brisbane street art, or take in an AFL or rugby game.

What is the best month to visit Brisbane?

So, we’ve covered the seasons. But what are the pros and cons for each month of the year? Well, there are some variables so let’s cover these month by month.

Noosa main beach in January
January is for hitting up the beach

Brisbane in January

January in Brisbane is extremely hot and humid. You can also expect summer storms and heavy rainfall at times. If visiting Brisbane during January, be sure to wear light, breathable fabrics and carry a rain-jacket or umbrella in your backpack.

It’s also the height of the Queensland school holidays, so there are plenty of children around, and beaches and attractions are extremely busy.

Whilst perfect for beach weather, summer is the time to pay particular attention to sun safety. Heed the Cancer Council recommendations of Slip Slop Slap* at this time of year.

January is the peak season for accommodation and flights, and is therefore one of the most expensive times to visit Brisbane.

*Slip on a shirt, slop on some suncream, and slap on a hat.

Brisbane in February

With children back in school, and no major events in Brisbane, February is a reasonably quiet month.

Although availability of accommodation improves, the weather in February can be extremely hot and humid – probably more so than at other time of the year. Head to the bayside suburbs or the coast to take advantage of any cooler sea breezes.

View of Glasshouse Mountains from Mount Ngungun
Brisbane in March is the perfect time for heading outdoors

Brisbane in March

Whilst March can still have periods of very hot weather, the weather definitely starts to cool down. Sightseeing and walks can once again be undertaken in comfort.

With no school holidays in March, this is a great time of the year to enjoy Brisbane – all without the crowds!

Brisbane in April

In my opinion, April and May are the best times to visit Brisbane. The weather is mild and sunny, with very little rain.

April is the perfect time for exploring Brisbane city including Kangaroo Point, South Bank Parklands, Howard Smith Wharves and Eagle Street Pier. A trip on a Brisbane City Cat ferry is undeniably a highlight at this time of year.

There is a public holiday for ANZAC Day on April 25th and, if Easter is in April, accommodation around these times can be more difficult to book. School holidays are usually in April (check dates below) and plan around them if you are able.

Brisbane city cat on the Brisbane River
Jump on a Brisbane City Cat

Brisbane in May

With no school holidays and delightful weather, visiting Brisbane in May is ideal.

Enjoy exploring Brisbane in comfort, without the heat and rain of summer, or the cooler weather of winter.

Held on the third weekend of May each year, discover the Paniyiri Greek Festival for a celebration of everything Greek. From Greek food, dancing and traditions, enjoy Australia’s longest running Greek festival.

Brisbane in June

Officially the beginning of winter in Queensland, Brisbane in June means cooler temperatures and lower humidity. It also means less rain.

If visiting Brisbane in June, make sure to pack a jumper or jacket for those cool mornings and evenings. Don’t leave your swimming costume at home though – swimming is still possible during the winter months!

With crisp, cool days and bright blue skies, June is a great month for exploring Brisbane city and surrounds.

It also means the beginning of whale watching season in south east Queensland. Beginning in June and running through to the end of October, there are plenty of opportunities to view Humpback whales cruising up the eastern coast of Australia. Whilst getting out on the water will give you the best views, you can still get lucky and spot them from viewpoints around Brisbane such as Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island.

Humpback whale breaching off the Gold Coast
It’s whale watching season!

With school holidays starting in late June and running into July, it can become quite busy around popular destinations such as Noosa and the Gold Coast. This is also the time that Aussies from the southern states choose to visit Queensland in order to escape their cooler climates.

Brisbane in July

Whilst the days are crisp and cool, the skies are a brilliant, clear blue with the sun shining brightly.

Even though July is in the middle of winter, it is still perfect for sightseeing around Brisbane or enjoying the beaches of the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Moreton Island, Bribie Island or Stradbroke Island.

And don’t forget the theme parks of the Gold Coast are open year round – with the water parks boasting heated water during the winter months.

July is still whale watching season with the best viewing to be had from a whale watching cruise, or a lookout along the coast. Try Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island, Hervey Bay or Bribie Island.

With school holidays occurring during July, this is a popular time for Australians to visit Brisbane. It is also popular with overseas visitors from Europe, Canada and the USA, as it coincides with their summer holidays.

Brisbane in August

Temperatures are cold, but skies are clear and blue – perfect for exploring the many exciting cafes and restaurants of the city, or one of the many museums and art galleries of Brisbane.

However, the highlight for locals each August is the Royal Queensland Show, known as the “Ekka” for short. Starting on the first Friday in August and running for ten days, the Ekka offers visitors carnival rides, entertainment, agricultural exhibits, food, competitions and displays. In order for the people of Brisbane to attend the Ekka, there is a public holiday on the Wednesday after the Ekka commences. The holiday is known as “People’s Day.”

The time around the Ekka is also traditionally associated with the wintry “Ekka winds” which blow into Brisbane from high pressure systems in the Great Australian Bight.

roses at New Farm Park with Brisbane city skyline
Pack yourself a picnic and head to New Farm Park

Brisbane in September

The beginning of Spring, Brisbane in September is the perfect time to explore the city on foot. The parks and gardens of Brisbane are at their absolute best, bursting with colours and flowers. A great time of year for a picnic, don’t forget to pack a light jacket for those early mornings or late evenings.

September is also time for the exciting Brisbane Festival which runs for most of the month. An international arts festival, experience theatre, comedy, street art, music and live performances galore. Brisbane Festival wraps up with huge fireworks display (known as Riverfire) over the Brisbane River, which is easily seen from Southbank Parklands and other vantage points across the Brisbane CBD.

Fireworks over the Story Bridge
Riverfire on the Brisbane River

With school holidays at the end of the month, together with the Brisbane Festival, city hotels tend to fill up fast, so book well ahead of time if possible.

Brisbane in October

Another personal favourite time of year. During September and October, Brisbane is warm and sunny, so you can head back to the beach and water activities. The closest options to Brisbane are Redcliffe, Wellington Point and Shorncliffe, however the stunning beaches of the Sunshine Coast (north of Brisbane) or Gold Coast (south of Brisbane) are only an hour or two away.

October is also the Good Food and Wine Festival so you can now dine outside without the chill of the winter months.

Whale watching season is drawing to a close, so get in quick if you want to catch a glimpse of the Humpback whales making the return journey home, calves in tow.

As the weather warms up and the humidity increases, so too does the chance of a little rain. Simply pop an umbrella in your backpack and a rain shower won’t stop you enjoying Brisbane at this time of year.

Early morning at Shorncliff
Early morning at bayside Shorncliff

Brisbane in November

November sees the days get hotter and, as the humidity rises, so too does the rainfall. This is the perfect time to hit the beach before the locals start their summer holidays. With no school holidays, the availability and price of accommodation is usually good. November is a particularly good time to visit the nearby islands including Moreton Island or North Stradbroke Island.

As we get closer to the end of November, Year 12 school leavers traditionally head to beachside venues on the Gold Coast, making accommodation in this area difficult. The crowds of partying “schoolies” are best avoided.

Surfer's Paradise beach and skyline
Get set for Surfer’s Paradise

Brisbane in December

Summer has arrived – and with a vengeance. Towards the end of December, locals will be rushing around finalising their Christmas shopping and preparations for the upcoming summer school holidays. Don’t miss the Christmas light show projected on the exterior of the Brisbane City Hall during December.

Early in December is a good time to head to the beaches and popular tourist spots before the crowds set in over Christmas. Head to the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast theme parks or simply cool off in the man-made Streets Beach at the South Bank Parklands.

Story Bridge lit up at night
We think the best time to visit Brisbane is during autumn

When is the best time to visit Brisbane according to Brisbane Explorer?

We think the best time to visit Brisbane is during autumn (March to May). Visiting Brisbane during spring (September to November) is also an ideal choice. During these periods, the weather is gloriously warm and sunny, with just a touch of humidity and little chance of rain. It’s perfect weather for swimming and is the ideal season for walking, hiking and other outdoor activities.

We suggest you try to avoid the Queensland school holidays and other key holidays (see below), especially if you are travelling on a budget.

Queensland School Holidays 2020

The following are the Queensland School Holiday dates for 2020. Please note school holidays vary slightly from State to State within Australia. You can check up-to-date school term dates on the Queensland Government website.

First dayLast day
Autumn holiday
Winter holiday27 June 202012 July 2020
Spring holiday19 September 20204 October 2020
Summer holiday12 December 202024 January 2021

Queensland Public Holidays 2020 and 2021

While public holidays mean locals get the day off and shops may shut, visitors will likely not be impacted too much. Other than Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday, most shops, transport, and services in Brisbane will remain open. Tourist attractions also remain open.

Public Holiday20202021
New Year’s DayWednesday 1 JanuaryFriday 1 January
Australia DayMonday 27 JanuaryTuesday 26 January
Good FridayFriday 10 AprilFriday 2 April
Easter SaturdaySaturday 11 AprilSaturday 3 April
Easter SundaySunday 12 AprilSunday 4 April
Easter MondayMonday 13 AprilMonday 5 April
ANZAC DaySaturday 25 AprilMonday 26 April
Labour DayMonday 4 MayMonday 3 May
Royal Queensland Show (Brisbane area only)Friday 14 AugustWednesday 11 August
Queen’s BirthdayMonday 5 OctoberMonday 4 October
Christmas Eve (6pm – midnight)Thursday 24 DecemberFriday 24 December
Christmas DayFriday 25 DecemberSaturday 25 December
Boxing DaySaturday 26 DecemberSunday 26 December
Additional Christmas HolidayMonday 28 DecemberTuesday 28 December

You can find more information on Queensland public holidays on the Queensland Government website.

There you have it – a complete breakdown of the best time to visit Brisbane, Australia. I hope this helps with your decision making and travel plans. But be assured, no matter when you choose to visit Brisbane, you won’t be disappointed!

When would you like to visit Brisbane? Or, if you’ve been – what do you think is the best time to visit Brisbane?

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