Weather, price and peak seasons considered, we’ve got the goss on when to travel to Melbourne for the perfect balance of all three.
The cosmopolitan city of Melbourne was voted the second best destination in Australia at this year’s TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, so naturally you shouldn’t pass up a chance to spend some time shopping its markets, indulging in its world-class fare and digging its underground music scene.
When it comes to the best time to visit though, weather and price might play a part in the decision making process. If you want all the glory without the rain or peak price tag, we’ve uncovered the best time to visit. Read on to find out when and why.
Best time to visit Melbourne
March to May.
March to May is an ideal time to visit Melbourne as it’s after the city’s hottest and wettest months. By travelling during autumn you’ll miss the sweltering 40℃ summer temperatures and sporadic rain showers and instead experience drier and slightly cooler temperatures with average highs of between 18℃ and 25℃.
The city is busy with tourists year-round but gets particularly crowded in December and January, when families and students flock to the city for their summer holiday.
Melbourne generally has a mild climate. Its summers are hot with average highs in excess of 25℃ in January and its winters are cold with average highs of 13℃. While rain falls year-round, the city experiences its most intense showers from September to February.
Regarded as one of Australia’s most cosmopolitan cities, Melbourne plays host to many annual cultural events, including the world-renowned Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Such events, in addition to its sprawling zoo, lush botanical gardens and vibrant bar and restaurant scene, keep the city busy year-round.
You’ll also need to be mindful of major sporting occasions that take place in the city if you want to avoid the crowds and peak prices. Each year, tens of thousands of sports fans flock to see the Australian Grand Prix (March), Australian Open (January) and Melbourne Cup (November), in addition to the AFL Grand Final (September) and international cricket, rugby league and rugby union matches.
Melbourne is a popular destination for Australian and international tourists and is best avoided during school holiday periods (December and January).
Weather and prices
Best time to visit Melbourne, weatherwise: November to May.
Cheapest time to visit Melbourne: Look for flight and hotel deals in August and September as there are fewer major events taking place in the city.
Best time to visit Melbourne for…
- Shopping: March to May is the best time to visit Melbourne’s shopping centres, luxury boutiques and charming food and flea markets.
- Lavender farm tours: Taking a lavender farm tour in October or November gives you the best chance to see flowers in full bloom.
- Sightseeing: Melbourne is well known for its sprawling zoo and leafy botanical gardens, as well as art galleries, theatres and opulent Victorian-era buildings. All are best explored from March to May.
- Seeing penguins on Phillip Island: If you want to see Phillip Island’s famous penguin colony try doing so from March to May. These are much quieter months than the peaks of December and January.
- Snow sports: Less than a three-hour drive from Melbourne, Mount Baw Baw and Mount Buller are two of Australia’s premier ski resorts. Both are best visited during the July to September snow season.
- Wineries: October and November are the best months to pay a visit to the five diverse wine regions little more than an hour’s drive from Melbourne CBD. Many wineries hold annual festivals during these months, including Geelong’s “Toast to the Coast”.
- Hot air ballooning: You can go hot air ballooning year-round in Melbourne although the best months are from March to May and September to November when the weather is a bit more predictable.