SD › Brisbane When to Go
Updated: January 2, 2022
When is the best time to visit Brisbane and the Gold Coast?
The best time to visit Brisbane is May to end of October, perfect for sightseeing in the city, enjoying the theme parks, and surfing the beaches. These months are generally sunny and dry, even a little chilly during mid-year. Avoid Australian school holidays, if possible, which are staggered across the states for two weeks in late June/early July and mid/late September.
- Best Time for Good Weather: May to end of October. During the rest of the year, rain may be frequent, humidity can be unpleasant, and storms and floods are not uncommon.
- Best Time for Honeymoons: May to end of October. Obviously, the best times are those months when it’s almost guaranteed to be dry, sunny, and warm every day – and with minimal humidity.
- Best Time for Nightlife: Mid-April to end of October. The tropical weather inspires outdoor festivals and open-air cafés, so the prime time is during the dry season.
- Best Time for Saving Money: During Queensland’s dry season, the beach regions are popular with Australians temporarily ‘migrating’ from the wintry south. So, hotel rates and airfares are likely to be at their lowest during the wet season, i.e. from the start of November to mid-December and February to April (but not during the school holidays around Easter).
- Best Time for Sightseeing: The weather is generally dry, warm, and free of humidity from the start of May to the end of October – and even a little chilly at times mid-year. Crowds, especially at the Gold Coast, will be more tolerable outside the Australian school holidays, which are mid-December to late January, and for 2 weeks around Easter, in late June/early July, and mid/late September.
- Best Time for Families: Ironically, the best time to visit is NOT the Australian school holidays (see above), when airfares and hotel rates rise considerably and crowds at the theme parks and on the beach may be unpleasant. If possible, visit between May and the end of October, when the weather is dry and mild, but not when schools are closed and thousands of families go on holidays.
- Best Time for Outdoor Activities: Avoid the wet season, when the heat, humidity, and rain can be uncomfortable and violent storms are not uncommon. Generally, anything outdoorsy will be ideal between May and the end of October, although experienced surfers prefer the rough waves caused by stormy weather from November to March.
Travel Seasons in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast
- High Season (May to end of September, and mid-December to late January): For several months from May, the weather is usually fabulous: sunny and dry days with minimal humidity. Despite the hot, wet, and humid conditions, and possible storms, the other peak time is the major Australian school holidays in December/January, especially along the Gold Coast.
- Shoulder Season: (October, March, and April): Only a short time between the end of the wettest and wildest weather (November to February) and before the mild ‘winter’ (May to September). Changeable months when days can alternate between sunny/dry and wet/stormy. However, during the school holidays for 2 weeks around Easter in March/April, hotel rates and airfares will temporarily rise.
- Low Season (November to early December and February): At these times, the weather will always be hot, humid, and often wet – with storms and floods not uncommon. The good news is that the crowds will be at their lowest at the beaches and theme parks, and hotel rates and airfares will be at their most affordable.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather by Month
The center of Brisbane is only about 80 km from Surfers Paradise, the most popular area along the region collectively known as the Gold Coast. Therefore, the weather between Brisbane (Australia’s second-hottest city) and the Gold Coast rarely differs, although the beaches do receive plenty of sea breeze and are more affected by storms.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in January: Middle of the wet season when the triple whammy of excessive heat, rain, and humidity can even affect locals. The average daytime/overnight temperatures of 29/20°C may not seem overly hot, but many visitors will perspire heavily, and it’s the wettest month of the year by a small margin over February. The uncomfortable weather is made worse by crowds visiting the beaches and theme parks during the major Australian school holidays (mid-December to end of January). Violent thunderstorms with hailstones, destructive winds, and floods are not uncommon throughout the wet season, so always take notice of warnings about severe weather. However, unlike tropical Far North Queensland, cyclones are very rare.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in February: The hot and sticky weather continues, but one bonus is the substantial reduction in crowds as children return to school. February is almost the wettest month (after January) and has the lowest number of clear days on average without clouds (3-4) and also the year’s highest level of average humidity.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in March: Average daytime/overnight temperatures continue to drop 1 or 2°C from the start of the wet season (in November). Still shirt-clinging humidity and often wet: third-highest amount of rainfall and most number of rainy days for the year.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in April: By now, even locals are sick and tired of the hot, wet, and humid weather. The end is in sight, however: a drop in average daytime temperatures to 26°C and substantially cooler at 17°C overnight, rainfall has dropped by one-third from the previous month, and more cloud-free days than at any time for the year so far. Still lingering humidity, however.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in May: Start of the best time to visit as the heat, humidity, and rainfall reduce noticeably. Average daytime/overnight temperatures drop markedly to 23/13°C, which some locals (who were complaining about the heat just 2 months ago) find quite chilly. Half the rainfall of March and 3 times more clear days than February.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in June: Start of the ‘winter’ when ‘grey nomads’ (i.e. retired people in caravans) and families (mainly during the school holidays) flock to the beaches from the wintry south. Almost the coolest month of the year at 21/11°C during the day/night. Continual reduction in rainfall from the start of the year and plenty of clear, sunny days.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in July: Middle of what locals call the ‘winter’ as average daytime/overnight temperatures fall to their lowest for the year: 20/10°C. Bring a jacket/jumper because it will turn surprisingly chilly after dark. Half the rain of April and almost the year’s highest number of cloud-free days per month: 15.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in August: The delightfully mild and dry ‘winter’ continues, although with a slight increase in average temperatures. This month ties with September for the lowest average amount of rainfall. Also, the fewest number of days (4) with any noticeable rain and most number of days per month without clouds. Perhaps most importantly, the lowest level of humidity for the year.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in September: Changeable month between the mild and dry ‘winter’ and imminent wet season. Average daytime/overnight temperatures rise 2 or more degrees to 24/13°C, and it’s also officially the month with the least rainfall and second-highest number of hours per day with sunshine.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in October: By now, the temperate ‘winter’ has been replaced by the start of what will be several months of uncomfortably hot, humid, and wet weather, but still changeable throughout October. Average daytime and, especially, overnight temperatures continue to rise to 26/16°C. Also, about 40% more rain than the previous month (but nothing like that from December to February) and marked reduction from the previous month in the number of cloud-free days from 14 to 9.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in November: Start of the wet season with the most rain on average per month since March. Average daytime/overnight temperatures start to rise to 28/18°C, made worse by increased humidity and fewer cloud-free days.
- Brisbane and the Gold Coast Weather in December: Although popular, especially at the Gold Coast during the school holidays (mid-December to late January), this month will be hot and humid, and, often, wet. The second-highest average daytime temperatures of about 29°C may not seem that hot, but inexperienced visitors will notice the sapping humidity. Also, violent thunderstorms with hailstones, destructive winds, and floods are not uncommon throughout the wet season, so always take notice of warnings about severe weather. However, unlike tropical Far North Queensland, cyclones are very rare.
Holidays, Events & Festivals in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in January
- School Holidays (mid-December to late January) – These differ slightly in each state, but hotel rates and occupancies will increase markedly at this time, especially on the Gold Coast. Also, busier local transport and significant increase in airfares.
- Summer Festival (mid-December to late January) – Heaps of activities for youngsters at the State Library of Queensland at South Bank (Brisbane). Hands-on, educational, and fun for all ages.
- ‘Silly Season’ – Extends from around 20 December to the first week of January. Many businesses (but not those for tourists) close and very little gets done anywhere, except after-Christmas shopping and cricket-watching.
- New Year’s Day (1st) – Major public holiday when many shops, almost all offices, and a few tourist attractions close. Locals like to relax (and, perhaps, recover from hangovers) with visits to the beach and barbecues in the parks.
- Gold Coast Food & Wine Expo (changeable, early January) – 3 days of celebrity chefs, food stalls, and celebrations of gourmet food and fine wine. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach.
- Australia Day (26th) – Public holiday celebrated with events (such as citizenship ceremonies) for a few, while the majority flock to the beach, go shopping, or watch cricket on TV.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in February
- Laneway Festival (changeable, first Saturday in February) – Self-labelled ‘boutique festival’ featuring underground bands and quirky performers. Held in most Australian cities and locally at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
- BrisAsia Festival (throughout the month) – All sorts of music, dance, films, and markets showcasing Brisbane’s many cultures. At locations all over Brisbane.
- Beyond the Sand Arts Festival (changeable, February/March) – Watch sand sculptors at work and admire their incredible creations over 9 days. Free demonstrations, exhibitions, and live music. Surfers Paradise.
- MindBodySpirit Festival (changeable, late February and/or March) – 3 days of spirituality and wellbeing for the body and soul. Over 200 stalls and free entry. At the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Bank.
- Brisbane Comedy Festival (1 month from late February) – Some of the funniest acts and films from Australia and across the planet at various locations around the city and suburbs.
- Roots, Boots, & Blues Festival (changeable, late February) – Plenty of international and Australian bands perform at this free and family-friendly event. Southport, northern Gold Coast.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in March
- Brisbane Cycling Festival (about 3 weeks in March/April) – attracts professionals and enthusiasts for a range of events at indoor and outdoor locations across Brisbane. All levels and ages welcome.
- Brewsvegas (changeable, mid/late March) – Rivaling Oktoberfest (see below) for an 11-day celebration of ales, lagers, and pilseners. More for connoisseurs than hard-drinkers, with focus on craft beers. Many locations across Brisbane.
- Gold Coast Superhero Weekend (changeable, mid-March) – three days of family fun at Broadbeach with films, stalls, parades, music, and, of course, people in funny costumes.
- World Science Festival Brisbane (changeable, mid/late March) – 5 days of workshops, presentations, and exhibitions about science, technology, and the environment. Often serious, but also fun for the family. Various locations in Brisbane.
- Curiocity Brisbane (changeable, March/April) – All sorts of engaging and interactive activities focused on arts, science, and technology. For about 3 weeks at South Bank and downtown Brisbane. Heaps of fun for youngsters.
- Easter (changeable, March/April) – Australians love public holidays and as locals say: ‘this is a cracker’. Most shops, offices, tourist attractions, and even bars close on Good Friday, while plenty of amenities and places of interest may shut for four days. Basic tourist facilities will remain open over Easter, but public transport will be very limited. Be prepared.
- Corona Open Gold Coast (changeable, March/April) – International surfing competition for men and women. At Coolangatta, southern Gold Coast, for 10 days.
- The Drop Festival (changeable, late March) – Huge indie music festival timed for the start of major international surfing competitions such as the Corona Open Gold Coast (see above).
- Football (March to September/October) – Most locals follow the Brisbane Broncos or Gold Coast Titans in the National Rugby League competition. The Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns play a unique code of football as part of the Australian Football League.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in April
- Tour de Brisbane (first weekend of April) – Major cycling event around the hilly streets of Brisbane. Available to riders of all ages and experience.
- Moreton Bay Triathlon (changeable, mid-April) – Running, swimming, and cycling with grades suitable for all ages and levels. North Brisbane.
- Brisbane Food & Wine Expo (changeable, mid-April) – 3 days of celebrity chefs, food stalls, and celebrations of gourmet food and fine wine. Brisbane Showgrounds.
- Gold Coast Film Festival (changeable, late April) – Focuses on new Australian movies and documentaries. Also, screenings, talks, and debates for more than 2 weeks at various locations along the coast.
- Anzac Day (25th) – Sombre commemoration of Australian history. Memorial services held at dawn, followed by a military parade through downtown Brisbane. Public holiday.
- Surfers Paradise LIVE (changeable, late April/early May) – Major 4-day festival of live music on the beach.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in May
- Brisbane Street Art Festival (changeable, early to late May) – Contemporary art – more outdoor murals than indoor exhibitions. Also, concerts and workshops in street art for about 2 weeks.
- Anywhere Festival (from early to late May) – Hundreds of concerts and performances in the least likely places around the city and suburbs of Brisbane, e.g. car parks and reservoirs. For 2 weeks.
- Gold Coast Open (changeable, early May) – Another international surfing event. 4 days at Burleigh Heads.
- Paniyiri Greek Festival (changeable, mid-May) – Showcasing the Greek community with plenty of food, music, and dancing over 2 days at Musgrave Park, South Brisbane.
- Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival (changeable, mid-May) – One of the country’s largest attracts quality bands and singers. Free entry over 4 days at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in June
- Cooly Rocks On (changeable, early June) – Classic music, cars, and other nostalgia from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Free event at Cooly (i.e. Coolangatta), southern Gold Coast.
- SeaFire (changeable, mid-June) – Multicultural event over a weekend including a unique fireworks competition. Surfers Paradise.
- MELT Festival (changeable, mid to late June) – For 10 days, the LGBTIQ+ community celebrates with performances, parades, and concerts at Brisbane Powerhouse.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in July
- Regional Flavours (changeable, mid-July) – Major food and wine-tasting event promoting locally-grown produce and locally-made wine and beer. Plenty of stalls and live music along the river at South Bank, Brisbane.
- Brisbane Night Noodle Markets (changeable, July/August) – For about 2 weeks, hundreds of stalls are set up specializing in Asian food. South Bank.
- Groundwater Country Music Festival (changeable, late July) – Free event at Broadbeach (Gold Coast) attracting some of the country’s finest talent.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in August
- Royal Queensland Show (changeable, early to late August) – Known locally as the ‘Ekka’, this massive event has been popular with families since the 1890s. Originally focused on agriculture, but now mostly about lolly bags, scary rides, and car shows. Brisbane Showgrounds.
- Gold Coast Multicultural Festival (changeable, early August) – Plenty of music, dance, and food from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Fab day for the family.
- Bleach* The Gold Coast Festival (changeable, mid-August) – 2 weeks of contemporary arts at Currumbin, south of Burleigh Heads.
- Valley Fiesta (changeable, late August to early September) – Fortitude Valley (Brisbane) turns even more vibrant over 5 days with street parties, food stalls, markets, and concerts. Many events free and family-friendly.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in September
- Brisbane Writers Festival (changeable, early September) – Speakers, workshops, and readings at about 150 events during several days across the city.
- BIGSOUND (changeable, early September) – Festival for lovers of modern music; also, meetings of those in the industry. Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.
- SWELL Sculpture Festival (changeable, mid-September) – 10-day outdoor exhibition of engaging sculptures at Currumbin, south of Burleigh Heads.
- Brisbane Festival (changeable, most of September) – Major arts festival as popular with locals as tourists. Three weeks of dance, music, and circus acts throughout the city. Culminates with the magnificent Riverfire fireworks along South Bank.
- Crafted Beer & Cider Festival (changeable, mid-September) – Festival for lovers and makers of craft beer and cider at Broadbeach (Gold Coast).
- Gold Coast 600 (changeable, late September/early October) – Major car race held over 3 days along the streets of Surfers Paradise.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in October
- Brisbane International Film Festival (changeable, early October) – 11 days of screenings and workshops of contemporary films from across the country and beyond.
- Oktoberfest Brisbane (changeable, mid-late October) – Drink, eat, and drink some more during the country’s largest beer festival. Over 2 weekends, with live music and dancing at the Brisbane Showgrounds.
- Brisbane Open House (changeable, mid-October) – New concept taken up by many cities across the world. Numerous buildings normally closed to the public are open free for guided tours and workshops.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in November
- Wonderland Festival (changeable, late November and/or early December) – Extravagant events from circus to opera and cabaret to poetry at the Brisbane Powerhouse for about 10 days.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast Events in December
- Summer Festival (mid-December to late January) – Heaps of activities for youngsters at the State Library of Queensland. Hands-on, educational, and fun for all ages.
- Carols – Lots of singing and other activities in the lead up to Christmas Day. In downtown Brisbane, South Bank, and the Roma Street Parkland (Spring Hill), as well as Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise along the Gold Coast.
- Christmas Day (25th) – Public holiday celebrated widely, Christian or not. Almost everything is closed (often by law) including shops, bars, restaurants, and tourist attractions. Basic tourist facilities such as hotels still operate, but public transport is almost non-existent and even taxis are hard to find.
- Boxing Day (26th) – Another public holiday as the city recovers from the day before. Some go shopping; others watch cricket on TV.
- Post-Christmas Sales (from 26th) – For anyone with any money left over, major stores offer substantial discounts for several days. Crowds can be overwhelming as shopaholics line up for hours before doors open.
- Woodford Folk Festival (from 27th) – Long-standing event with 6 days of folk music and dance, and other popular performances.
- New Year’s Carnival (27th December to 1st January) – All sorts of events and activities at Surfers Paradise. Family-focused and 2 fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve.
- New Year’s Eve (31st) – Plenty of concerts and events. Fireworks at South Bank (Brisbane) and on the Gold Coast.
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