Contiki Tour Along East Coast Best Time?

by Nicole
(Maple Ridge, BC, Canada)

Hi. I'm really glad I found your site. My friend and are a planning a trip to australia and new zealand. One of the contiki tours we plan to take is a 16 day trek from Cairns to Sydney along the coast.

But we're from Canada and completely turned around when it comes to the weather down there. Here is our list of concerns in order from most important to least:
1. Sunny weather, warm (but not too hot, 25 degrees C is perfect) We want to be able to dive, surf and sail.
2. Most of the kids are still in school.
3. The less expensive time of year, the better.

Based on that (sunny, warm weather being the most important factor), when should book our tours?

Thanks so much!


Firstly a tour that takes you from Cairns to Sydney, could have you experiencing a multitude of weather because of the distances involved!

To answer your questions, here goes!
1. Weather - Cairns is tropical weather, Gold Coast (about 2/3 of the way between the two) is sub-tropical whilst I would describe Sydney as warm temperate climate. So it is really going to depend on when you come.

Basic Australian seasons are: Summer December to Feb, Autumn (Fall) March to May, Winter June to August and Spring September to November.

In general the further north you go the more humid it is, in the winter the further north you go the warmer it is. In the summer the temperatures are all over the place!

Sydney weather is (within reason) bearable most of the year. You do get summer storms, but you get that all over Australia! Gold Coast is in my opinion best between March and October for the things you like to do (unless you really love the heat). Gold Coast doesn't get the nasty box jelly fish, but places further north do, they are around from approximately October to April each year.

This sort of leaves May to September which encompasses late Autumn, Winter and early Spring. The Gold Coast generally experiences less rain in the Winter months, but obviously I cannot guarantee blue skies! When it's blue sky in the winter here, it is truly amazing!

You will need to research for Cairns and Sydney a bit more what you can do in these months, but that sort of narrows it down a bit. If you check out my month by month pages click on the months you are interested and you will find more information and weather details.

Do not be frightened off by the word winter. Many people from around Australia come to visit the Gold Coast in winter, because it can be just amazing. My personal favourites are May and June outside school holidays (see below) and September. Coming from Canada you may laugh at us locals thinking that it is "cold" in July and August!

The water temperature in the Gold Coast rarely goes below about 19C on average!

2. School holidays - since you will be covering 2 states Cairns and Gold Coast in Queensland and Sydney in NSW you will need to check the school holidays in both states with regard to the busy-ness of the tourist route!

Each state in Australia has different holidays, but for the most part the ones that will affect you will be Qld and NSW school holidays.

If you check out my school holidays page - you can follow the links to the latest Australian Government term and semester dates, I will not publish them here as they change from year to year!

3. Value for Money For the most part, answering number 2 also answers the cheaper time of the year! Prices generally go up for accommodation around the school holidays, that is also true with domestic airfares.


Obviously I am not a travel agent and cannot give you specific advice. My intention here is to point you in the right direction for the information to help you make your decision. I hope this information has helped you narrow it down!

Good luck with the planning. You can use the comments to ask any more questions or give me feedback on this information and also perhaps let us all know how your trip goes! Look forward to hearing that story!


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