Australia is the world’s sixth largest country, occupying an area of about 2,969,907 square miles. It is also considered to be the world's largest island, and is sometimes referred to as an "island continent." Some of Australia's neighboring nations include New Zealand, Vanuatu, East Timor, Solomon Islands, and Indonesia. The country has a wide assortment of climates, including a tropical climate in northern Australia that features desert, grasslands and tropical rainforests. Australia is the driest, flattest and oldest subcontinent, but also has moderately fertile soil and temperate climates in the southwest and southeast corners of the country.
Climate of Australia
Australia is separated from the polar regions by the Antarctic Ocean, and therefore is not subjected to the frigid polar air which sweeps over other places in the northern hemisphere during winter. Australia experiences a mild winter, and has only a small temperature range between summer and winter. The climate varies in all of Australia's states and territories, but most experience all four seasons, expect the Northern Territory, which only has dry and wet seasons.
Snow in Australia?
Australia experiences high temperatures and sunshine throughout the year, and more than 80% of the country receives less than 24 inches of rainfall annually. However, some parts of Australia can receive significant amounts of snow. In fact, numerous Australian cities receive snow regularly. Winter is usually warm in the northern parts of Australia and colder in the high altitude regions, particularly in South Australia.
Where Does It Snow in Australia?
Snow falls in Tasmania during winter, but it is rare on the state's northern coast. The winter months are the coolest and wettest in Tasmania, and various high altitude regions are covered by snow. The maximum winter temperature in the central plateau is usually 3 °C, while the average temperature in the coastal region is 12 °C.
Light snow falls in Canberra every winter. Snowfall is rare within Canberra’s central business district (CBD), but the surrounding regions receive snow annually. Parts of the snow-capped Canberra Mountains are visible from the CBD.
Numerous south Australian state capitals like Hobart (Tasmania) and Melbourne (Victoria) have received snow at least once. Other cities that receive seasonal snowfalls include Katoomba, Lithgow, Oberon, and Orange. Additionally, the Perisher Ski Resort, Mount Buller, Cabramurra, and Thredo, which have seasonal ski-tourism industries, receive snow regularly. Some isolated places in Western and South Australia, Queensland, and the Great Dividing Range also receive snow with some regularity. Snow falls regularly on the highlands, close to the eastern coast in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW).
Occasional cold snaps caused by cold air from Antarctica have produced snow in various rural areas and cities like Canberra and Hobart. These rare cold snaps occurred in 1958, 1965, 1986, 2005, and 2015. Extreme snow events have resulted in snow in Longreach, Queensland and various lowland towns like Wagga Wagga and Dubbo. However, the intensity and frequency of these snow events has decreased over the last 40 years.