Australia, due to its life quality, places first on the list of the best sunniest countries in the world. It’s one of the sunniest countries in the world, with many big cities that get fewer than 90 days of overcast weather. In most of these places, mean winter daytime temperatures don’t drop below 15 °C (59 °F), meaning that many sunny places in Australia fit all of our requirements.
Most of Australia’s population lives on the eastern coast that offers a relatively pleasant climate all year round, particularly when compared to Australia’s hot desert regions covering most of the landmass.
What Are the Sunniest Places in Australia?
Most of Australia is very sunny, so instead of starting with the sunniest places, let’s cover the ones that are missing in this ranking:
- Adelaide—it gets fewer than 90 overcast days a year, but is slightly too cold during the winter with mean daily maximums in the coldest month reaching 14 °C (58 °F). If you don’t mind slightly colder winters, by all means consider Adelaide, too (it gets 97 clear days, 180.3 partly cloudy days, and 87.8 overcast days).
- Canberra—it gets fewer than 90 overcast days a year, but is too cold during the winter with mean daily maximums in the coldest month reaching only 11 °C (52 °F).
- Hobart—gets 122.5 overcast days a year and is too cold during the winter.
- Melbourne—gets 113.9 overcast days a year and is too cold during the winter.
- Albany—gets 96.3 overcast days a year.
Virtually any other location north of Wollongong (including Wollongong) fits our requirements. Here are the sunniest places in Australia ranked by the number of overcast days, starting with the sunniest ones. Please note that we will focus only on the major cities and towns.
|City||State/Territory||Clear days||Partly cloudy days||Overcast days|
|Port Hedland||Western Australia||232.4||111||22|
|Alice Springs||Northern Territory||235.6||100.1||29.4|
|Coober Pedy||South Australia||223.2||111.9||30.3|
|Port Augusta||South Australia||165.9||152.1||47.3|
|Sydney||New South Wales||103.7||201.2||60.4|
|Port Macquarie||New South Wales||106.1||194.5||64.6|
|Byron Bay||New South Wales||98.4||200.7||66.1|
|Newcastle||New South Wales||102.6||193.4||69.2|
|Wollongong||New South Wales||95||198.3||71.9|
Depending on what climate you prefer the most, here are five main categories of the sunniest places in Australia:
1. THE Tropics
Tropics are characterized by two seasons: a dry season with little precipitation and very sunny weather and a wet season with frequent downpours and cloudy weather. The tropical destinations in Australia include: Darwin, Cairns, Townsville, and the surrounding areas. The dry season runs from about May to October, and the wet season from November to April.
It never gets cold in Darwin. Temperatures are consistently very high all year round, hovering between 30-35 °C (86-95 °F) during the day, with mean daily minimums around 18 °C (64 °F) in the dry season and 26 °C (79 °F) in the wet season. This means that except for the coldest months in the dry season, it’s very hot all year round the entire day, even at night. This might not be optimal if you don’t handle very high temperatures (particularly since there’s no respite in the evening). Dry season in Darwin is characterized by virtually no overcast weather and bright skies every day. In the wet season, there are about 10-11 overcast days a month.
Cairns and Townsville are cooler during the dry season, with mean daily maximums dropping to 24 °C (75 °F) and mean daily minimums of 15 °C (59 °F). During the wet season, daily maximums reach about 32 °C (90 °F) and minimums about 24 °C (75 °F). Unlike Darwin, both of these cities get more partly cloudy days than clear skies. Sunny or partly cloudy days are more equally distributed during the year, though, with only 6 days of overcast weather in the cloudiest month.
Please note that the tropics are characterized by very high humidity. High humidity makes hot weather feel hotter and stickier. Moreover, the tropical area of Australia is rather sparsely populated, with just a few bigger cities and towns. If you’d rather live in a big city or close to it, this might not be the right choice for you.
- you don’t mind very high temperatures almost all year round (particularly in Darwin),
- you don’t mind high humidity, particularly during the wet season,
- you like to live in a very sunny climate (focus on Darwin and Townsville).
2. THE Subtropics
The subtropical region in Australia spans roughly from Mackay through Gladstone, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong. It’s characterized by hot and humid summers (often the wettest season), and mild to chilly winters.
The further north you go, the warmer the climate. In Mackay, mean daily maximums in the summer are around 31 °C (88 °F) and mean daily minimums are 24 °C (75 °F). In the winter, maximums reach 23 °C (73 °F) and minimums hover around 15 °C (59 °F).
The area around Brisbane falls in the middle. Summer maximums reach 29 °C (84 °F) and minimums don’t drop below 21 °C (70 °F). Winters are characterized by maximums of 20 °C (68 °F) and minimums of 10 °C (50 °F). If you’re seeking a moderate, warm climate, Brisbane and the surrounding areas provide a good mix between hot summers (without being unbearably hot) and still warm winters (without getting too chilly).
In Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong maximums are around 27-28 °C (81 °F) in the summer, while minimums are around 18 °C (64 °F). In the winter, mean maximums don’t exceed 16 °C (61 °F) and drop to 6 °C (43 °F) at night. If you want to avoid low winter temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F), it’s best to stick with destinations north of Brisbane, with Maroochydore’s mean daily minimums in the coldest month around 12 °C (54 °F) and Gladstone’s around 11 °C (52 °F).
In this region, Gladstone gets the lowest number of overcast days a year (just 34) and destinations further south progressively get cloudier and cloudier, with Brisbane getting 44.3 overcast days, Sydney 60.4, and Wollongong 71.9. Sunny weather is relatively consistent throughout a year (even Wollongong doesn’t get more than 7 cloudy days in the cloudiest month), with fewer overcast days during the winter.
All of these subtropical sunny places in Australia get more partly cloud days than clear days, with the Sunshine Coast and destinations south of the Gold Coast (including Byron Bay, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong) getting about twice as many partly cloudy days than clear days.
The subtropical region of Australia is a good choice for those who would like to live in the most densely populated part of Australia. There are many cities and towns to choose from, and the local climate, depending on the location, is pleasant most of the year or all year round.
- you prefer a warm, but cooler climate than the tropics (particularly south of the Sunshine Coast, including the Sunshine Coast),
- you don’t mind that partly cloudy days are much more frequent than clear days,
- you don’t mind cool to chilly winter nighttime temperatures (particularly further south).
3. THE Hot Desert CLIMATE
Because hot desert climate is found in Australia mostly in a very sparsely populated desert region, there are only a few bigger settlements featuring this climate, including Port Augusta, Coober Pedy and Alice Springs. They have extremely hot summers and warm winters with low nighttime temperatures.
The hottest months in these two cities reach up to 36 °C (97 °F) during the day. Unlike the tropical destinations, the daily minimums offer some respite from the heat as they stay around 20 °C (68 °F). Port Augusta lies at the edge of the desert, so it’s slightly cooler with summer maximums reaching 32 °C (93 °F) and minimums of 17 °C (63 °F).
Winters are warm in all three locations. Alice Springs has the warmest winters with daily maximums of 19 °C (66 °F), Coober Pedy is slightly cooler at 18° C (64 °F) and Port Augusta reaches 17 °C (63 °F). Nights can get chilly in all three places, with temperatures dropping to just 5 °C (41 °F).
Both Alice Springs and Coober Pedy are extremely sunny all year round, getting over twice as many clear days than partly cloudy days. In the cloudiest months (during the winter), they only get up to 4 days of overcast weather. Port Augusta is notably cloudier, with up to 8 such days in the winter and much fewer annual clear days.
This climatic region is only for those who are prepared to deal with extremes. It’s an extremely sparsely populated region with no big cities and very long distances between towns or bigger settlements. If you want to get away from it all, this might be right up your alley.
- you enjoy very high temperatures, particularly in the summer,
- you love bright skies and want as many clear days as possible,
- you don’t mind low winter nighttime temperatures.
4. THE Hot Semi-Arid CLIMATE
Hot semi-arid climate in Australia is found in the areas surrounding the central desert regions in the outback. Places in Australia that have this type of climate feature hot or extremely hot summers and depending on the location, hot or mild winters with cool nights. Some notable hot semi-arid destinations in Australia include: Kalgoorlie, Broome, and Port Hedland.
Broome and Port Hedland are extremely hot most of the year, with daily maximums exceeding 38-39 °C (100-102 °F) for about six months in Port Hedland and three in Broome. Nights don’t offer much of a break as the minimum temperatures don’t drop below 26 °C (79 °F) in the hottest months. Winters are still very hot, with temperatures reaching 29 °C (84 °F) during the day in Port Hedland and 31 °C (88 °F) in Broome. Nights are much cooler, though, with minimums hovering around 10 °C (50 °F) in Port Hedland and 13 °C (55 °F) in Broome.
Compared to Broome and Port Hedland, Kalgoorlie, due to its location at the edge of the desert and its slight elevation, is much cooler. While the daytime temperatures during the hottest months reach 32 °C (90 °F), at night they drop to refreshing 17 °C (63 °F). Winters are mild, with maximums of 15 °C (59 °F) and chilly nights with temperatures hovering around 6-7 °C (43-45 °F)
Port Hedland and Broome are the sunniest cities in Australia featured in the ranking. They get only 22 overcast days a year, with Port Hedland getting over twice as many clear days as partly cloudy days. Kalgoorlie is still very sunny with only 49 overcast days a year, but compared to these two locations is over twice as cloudy.
Because of this climatic region’s location on the fringes of the desert, the area is sparsely populated without any bigger cities nearby (just small towns and smaller settlements). Since summer temperatures are extremely high, only those who are prepared to deal with extreme heat should consider this destination.
- you don’t mind extremely high temperatures for most of the year (in Broome and Port Hedland),
- you want to avoid cloudy weather as much as possible,
- you don’t mind cooler evenings.
5. THE Mediterranean CLIMATE
Characterized by hot, sunny summers and mild, wet winters, Mediterranean climate in Australia is typical for Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton, and the surrounding areas of these cities (Adelaide also features this climate, but is slightly too cold during the winter to be included in our ranking).
These cities can get very hot during the summer, with mean daily maximums in Perth reaching about 32 °C (90 °F), Bunbury 31 °C (88 °F) and Geraldton, the hottest of them all due to its semi-arid influences, up to 37 °C (99 °F). Mean daily minimums in the summer stay around 20 °C (68 °F) in Geraldton, 18 °C (64 °F) in Perth, and 13 °C (55 °F) in Bunbury.
Winters are the warmest in Geraldton, with mean daily maximums in the coldest month reaching 20 °C (68 °F). Perth reaches 17 °C (63 °F) and Bunbury 16 °C (61 °F). Mean daily minimums in Geraldton hover around 6 °C (43 °F), 10 °C (50 °F) in Perth and 7 °C (45 °F) in Bunbury.
All these destinations are sunny all year round. The cloudiest of them all, Bunbury, still gets about 20 days of clear or partly cloudy weather in the cloudiest month (July). The main difference is that both Perth and Geraldton gets many more clear days than partly cloudy days compared to Bunbury, which is characterized by a higher number of partly cloudy days.
The Mediterranean climate is one of the most human-friendly climates. Depending on the location (further south from Perth is cooler), the weather is comfortable most of the time during at least three seasons (summers might be too hot to consider them comfortable).
- you enjoy some variety throughout a year,
- you don’t mind relatively low daily maximums in the winter,
- you like hot summers.
Quick Selection Guide
Want as many days of bright skies as possible? Choose from the hot semi-arid or hot desert climates. Darwin and Geraldton are good choices, too.
Want high daytime temperatures (over 25 °C/77 °F) all year round? Choose from the tropical or hot semi-arid climates.
Prefer a warm, but not overly hot climate? Choose from the cooler subtropical climate, particularly cities south of Gold Coast.
Hate humidity? Avoid tropics and subtropics (and the Mediterranean climate to a lesser degree).
Want hot dry summers and mild winters? Choose the Mediterranean climate.