Nice Things Around Sydney

Note: there are some
more general notes about Sydney climate elsewhere.

About the Sydney calendar

Well, that's what I am calling it, but this section will help you plan for excursions to other places as well. The dates listed below are left vague in most cases, because only the organisers know the arcane rule used to decide the dates for festivals and country shows. (I believe many of the rituals to determine dates involve a goat, a sink plunger, and a use of watermelons which leaves a lot to be desired if you are a watermelon.)

Be that as it may, I cannot predict most of these dates. So my aim in listing events is to alert you to the possibility of attending, say, the (highly recommended) Parkes Show in late August - but next year, it may happen in early September. Those dates which are fixed are listed as such, for the rest, I have given you the best hints I can.

About the state weather at a glance

Temperatures are in Celsius. 20C is a pleasant 68F, while 15C is 59F and 25C is 77F. As a rule, people will say it is hot when the temperature gets above 30, and they will complain of the cold when it does not reach around 13 in the middle of the day. Winter days can be a balmy 20 and even more pleasant out of the wind and in the sun, while occasional days in summer may see the temperature held down to that temperature. For more on temperature conversions, see Scales and Measures.

Southerly winds are normally cold, westerly winds are usually hot and dry. On the coast, south-easterly winds generally bring showers or rain, and big surf. Rain can happen at any time and often does, and sometimes there can be a drought that goes on for years. Sydney has huge water storage capacity, given its population, but there can still be restrictions on water use. Snow? Forget it, though there may be snow for a few days of the year near Katoomba, and behind Canberra, and there is a skiing season from June to October (more or less) in the Snowy Mountains. Some remnants of snow lie in shaded parts of the high ranges right through summer.

I have given you six samples of New South Wales weather. Apart from the city of Sydney, I offer Manly, a seaside suburb, Parramatta in western Sydney, Katoomba, which gets the altitude effect of the Blue Mountains, Dubbo in the central west of the state, and Broken Hill in the Far West.

All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, http://www.bom.gov.au

NSW weather across the year
NSW weather in January
NSW weather in February
NSW weather in March
NSW weather in April
NSW weather in May
NSW weather in June
NSW weather in July
NSW weather in August
NSW weather in September
NSW weather in October
NSW weather in November
NSW weather in December

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The state weather across the year

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 21.5 22.5 23.1 16.5 24.5 24.2
Average min. temperature (C) 13.7 13.3 10.9 7.9 10.2 11.8
Average rainfall (mm) 1220.4 1220.6 921.3 1410.9 587.0 255.3
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Number of rainy days 138.3 133.1 106.4 129.7 76.6 47.3
Number of cloudy days 113.6 N/A N/A 141.6 91.0 66.9
Number of clear days 87.1 N/A N/A 65.7 129.7 131.0

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The weather in January

The state weather at a glance in January

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 25.8 26.6 28.1 23.0 33.0 32.6
Average min. temperature (C) 18.6 18.1 16.7 12.6 17.8 18.3
Average rainfall (mm) 103.0 101.6 89.4 160.1 61.6 23.4
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 387.1 320.2 373.9 683.9 232.0 215.8
Number of rainy days 12.1 11.0 9.4 13.2 6.0 3.0
Number of cloudy days 12.5 N/A N/A 13.0 7.2 5.1
Number of clear days 5.4 N/A N/A 5.2 11.9 13.6
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Saturday nights in January: concerts in the Domain: Opera, Symphony, Jazz
All January: Festival of Sydney, events at many venues, including Darling Harbour.
All January: shops stay open, but most builders and many factories close down at this time.
Early January: Short film festival in Sydney, mainly at Bondi.
January: Balmoral Shakespeare by the Sea
Mid-January, about 7pm, annual Bondi nude surfing competition (fringe {fringeless?} Festival event).
Second half of January (usually third weekend): Manly surf carnival
Late January: Schools re-open for term 1 of the school year.

Dates fixed:

January 1: New Year's Day, public holiday. Waiters may be inattentive in restaurants at lunch time.
January 25: Burns Night observations.
January 26: assorted Australia Day events, from sausage sizzles to serious speeches to thong throwing contests. Major surf carnival at Freshwater (Harbord) Beach.

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The weather in February

The state weather at a glance in February

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 25.6 26.5 27.7 22.3 32.1 32.1
Average min. temperature (C) 18.7 18.4 16.6 12.7 17.6 18.1
Average rainfall (mm) 117.1 105.1 96.2 172.5 53.9 23.3
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 630.6 467.2 449.8 787.5 327.5 110.9
Number of rainy days 12.3 11.2 9.9 12.7 5.3 3.0
Number of cloudy days 11.2 N/A N/A 12.7 5.8 3.6
Number of clear days 4.1 N/A N/A 4.4 10.0 12.7
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Early February: Glen Innes and District Show.
All February (late January-midMarch) Art Express at the Art Gallery of NSW, showcasing the state's best young artists.
Most of February: Twilight concerts at Taronga Zoo
Mid-February: Maitland Show, Kangaroo Valley Show.
Saturday night, late in February or early in March: Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras


Dates fixed:

February 14: Valentine's Day, florists charge premium prices.

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The weather in March

The state weather at a glance in March

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 24.6 25.4 26.4 20.0 29.3 28.9
Average min. temperature (C) 17.5 16.9 14.9 11.3 15.0 15.5
Average rainfall (mm) 133.7 117.4 99.1 168.0 48.5 20.7
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 521.4 397.0 533.1 701.2 287.3 258.8
Number of rainy days 13.3 12.5 9.9 13.1 5.1 2.7
Number of cloudy days 10.9 N/A N/A 13.8 6.7 3.3
Number of clear days 5.8 N/A N/A 4.4 11.5 13.6
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Most of March: Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prize exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW
Early March, on a Sunday: National Clean Up Australia Day. Watch out for volunteers clearing roadsides.
Early March: state surf carnival (March 2-5 in 2000, at North Narrabeen)
Early March: Newcastle Show.
Saturday night, late in February or early in March: Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Mid-March: PC/IT show at Darling Harbour.
Mid-March: Ardlethan Picnic Races.
Late March, or sometime in April, Easter, with the Royal Easter Show for two weeks before.
Late March: end of daylight saving.

Dates fixed:

March 1: St David's Day.
March 17: St Patrick's Day, life around The Rocks gets interesting: drive carefully.

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The weather in April

The state weather at a glance in April

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 22.3 22.9 23.4 16.3 24.8 23.8
Average min. temperature (C) 14.6 14.0 11.5 8.5 10.6 11.6
Average rainfall (mm) 126.6 132.4 91.3 125.5 45.0 18.2
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 622.1 375.8 423.0 624.6 292.3 219.0
Number of rainy days 12.1 12.6 9.0 10.4 4.8 2.9
Number of cloudy days 9.0 N/A N/A 11.2 6.6 4.7
Number of clear days 8.0 N/A N/A 5.4 11.8 11.3
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Late March, or some time in April: Easter, with the Easter Show for two weeks before. School holidays generally happen in Sydney at the same time, starting on Good Friday.
Mid-April: Dragon boat races at Darling Harbour.
Mid-April: Kempsey Show, followed by Maclean Show.
Late April and early May - Australian Science Festival

Dates fixed:

April 25: Anzac Day

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The weather in May

The state weather at a glance in May

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 19.3 20.3 20.3 12.8 19.8 19.1
Average min. temperature (C) 11.5 11.3 8.2 6.1 6.5 8.4
Average rainfall (mm) 120.4 133.5 79.7 104.8 47.8 23.2
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 585.0 680.9 542.3 529.6 221.4 93.3
Number of rainy days 12.0 11.6 8.8 9.7 6.3 4.3
Number of cloudy days 9.4 N/A N/A 13.1 8.9 7.6
Number of clear days 7.8 N/A N/A 5.4 11.0 8.3
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Early May: traditional May Day march from Bathurst Street to Circular Quay
Late April and early May - Australian Science Festival, Canberra
Early May: Bondi Icebergs place a tonne of ice in the pool to make the water cool enough to swim in the pool at Bondi Beach (http://www.icebergs.org.au/)
Early May (May 3-10 in 2000), National Science Week.
Early to mid-May: Nyngan Show, Gilgandra Show, Coonamble Show.
Second Sunday: Mother's Day - traffic is bad, restaurants booked out at lunch.
Mid-May: Australian Library Week. Sydney Writers' Festival happens at about this time.
Third Sunday in May: Australian Museum Open Day: behind the scenes tours, free entry.
Mid-May: Renaissance Players "Runnymede Pop Festival" - Medieval and Renaisaance music and poetry with wit and charm in University of Sydney's Gothic Great Hall.

Dates fixed:

May 21, National Museums Day - watch out for open days and free entry offers.
May 26, Journey of Healing, formerly "National Sorry Day".
May 27 - June 3, National Reconciliation Week.
May 26, 2000: Biennale starts: runs until July 30, 2000

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The weather in June

The state weather at a glance in June

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 16.8 17.9 17.5 9.7 16.0 15.6
Average min. temperature (C) 9.2 9.0 5.7 3.5 4.1 6.1
Average rainfall (mm) 131.7 125.6 82.4 120.8 48.9 22.2
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 642.7 675.7 556.2 696.9 194.4 148.5
Number of rainy days 11.5 11.3 9.1 9.6 8.1 5.2
Number of cloudy days 9.1 N/A N/A 11.9 9.3 8.4
Number of clear days 8.0 N/A N/A 5.7 9.3 7.5
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Early to mid-June: Australian Book Fair, featuring all the best Australian publishers.
Weekend before the long weekend: "A Taste of Manly" Manly Wine and Food Festival
First or second weekend: "Queen's birthday" holiday (June 12 in 2000), long weekend. There is a jazz festival at Darling Harbour on the same weekend, and fireworks are let off at many points.
Early June: Sydney Eisteddfod, now called after a hamburger, and described as a performing arts challenge.
Mid-June: Sydney Film festival, over two weeks.
Late June: Red Nose Day for SIDS research.
Mid-June to early July: Feast of Sydney. Food, glorious food!

Dates fixed:

June 16: Bloomsday. Literary celebrations of James Joyce's "Ulysses". Details from ozbloom@internet.com.au
June 30: National Jack Cade Remembrance Day, Phillip Street.

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The weather in July

The state weather at a glance in July

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 16.1 17.4 17.0 9.1 15.2 15.1
Average min. temperature (C) 8.0 7.9 4.5 2.5 2.6 5.2
Average rainfall (mm) 98.2 101.2 79.6 86.0 44.3 18.6
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 336.1 291.6 312.0 478.7 147.4 88.7
Number of rainy days 10.3 9.9 7.8 9.1 7.9 5.5
Number of cloudy days 6.9 N/A N/A 9.6 9.8 7.0
Number of clear days 10.8 N/A N/A 6.8 10.4 8.5
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

First week of July: wattles start to burst into bloom, just as the winter school holidays begin.
Second week of July: NAIDOC Week.
Late July: Wildflowers are in bud or bursting out all over Sydney, wherever there is a pocket of bush.
Across July: restaurants offer Christmas dinners in the nearest Sydney gets to winter.
Last week of July - first week of August: Melbourne International Film Festival.

Dates fixed:

July 14: Some desultory celebration of Bastille Day, most French restaurants booked out

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The weather in August

The state weather at a glance in August

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 17.6 18.7 18.7 10.9 17.3 17.2
Average min. temperature (C) 8.9 8.7 5.4 3.2 3.5 6.2
Average rainfall (mm) 79.8 84.2 55.0 81.1 44.1 18.8
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 470.6 258.6 309.6 580.8 161.9 91.0
Number of rainy days 10.0 10.4 7.4 9.2 7.6 5.2
Number of cloudy days 6.1 N/A N/A 8.8 8.4 5.8
Number of clear days 11.6 N/A N/A 8.2 10.7 9.9
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

First week of August (also last week of July): Melbourne International Film Festival.
First Monday: Bank holiday: some businesses closed.
Early August: bush wildflowers are now in full bloom, so visit Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Early August: Jeans for Genes Day - look for jeans in unusual places.
Early August: Sydney Scottish Week, March of the Clans in the Domain.
Early to mid-August: cherry blossom starts to appear.
A Sunday in early to mid-August: City to Surf race
Mid-August: Daffodil Day, raising funds for cancer research.
Mid-August: Trundle Show, followed by
Late August: Peak Hill Show and then Parkes Show (recommended).
Late August: Children's Book Week.
Late August: leaves begin to appear on deciduous trees

Dates fixed:

August 1: Wattle day for die-hard NSW traditionalists: Sydney wattles are now blooming profusely.

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The weather in September

The state weather at a glance in September

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 19.8 21.1 21.4 14.2 20.8 20.9
Average min. temperature (C) 10.9 10.7 7.7 5.2 6.0 8.7
Average rainfall (mm) 69.9 69.3 51.4 73.3 42.5 20.2
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 355.8 270.8 224.3 389.4 159.0 154.8
Number of rainy days 10.4 10.1 8.4 9.3 6.8 4.2
Number of cloudy days 7.0 N/A N/A 9.9 7.8 5.1
Number of clear days 9.2 N/A N/A 6.4 11.1 11.0
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

First Friday: Legacy Day
First Sunday: Father's Day.
First week in September: spring festival in te Royal Botanic Gardens
Early September: Earth Week.
Early September: West Wyalong Show, Forbes Show
A Sunday in mid-September: Festival of the Winds kite flying at Bondi, multicultural music. This signals the start of Sydney's Carnivale multicultural festival.
Mid-September: Education Week: many state schools open their doors to display what they can do.
Mid-September: the first leaves appear on the jacarandas in Sydney.
Mid-September: Manly Arts festival
Mid-September to mid-October: Floriade spring flower show in Canberra
Late September: National Parks Week: many special programs.
Last week in September, World Maritime Day.
Late September: Young Show (that is, the show held in the town of Young, once called Lambing Flats).
Late September: New South Wales schools start two weeks of holidays.
Some time in September: the first koel returns to Sydney

Dates fixed:

September 1: Wattle Day as decreed by the national government: Sydney's wattles are now setting their seed.
September 1: First day of spring, according to many Sydneysiders.
September 15, 2000: Olympic Games begin in Sydney.
September 23: Spring equinox, everybody in Sydney agrees spring has started.

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The weather in October

The state weather at a glance in October

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 21.9 22.9 23.7 17.5 25.2 24.9
Average min. temperature (C) 13.5 13.1 10.8 7.6 9.6 11.6
Average rainfall (mm) 77.5 81.6 62.5 90.0 49.0 25.0
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 285.0 324.7 281.2 445.1 228.6 129.1
Number of rainy days 11.5 10.9 8.7 10.5 6.9 4.6
Number of cloudy days 10.1 N/A N/A 12.7 7.1 5.6
Number of clear days 6.0 N/A N/A 4.3 10.2 11.0
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Earliest October: Christmas decorations start appearing in city shops.
First half of October: Floriade continues in Canberra.
October long weekend (see Public holidays): first or second Monday will be a holiday. This is the official start of the surfing season. The Monday is called Labour Day, and so nobody works.
October long weekend: Manly Jazz Festival, with a number of large and small venues. Indoor concerts need tickets.
Whale watching in Eden on the NSW South Coast during this month.
Early October: Motor cycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island (Victoria)
Early October: first ritual warnings on the news of the risk of bush fires, people watch enthusiastically for the first use of the word "tinder-box" in any medium.
Most of October: The Sydney Comedy Festival
Mid-late October: Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic on roads within 300 km around Sydney for about one week, causing minor traffic delays.
Mid-October: Indy car races at Surfers Paradise (Queensland)
Mid-October: Earth Science Week.
Mid-October: first cicadas heard in the Blue Mountains (in 2006, they were in Sydney by October 17)
Mid October: first jacarandas begin to flower in Sydney (usually around October 21)
Second half of October: Melbourne Festival, covering all the arts.
Late October: Daylight saving begins in most years (earlier in 2000 for the Olympics)
Late October: Shops begin setting up their Christmas decorations.

Dates fixed:

October 24: United Nations Day, usually marked in some way.
October 31: Halloween is marked in a minor way.

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The weather in November

The state weather at a glance in November

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 23.6 24.6 25.8 20.1 29.1 28.6
Average min. temperature (C) 15.5 15.0 13.3 9.7 13.3 14.6
Average rainfall (mm) 83.1 83.4 62.5 102.1 51.2 19.7
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 517.2 450.9 338.5 429.9 193.7 122.4
Number of rainy days 11.3 11.0 8.7 10.9 6.0 3.5
Number of cloudy days 10.6 N/A N/A 12.3 6.7 5.4
Number of clear days 5.0 N/A N/A 4.2 10.6 11.1
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Early November: Jacaranda Festival in Grafton (northern New South Wales).
Early November, first cicadas heard in Sydney no later than now (Late October some years).
Early November: bogong moths (Bogongs) arrive in Sydney.
Early November: Sydney to the Gong bicycle race, from Sydney to Wollongong.
Third Sunday in November: Annual Highland Gathering (Drummoyne Scottish Games).
Early November: Australian Army open day.
Whale watching in Eden on the NSW South Coast during this month.
First Tuesday at 3.20pm, Eastern Australian time, Melbourne Cup horse race.

Late November: lighting up the Christmas trees - around November 20-25
Last week of November: Scots community gets ready for St Andrew's Day

Dates fixed:

November 11: Remembrance Day (Armistice Day)
November 30: St Andrew's Day - most of the jacarandas have lost their flowers by now.

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The weather in December

The state weather at a glance in December

Sydney
Manly
Parramatta
Katoomba
Dubbo
Broken Hill
Average max. temperature (C) 25.1 25.6 27.6 22.3 31.9 31.3
Average min. temperature (C) 17.4 16.9 15.6 11.6 16.2 17.0
Average rainfall (mm) 79.6 85.4 72.3 126.6 50.1 22.1
Highest monthly rainfall (mm) 401.9 373.6 349.0 410.5 185.6 180.4
Number of rainy days 11.6 10.6 9.2 12.0 5.8 3.3
Number of cloudy days 10.9 N/A N/A 12.6 6.8 5.2
Number of clear days 5.2 N/A N/A 5.2 11.3 12.5
All meteorological data used by permission of the Bureau of Meteorology, www.bom.gov.au

Dates changing from year to year:

Early December" first "Messiah" performances appear.
Mid-December: Renaissance Players perform Christmas concerts at the University of Sydney in the Gothic Great Hall.
Carols by Candlelight - many locations to choose from, over about ten days. The large one, in the Domain, is on the last Saturday before Christmas Day.

Dates fixed:

December 25: Christmas Day. Most shops and businesses are closed, book for lunch a long time in advance.
December 26: Boxing Day, Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race starts on Sydney harbour.
December 31: New Year's Eve

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This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/syd/weather.htm, first created on March 29, 2006. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on October 23, 2006.

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