Western Australia has some pretty incredible weather year round, but there’s a bit of skill in lining up where to go, and when in order to follow the best weather. If you take a little time to match your destination with the right time of year (and therefore weather), you can be in for an amazing trip with fantastic weather.
North, South, East or West?
In WA, the further you head south the cooler it is, year round. When its 40 degrees in Perth, you might get away with only 25 to 30 in Albany, right on the south coast of WA.
The closer you are to the coastline the more mild the weather is, as the ocean keeps it in check. If you head way east, expect some pretty extreme weather. At night time it can drop to single digits, and during the day hit over 40 degrees.
That said, it is possible to travel around WA and average sunny, warm days all year!
When does it rain?
Being born and bred in Perth, we are used to rain starting around May and winding up by September. This would be our normal winter.
However, if you head way up north, the seasons are reversed, and the ‘dry season’ is in between May and September. This is when everyone heads north to see the Kimberley, and the Northern Territory. During their wet season (November to March) many roads are closed as a huge deluge of rain falls.
One of the most fantastic opportunities we have in Western Australia is the ability to chase the fantastic weather around. When it starts to get cold and wet down in Perth, a huge number of grey nomads (and other people too!) pack up, and head north.
You’ll barely see a cloud in the sky for 4 months up north, and the chance of rain is extremely low. We did this in 2018; you can read about it here – 3 months up north with a 4WD, camper trailer and toddler. We got back having skipped most of the Perth winter. Winning. It is honestly hard to believe – you can be relaxing at a beautiful beach in Coral Bay, with 25 degree temperatures and not a cloud in sight while Perth is getting hammered by a big storm!
Where do you head then?
We always aim to be somewhere when the weather is mild, as that’s what we enjoy most. Anything around 22 to 32 degrees is the perfect temperature to be exploring somewhere. If it gets a bit above or below that from time to time we can live with it, but there’s nothing worse than being somewhere when its scorching hot, or unnecessarily freezing (Although there are times when this is ideal!).
In summer, heading south is often a fantastic opportunity as the weather is cooler. In winter, head north where its warmer and the rain doesn’t fall so much. In the middle of summer, we will often head down to the south west where its a bit cooler and to enjoy the beautiful area. In winter, we avoid doing this as its just too cold, and too wet! Instead, we will do short trips near Perth, or head way further north where it starts to get warmer.
Watch the winds
Western Australia can be extremely windy, particularly on the coast. If you don’t pay attention to this, you will have a very nasty camping experience. Its not always predictable, but it does tend to follow a fairly consistent pattern.
Coral Bay for example, is best visited in June, July or August when the winds are least. Head there in November or December though, and it will be hot and windy as. That’s not to say you can guarantee the weather; we have been in Coral Bay in the above months and had a week of straight wind; you cant control mother nature!
Think about the crowds
Of course, everyone else wants to enjoy perfect weather too, and usually the best weather in one area is also its most popular, which means you have to share it with lots of other people. Going slightly to one side of the busy periods is a fantastic way to still get great weather, but to limit the number of others you have to share it with.
The Gibb River Road for example, is hugely popular in June and July (especially the school holidays). Most years it is open late April or early May, and this is a brilliant time to visit. The weather is fantastic (possibly even better than later on), the water holes have more water in them and you aren’t crowded in like sardines!
Pick a place, and then a time of year
When we travel, normally the place we want to visit comes first, and then we find when the best time is to visit, and lock it in. Of course, sometimes you feel like a break at random, and then you use your knowledge of the current weather to pick the best place to travel to.
Time it right, and you’ll have an awesome trip away. Get it wrong, and not so much!