Tell me about Australia in July

I’m thinking of doing a study-abroad program in 2008, so I have plenty of time to think about it. The program that caught my eye first was the Australia program. I would apparently be in Melbourne and Kimberlies, and from talking to a professor that teaches a different program, we get a lot of free time to wander around and do stuff on our own.

So, anything I should know that should influence my decision? Whats the weather like that time of year? What cool stuff is there to do there? Or just tell me stories, becuase that is nice too. :cool:

It’s winter in July. It can be rather cold in Melbourne: link. The average maximum in July is 13.4C

July in the Kimberley would be rather nice. Average maximum about 30C.

I lived in Oz for 5 years, but never got west of Adelaide.

That picture of Kimberley looks just like parts of Colorado or Utah.

Since you’re from California, this might not apply so much, but a good idea for many people from the Northern Hemisphere to remember is not to scoff at our “mild” winter temperatures, but to take them seriously. This is because Australians generally tend to be in denial about cold weather, and try not to deal with it. We suffer unnecessarily as a result. Our houses and infrastructure aren’t really designed for the weather we can get, and the middle of winter will see many of us huddled around a single bar radiator when an American or European might just turn up the central heating another notch. Our houses and public buildings tend to have thin walls and no basements, furnaces, etc. In some parts of the country it is arguable that we should have them, even for a few days’ or weeks’ use a year.

In other words, a NYC winter’s day at 32F might be fun, cosy, and snowy. A Sydney or Melbourne winter’s day at 42F can well be bleak, windswept, and miserable.

That’s good advice, tLD. A mate of mine said that his first Melbourne winter was the coldest he’d ever spent, despite spending the previous five years in northern Sweden. He couldn’t quite believe that it wasn’t possible - by design - to close the bathroom window.

However, with a pullover and a jacket, you can survive even the worst that Melbourne can offer in winter. Melbourne is within a couple of hours drive of skiing areas – and I’ve been to some of them, and the coldest that I saw there was about -2 C (though I’m sure it can get a bit colder).

Yeah, I did remember that. When I first saw the listing for it, I caught myself thinking of warm sunny days… and then remembered that the seasons are “backwards”. :slight_smile:
That was mostly why I asked. I’m from inland California, today’s low should be about 40F (4 C? I think) so that doesn’t sound too bad.

I live in Broome which is in the Kimberly region. I’m guessing you’d come here as it is the major town in the area.

It’s tropical up here, so rather than referring to winter and summer, we have the dry and the wet season respectively. You’d be here in the dry and it is very nice weather. In Broome the nights can get below 50°F but are normally around 59°F. Day temperatures range from around 82°F to 91°F. The early wet season (November and December) can get a lot hotter, often up around 104°F. In the last couple of years we have had a couple of weeks with some rain in June, but it is quite possible to have no rain between April and November or even December.

It rained over night here a couple of weeks ago, before that the last rain would’ve been late June.

There is not a lot to do unless you can get hold of a 4WD vehicle or are prepared to spend money on tours. If you can do either of those things then there is some amazing country to have a look at.

If you are in Broome and like fishing, hanging out on the beach, and drinking alcohol then you will fit in just fine.

One thing to be aware of, the Kimberlies are a long way from anywhere. Broome has a permanent population of around 15,000 (though it swells significantly in the dry due to tourists.) The nearest major cities are Darwin, a two day drive, and Perth, about a four day drive. We have a couple of supermarkets, some restaurants and hotels, and a limited number of shops, but don’t go expecting to have access to department stores or anything like that.

Also, I don’t know what you’d be doing for housing, but in the dry, all accommodation is very scarce.

It is a beautiful place to visit, I hope you go ahead with the idea.

Well, I changed my mind and decided not to put it off for no reason. I’ve applied for my passport, gotten my clearance from the health center, and paid my deposit.

I am totally going to Australia this summer. The entire month of July will not be spent in my country of origin! I’m getting excited already!

I was in Sydney for a week last July. It was in the 50s and rainy. The locals told me they don’t get much (if any) snow there. I was a bit cold in the house I was staying in, but not more so than it usually is in my apartment in Massachusetts in the winter. I certainly wouldn’t mind living there for a summer.

We just moved back to the U.S. from the Central Coast (which is sort of near Sydney). Last winter was a very mild winter. I’ll say that I grew up in Maryland, spent several years in Utah and some time in Michigan. I have never been so cold as I was the first night I spent in Australia. We stayed at a friends house at the beginning of June a few years ago. They had this huge, beautiful million dollar house in a lovely neighborhood and had one space heater upstairs and one downstairs in the kids’ playroom. I couldn’t believe how freaking cold it was (it was probably in the high 40’s outside…and about the same inside).

I have to echo C3 on this (and hey, slight hijack but glad to see you got home ok - eat Cherrios and Atomic Fireballs for me, willya?). And in inner Sydney in the old Victorian terrace houses it is COLD in winter, geez. And as an American used to central heat, I was amazed at the electric heaters and nothing else, which do little more than remind you that you could be warm, but you’re not. :stuck_out_tongue: Though I must say this winter was very mild. (And so is this summer, which makes me suspect we’re about to have a wowser of a heat wave or a week of torrential downpour that has no effect on the dam levels. :mad: )

Additionally, I’m married to a Melburnian and he’s telling me to say that Melbourne weather in June is unpredictable, so be prepared for it - can be four seasons in a day, and torrential downpours to boot.

Don’t let that stop you though, Melbourne is fantastic. :slight_smile:


As the time for my departure nears, I have to ask: What is it that I absolutely have to do while I’m there?

I just received my itinerary, complete with our list of “field trips”. Is there anything else I can’t miss and still be able to say I’ve been to Melbourne?

*Architectural walk in Melbourne
*Melbourne Zoo
*Wilson’s Promontory National Park
*Royal Botanical Garden
*National Gallery of Victoria
*Victoria Museum: Bunjilaka Exhibit
*a week in the Outback - The Kimberley and Broome

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time nor the funds to see cool distant things like Ayers Rock or the Great Barrier Reef, as we only have weekends to ourselves and I can’t afford to be gallivanting about the country. So, those aside, what else should I be sure to do?

Maybe a trip up the Yarra, the river that runs through it. Aside from that, what are your interests? As a Sydneysider, to me Melbourne’s all about the indoors, restaurants galleries and theatres rather than spectacular places to see outdoors. It helps a lot if you know people there who can take you to the kind of places you’d be interested in, and the good restaurants particularly.

I really don’t know what I want to do, this is my first trip on my own and I don’t want to end up holed up in the dorm room for lack of ideas on what to do. I’m generally game for outdoors and quiet places. I’m not a huge fan of big crowds and worse is big noisy crowds. Especially in an unfamiliar place I think I’d freak out a little bit.

In Broome:

Drink alcohol while watching the sunset.
Take a ride on the camels along the nudist beach.
Do the Willie Creek Pearl Farm tour (disclosure: my wife works for them)
Take a scenic flight out to the Horizontal Waterfalls.
We have a crocodile farm if you’re into animals.
Buy a nice piece of pearl jewellery (see above disclosure.)
Go for a cruise on one of the old pearl luggers (disclosure: friends of ours operate the Intombi.)
Go fishing.
Drink alcohol while watching the sunset again.
Drink alcohol while watching the Stairway to the Moon, a monthly event caused by the rising full moon reflecting off the mudflats in the bay.

Enjoy the trip!

Edit: Go see a movie at the outdoor cinema.
Hire a 4WD and go for an aimless drive with some friends. Be sure to take a few gallons of water.
Go skydiving.
Go to the bird observatory.
Give us a wave when passing the airport, we’re in the red and white Customs planes :).

Yes, they’d all be interesting things to do in Melbourne. I’d suggest that you make use of the free City Circle tram around the Melbourne CBD. It’s a good way of seeing the architecture.

Other suggestions:

  • take the tram to St Kilda and have a potter around;
  • lots of great cafés/restaurants in the various “eating” precincts of Lygon Street, Brunswick Street and Chapel Street.

We just came back from Melbourne a week or two ago - I’d add a couple of things -

Healesville Sanctuary and the Dandenong Ranges around Melbourne

and the Melbourne Aquarium

both very interesting if you are into animals and wildlife… :slight_smile:

Given that it is football season, you should try to get to at least one football game while in Melbourne. Note that in Melbourne “football” has a meaning different from most of the rest of the world: it means Australian Rules. Yes, I now that you say you don’t like big noisy crowds, but you’ll find the crowds at a game very friendly.

Note to self: on 1 July, tell hawksgirl about Australia.

Are you sure you want to wait a month and a half? :smiley:

Yes, I’m a smartass. Apologies. Couldn’t resist.