The truth is there’s no bad time to visit Adelaide. As a born-and-bred local, I’ve seen this city through all the seasons, and while there are definitely advantages to visiting in certain months (and there is a best time to travel to Adelaide), you can’t really get it wrong. No matter the season, the city has her perks!
When to Go:
Where To Stay:
What to Do:
When Is The Best Time To Visit Adelaide
To make the most of what Adelaide has to offer, the best time to visit Adelaide is during the summer. December through February provides the perfect weather for magnificent days at Adelaide’s iconic beaches, the most popular of which are only minutes from the city center. December also sees the city lit up with Christmas decorations.
When to Visit Adelaide for:
- Good Weather: December – February
- Cheap Prices: June – August
- Sunny Beach Days: January – February
- Families and Kids: December – February
- Festivals & Parties: February – March
- Picturesque views: March – May
Least Busy Time to Visit Adelaide
The least busy time to visit Adelaide is the winter season, from June through August.
There are still events and festivals that take place during this time, like the Tasting Australia Winter Series or Illuminate Adelaide. However, because of the colder weather, most travelers will avoid Adelaide during these months.
There are also often fewer locals in Adelaide during the winter, as those who can sometimes choose to escape to warmer areas in Australia, like the tropics of Far North Queensland.
Worst Time to Visit Adelaide
Compared to the other seasons, winter is the worst time to visit Adelaide, simply because it lacks the opportunities that the warmer and shoulder seasons offer.
If you’re visiting between June and August, you won’t get the opportunity to experience the warm weather that makes summer beach days so superb.
You also won’t experience the fun of the Mad March, which is one of the most exciting times to visit Adelaide, or the magic of the Christmas season in December.
That said, Adelaide winters are still beautiful. As mentioned, there’s no bad time to visit Adelaide. While it’s comparatively the worst time to visit, there are advantages to coming between June and August.
You might find that prices are lower because of the drop in demand (though the July school holidays, usually starting the first week of July, do tend to bump up costs—avoid traveling during these three weeks if you can).
So if you have complete flexibility, it’s better to come to Adelaide during the spring, summer, or autumn. But if you have to travel in the winter, it’s still a worthwhile trip with its own advantages.
Adelaide Travel Seasons (Month by Month)
Autumn (March – June)
The Adelaide Fringe, one of the biggest arts festivals in the world, takes place in March. This, along with Adelaide Writers’ Week and, until 2023, the WOMADelaide music, arts, and dance festival, earned March the title of Mad March.
To align with the Fringe, several restaurants and establishments around the city hold special events, like cooking classes or presentations. So if you travel during the start of autumn, there will always be something to do.
April and May are significantly quieter than March, although they offer picturesque views thanks to the falling leaves of local deciduous trees.
Just a walk around the city will bring you stunning views of red and pink leaves that are about to fall, but you can head to the Adelaide Botanic Garden or the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden to really see the wondrous colors.
Winter (June – September)
Winter is the quietest time to visit Adelaide, but there are still a number of season-specific events to look forward to. One of the most popular is the Winter Village, which pops up in the heart of the city on the Torrens Parade Ground, usually between May and September.
You won’t typically encounter real snow in Adelaide, but the Winter Village is dreamy white and decked out to make you feel like you’ve landed in Lapland.
Here you’ll find snow showers and an ice-skating rink, plus an igloo village where you can spend the night cozying up with friends and hot chocolate. The village is also home to food trucks and pop-up bars (mulled wine, anyone?).
The Winter Village is also free to enter, so it’s a great choice for an affordable family-friendly activity in Adelaide’s cold weather.
June is the rainiest month in Adelaide, and surprisingly, this is a great time for hiking. Despite the rain, there are plenty of dry spells, so take the opportunity to explore one of the city’s iconic waterfall routes. In June, the falls are typically thundering, making for a stunning sight.
There are two sets of waterfalls in Belair National Park, six along the Waterfall Gully hike to Mount Lofty, and three at Morialta Conservation Park. All three parks are around 20 minutes from the CBD.
Spring (September – December)
Spring is a positive time in Adelaide—the weather starts to warm up, the football Grand Final approaches (and usually, at least one of the two local Adelaide teams makes it to the final!), and the city starts to prepare for the approaching summer.
If you are visiting in spring, a walk through the Adelaide Botanic Garden is a must. In particular, the International Rose Garden is an exquisite sight from early September.
September also brings with it what might be Adelaide’s favorite event: the Royal Adelaide Show.
The Show began as an agricultural event but has since evolved into the city’s largest carnival-fair hybrid. It’s still true to its agricultural roots, with farm animals appearing in shows and competitions, and the resident mascot being a border collie sheepdog.
But now the show also includes a section filled with carnival rides (and the iconic Ferris Wheel), arts and crafts and food markets, and Showbags: great-value goodie bags often (but not always) filled with treats.
Showtime in Adelaide is a little chaotic, but definitely, something to add to your bucket list if you’ll be in Adelaide in September.
November marks the arrival of another iconic Adelaide pastime: the Adelaide Christmas Pageant.
Often held on the second Saturday of November, the pageant heralds the beginning of the silly season in Adelaide. Traditionally, many Adelaide families put up their Christmas trees on pageant day while watching the broadcast from home, if they’re not one of the 320,000+ attendees at the live event in the CBD.
The parade is the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, featuring upwards of 170 sets. These include marching bands, local performing arts groups, festive-themed floats, and a sea of clowns.
New floats are added to the setlist every year, although you can still spot a few old favorites (the Stardust Castle float is one that’s been around since I was a kid attending the pageant with my parents!).
The pageant itself is an exciting hour-long build-up to the main event: Father Christmas’s sleigh. At the end of every parade, Saint Nick makes his way to the Magic Cave in the David Jones department store, where the children of Adelaide can visit him up until Christmas Eve.
Summer (December – March)
Along with the Magic Cave, Christmas decorations illuminate Adelaide throughout December, which is one of the best Adelaide travel seasons.
The nearby township of Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills is renowned for its Christmas lights but be prepared for significant lines if you plan on visiting on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights in December.
A little closer to home, Ninth Avenue is a leafy street in the eastern city fringe suburb of St. Peters which also boasts famous Christmas lights. You can drive down the street, just five minutes from the CBD, and admire the lights in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or you can stroll down the street and pick up ice cream at one of the food carts.
You’ll also find various Christmas markets around the city in December, the most famous of which is probably the Hahndorf Christkindlmarkt.
Inspired by the township’s German roots, the market features several stalls selling street food, sweets, and Christmas gifts. Hahndorf is around 40 minutes from the Adelaide CBD and the market is definitely worth visiting if you don’t mind big crowds.
Of course, the true joy of visiting Adelaide between December and March is experiencing ideal beach weather.
Average temperatures sit at about 30 degrees Celsius in summer, but there are occasionally heat waves where the temperature hits 40 degrees.
During those heat waves, it’s too hot to do anything in Adelaide except relax on the beach (always bring a tent with you for shade!) or go for a dip at a public pool.
Adelaide Weather and Climate
Adelaide has a typical Mediterranean climate. Winters are mild by global standards (though they tend to feel a lot colder as the city doesn’t have advanced heating systems in place), and summers are hot and dry. The average daily temperatures are:
- Summer: 16.7° – 18.6°
- Autumn: 12.7° – 22.7°
- Winter: 8° – 16°
- Spring: 11.8° – 22°
Adelaide experiences the lowest levels of humidity of any Australian city. It’s the driest capital city, with June achieving the most rainfall at 3.1 inches on average (Australia.com)
In winter, the sun sets around 5:20 p.m., while in summer, the days stay light until 8:30 p.m.
Tips for Visiting Adelaide
Activities & Attractions not to miss
No matter the time of year in Adelaide, there will be seasonal events you won’t want to miss:
- The Adelaide Fringe
- Adelaide Writers’ Week
- Adelaide Motorsport Festival
- SA History Festival
- Tasting Australia
Note: The WOMADelaide festival is being held in winter in 2023 but has traditionally been held in autumn.
See Related: The Best Things To Do in Adelaide
The Australian national language is English, so this is all you need to know to visit Adelaide. You’ll notice that certain Indigenous Australian words are regularly used in conjunction with English words to describe place names around the city, too.
For reference, the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains are the Kaurna people, and Kaurna place names are used to recognize Kaurna heritage. For a full list of the significant places around Adelaide and their Kaurna names, see the City of Adelaide council website.
Local Holidays, Activities & Events & Cultural Elements (E.g Siestas)
There are a few local holidays to be aware of in Adelaide (called public holidays), as many stores and services close.
- January 1 – New Year’s Day
- January 26 – Australia Day
- March (second Monday) – Adelaide Cup Day
- March or April depending on lunar calendar – Good Friday
- March of April depending on lunar calendar – Easter Sunday
- April 25 – ANZAC Day (though the public holiday may be observed on another day depending on the calendar)
- June (second Monday) – King’s Birthday
- October (first Monday) – Labour Day
- December 25 – Christmas Day
- December 26 – Boxing Day
Outside of public holidays, most shops are open 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, with late-night shopping in select stores on Thursdays and Fridays. Weekend hours are usually 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Saturday at 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Sunday.
It’s not uncommon for some restaurants or cafes to be closed on Monday in Adelaide, especially if they’re smaller or family-run businesses.
Occasionally, you will find some native Australian animals in Adelaide, particularly as you get close to the foothills. Rarely, there have been sightings of kangaroos or koalas across the city center, but don’t count on this!
You’re more likely to stumble across wild Australian native animals when bushwalking in the Adelaide Hills, or visiting conservation parks around the city (which also tend to be in the suburbs bordering the hills).
Despite Australia’s reputation for snakes and spiders, you’re not likely to run into anything too scary while visiting the CBD. There’s a higher chance of seeing a snake or spider in more rural areas around the Adelaide Hills.