A Great Place
When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.
Usually mild and dry from May to October
Expedition cruises to Antarctica are only possible during the southern summer between late October/November and March. This is the time when the ice break ups, which allows cruise ships to pass. Depending on the month, there are slight variations in what you’ll see and which antarctic animals you may spot:
November (Icebergs, Seals)
Best time to see the ice breaking into large icebergs and amazing sculptures. Wildflowers are in bloom, and it’s a great time to spot breeding elephant seals. However, it’s still very cold. Temperatures are way below freezing.
December (Warmer, Seals, First Penguins)
Days are long, with 20 hours of sunshine. Still a great month to spot seals and already some active penguins. It’s also getting warmer with temperatures around freezing.
January (Warmest Month, Penguins)
The perfect month for wildlife viewing, with plenty of penguins active, as well as seabirds and a few whales. Days are still long. It’s also the ‘warmest’ month with temperatures slightly above freezing.
February - March (Whales)
The best time for whale watching such as humpback, sperm, and orca. You can also spot fledgling penguin chicks, especially in February. It’s getting a lot colder again in March.
April - September (Winter)
Winter in Antarctica. The temperatures are freezing (up to -30°C). No possible way to visit, as the polar ice blocks the ship traffic.
At sunrise - Best in winter (May to September)
The blowholes at Dolomite Point are best visited during high tide with the south westerly swell: Tide times Westport The Pancake Rocks are easily accessible and a popular destination also for tour buses. It's less crowded in the evening, and the sunset is spectacular.
Usually, the summer is pleasant and the winter mild. The day temps in summer are around 25°C/77°F, in spring and fall up to 17°C/63°F. A high amount of precipitation throughout the year on average each month more than 200 mm except February which is usually a little drier. Spring is the wettest season influenced by the winds from the Tasman Sea. The rain increases quickly closer to the mountains. A local saying “go deep, go steep, get wet”. Anyhow, some hikes include a river crossing, and it can be more difficult in spring due to heavy rainfall. Check conditions at the visitor center first.
Where to Stay (Nearby)
The 12 Apostles is one of Australia's most iconic attractions and an amazing year-round destination. However, summer and even shoulder seasons often bring heavy crowds. Our article covers everything you should know before you go. Make sure to read our 7 Must-Do Things almost at the end of this guide.
Read our tips about the best time to visit:
Weather and Crowds
While weather conditions don't vary heavily throughout the year, the tourist crowds definitely fluctuate. Thus, spring and autumn are the best time. It's frequently windy along the coast; bring a wind jacket the entire year. Rain can occur but the wettest time is the winter until September.
Spring (September - November)
It's getting warmer but also crowded again. Day temps are pleasant between 16°-20°C. It's cooler in the morning and evening. Expect a packed place from around 10 am onwards, even worse when the tour buses arrive around 12. However, it won't change anything of this spectacular view to the limestone pillars. The water temp though is cold around 15°C. During spring break most of the accommodations are fully booked.
Summer (December - February)
Best conditions with usually dry and clear weather. Temps can climb up to almost 30°C but usually, they stay around 22°C. It's the peak season and the rates are at their highest (book well in advance for a nearby hotel). 12 Apostles are overrun with visitors during the day. However, come early or late in the day and enjoy the special atmosphere. Even though it is summer, it's not that hot because of the breeze from the sea. Water temps are 18°C maximum. That's still pretty cold.
Autumn (March - May)
Fewer visitors but still very busy. Even more so during the Easter holiday and on weekends. Midday is the worst time of the day but it doesn't change too much of this awesome scenery. The 12 Apostles view is the busiest, the Grotto or London Bridge are less crowded. The weather gets a little cooler. Temps can drop below 20°C, the morning and evening temps are around 10°C only.
Winter (June - August)
The best months if you'd like to enjoy a quieter visit. However, it can still be busy at weekends. Excellent months for taking photos from the large viewing platform without hundreds of others pushing each other shoulder to shoulder. The downside is the weather: While definitely not freezing, it's cooler and the most rainfall occurs in winter. The advantage you may get fantastic shots with towering clouds in the back.
Time of Day and Tips for Photographer
During summer and in the shoulder seasons the place is usually utterly crowded. In summer, we arrived after midday and got the feeling there were at least a thousand people from many different countries. It was a little difficult to enjoy the scenery with so many people around. We learned our lesson and visited the 12 Apostles two years later in spring during the morning. For this reason, come early or late in the day to dodge the crowds. The pro the light in the morning and the sunset are the best time of the day for magical shots from one of the most famous sights around the world. We know it's hard, but get up very early and try to be there around sunrise: Sunrise / Sunset Times Princetown
In general, the Southern Ocean has a strong influence on the climate. It keeps the winter warmer and the summer cooler. In summer the sun is extreme, but it is not too hot always a fresh breeze. Most stable weather in summer from January to March. Most precipitation in winter from June to September. Be prepared for extremely windy conditions.
Don't miss out our entire Great Ocean Road Guide - 3 Days Itinerary | Top Tips | Where to Stay
If visiting Sri Lanka; don't miss the tea plantations in higher elevation. To watch the tea pickers harvesting the leaves you need to get up early. They start working with cool and pleasant temps at sunrise before it is getting too hot for them to work.
Climate / Weather
Nuwara Eliya has a mild climate without a real "dry" season. From December to February/March nights are cold and even frost can occur, but it warms up during the day. The driest months are February and March. Heavy precipitation occurs from October to December.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Very busy from mid-April on due to the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year. In April it is essential to book many months in advance. Hotel prices increase a lot.