Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Before we arrived in Australia one person said to me that Melbourne, with extreme changes in weather, had cold and somewhat miserable weather for about nine months of the year. Brisbane, on the other hand, was almost unbearably hot and humid for about three months of the year. During that time it was best to spend as much time as possible in a swimming pool or in an airconditioned shopping mall.

When I arrived here at the beginning of December it certainly was HOT. That is definitely HOT in capital letters. The sun here feels very penetrating and we spent a lot of time indoors. Unless you have a covered pool (shade cloth or sails, as they are called, are sometimes used to cover pools) you can't be in it in the middle of the day because the sun really is just too hot.

For the last three months that I was in South Africa we'd had lots of rain. There would be a couple of hottish days, and then three or four days of rain and cool temperatures. There was no such thing in Brisbane during the first three months or so that we were here. Even now I can count on one hand the number of days that I've worn a jersey (jumper in Aussie lingo).

When I walked through the shops in February (still thinking that this was a good way to get away from the heat), I was amazed to see jackets, long sleeve pyjamas, long sleeve shirts, long pants. In fact, the only things with short sleeves were on the sale racks.

Having come from Durban, I'm beginning to wonder how well prepared we are for this Brisbane winter, or whether we need to start accumulating some winter woolies. It really hit me in the shops this week when I saw lots of beanies, boot slippers, wooly scarves and gloves. I stood there looking at them wondering whether these are things we're going to need to stock up on, or whether they're just there for those who are travelling to cooler climes.

A friend who moved here over a year ago said that they used the fireplace in their home every evening during winter. However, someone I've met here who is from New Zealand scoffed at the thought of it even being slightly cold!

Well, I thought it would be fun to do some internet surfing. One site describes the winter weather as mild and very pleasant with sunny winter days that are an average of about 17C.

Another site has the following average temperatures:
Dec/Jan/Feb -- Max 29.20C; Min 20.40C
Mar/Apr/May -- Max 25.80C; Min 16.40C
Jun/Jul/Aug -- Max 21.20C; Min 10.10C
Sep/Oct/Nov -- Max 16.00C; Min 15.60C

Just for fun, I thought it was worth looking at the records for high and low temperatures. The highest max recorded is 39.6 which was recorded in December 1981. The lowest min of 0.6C was recorded in June 1971 and August 1994.

So how do the temperatures in Brisbane compare to Durban? Well, the highest recorded temperature that I could find for Durban was 40C in October, the lowest 3C, in July and August. Average temperatures range from a maximum of 28C in summer to 23C in winter and a minimum of 21C in summer to a minimum of 11C in winter. So it seems that the temperatures really are quite similar.

The website lists the weather as one of the best things about living in Brisbane. This is what they have to say about the weather: "Winter, what winter? –well, yes there are about 8 weeks of cold nights and early mornings when we don a scarf and fluff up the doona [that is, a duvet]. But, seriously, Brisbane’s winter is nothing but divine. Compared to half of Australia that suffers arctic winds, frosts and icy roads, Brisbane’s temperatures let us thaw out in the winter sun. Plus, ask anyone from countries that see snow and they’ll scoff at our idea of ‘cold’."

So I guess, being from South Africa, we might need to get a little prepared (especially considering we don't have a heater in the house), put the electric blanket on the bed and perhaps even invest in a hat, scarf and gloves.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

For me the weather is one of the most exciting parts of this process...I know it sounds crazy....but what fun to see everything for the first time and experience new weather conditions half way through your life.

Look forward to your winter....which will probably be about the same temp as our summer (lol)