Oceania is an insular continent of the Earth constituted by the continental shelf of Australia, the islands of New Guinea and New Zealand, and the coral and volcanic archipelagos of Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia. All these islands are distributed by the Pacific Ocean. With an area of 9,008,458 km², it is the smallest continent on the planet. See list of countries in Oceania. See list of countries in Oceania.
Climate in Australia / New Zealand
Climatically, the area of Australia / New Zealand can be divided into five zones.
Tropical and humid climate
On the Pacific Islands and in the north of Australia, there is a tropical, humid climate with low temperature fluctuations and lots of sun. The average values of air and water are 22-25 ° C in southern winter and 28-30 ° C in southern summer.
This zone receives high precipitation of approx. 1,200-5,000 mm. The damp trade winds are responsible for this. Most of the rain falls during the months of November and April, and the rainy season is associated with high humidity. In the dry season during the other months it is not completely free of precipitation. It just rains less on many islands.
The subtropical climatic zone includes the North Island of New Zealand, the Southwest and the Southeast of Australia.
The areas around Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne get the majority of their annual approximately 650 mm of rain in the southern winter.
The south east coast around Sydney and the north of New Zealand, however, receive a total of 1,000-1,500 mm of precipitation during all seasons. The average temperatures are in July with 11-13 ° C at the lowest, in January / February with 20 to 23 ° C at the highest.
Tasmania and the lowlands of New Zealand’s South Island have a temperate climate. The thermometer fluctuates between an average of 6-8 ° C in southern winter and up to 17 ° C in January. The west sides of both islands are very humid all year round. Because they are permanently exposed to the strong westerly winds of the “Roaring Forties”, which rain down there. In Tasmania you have to reckon with up to 2,500 mm, in New Zealand even with up to 8,000 mm of precipitation per year.
Much drier it is in the east of the two islands. There, in the rain shadow of the mountains, there is an annual rainfall of a maximum of 750 mm.
The center of Australia has a desert climate. Many areas only receive 125mm of rain per year. In Alice Springs in the middle of the desert, the average temperature is a cool 12 ° C in June / July and a hot 28 ° C in January / February. During the day they can Temperatures vary considerably. While the thermometer often rises to over 40 ° C during the day in summer, the values can drop to freezing point at night.
In the Australian and New Zealand Alps, in the interior of Tasmania and in the high mountains of New Guinea there is an alpine climate. In winter, snow and frost are common there. New Zealand even has glaciers.
Best travel time for Australia / New Zealand
The best travel times for the individual climatic zones in Australia / New Zealand are quite different.
In the tropical area, visitors should always opt for the dry season. Then it is less humid, the temperatures are a little lower and it is not quite as humid. The risk of hurricanes is also lower.
If you want to travel to Australia or New Zealand for winter sports, we recommend the southern winter from June to August. These months are also the only ones that are suitable for a stay in the otherwise extremely hot center of Australia.
The southern summer from December to February is suitable for trekking tours in New Zealand and Tasmania.
For the south of Australia, the southern autumn (March / April) and the southern spring (September / October) are ideal. During this time the temperatures are pleasant and there is little rain.
Climate in Polynesia
Despite the huge dimensions, the climate in Polynesia is relatively uniform. It is constantly tropical warm and humid.
The average temperatures are between 25 and 29 ° C.
Polynesia has the rainy season from November to March and the dry season from April to October.
The wet season, when the north or north-east trade wind dominates, is also the hotter season. On the warmest it is usually in February. With 22-25 ° C at night and up to 32 ° C during the day, it is not only very warm, but there is also very high humidity with sometimes over 80%. On many islands, a sea breeze makes the heat and humidity a bit more bearable.
During the rainy season, torrential amounts of water come down from the sky almost every day. Several hundred millimeters per month are more the rule than the exception.
From April to October, however, the weather is cooler and drier. The humidity is also lower during these months. The then prevailing drier south-east trade winds are responsible for these weather conditions. During this phase, an average of 25 to 29 ° C is measured during the day and 17 to 23 degrees at night.
When August is on many islands around the coldest month.
Even during the dry season, the visitor has to reckon with showers and thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon. However, the sun usually shows up quickly again from a blue sky.
As uniform as the temperatures are, there are great differences in the amount of rain. It rains significantly less on the flat atolls than on the mountainous islands. It is also much more humid on the sides facing the wind. Precipitation amounts of up to 7,500 mm per year can fall here. On the lee side of the mountains it is then only 1,200-2,500 mm.
Despite the high levels of precipitation, the islands of Polynesia, with up to 3,000 hours a year, are the world leaders in terms of sunshine duration.
The tropical climate guarantees warm water temperatures between 22 and 30 degrees all year round.
Many tropical cyclones are formed in the Polynesian marine area. Storm season is during the rainy season. In the southern winter, from May to October, things are quieter in the South Seas.
Best time to visit Polynesia
The best time to travel to Polynesia is from May to October. Then less rain falls, the temperatures are a little cooler, but still pleasantly warm, and the humidity drops.
From November to March, however, the weather is quite unpleasant. It will be hot, humid and rainy. In addition, it is the time of the tropical cyclones, which repeatedly threaten the islands in Polynesia. A vacation in the South Seas is therefore not advisable at this stage.
Climate in Micronesia
The climate on the around 2,000 islands of Micronesia is uniformly tropical, warm and humid.
Due to the proximity to the equator and the maritime location, the temperatures remain very constant over the course of the year. On average, the thermometer reaches 25 to 30 degrees. Even at night, the values only drop slightly. The mercury column does not fall below the 20 degree mark on any island.
In summer, however, daytime temperatures of up to 38 ° C can be reached. Fortunately, sea breezes make the high temperatures and the constantly high humidity of around 80% more bearable.
The islands of Micronesia have an average of 1,000-5,000 millimeters of rainfall per year, with the eastern islands having more rain than the western ones.
Precipitation must always be expected. Because it rains an average of around 300 days a year.
Depending on the geographical location, the precipitation is distributed differently over the months. Although who most islands a rain peak from May to October. But south of the equator, for example in Kiribati and Nauru, the peak of the rain is between April and November. In contrast, precipitation falls evenly over the entire year, particularly on the archipelagos directly on the equator.
Most of the rains are short but heavy tropical showers. When it ends, the sun quickly shines again.
With water temperatures of 20 to 30 ° C all year round, the Pacific is always ideal for holidaymakers who want to travel to Micronesia for swimming, diving or other water sports.
Many islands in Micronesia are regularly hit by tropical cyclones. The storms often hit the islands with full force, as there are only a few land masses on their way where they could weaken. They occur mainly in the second half of the year.
Best time to visit Micronesia
In principle, trips to Micronesia are possible all year round because the air and water temperatures are consistently high and the trade winds always ensure a pleasant breeze. However, you should avoid the typhoon season and the wetter season. This is located on the islands north of the equator between May and October. Because then long-lasting, heavy downpours and tropical cyclones can severely spoil the holiday pleasure.
Therefore, tourists should visit the islands of northern Micronesia in the drier months from November to April. Then blue skies, all day sunshine and white palm beaches are guaranteed when the temperatures are warm.
For divers this is spring recommended if the waters are particularly rich in species around the islands of Micronesia.
Since Kiribati and Nauru are located completely or partially south of the equator, things are a little different there with the best travel months. Here are summer and autumn are the ideal seasons.
Climate in Melanesia
The climate in Melanesia is predominantly tropical, warm and humid. This is mainly due to the location on the equator. Only in the high mountains of Papua New Guinea does a moderate to alpine climate prevail. In general, the northern parts of Melanesia are more humid and warmer than the southern archipelagos. There, however, the temperature fluctuations are greater.
The temperatures show hardly any seasonal fluctuations. Apart from the mountains, the thermometer shows an average of 20-30 degrees. The lowest temperatures are measured in the middle of the southern winter in July / August. Then it gets an average of 23-27 ° C during the day. At night the mercury column can even drop to 18 ° C.
In February, during the southern summer, the thermometer rises highest. Then maximum values of up to 34 ° C are possible during the day.
The precipitation have a large range in Melanesia. They are usually 1,600-4,000 mm. However, the east sides facing the humid northeast trade wind and the mountain regions receive significantly more rain on numerous islands with 6,000 to 8,000 mm. The leeward west sides are usually drier. There can also be less than 1,000 mm of precipitation per year. The islands of volcanic origin are also often considerably more humid than the coral islands. Because they have higher mountains where the trade winds can rain down. The coral islands, on the other hand, are usually quite flat and offer less attack surface for the clouds.
The water temperatures of the Pacific are tropically warm all year round. They vary between 23-26 ° C in southern winter and 28-29 ° C in southern summer.
Vacationers can expect 5 (rainy season) to 8 (dry season) hours of sunshine a day.
The region knows two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
The core of the wetter season includes the months of December to March. The sky is often cloudy; Short and heavy thunderstorm showers often fall in the afternoons. In addition, there is oppressive heat with a high humidity of over 80%. During the rainy season, the islands of Melanesia are also threatened by typhoons.
In the period between June and September it is dry in almost all states in the region. Only in New Caledonia does the dry season move to autumn. Then the sometimes quite strong south-east trade winds with cooling winds also mean that the humidity and the temperatures decrease somewhat. But even during the dry season, the traveler has to expect showers several days a month.
Best time to travel to Melanesia
The months of the dry season between June and September are also recommended for a trip to the island world of Melanesia. Then it is generally quite sunny on the islands, relatively dry and pleasantly warm with 20-28 degrees. The relatively high humidity in the remaining months is reduced by the trade wind and thus more bearable for European visitors.
The rainy season, the core of which lasts from December to March in all countries, is characterized by very heavy rainfall, high temperatures and a pronounced humidity. Violent hurricanes can then also sweep across the archipelago. They hinder traffic and in some cases even ensure that connections are completely interrupted. If you don’t want to spoil your holiday fun thoroughly, it is better not to visit the countries of Melanesia during this phase.
Also see Abbreviation Finder for a list of abbreviations and acronyms of all countries in the continent of Oceania.