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How Long is Summer Break in Australia?  

Australia, also known as “The Land Down Under,” is a great place to spend summer vacation with your family. However, Australia’s summer is the reverse of ours, typically occurring in December and January.

This can mean a little extra planning. However, whether you choose to visit Australia during their summer or your own, you are sure to enjoy your trip.

How long is summer break in Australia?

Summer break in Australia is usually six weeks long, which makes it shorter than most countries around the world. The term ends in December, and the next term starts in late January for most areas.

School Terms in Australia

Australia is located in the southern hemisphere, which means their seasons are reversed from ours. During the U.S. summer months, Australia has its winter season.

The Australian school year is divided into four terms and two semesters, similar to many schools in the U.S.

Like U.S. schools, the new school year begins after the summer holiday. However, for Australia, this means school starts in late January or early February.

The Christmas break coincides with summer break. While Americans hope for a white Christmas, Australians are hitting the white sand beaches.

In addition to summer break, Australian students enjoy a 2-3 week break between terms.

High School Summer Break

High schoolers get a slightly longer break from regular school hours at the end of the term, but this isn’t really extra vacation time. Instead, this time allows them to study for final examinations.

Years 1-6 are considered primary school. Secondary school, considered high school in America, is years 7-12.

Grades 7-9 end at the same time as primary school. However, the term ends two weeks earlier for grades 10 and 11, and three weeks earlier for grade 12.

Term Dates and Breaks By Territory

To get a better idea of when kids in Australia are out for summer break, let’s take a look at the terms and breaks for each territory in Australia. 

This schedule is for the year 2023. It’s important to note that dates change slightly from year to year.

Canberra (ACT)

  • Term 1: Jan 31 to April 6
  • Break: April 7 to April 23
  • Term 2: April 24 to June 30
  • Break: July 1 to July 16
  • Term 3: July 17 to Sept 22
  • Break: Sept 23 to Oct. 8
  • Term 4: Oct 9 to Dec 15
  • Summer Break: Dec 16 to Jan 28

In 2023, the school year in Canberra begins on January 31st, and ends on December 15th. This gives them a summer break of about six weeks, or 44 days.

Western Australia

  • Term 1: Feb 1 to Apr 6
  • Break: Apr 7 to Apr 23
  • Term 2: Apr 24 to June 30
  • Break: July 1 to June 16
  • Term 3: June 17 to Sept 22
  • Break: Sept 23 to Oct 9
  • Term 4: Oct 10 to Dec 14
  • Summer Break: Dec 15 to Jan 31

In Western Australia, the school year begins on February 1st, and ends on December 14th. Students have about six weeks of summer vacation, with a total of 47 days.


  • Term 1: Feb 1 to Apr 6
  • Break: Apr 7 to Apr 23
  • Term 2: Apr 24 to June 30
  • Break: July 1 to June 16
  • Term 3: June 17 to Sept 22
  • Break: Sept 23 to Oct 9
  • Term 4: Oct 10 to Dec 14
  • Summer Break: Dec 15 to Jan 31

Tasmanian students begin the school year on February 1st, and the year ends on December 14th. Students have approximately six weeks of summer vacation, with a total of 47 days.


  • Term 1: Jan 30 to Apr 6
  • Break: Apr 7 to Apr 23
  • Term 2: Apr 24 to June 23
  • Break: June 24 to July 9
  • Term 3: July 10 to Sept 15
  • Break: Sept 15 to Oct 1
  • Term 4: Oct 2 to Dec 20
  • Summer Break: Dec 21 to Jan 28

In Victoria, students begin the school year on January 30th, and end the year on December 21st. This gives them five weeks of summer vacation, or a total of 38 days.

New South Wales

  • Term 1: Jan 31 to Apr 6
  • Break: Apr 7 to Apr 23
  • Term 2: Apr 24 to June 30
  • Break: July 1 to July 16
  • Term 3: July 17 to Sept 22
  • Break: Sept 23 to Oct 8
  • Term 4: Oct 9 to Dec 19
  • Summer Break: Dec 20 to Jan 30

In New South Wales, students begin the school year on January 31st, and end the year on December 19th. They have a bit less than six weeks of summer break, at 41 days.

South Australia

  • Term 1: Jan 30 to Apr 14
  • Break: Apr 15 to Apr 30
  • Term 2: May 1 to July 7
  • Break: July 8 to July 23
  • Term 3: July 24 to Sept. 29
  • Break: Sept 30 to Oct 15
  • Term 4: Oct 16 to Dec 15
  • Summer Break: Dec 16 to Jan 28

South Australian students begin the school year on January 30th, and the year ends on December 16th. These students have a summer break that is nearly six weeks long, or 43 days.


  • Term 1: Jan 23 to Mar 31
  • Break: Apr 1 to Apr 16
  • Term 2: Apr 17 to June 23
  • Break: June 24 to July 9
  • Term 3: July 10 to Sept 15th
  • Break: Sept 16 to Oct 2
  • Term 4: Oct 3 to Dec 8
  • Summer Break: Dec 9 to Jan 22

Students in Queensland start their year earlier than most, on January 23rd. The school year ends earlier as well, on December 8th. They get about six weeks of summer vacation, or 44 days of summer break.

When to Visit Australia

Australia is a popular vacation destination during the U.S. winter and Australian summer. You can escape from the cold winter temps and have some fun in the sun.

However, you could also consider visiting Australia during the U.S. summer vacation. Winters in Australia are much milder than in most of the U.S., with average temperatures ranging from 60 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the colder months.

Should you visit when Australian schools are closed?

No matter what time of year you choose to visit Australia, you’ll also need to decide if you want to visit while Australian schools are on holiday. Depending on the location, you can expect schools to be closed from late June to early to mid-July in Australia, when American students are enjoying summer break.

The summer break in Australia usually coincides with winter or Christmas break in the U.S. American schools usually close in mid-December, and reopen in early January. Australian schools are usually closed for summer break during this time.

If you visit Australia when their schools are closed, particularly during their summer break, you may find more festivals, events, and family-friendly events.

However, you’ll also find larger crowds. This also occurs in the U.S. For example, most public pools are open when schools are closed for summer, but you’ll also find more people visiting parks and playgrounds.

If you want to visit Australia during the American summer break, you can choose to time your vacation when Australian schools are closed or in session.

Do you want your children to be able to make friends with Australian schoolchildren? Consider going when both countries are on break. However, if you want to avoid the crowds, choose vacation dates when Australian schools are in session at your destination.

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Things to Do On Summer Break in Australia

When deciding what to do on your summer vacation in Australia, there are a few factors to consider. Will you visit during the U.S. summer break, or the Australian summer break?

In some areas of Australia, you can swim year-round. However, some regions feature snowy winters. To cover all the bases, we’ll mention activities you can do in the Australian winter and summer.

Take a Train Ride

Looking for a unique way to experience Australia? Consider bringing your family on a train ride. The Ghan train will take you on an adventure across Australia. You can begin in Darwin and end in Adelaide, or vice versa.

The three to four-day journey will traverse the outback, grassy plains, and the lush vegetation of Top End. You’ll be able to enjoy a few towns along the way, including Alice Springs.

The Ghan train allows you to take in the majesty of Australia, while being able to relax and care for your family.

Meet the local (kangaroos)

Kangaroos are an Australian icon. While on vacation, there are many places where you can hang out with these natives. They love to spend time on sunny beaches, particularly Esperance and Lucky Bay.

Lay down a beach towel, soak up some sun, and enjoy watching the playful kangaroos get their sun on.

Ride the snowy peaks

The ski season in Australia begins in June and runs through September. There are plenty of ski destinations to consider, including the Australian Alps and the Blue Mountains.

Going skiing or snowboarding on the mountains? Younger kids can go tobogganing, which gives them a thrilling but safe ride down the mountain.

People of all ages can ride the slopes on a tube as well. It’s a fun ride with no snow skills required.

Take a cruise

You can choose to take an Australian day cruise and enjoy lunch and dinner on the water in Sydney. Glass boats make the experience one to remember.

You can also choose longer cruises, which range from 2 days to a week or longer. These cruises allow you to ride the high seas and get up close and personal with Australian marine life.

Swim with Australia’s marine animals

If you have older children, swimming with Australia’s marine animals is a must-do. In Queensland, you can swim with humpback whales. In fact, Australia is one of only a few places in the world where you can swim with these incredible marine mammals.

At Ningaloo Reef, you can snorkel or dive with sharks, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can also swim with sea turtles or sea lions.

Explore Australia on a snowmobile

Another way to enjoy the Australian winter is with snowmobiles. Some areas offer snowmobile tours. You’ll ride with a guide, and two passengers, including children, are allowed.

In Mt. Hotham, kids 5 to 14 can drive their own kid-sized snow vehicles. It’s fun for the entire family.

Take a hot air balloon ride

Hot air ballooning offers a unique way to see Australia. It’s popular in Canberra, but you can also find balloon rides in other parts of Australia. The best part of a balloon ride is that once you’ve seen the sights from above, you can explore them from the ground.

Hang out with huskies

If you are an animal lover, you can enjoy Australian snow with a team of huskies. Some tours even allow you to learn about and drive the team yourself.

After you reach your destination, kids are allowed to say thanks to the team by playing or cuddling with the huskies.

Top Australian Vacation Destinations

Now that you know some of the best things to do in Australia, let’s take a look at where to go on your Australian vacation.

Grampians, Victoria

Adventurous families should consider visiting the Grampians. These sandstone mountains offer a wide range of activities for families.

There are many hiking options, which range from easy to challenging, with many offering breathtaking lookouts. You’ll also find waterfalls, lakes, and parks if you want to experience wild Australia.

Family-friendly activities include the Halls Gap Zoo, adventure golf, and camping. You’ll see lots of Australia’s wildlife, particularly if you visit Grampians National Park.

Parents with older children can book a day with Absolute Outdoors, which offers abseiling, stand-up paddleboarding, and rock climbing.

Grampians is also renowned for offering fine dining and wine, so you can indulge a bit on your family vacation.

It’s also a cultural hub. You can learn about aboriginal culture, view ancient rock art, and visit art and history museums in the area.

Sydney, New South Wales

Sydney is the capital city of New South Wales, as well as the country’s most populated city. What makes Sydney special? It combines an urban environment with coastal beaches and wildlife.

Sydney is also a bustling port city. You can tour the harbor with a ferry tour, and see the Syndey Opera House and go under Sydney Harbor Bridge.

You should visit the Sydney Marine Aquarium, which kids and adults will love, or stop by the Sydney Zoo to get up close and personal with wildlife.

Cultural experiences include theatre shows, museums, and art galleries. You can also immerse yourself in aboriginal culture by visiting sacred sites and grabbing some aboriginal cuisine in the heart of the city.

Of course, you’ll need to spend some time at Sydney’s famous beaches as well. After all, there are more than 100 of them in the city. You can surf at Bondi Beach, or enjoy the pristine waters of Manly Beach’s family-friendly areas.


Tasmania is an island state off the coast of Australia. Australian winter is the off-season for Tasmania. This means fewer crowds and lower prices, so it’s worth considering.

Snow is frequent in the mountains, and there are two ski fields in Tasmania. Snow is rare at sea level, but there’s still plenty to do. Tasmania is also highly creative. You can try your hand at pottery making, painting, or singing.

You can explore the natural wonders of Tasmania all year round. Take a food and wine trail, tour Tasmania with a road trip around the island, or hike to get a real feel for the Tasmanian wilds.

You’ll also find unique museums devoted to history, sea travel, and even Antarctica. Brave souls can even take a ghost tour.

Darwin, Northern Territory

Looking for a tropical paradise in Australia? Darwin is your go-to destination. It’s the only tropical capital city on the continent, and it’s also the gateway to Top End. It feels like a completely different place than the rest of Australia, reminiscent of the tropics, rather than the outback.

One of the most interesting attractions is Crocasourus Cove. Get into the water with some of the largest crocks in captivity, with only a glass cage protecting you from their massive jaws.

If that’s a bit too much, you can swim alongside baby crocs with a glass wall separating you from the crocodiles. You can also visit the reptile house and hang out with sea turtles and sting rays.

East Point Reserve is the place to be for safe, family-friendly swimming. Lake Alexandar is a man-made saltwater lake that is open year-round and free of jellyfish and other marine dangers. There’s a playground for kids and a mangrove boardwalk.

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