It can be difficult to pack for a trip to a city that is infamous for cycling through every season in one day. Oh, Melbourne, you may be the most livable city in Australia, but your notoriously inconsistent weather is beyond inconvenient.
Don’t worry. Native Melbournians are well accustomed to the erratic behaviour of the Melbourne weather and have some handy tips and tricks for how to survive this temperamental climate. Read on to find out how to dress for each season in Melbourne.
What to Wear in Melbourne in Summer
Australian Summer falls between December and February. For most of the world, Summer means sunshine, pool parties, barbecues and ice cream. For Melbournians, it mostly means business as usual.
Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of sweltering Summer days. The city comes alive with plenty to do and everyone has a chance to pull their shorts, bikinis and thongs (the shoes, not the underwear) out of storage. Our notoriously bad weather doesn’t omit the need for sunscreen, plenty of water, and air conditioning. Visiting Melbourne in January or February generally means you can expect 30-40-degree days.
However, our lovely Summers are often punctuated by a sudden chilly day and a storm here and there. If you’re hanging out in Melbourne during Summer, pack for the usual Summer weather- light fabrics, sun hats and sandals. But include a jacket or a pair of long pants on your packing list. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but if you do, you’ll be glad to have them.
Pro tip: unlike some places, the air doesn’t grow cold when the sun goes down in Melbourne. The hot air lingers all through the night, so if you’re visiting Melbourne when the weather is supposed to be hot, pack light summery pyjamas.
What to Wear in Melbourne in Autumn
Our Autumn falls between March and May and, while we still see some 25-degree days, temperatures can drop pretty low. Autumn is a beautiful time to visit Melbourne. Our streets are adorned with a medley of colourful leaves, our calendars are beginning to fill up with festivals and day trips to nearby regions, and you can warm your hands around a cup of some of the best coffee the world has to offer.
Autumn in Melbourne is synonymous with rain, and this rain will fall more and more often as we inch closer to Winter. Visiting Melbourne during this time of year necessitates an umbrella.
If you’re packing for a trip to Melbourne in Autumn, pack plenty of layers and heavier fabrics. Scarves, gloves and beanies may not be necessary, but they are certainly good to have just in case. Sturdy shoes are a must- after all, there are few things worse than feeling rainwater seep into your socks.
What to Wear in Melbourne in Winter
If you walk the streets of Melbourne between June and August, you will be confronted with the sight of hundreds- or perhaps even thousands- of black puffer jackets. These coats are Australia’s unofficial uniform, and while they are worn all throughout the year, they really make themselves apparent during the Wintertime. Wearing a black puffer jacket is a surefire way to blend in with the natives, but any kind of coat or jacket will do.
While Winter may offer the odd warm day here and there, temperatures generally hover between five and ten degrees, sometimes creeping up to 15. It certainly doesn’t snow in Melbourne, but the cold wind wafting off the ocean means that scarves, thick socks and plenty of layers are often essentials.
The streets of Melbourne will be cold, but if you walk inside a building you will generally find the heater blasting. This is why it’s important to wear layers. You want to be able to peel off your coat or your jumper inside a store without giving everyone an eyeful.
If you’re visiting in late Winter as we near Springtime, you may find that your cold wintery trip is sprinkled with a few warm days that almost feel Summery. You probably won’t see any 35-degree days that require summery clothes, but you also don’t want to find yourself stranded in Melbourne on a warm day with only Winter clothing. Pack t-shirts and sunscreen even if you’re not sure you’ll need them.
What to Wear in Melbourne in Spring
While Melbourne’s weather is inconsistent throughout the year, between September and November is when it really shines. Springtime is generally where you will see four seasons in one day. One day can be so dreary and grey and rainy that it feels like the middle of Winter, and the next can be 30 degrees and sunny.
The beginning of Spring can feel a lot like Winter, so prepare for possible cold weather and pack jackets and umbrellas. Things start to heat up as we reach the middle of Spring, and we begin to see beautiful flowers blossoming, baby animals experiencing the world, and the native Melbournians start to shed their black puffer jackets.
Springtime in Australia is both beautiful and terrifying because with new life, such as baby magpies, comes protective magpie parents. Spring is swooping season which means you may have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of our native wildlife- maybe a little closer than you’d hope. Many Melbournians wear a bicycle helmet with sticks taped to it as a Springtime fashion statement and swooping bird repellant.
When packing for Spring in Melbourne, it is best to be prepared for anything. Bring an umbrella, a warm sweater and some cosy thick socks along with a bathing suit, sunhat and sandals. Don’t forget the sunshine. Our sun can be deceptive- even the most mild and cool days can have a harsh UV index.
Our weather may be difficult to handle, but Melbourne itself is anything but difficult. Prepare for inconsistent weather patterns, but also prepare for friendly people, historical buildings, culture, art, laneways full of hidden treasures, great coffee and plenty of entertainment. Melbournians know how to have a great time whether it’s storming or sweltering outside.