This being the Southern Hemisphere, the mellow autumn (March through May) and cooler winter (June through August) are the best times to visit. The days stay warm and dry until the heart of winter, but cool nights and shorter days are no obstacle to outdoor-lovers wanting to check out local hike and bike trails. A bonus for nightlife: The pub scene crackles in winter. Plus, for spectator-sports fans looking to check out rugby or cricket matches, the autumn brings season kickoffs for the Broncos and the Bulls.
As the spring advances from September through November, daylight extends to nine hours, making this a prime time to explore the various markets around town—you can toggle between sunbathing, shopping, and dining at the Riverside Markets near Eagle Street. Shopaholics will want to stop by the malls on Queen Street as well. Even in November, it rarely gets above the low 80s. Speaking of which, this is also festival season—more than a million folks turn out for the cultural Brisbane Festival in September; the Parklife tour, focused on electronic and indie music, usually shows up by October.
As Australian summer (December through February) kicks into full gear, things remain bearable but can get kind of sticky as frequent downpours, and highs in the 90s, bring heat and humidity. Still, Brisbane is filled with hearty souls. So, extreme flooding notwithstanding, they still get after it: rock-climbing the cliffs at Kangaroo Point, kayaking the Brisbane River, heading for the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, and—yes—surfing some of Australia’s top breaks at the nearby Gold Coast.