Daylight Hours Australia and the UK, Winter and Summer Compared

Today I am going to be comparing sunrise times and (here’s one I watched earlier) sunset times…

Sunset at Mindil Beach… between Australia and the UK for both winter and summer.

In an ideal world, according to scientists, it is believed that as humans we would work most optimally if we got up in the morning as the sun rose and went to bed at night when the sun set. In our modern world though, that very rarely happens. But how close could our respective countries be to that ideal?

I seem to remember in the UK during the middle of winter that it got light some time around 8 o’clock in the morning and was dark again before 4 o’clock in the afternoon. No chance of getting up and going back to bed with the sun there then.

In fact it was difficult to even avoid children having to walk to school or walk home from school in the dark. Sometimes it was even difficult to avoid these kids from having to do both.

But is my memory correct? Let’s look at some facts.

Sunrise and sunset times for three United Kingdom cities

First I should remind you that the UK only has one time zone, but like parts of Australia, they do have summer/winter times. During winter they use Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and in the summer British Summer Time (BST). For the UK, I will be looking at Plymouth in the West Country, London the capital, and Aberdeen which is in Scotland, the northern end of the UK.

I will be using 15 July for summer and 15 January for winter. Let’s go…

UK Summer sunrise and sunset times

UK Winter sunrise and sunset timesThat was pretty easy and straightforward. Now for Australia.

Slightly more complicated, we have more time zones than you can shake a stick at and, as already mentioned, some put their clocks forward for summertime, some don’t. But of course, you know that, I went through it all in my post Australia Versus the UK: Time Zones Explained.

Sunrise and sunset times for Australia’s major cities

Note: all times are locally adjusted for either summer or winter. I am also using 15th of January for summer and 15 July for winter; it would be insane not to make that adjustment.

Australia Summer sunrise and sunset times

Australia winter sunrise and sunset timesAnother note: I hope I’ve got all of these correct, but please understand there have been a lot of times and time zones to look up and adjust and then add to these charts. It is possible I may have made a mistake somewhere because there were times when I really didn’t know what time it was.

I am confident it is all good, but if anyone does spot a mistake, please do let me know.


I think there are many conclusions to draw from all this, where to start?

Maybe it’s best we draw our own conclusions; here’s what I thought, being a resident of Brisbane.

  • I wish we had Daylight Saving Time (DST) equivalent of BST in Brisbane
  • I am envious of Hobart’s sunrise and sunset times in summer in Australia
  • I am envious of Darwin’s sunrise and sunset times in winter in Australia
  • Summer sunset times in the UK better than here in Australia
  • Winter sunset times in the UK are worse than here in Australia
  • Brisbane has the worst sunset time in winter in all of Australia, but it’s still better than the UK
  • Brisbane has the worst sunset time in summer in all of Australia and all of the UK
  • In Brisbane I have absolutely no chance of getting up with the sun and going to bed at sunset, trying to do so would simply be insane. Sorry scientists, good idea though
  • I thank Edison for the lightbulb
  • Finally, and maybe the most important point of all, daylight is not the same as sunlight. That’s a different subject and one which I looked at in my post called Sunny Days: England Versus Australia Compared. It is why I can forgive Brisbane for its poor performance is in these sunrise and sunset comparisons.

What conclusions do you draw?

My thanks to and for the data.

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Tess October 8, 2016, 2:54 pm | Link

    Thanks for your post, I was really interested about the sunrise and sunset times in the other states of Australia and its cleared up all of my questions. I also live in Brisbane, well actually a bit north of Brisbane. I live in Maleny, so I know the sunset and sunrise times in winter absolutely suck snd there’s not much i can actually do, except accept it and try to get up close to sunrise, as for sunset I’m still driving home. 🙂

    • BobinOz October 10, 2016, 4:56 pm | Link

      No, there isn’t anything you can do about it, although as you know there has been much talk about using Daylight Saving Time by putting the clocks back in the summer as they do in NSW.

      There is also some talk about dividing the state into two states, north and south, and if that happens I’m sure each will be on a slightly different time zone.

      At the moment though, we are stuck with it. And yes, it’s not ideal but we just have to accept it.

  • Pete September 9, 2016, 6:20 am | Link

    Edison came after Joseph Swan, you should thank him for the light bulb. 🙂

    • BobinOz September 9, 2016, 6:30 pm | Link

      Yes, that was a bit lazy of me. So I’d also like to thank Alessandro Volta, Humphrey Davy, Warren de la Rue, William Staite, and Joseph Swan as well as Charles Francis Brush, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans.

      Let’s not also forget the contributions of Lewis Howard Latimer, Willis R. Whitney and William David Coolidge.

      Finally, I would like to thank Live Science for the education.


  • dean April 3, 2016, 5:07 pm | Link

    Very useful site, answered alot of what i was after. Only thing i disagree with i you saying Brisbane has the worst sunset time of Australia for winter, there are 3 other cities that have sunset earlier i winter than Brisbane and 4 later, so i wouldn’t say Brisbane had the worst especially when you consider Hobart wasn’t even reaching 5pm. I am biased in that i was born in QLD and lived here 22 years before living in Tasmania for 20 then back in Brisbane for last 9 years. I found majority of friends and acquaintances in Tas all loved DLS but none actually did anything to make use of it, they all generally sat at home in doors saying how great it was to have daylight so late in summer, hmm yet they sat inside watching tv, on computers or catching up with work. Whilst i prefer not to have DLS here in Brisbane if it went ahead i’d survive but unlike Tasmania and its low traffic numbers, going anywhere after work here would be pointless as i spend up to 2 hours in peak hour traffic, it would still be dark or not far from it if i wanted to go to the beach etc anyways.

    • BobinOz April 4, 2016, 5:28 pm | Link

      Looking back, I’m really not sure why I said that about Brisbane’s winter sunsets, as you have rightly pointed out, it is not the worst. Seems I got a bit carried away. I don’t think Queensland will be changing to daylight savings any time soon, and even though I said I would prefer it, it’s not really a big issue for me.

  • soph March 31, 2016, 7:41 pm | Link

    Thanks for the great info – it was really helpful 🙂
    Do you know where I could get the times (sunset/sunrise) for the major cities of australia in spring and autumn? I’m doing a project on it so that would be really helpful…..

    • BobinOz April 1, 2016, 6:47 pm | Link

      Try clicking on the links at the foot of my article, that’s where I got my information from and they may well have the same information for spring and autumn. Cheers, Bob

  • George January 7, 2016, 6:14 am | Link

    This is brilliant, thanks.

  • Helen February 14, 2015, 4:56 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, I’m a massive fan of your website, thanks for the great work! Iim a massive fan of your website!
    I think the most important thing you’ve highlighted here is being able to compare the number of daylight hours. In London; summer days are 16h and winter days 8hong. It’s that enormous difference between the two that makes me feel so awful in winter; call it s.a.d or just “hating uk winters”. If you compare to Sydney, /Perth where days are 14h/ 10h and there’s much less of a difference; hence the steadier climate, and I’m sure much fewer people feel bad in Oz winters. That’s it I’m sold! I can’t take another uk winter!

    • BobinOz February 16, 2015, 2:11 pm | Link

      Hi Helen

      Thanks for the great compliment, I appreciate it. Yes, I see what you mean, daylight hours are steadier here. But additionally the sunshine that we get here compared with the UK makes a massive difference and with so much sunshine around, it’s really difficult to be miserable or S.A.D.

      You might like to read this…

      Good luck with your plans, Bob

  • Claire Pepper-Rogers February 12, 2015, 11:11 pm | Link

    We’re moving to Brisbane in September and I’m very much in two minds about whether I’m looking forward to the difference in day length compared to the UK or not! Winter will be better, but will I miss the long summer evenings or not? It’s so rarely warm enough to sit out anyway. Is it a case of getting home from work in the dark all year round? Be sad to move all that way and only see the sunshine at weekends.

    • BobinOz February 13, 2015, 5:40 pm | Link

      No, I don’t think you’ll miss long summer evenings at all. I was surprised that I didn’t, but I think it’s because it did often get too chilly to stay outside of an evening in the UK. Here though, even though it’s dark by around 7 o’clock, it is still very warm and great to sit outside.

      Lots of tradies start work at around 6:30 AM and are finished before 3 o’clock so they get to see plenty of sunshine, whatever time you finish work, you will certainly see more sunshine here than you ever did back in the UK.

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