The Truth about Humidity and the Weather in Brisbane…

Australia and New Zealand magazine…from somebody who moved to Brisbane eight years ago from a little country called England.

Time for another reprint of one of my Australia and New Zealand magazine articles, this one appeared in their September edition. As we are now seeing temperatures steadily rising here in Brisbane, we’ve already had a few 30°C plus days, the timing of this article here is perfect. Just to remind you though, we are only halfway through spring right now.

So what happens in summer? Will it really get too hot? Here’s the article.

Bad weather?

Bad WeatherWhen my wife and I first talked about moving to Australia my first thought was “Ooh, that’s a hot country, isn’t it? That would be nice.” And let’s face it, when you’ve lived in the UK and put up with the cold, dark, damp, grey, drizzly and did I mention cold winters for almost half a century as I had, ‘hot’ becomes a quite attractive option.

Fast forward to now and I have escaped the cold, dark, damp, grey misery known as UK winters and I’m happily enjoying the subtropical delights of Brisbane.

But now that I am here, and I’ve been here a while, people who don’t live in Brisbane say to me “I couldn’t live in Brisbane, it’s too humid.” This is a viewpoint that makes me laugh like a drain inside my head, because laughing like a drain out loud is way too embarrassing. That’s a different matter though, what’s important here is why this statement gives me so much amusement.

As someone who spent many years in the UK, I think I know what bad weather is and humidity doesn’t come on top of my list.

For me, suffering five or six weeks of a year when the weather is ‘humid’ simply doesn’t compare to my previous experiences of ‘bad weather’. From where I’m standing, or sitting, this is what I experience during those apparently intolerable five or six weeks.

The weather is hot, sometimes very hot. The sky is often the most beautiful blue you’ve ever seen and there isn’t a cloud to be found. The only downside is that, well, you get a little sweaty when you do anything energetic, like reading a book.

Things can get incredibly sweaty if you do something even more strenuous, like perhaps digging a hole with a shovel. But then that’s something I always try and avoid in my life and anyway, doing the same thing in the cold, dark, damp, grey, drizzle of the UK isn’t much fun either.

So for me, if ‘humid’ is Brisbane’s bad weather, I’ll take it. I remember all too well what the alternative is.

My five or six weeks may be different to other people’s idea of humid though. In particular my wife; she tells me her hair is frizzy for around 12 weeks of the year during the humid period and she doesn’t like it. I tell her that her hair looks wonderful, frizzy or not, but it makes no difference, she still doesn’t like it. What we do like though, that’s both of us, are the benefits of living in Brisbane.

I’ve not worn a coat in this city ever. On the final day of autumn this year, in other words the day before winter began, my wife took part in a charity 35 kilometre beach walk not far south from here. People were swimming in the sea.

Back at the accommodation, I was keeping an eye on my daughter who was in the swimming pool with eight other kids.


Kids swimming

Meanwhile, the next day, many other parts of Australia had snow.

So not all of Australia is hot all the time, but I love the climate we have here in Brisbane. It’s not for everyone though, which is why we have Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart.

It's good to share...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0

Related Posts

Open a bank account in Australia
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Todd October 17, 2015, 10:58 pm | Link


    It sounds like a nice situation. I do not tolerate “humid” very well and that figures into our decision to move to Geelong. But not as much as our winters. Here in Upstate New York we have had a typical extreme of -28c to 33c since January. We have high humidity for a few days each week in summers and almost no humidity in the winter. We also have lake effect snow (worth a wiki look up) that brought the usual 3 meters of snow this past winter (our record stands at 487cm). I am glad that Australia is capable of accommodating both of us, Bob.

    • BobinOz October 19, 2015, 5:06 pm | Link

      Well, yes, New York does go from one extreme to another in the space of a year, doesn’t it? You won’t be getting -28°C in Geelong that’s for sure, and you won’t have to worry too much about humidity down that way.

      Cheers, Bob

  • Warwick Wakefield October 15, 2015, 10:34 pm | Link

    There is something that you don’t hear too much about; in Sydney and Brisbane there are wonderful winters.

    Sometimes it’s cold, specially at night, but during the day there are wonderful blue skies and golden sun. This lifts your spirits, even if you have to rug up.

    In Sydney, and more so in Melbourne, there are cold winds from the south pole; the penguinnian winds. They can be cold; you see people wearing heavy overcoats and padded jackets. But you don’t go for very long without the sun and blue skies.

    In Brisbane and Sydney there is almost never any frost; that has to be a good thing. And many Brisbanites, like Bob, wear shorts all the year round. And that’s a good thing.

    I grew up on the Darling Downs, west of the mountain range to the west of Brisbane. There were many frosty mornings there.

    Now, my description of London weather is that it’s very mild. I remember thinking, when the first winter arrived, “This is very agreeable, not bitter at all..”
    But these assessments are subjective. Bob would have had a very different judgment.

    • BobinOz October 16, 2015, 9:12 pm | Link

      If you spend enough winters in London Warwick then I can assure you that you won’t be putting the word ‘not’ in front of bitter. Bitter is the precise description.

      Your face freezes, it’s difficult to smile, moving is uncomfortable but you know, deep down, that you have to keep moving otherwise you’ll never move again.

      That’s something that’s never happened to me in Brisbane 🙂

      Sunshine though, for sure, lifts the spirits, it puts a smile on your face. I think it does good things to that part of your brain that makes you happy.

  • Warwick Wakefield October 15, 2015, 5:46 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I appreciate your point of view. You’ve put it forward with great style.
    But liking a particular sort of weather is not a logical thing, like Euclid’s geometry.

    You have to understand that there are many people who find hot weather, particularly humid, hot weather, very stressful.
    And those same people can find English weather comfortable.
    I know. I’ve lived in London for years on end. I never found the winters very disagreeable. But I have had the experience of strolling along London streets, near Saint Paul’s, with an English friend who demanded that we go home because the cold was “intolerable,” even though she was rugged up. And I was quite warm.

    I’ve had the experience of swimming about in a harbour beach in Sydney and feeling refreshed and vigorous while my friend begged me to get out of the water “because she was freezing.”

    But I find the humidity stressful even in Sydney. I find it stressful even when my friend says it’s wonderful.

    I suppose it has something to do with the individual’s body mechanisms.
    I don’t think it does much good to say one kind of weather is intrinsically better than the other.
    Each person has to decide which is better for herself.

    • djmcbell October 15, 2015, 6:42 pm | Link

      Hmm… this, together with the article, are interesting.

      I’m (hopefully) moving to Victoria soon. My parents there have recently been having days topping 30 degrees. Here in the UK, Autumn has definitely begun (not that our summer was much to write home about).

      But I digress.

      One of the good – and bad – things about moving to Australia is the weather. Yes, it’ll be nice and warm. But what if it’s nice and warm all the time? Won’t we want a bit of variation? I suppose that’s one of the good things about Victoria (and the Melbourne area in general) – it is cooler that a lot of other places in Australia, and there is that variation.

      • BobinOz October 15, 2015, 9:26 pm | Link

        Well, firstly, Warwick, you are absolutely correct. Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is weather. Not so much in the eye, but throughout the whole body.

        Not everybody likes hot weather, some people much prefer cooler climates. It’s probably why some people live in Canada. So I take your point, in my defence my article is about me, (yes, me me me) and I would never attempt to speak on behalf of the whole world 🙂

        And, as you can probably see, I really like the Brisbane climate, it suits me down to the ground. Shorts all year round during the day, I don’t really suffer from the humidity stress you mention and it is greatly different from the weather I spent most of my life enduring.

        No, I’m not a great fan of the English weather. Don’t get me wrong, I do actually love the four seasons, what I don’t like is that each of them does a lot of cold, dark, grey and with some damp drizzle thrown in.

        And now djmcbell, I have great news for you; you’re going to Melbourne, so don’t worry, warm all the time isn’t going to happen. Expect cold, often, and when you least expect it.

        • Thijs October 15, 2015, 10:12 pm | Link

          I’ve moved from Belgium to Melbourne last year in july, and I must say it’s the perfect upgrade. Belgium’s exactly like the UK: you basically eventually get a depression just because of the weather. I enjoy the upgrade in average temperatures; but I reckon what makes for the most important difference is the amount of sun (light!), not temperature per se. Melbourne definitely has those changes though; 4 seasons in a day actually (you can take that quite literally at times). It’s just perfect (for me 😉 ).

          On the recent awesome temperatures: don’t take those as a reference. October’s supposed to have average temperatures of about 20 degrees, and should be the most rainy month of the year. This october is exceptionally hot and dry (and that brings us to one of those other Australian features: bushfires!). It’s just that we have [quote the meteorologists] “a godzilla el niño event” coming up this spring/summer. This october also nicely illustrated Melbourne’s capacity of drastic weather changes. One day we had a max. of 36 degrees, the next day (like, literally the day immediately afterwards) a max. of 16 degrees. Yes, that’s not even all that exceptional. ;-). But still clear blue skies throughout; which makes me not so much care about whether it is 16 or 36 degrees. As long as it’s not -5 and grey rain / mudsnow falling from the skies in several depressing grey cloudy weeks on end, like “back home in Belgium”.

          • BobinOz October 16, 2015, 9:05 pm | Link

            I know exactly what you are saying Thijs, I was in Melbourne a few years ago and when I first arrived, by car, it was around 36°C. A scorcher.

            Booked into a hotel, next day looked out of the window, which you could not open, and it was another sunny day. So I went out, T-shirt and shorts. Walked out of the front of the hotel and that’s when the cold hit me.


            Ah, but it was still morning, it will surely get much warmer. No, not really, I should have doubled back and grabbed a warm top. Nevermind.

            As you say though, the sunlight, the blue skies, that’s what really makes the difference. I used to love a sunny winter’s day in the UK, you know, when it was 12° but at least still sunny with blue skies, but unfortunately most of the 12° days were grey and dark.

            Sunny is good, and there’s plenty of that in Melbourne. Cheers, Bob

Leave a Comment

If your comment doesn’t get answered, find out why…..
FAQs and Comment Policy.