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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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • BobinOz October 23, 2021, 9:18 pm |

    I sort of did know that. I’ve written an article about time zones in Australia, you can read it here…

    I mention the unofficial time zone in WA in the Disclaimer at the bottom of the article, as well as mentioning a few other quirky time zones in and around the country. But when I say I ‘sort’ of did know, I think I have also sort of forgotten all about it as well. So thanks for reminding me.

  • Tina harday June 23, 2019, 9:28 pm |

    In Victoria we have daylight savings ,its great because we get another 1 hour extra daylight every day, but it sucks when we lose an hour especially in winter.

    • BobinOz June 24, 2019, 5:45 pm |

      Half a cake is better than no cake at all, as they say. I think most people in south-east Queensland would prefer to have daylight savings in summer, even if it does mean going back an hour in the winter.

  • Edward Harding June 12, 2018, 1:22 pm |

    You got them all wrong

    • BobinOz June 12, 2018, 8:27 pm |

      No I haven’t.

      • Helen November 2, 2018, 2:33 am |

        Interesting! As days get darker in the UK I wondered how it works in Australia! I would rather have more light in winter as it is in Australia and less in summer in the UK. I love the light days I admit – but it doesn’t make up for darkness at 4pm. And in Australia you don’t have Brexit hanging over our heads!

        • BobinOz November 2, 2018, 9:08 pm |

          Good point, I know it didn’t take me too long to get used to the daylight hours times here, but I think it could take the UK a very long time to get used to Brexit.

          What a mess that is turning out to be.

          • Mark L November 7, 2018, 9:43 am |

            I’ve been through southeast QLD a few times over the years and always thought the same thing. Their time-set really sucks!
            As you have set out above it gets dark way too early and being further north there isn’t much twilight – just a switch within 30mins from light to dark.
            Being further north also means that the length of day doesn’t vary as much so they don’t need DLS but should move forward an hour permanently. ( would still be on the same time as NSW for half the year – just the other half.)

            • BobinOz November 7, 2018, 7:17 pm |

              Being furthest east though, Brisbane gets the worst of the early sunsets in all of Queensland, which is why there’s been some talk of maybe having two different time zones in the state.

              Can’t see it happening low.

  • No thanks April 5, 2018, 12:49 am |

    Nope. Hate daylight savings in Qld. Head north and do a job which isn’t plain old 9-5 and it’s depressing. Finishing school right at the hottest time of the day in North/ central Qld is awful too.

    I know when I lived in NSW, it would be ALMOST daylight when I got to work just as dls came in and pushed it back again. Seeing the sun for a few minutes each afternoon is bloody depressing.

    • BobinOz April 5, 2018, 8:52 pm |

      I’m not sure I understand No thanks, where do you only see the sun for a few minutes each afternoon? In Cairns, today for example, Sunset is at 6:16 PM. Here in Brisbane, it’s 5:42 PM. North Queensland is better off than south-east Queensland.

  • Richard Hughes July 2, 2017, 8:30 pm |

    Í we had DLS in Brisbane, it would have to be the opposite of Sydney putting us two hours apart. Look at a map, Brisbane is further East than Sydney and and QLD stretchs much further West than NSW and it’s much hotter in a builder, going to bed in summer at 8.00 pm when it was really 7.00 and 32 degrees was a nightmare

    • BobinOz July 3, 2017, 7:20 pm |

      Interesting comment, I’ve been trying to get my head around it, I simply can’t. I have always naturally assumed that if Queensland had DLS, it would fall in line with NSW time. Yes, for sure, like you say Brisbane is further east than Sydney and Queensland stretches further west than New South Wales, so effectively Queensland goes further both east and west.

      The vast majority of these two states though are in line. The biggest complaint people in south-east Queensland have, mostly in Brisbane, is that it gets too dark to early in the summer. Changing our clocks in the opposite direction of NSW would make that worse, surely?

      So I can’t see how DLS in Brisbane would go in the opposite direction at all, and I’ve tried to find out about it online, but I haven’t really found anything concrete. I know there was a trial back in the late 80s 90s for three years but I couldn’t find anywhere that states which way the clocks went for that.

      Like I say though, I can’t get my head round it so I may be totally wrong. I don’t know what you think, but personally I reckon having to go to bed at 8 o’clock in the evening is quite ridiculous and I know why you builders do it, because you like to start at 6 AM before it gets too hot. Surely you would all rather push that back one hour?

      Update: Sorry, I mean forward, see how confused I am? 🙂

  • Stupid question king May 10, 2017, 3:31 am |

    Loving your site Bob; thank you. We’re moving to Gold Coast in about 9 months with our 10-year-old lad – very exciting!
    Regarding winter evenings – is it too cold for the evening barbie and beers with friends? Will we need an entertainment room? (Assuming we find any friends that is…)
    Thanks again – especially for the spider and snake info; I feel de-sensitised already!

    • BobinOz May 11, 2017, 12:35 am |

      Thanks, glad you like.

      On Gold Coast, it would only really get to chilly/cold at night from about May through to September, so for about five months a year. The rest of the time it is easily warm enough to enjoy the outdoors at night and in the summer you would never have a problem being outside.

      That would be different elsewhere in Australia though, the further south you go from Gold Coast the colder night times would get. So I don’t reckon you would need an entertainment room, you’ll be fine, and in the winter you would even get away with a gas heater or a fire pit to take the chill out the air.

      • Bipartisan February 14, 2018, 5:43 am |

        So, this is where hell is. Brisbane, Australia… God rest all of your souls.

    • k in wa October 21, 2021, 10:51 am |

      too cold at night for a barbie with mates in your backyard? …really?
      do you and your mates not down a beer [or 23]? —wouldn’t feel the cold with all that comaraderie, either – eh?
      are you prevented from having a fire at the beach? –under a clear, crisp star-filled night with a lamb chop wrapped in a chunk of bread in one hand and a coldie in the other in the middle of children squealing and running in and out between fire light and dark [unless it’s a full moon], gels chatting &/or maybe dancing -and the blokes around the keg

      • BobinOz October 23, 2021, 9:13 pm |

        Oh man you make it sound so fantastic, I can’t wait for winter to come around again just so I can have a barbie and, of course, those 23 beers to test out your theory.

        I must admit, when I first got here from the UK, I was in shorts and T-shirt all year round and even when we went out in the evenings during winter. I just never felt the cold. But as the years gone by I think I’ve acclimatised, and now I’m starting to put jumpers or jackets on when I go out in the winter. I’m turning into a wuss.

  • Tess October 8, 2016, 2:54 pm |

    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 |

      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 |

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

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

      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 |

    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 |

      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 |

    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 |

      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 |

    This is brilliant, thanks.

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

    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 |

      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 |

    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 |

      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.

      • Jon February 14, 2018, 5:40 pm |

        While coming home from work in the UK on winter days in the dark is not ideal, since towns and transport are well lit, it makes little practical difference. And later on most people plan to stay around the house anyway.
        I now spend a fair amount of time in Perth, which does not enjoy daylight saving, and really miss the long light summer evenings we have in Europe.
        Yes it’s warm enough to sit outside in the alfresco for a private BBQ but too dark for outside activities, walks, sports, kids playing out etc.
        It’s also not my experience that most people are finished work and home 3.30-4pm….if only!
        In WA, as in Scotland, they say it’s to do with farmers milking cows in the dark??? I never realised there were so many milkmaids in Perth or in UK, nor could ever understand why isolated farmers couldn’t just set their own clocks.
        I would always support Daylight Saving in temperate latitudes.

        • BobinOz February 14, 2018, 9:25 pm |

          No, I didn’t say most people, just the tradies, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and builders that knockoff at about 3 o’clock. They tend to start work at 6:30 AM though, so they’ve still done a full eight hour day.

          Like yourself, I would probably support daylight saving simply because I don’t need it to be light at 5 AM, but apparently farmers do. I think the problem is more than that though, whilst it’s getting light at 5 AM in Brisbane and south-east Queensland, most of the rest of this state gets light later in the morning. In some places, probably quite a bit later.

          Queensland could probably do with two time zones, probably WA could do with two as well, but nobody seems interested in that.

          • Jon February 15, 2018, 6:34 am |

            Guess most people I know in Perth aren’t Tradies. But generally I have always thought that the group who gain most from Australia vs UK are the tradesmen, but I’m not sure how easy it is for them to get visas these days.
            Back on daylight saving, it always seems to be the farming lobby wagging the dog, yet no group seems more suited to setting personal time clocks.
            And sunset in Perth at 7pm during the long summer holidays seems both unnecessary and irresponsible.

          • k in wa October 21, 2021, 11:02 am |

            WA has 2 official time zones and a couple of extra ‘unofficial’ zones across the Nullarbor – Perth and Eucla (on the border)
            just so’s u know

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