Does it snow in Australia?
Yes, there is snow in certain places in Australia. However, it does not generally fall in cities or major population centres.
Perhaps the largest cities that experience snow would be Canberra occasionally and the top of nearby Mt Wellington in Hobart.
Snowfalls are mainly contained in the highlands and mountain ranges, which are almost exclusively in Victoria and Southern New South Wales, as well as the mountains in Tasmania.
Most people in Australia would refer to travelling “to the snow”, in the same way people in many countries declare that they are travelling “to the beach” or “to the country”.
The Victorian snowfields are generally about a three-hour drive from Melbourne, while the New South Wales snowfields are about 2½ hours from Canberra or about five hours from Sydney.
Snowfall in the (mainly sea-level) cities is fairly rare, however, the Great Dividing Range which runs down the east coast and across the southeast corner of Australia has a large number of peaks and “high country” above 1500m (5000 ft) which experience substantial winter snowfalls.
The Australian Alps, consisting of the Snowy Mountains and the Victorian Alps, has an area of 12,330 km2 (4,760.6 sq mi) and is largely snow-covered during the winter season.
There are nine ski resorts throughout this region with a total of 263 ski lifts of various types and 390k overnight visitors to these resorts (10% international visitors).
Accusation snowfall at the major resorts averages around 2.5 to 3.0 m per annum, which is augmented by snowmaking producing typical snow depth of around 1.0 m and sometimes up to 2.0 m.
Does it snow in Australia?
Here is an Australian wine farm with a kangaroo experiencing snow… just to prove my point.
The locations in Austrlaia that experience snow, however, are all the high altitude locations. these include the
- snowy mountains
- Tasmanian Highlands
- Numerous locations along the Great dividing range
- And occasionally… maybe one day a year. South Western Australian peaks
- You may also get very, very rare snow falls in the desert once every few decades… but they hardly count.
What you will notice from all those photos is that the snow is not very deep. Australia very rarely experiences snow as thick and deep as that which you get in other areas of the world, and in non-elevated locations, any snowfall is usually molten by midday and washed away.
There are three other locations that Australia lays claim to that experiences snowfall, they are some islands in the Southern Ocean and a third of the Antarctic landmass… but not everyone recognizes this as Australia.
The area of snow in Australia in Winter is greater than the area of Switzerland.
As a proportion of the whole area of Australia, though, that is small.
Very occasionally snowfalls to sea level but the last time I know of was 50 years ago. For the most part regular winter snow occurs only above about 1000 metres altitude in the south-east of the country.
For people accustomed to really snowy places a fall of snow in Australia can be entertaining. A school I taught at lies at relatively low altitude surrounded by mountains.
The town was small and many of the students came in from surrounding districts. One winter’s day only half the students made it to school because 2 mm (less than 1/10″) of snow had fallen in the surrounding hills and mountains so the school buses could not operate.
It does snow in some parts of Australia but only a small area and the snow generally thin.