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Climate: "Beautiful one day and gorgeous the next."

In January when most Canadians are bundled up in scarves and toques, many Australians are enjoying the beach. That's because January is the middle of the summer in Australia, and the hottest month of the year. Australia's seasons are opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is from December to February; fall from March to May; winter from June to August; and spring from September to November.

The climate in Australia varies wildly. There are tropical areas on the north coast, alpine zones in the southern Australian Alps, and desert conditions in central Australia. Much of Australia is hot and dry because it lies at the world's most arid latitude. In The Outback, temperatures can exceed 40 °C and dust storms occur about five times a year. In contrast, temperatures can fall as low as -10 °C in the Alps and Queensland's northern tropics experience heavy rain in the summer months due to the influence of the Northeast Asia Monsoon.

But not all of Australia experiences climatic extremes. Temperate conditions exist in some areas, including Sydney where summer temperatures usually range from 19-29 °C and winter temperatures range from 9-17 °C.

Bureau of Meteorology, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Government of Australia

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