I truely am embarrassed. How many thousands of travellers have arrived in Sydney over the past two months and asked: Where’s the sun? Why is it cold? WTF is going on?
It’s an unusually grey, wet and cool summer. Australia, the land of sunshine, has precious little of it on the east coast – the place where it’s usually packed with holidaymakers. I went to a Botany Bay beach this morning, south of Sydney’s CBD, and took some pictures, looking for sparkling water and sun lightly searing bare shoulders. There were a few people making the best of it, but the beach looked as washed out as the greying sky and the water was murky and looked downright uninviting. The guys further down the beach running the kite school had no customers either, but the sky looked a little bluer in their direction, so maybe they got lucky. They need a breeze/wind/gale to get the kites in the air and there has been that, at least.
It was Sydney’s coldest December in 51 years. The average minimum temperature was 16.7 degrees, which was 0.8 degrees below average. January’s statistics can’t be much of an improvement. Will February be better?
Sydney has a million options apart from going to the beach, having lazy afternoon barbeques, swimming, surfing, snorkelling, kayaking, kiteboarding, building sandcastles and cold beers on the patio. But these are the activities we expect for at least three months, possibly up to six months, and there have been precious few days recently to do any of these.
We manage the occasional barbeque, and when the rain comes, we swap outdoor paper plates for pretty indoor ones and turn on the TV. The cricket and tennis have been more riveting than usual. I always did prefer my grilled fillet steak – with pickles, mustard, tomatoes, and rocket on sour dough – on a proper plate anyway. Paper ones are an accident waiting to happen.
The Sydney festival had lots of diversions, including including free outdoor concerts and art exhibitions. Tourists still throng the harbourside, the Opera House and climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But there’s no substitute for the sand between your toes and chaffing in places I won’t mention. Trawling shopping malls just doesn’t cut it. That’s a winter exercise. Traditionally sunny Queensland isn’t any better off. They’re suffering through another round of floods. The weather in Victoria, South Australia and heatwave-affected Western Australia is the summer we thought we would get.
I wish I had some good news for you. But I’ve just checked the weather forecast for the next four weeks, and, um, there’s no way I can soften the blow. Over southern and eastern Australia the cold fronts with the potential to bring widespread rain are now expected about February 8-12, February 15-27, and February 27 to March 2. There are only three days where the rainfall possibility is expected to be “medium”or “low”. Over Western Australia the strongest cold fronts should occur about February 2-6, February 7-11, and February 14-18. If you don’t believe me, check out www.weatherzone.com.au
There’s always March and April, which are often Sydney’s Indian Summer months of crisp mornings, snap clear days and almost no wind. Which isn’t great news for the kite school. But if you want to check it out, go to www.kiteboardinglessons.com.au To hell with the weather. Don’t hold back!