Melbourne: Four Seasons in a Day…Literally

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When I initially came to Australia, I thought the rhetoric that Melbourne has four seasons in a day was precisely that: rhetoric. Turns out it’s not that big an exaggeration.

This post was originally published in 2008. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 
For more about my 2 years of Aussie adventures, click here.

The summers aren’t really that hot, are they? (Actually yes: 40 degrees is common, even the norm).

My initial suspicions that Aussies tend to blow everything out of proportion has been proven wrong a few times now. Although a general undertone of exaggeration exists in many ways, it is not so extreme as to be noteworthy.

No, Australia is simply a country of extremes, it seems.

So when I heard that Melbourne (and surrounding areas) is known for having “Four Seasons in a Day”, I chucked it up to good ol’ Australian exaggeration.

Not so much.

I am used to getting dressed just once per day. I awake, get dressed, and think little more of the clothing I am wearing other than to appreciate the fact that I am not relegated to walking around naked.

But here, it is necessary to dress (and undress) many times a day.

The mornings can be cool. This can also be an understatement. The mornings can be downright frosty, even as we are into the full swing of spring. Combine that with living in a bluestone cottage, nestled at the bottom of a valley and surrounded by tall trees, and I basically live in a large ice box. (In the dead heat of summer I will be thankful for this, I’m sure).

So when I awake, I layer up, often including scarf, hat, and down jacket.

Then, as does happen some days, I head into town. The afternoon rolls around, and all of a sudden I notice that everybody around me is dressed in sandals, shorts, and t-shirts. I am still wearing a scarf, hat, and down jacket. And I wonder why I am getting strange looks from passers-by. I sheepishly strip down what layers I can, trying to acclimatize to the day and wondering where I went horribly wrong. Was it really that cold this morning? Or is it just not that warm right now and everybody around me is nuts?

As soon as I become accustomed to the liberating lighter weight of my clothing, I get home, the evening progresses, and I realize I’ve been shivering (teeth literally chattering) for the last half hour. Heaters go on, and the scarf, hat, and jacket are donned once again. Another frosty night is in store.

Locals would probably tell you that my experience is “nothing. You can get four seasons in an HOUR here, mate,” as I have heard more than once. Everybody seems to have a tale of going out for lunch, enjoying the warm summer weather one minute, and a snowstorm the next. This seems to be mainly a Melbourne-centric phenomenon, but it can happen up here two hours away too.

Four Seasons in a Day…. Vivaldi would have a field day with this one. Crowded House did.

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1 thought on “Melbourne: Four Seasons in a Day…Literally”

  1. Ok,
    Liked the post , amused me as, when you grow up here, it becomes second nature to be prepared for all seasons in one day.

    Then I stumbled upon a great little Genealogy website focusing on early settlement in Tasmania. Someone has posted excepts from one James Blackwood’s Diary from 1840. Part of his entry for the 19th June 1840 was the following:

    This morning was exceedingly cold but as the day advanced it grew much warmer. The variation in temperature is very rapid and very great. In the mornings and evenings one would require to dress with warm clothing and afterwards as the day advanced to dress more lightly.

    Thought of your post immediately. 168 years later Oz is still confusing recent arrivals with her climate!

    The link to the post where I took the excert is here:


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