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Tips for surviving summer in Australia

Kat Trinh

Wed Feb 19 2014

surviving summer

MELBOURNE’S summer is coming to an end, but not without another heatwave. Kat Trinh shares her tips on surviving her first Australian summer as an international student who’s definitely not used to extreme heat. 

Stay hydrated

We’ve experienced one of Melbourne’s hottest summer this year with temperatures soaring to 45°C.

On days like that, I’ve resorted to lying on my apartment floor, feeling like a fried fish.

Unlike South East Asia, where the heat often comes with humidity, Australian summers can be scorchingly hot and extremely dry – so it’s important that you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

Lack of water, especially on hot days can really drain your energy, and worse, cause you to pass out.

There will be bugs

It didn’t take me long to learn that hot weather in Melbourne also means an increase in the number of flying bugs. These range from mosquitoes, flies and a whole lot of other insects that you don’t want keeping you company.

My solution is to buy plenty of anti-bugs cream and room spray. Carry some with you everywhere you go. I freaked out on the first night of summer when I found my room had become some kind of meeting point for bugs attracted to the lights. Do yourself a favour and switch them off at night before you open any windows!

Bring a light jacket

This may sounds weird. The weather is so hot that you’d assume wearing less would be ideal. But we’re talking about Melbourne here, where the weather is absolutely unpredictable. It can be sunny now, but a moment later, it can turn into a windy storm. Always pack a light jacket so you’re prepared for the sudden changes that Melburnians are all too familiar with.

Cover up

Don’t underestimate the heat. Never leave the house without putting on sunscreen. Bring along an umbrella to protect yourself from direct sunlight and unexpected rain. Wear a long-sleeved shirt. Basically, try your best to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This is the best way to avoid skin cancer, which is extremely common in Australia where the sun is stronger and harsh enough to burn even on overcast days.

Go public

As an international student, I felt reluctant to buy a new fan or air conditioner to chase away the heat, mostly because it usually only lasts a week and then disappears again for months. Spending heaps of money would be a waste.

But if you, like me, can’t suffer the hot weather for another minute, go to a public place, like a shopping centre, movie theatre, public pool or the library. This way you can enjoy the cool air for a few hours and get a break from the heat.

That’s all the tips I have for now! Autumn might be on its way and you can already see yellow leaves falling on the streets, but the summer season will come around again towards the end of the year. I hope some of those tips will help you survive Melbourne’s summer. For now let’s savour the final few weeks of the summer sunshine. Head to the beach, enjoy the warm weather – just remember to stay hydrated and covered up!

Do you have any other tips to share? Tell us in the comments box below!