Slow English

Podcasts about Australia for intermediate learners of English

Podcast 108 – On a Hot Day in Melbourne


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Learn English while learning about daily life in Australia, with Rob McCormack

Podcast Number 108 – On a Hot Day in Melbourne


I live in Melbourne which is on the south eastern coastline of Australia.  Our weather here is really quite pleasant.  Our winters are not too cold, with average daily maximums being around 14 degrees Celsius in June and July, and our average daily summer maximum being around 26 degrees Celsius in January and February.  But on occasions during our summer, we have really hot days.  Actually, as I write this podcast, I am experiencing a hot day in Melbourne.  Our maximum temperature, as I write, is 38 deg C.  So I guess you can understand that, today, this topic is top of mind for me.   So in this podcast, I would like to talk about what people do in Melbourne when the weather is really hot.

A hot day in Melbourne – the temperature guage on our front porch at our home.

What do I mean by really hot?  Well, I consider anything above about 32 degrees Celsius maximum as a hot day.  Mind you, I am getting older now and I think I feel the heat a little bit more than I used to, so perhaps a younger person might have a different view.  Nonetheless, when the temperature gets above about 32 deg C then I want to stay indoors and enjoy the coolness of an air conditioned environment.

I guess I am spoilt, in that I have the option of staying indoors on a day like this. After all, I am retired.  I don’t have to go to work.  Some people have jobs where they are required to work outside.  Others must work in buildings without air conditioning.  I don’t envy them.  In Australia, I think an air conditioner is an essential requirement in summer.  We have a good quality reverse cycle air conditioner installed in our home. My wife and I decided a long time ago, when we first got married, that we would always buy a good quality air conditioner for our home. We have lived in Perth, Canberra, Sydney and lastly Melbourne.  All of these cities have hot days in summer, when it really is essential to have an air conditioner that can make a house comfortably cool.

Most work places and many homes are indeed air conditioned in Australia.  This has not always been the case of course.  When I was growing up in Western Australia, the small home where I lived with my parents did not have an air conditioner.  A circulating electric fan was the only cooling appliance that we had.  That was true of most homes in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.  I can remember those long hot days in summer during the summer school holidays, when we would often sit under a tree in our back yard, drinking a cold drink.  Sometimes, we would turn on the water sprinkler on the lawn and run through the streams of water, just to stay wet and cool.  Alternatively, we would sit inside in front of the fan.  Nowadays, on really hot days, I can still see children running under sprinklers in the suburbs of Melbourne.

In fact, keeping cool on very hot days in Australia is often about going to a place where you can relax in the water. This means either going to the beach, lake or river, or going to a water park.  Water parks are very popular in Australia.  We have several in and around Melbourne.  I often ride past one on my motorcycle on the outskirts of the city.  It has several swimming pools and lots of water slides, fun activities, kiosks, cafes, theme park rides and even a wave pool.  On the weekends during summer, or during the school holidays, the car park is usually full so it is obviously very popular.  Of course there is a cost for entry – in this case I think around $30 per person.

Also popular are the local swimming pools which exist in each local government area.  They often have shaded areas and some lawn, so that people can relax and also get cool by taking a swim in the pool. Some have fun water slides as well. The costs there are much cheaper but the water is still cool.

Many people will head off to the beach, or a lake or local river.  These are free of course.  In Melbourne there are good beaches on Port Phillip Bay where people can swim and relax on the sand.  When I was a young boy, going to the beach was our normal way to get and stay cool.  Of course it also meant being out in the hot sun, so we often got sunburnt which was very painful and bad for our skin.  Nowadays, people understand the dangers of being out in the sun and nearly everybody will take their hats and put on lots of sunscreen to protect their skin.

For some people, staying cool may mean going to a local shopping centre or the local library where the building is fully air conditioned.  Spending a couple of hours in a café or the food court is a relaxing way to avoid the heat. I love the way a shopping centre is always beautifully cool, no matter how hot and uncomfortable it is outside.  They really must have very powerful air conditioners.

For me, when it is really hot in Melbourne, I will choose air conditioning any time rather than the beach.  On days like these, I’ll leave the beach and the water park to the young.

If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Or, you can send me an email at  I would love to hear from you.  Tell me where you live, a little bit about yourself and what you think of my Slow English podcast.  I will write back to you, in English of course.  If you would like to take a short quiz to see if you have understood this podcast, you will also find it on my website. Goodbye until next time.


Podcast 108 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?

You can take the quiz as many times as you like.



air conditioned environment = a room or building where the air is made cool by a machine

air conditioner = a machine which makes the air in a room or building cool

alternatively = another way, a different way

appliance = a small machine, usually electric and used in the home

average = the middle number in a range of numbers.  To calculate an average, add all the numbers and then divide the total by how many numbers you have.

avoid = not to do something

back yard = the area behind a home where the garden is

cafes = a small shop where you can buy tea, coffee and snacks (like cakes)

circulating electric fan = a type of machine for blowing air, in order to cool you down when it is hot

coastline = where the sea meets the land

comfortably = when something gives comfort

consider = (here) to believe, to think

degrees Celsius = a way of measuring temperature.  Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius

different view = (here) when someone thinks differently to another person

envy = when you want something which someone else has

essential = necessary

experiencing = to see, hear or feel something; you are there

good quality = (here) when something is very good

head off = to leave to go somewhere

installed = put in place and working

kiosks = a very small shop where you can buy things, usually food and drinks

library = a place which has many books which you can read and borrow

local = near where you live

local government area = the area of a town or city managed by a local government

maximums = the highest (plural)

mind you = a phrase telling someone to take note; another way of saying “I am telling you…”

motorcycle = like a car, but with only 2 wheels (lots of fun to ride!!!)

nonetheless = despite this, even though

obviously = when something can be easily seen or understood

on occasions = sometimes

option = one of the choices between which you must choose

outskirts = on the edge

pleasant = when something is good, nice

popular = when something is liked by a lot of people

powerful = strong

quite = when something is neither very good nor very bad

rather than = instead of

relax =  to rest

required = (here) requested, told, asked to do something

requirement = something you must do or have or be

retired = not working anymore, usually after you are 65 years old

reverse cycle air conditioner = a type of machine used to cool air in a room or building

shaded = when there are trees or roofs which block the sun

shopping centre = a very large building with lots of shops

spending = (here) to use up some time

spoilt = to be lucky, to be given things others don’t have

streams = (here) water travelling in a thin line

suburbs = the area of a city where people live

sunburnt = when you get too much sun on your skin and it burns and goes red

sunscreen = you put this on your skin to stop being burnt by the sun

temperature = a number telling you how hot or cold it is

theme park rides = a special machine which you ride for fun (like a ferris wheel, roller coaster)

top of mind = it is something you are thinking about right now

water slides = a long flat tunnel with water flowing, where you can slide (it’s fun!)

water sprinkler = a small machine for spreading water onto the lawn

wave pool = a swimming pool which has waves made by a machine


  1. Dear Rob,
    Thanks to Tanya, my English lecturer from the USA, I’ve just discovered
    your podcast. It is such a nice way for me to improve my English and
    remember your country !
    After having dreaming about Australia for thirty-five years, I finally
    landed in Sydney in summer 2019. My partner and I spent almost five
    weeks from Sydney to Cairns, then Darwin and the red centre. Every time I realized how my dream was coming true, I cried with happiness …

    I’m very happy to listen to your stories… many thanks for this podcast !

    Best regards,

    Valérie from France (Brittany)

    • Hi Valerie,
      Many thanks for your comment. I am glad that you were able to have your trip to Australia before the pandemic. It sounds like you had a wonderful time. You have been to some places which I have not visited yet. Darwin and the red centre are still on my list of places to visit.
      I hope you are safe and well during these difficult times.
      All the best,

  2. Hello Rob, My name is Alla and I am from Krasnodar, Russia. I think that Krasnodar and the nearest areas to it is the warmest place in Russia. We have a very hot and wet weather in summer. Sometimes the humidity is so high that it becomes hard to breathe. The avarage temperature in summer in Krasnodar is about 35 degrees C. But we are lucky, now we have lots of devices for cooling. When I was a child, in 1980s we didn’t have even an electric fan. Of course now people don’t imagine summer without air conditioning inside their houses or cars. As for me in hot summer time my family and I love to go outside to the local rivers and have a barbeku there or we like swimming in the Black Sea on our weekends. Thank you for your podcasts, they are very interesting and useful!

    • Hi Alla,
      Many thanks for your comment. Krasnodar certainly sounds like a hot place. Personally, I find high humidity quite unpleasant, which is one reason why I like Melbourne so much. It rarely has high humidity. I can understand that breathing would feel difficult when the humidity is very high. We are all grateful for our air conditioners, that’s for sure. It’s amazing how we managed to cope in the past when we had no cooling, or in your case not even an electric fan. We didn’t know anything different, so we just got on with life and didn’t complain. I doubt that I could manage today without an air conditioner, but I guess, if we had to, we would. I like the idea of having a barbeque or going for a swim. It’s what we used to do when I was a child.
      Thanks again for your interesting comment.
      Have a great day.

  3. Hello Rob. I am from Turkey. I live in Aegean region where the hottest of Turkey. Our summer is being around 45 degrees Celcius in July and August. We usually don’t go out from 10 a.m to 16 p.m in summers . Air conditioner is really necessary for us. On hot days we are moving to our summerhouse in Ku?adas?. Ku?adas? is a touristic town in the seaside. My husband and our children like swimming. I like walking on the beach. Actually we love summer although it is very hot. I miss summer. Your podcasts are excellent.thank you again and again.

    • Hi Neslihan,
      45 deg C is very hot indeed. Occasionally we get maximum temperatures as high as that in summer. It’s almost unbearable. We also stay inside on days like that. If you check out Podcast 23 ( you can see what can happen in Australia when the temperature is very high and there are also strong winds.
      It sounds like your summerhouse is a great place to relax and enjoy the summertime. I grew up in a seaside town in Western Australia. I have fond memories of many summer school holidays spent at the beach. It’s great that your husband and children can also enjoy swimming in summer, and of course walks on the beach are always special.
      Thanks again for your kind words about my podcast.
      Cheers from Melbourne,

  4. Thanks for your sharing, so little know about the weather in Australia!

    • Hi,

      Many thanks for your comment. I hope the weather in your part of the world is a bit cooler than here in Melbourne today. We are expecting a maximum of 45 deg C, so I will be staying indoors!
      Have a great day.

  5. Very good podcast about weather in Australia. I like hote waeather, but I live in Russia, in Saint-Petersburg. The tempurature today is 7 bellow zero C.

    • Hi Andrey,
      Many thanks for your comment. I can understand your viewpoint. I guess a little bit of heat would be great right now in Saint-Petersberg. Seven degrees below zero sounds very cold indeed. In Australia, I can keep cool with my airconditioner. In Saint-Petersberg, you can keep warm with your heater. I hope we can both get some more comfortable weather soon.
      Have a great day.

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