We all love a good moan about the weather, but compared to some places in the world, Australia's cities have got it pretty good. Head elsewhere, and the temperatures, rain and lack of sunlight could make you considerably more miserable…
Umium Lake, Meghalaya, India Photo: Alamy
According to Guinness World Records, the place with the highest annual rainfall is Mawsynram in India's Maghalaya state. It's not just a one-off microclimate for the village, either, as the second place goes to Cherrapunji, also in the hilly, sodden state tucked in above Bangladesh.
However, most of the rain falls during the monsoon season – largely between June and September. And when it comes, it comes heavy.
When to go: Weirdly, a tourism trade has built up around the rains, with people coming to see just how wet it is. If you want the other extreme of the area being near bone dry, go between December and February. But then the waterfalls aren't flowing, so October/ November is a happy compromise.
What to do: The star attraction is Nohkalikai Falls, a 340m waterfall near Cherrapunji. Its power varies considerably between wet and dry seasons.
Aerial of the Napali coast, Kauai Photo: Alamy
Many people would sooner have a few months of heavy rain rather than continual, consistent dampness. And while Hawaii may be beautiful, there's a reason it's that green. Guinness World Records has Mt Wai'ale'ale on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has the most consistently rainy place on earth – clocking up to 350 rainy days per annum.
When to go: The mountain acts as a rain trap and the rest of the island isn't quite as soggy, but Kauai still gets an average of between 15 and 24 rainy days a month. There are paradoxically fewer rainy days between December and February, but more rain. While the summer months – June to September – get less rain, but more days where there is rain.
What to do: Kauai tends to be Hawaii's back to nature island, although you're better off looking at the results of Mt Wai'ale'ale than trying to clamber up it. That means several waterfalls, and kayaking tours down the gorgeous Wailua River.
"Siberian" is often used as a shorthand for cold, and there's a reason for this. The Sakha Republic in the north-east of Russia is home to the coldest permanently-inhabited place on earth. Oymyakon ironically means non-frozen waters, with the name coming from a thermal spring once used by reindeer herders.
Average temperatures are below freezing from October to April, and regularly below minus 50 degrees Celsius during this period. Earlier this year, an electronic thermometer was installed as a tourist attraction, and it broke because it couldn't handle the cold.
When to go: January or February if you really want to see what sort of cold you can withstand, or June and July if you want surprisingly pleasant averages of around 20 degrees Celsius.
What to do: Oymayakon has said reindeers and a thermal spring to look at, and not much else. The Sakha Republic's fairly minimal tourism industry tends to be centred in Yakutsk, two days' drive away. Yakutsk is still the world's coldest major city, as hinted at by star attraction Permafrost Kingdom, which is full of never-melting ice sculptures.
The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
If you're the type that would sooner be too cold than too hot, the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is going to be utterly horrific. It records what are thought to be the highest average temperatures in the world – a grim 34.4 degrees Celsius – lies below sea level, and has little rainfall. Bordering Eritrea, it's not exactly brimming with visitors either.
When to go: It is relatively cooler between December and February, but you can still expect temperatures averaging in the early 30s.
What to do: Brave the heat, and the place looks seductively weird. Tours such as those from Ethio Travel (ethiotravelandtours.com) include volcanoes, crater lakes, multi-coloured salt lakes and lava fields.
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
View of Dhahran from the Doubletree Hilton. Photo: Doubletree Hilton
Temperature isn't the only measurement of how unpleasant it can be outside – there's humidity to factor in too, and that's where the Heat Index comes in. This is how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in, and most of the highest Heat Index temperatures ever recorded are around the Persian Gulf. When weather fronts come in off the warm waters, it gets very hot, and very sweaty.
The highest ever recorded was Dhahran in Saudi Arabia in 2003, when the ultra-high humidity made 42 degrees Celsius feel like 81 degrees. There is no record for how many changes of underwear were required that day.
When to go: It's much more pleasant between November and March, with average temperatures in the 20s.
What to do: Dhahran is an oil city, in a country that's more-or-less closed off to non-pilgrim tourists. Frankly, you don't want to go there. But the rest of the Gulf has similar weather patterns, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi having the most for visitors – from desert dune-bashing tours to lavish hotel complexes.
Torshavn, Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands, it's fair to say, are not going to attract too many sunbathers. It gets a meagre average of just 840 hours of sun per year – less than a third of what Sydney gets – and even in summer, average temperatures only creep up to 11 degrees Celsius.
When to go: Most of those sunny hours tend to be packed into June.
What to do: The Faroes' strengths are moody clifftop hiking, old whaling stations, cute traditional villages and massive seabird colonies such as those as Vestmanna.