How hot does it get in Australia?

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With summer underway in Australia and heatwave conditions affecting a number of states this week, a lot of temperature observations are being compared to historical records.

Just what exactly is a heatwave? Here's how it is defined:

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New Zealand has recently had a heatwave - and now a large portion of Australia is being affected by heatwave conditions this week. But are heatwaves worth all the attention, or are they just normal summer weather? And can a heatwave be relative to where you are? Weatherzone digs down and explains:

Sydney's west forecast to exceed 40C on Thursday

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Summer started out on a cool note for much of southern Australia, although a countrywide heat wave will send temperatures soaring this week.

Many areas in southern and southeastern Australia experienced a notably mild start to summer this year.

Tuesday: Cooler in the South Island's east, but hotter than normal elsewhere

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A refreshing change is coming for parts of the South Island on Tuesday with parts of Canterbury possibly as much sa 20 degrees cooler at the warmest part of the day compared to last Friday when temperatures hit the mid to late 30s.

Fiordland drier than Alice Springs...what the heck?! (+2 Maps)

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Fiordland - one of the wettest places on earth - has had less rain that desert parts of central Australia over the past 30 days.

While New Zealand has been stuck under high pressure for much of the past month many inland, southern and eastern parts of Australia have been much wetter than average.

Australia: Eastern storms strike capital cities Friday

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Skies have darkened over Brisbane and Sydney this afternoon as thunderstorms rolled through both capital cities.

A broad low pressure trough draped across eastern Australia and a cold front moving over NSW produced the storms, some of which have produced hail and blustery winds.

Australia - Early Summer heat affecting Perth

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A burst of summer heat starting tomorrow in Perth may cause the city to have its warmest run of days this early in six years.

A slow-moving high pressure system to the south of Australia will cause an extended period of warm east to north easterly winds in Perth between now and early next week.

Australia: Sydney Harbour spills over into CBD due to supermoon

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A king tide prompted by a supermoon earlier this week has inundated areas around Sydney Harbour, with further record tides and flooding to come.

The tide reached 2.03 metres on Tuesday morning, with water spilling onto footpaths at the Royal Botanic Garden and flooding areas near the Fleet Steps.

Special Update: NZ's current set up breaking all the norms

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Most of New Zealand is drier than average. Most of NZ is warmer than average. Now the sea surface temperatures are not only above average, but they are warmer than average more so than anywhere else on the globe.

Weather Video: Current Sea surface temps around NZ stand out on world map

We kick off the first full week of December under more high pressure and mostly dry weather but this week has a few more twists than last week.

We still see a few daytime downpours, again mainly around Central Plateau but a few also possible around Central Otago.