Continuing recent theme on weather, while those of us in the north are bundling up against the cold these days, Australia is experiencing a historic summer heat wave. Many records have been broken as temperatures climbed as high as 43 degrees C (109.4F) in Sydney, and the city of Eucla, in Western Australia, recorded a temperature of 48.3 C (119F) on January 3. The extreme conditions have triggered dust storms and raging wildfires, burning more than 750,000 acres, and destroying hundreds of homes. Collected here are images of Australia's January heat wave, and people both coping with it and enjoying it.
A gigantic rubber duck floats into Sydney's Darling Harbour on January 5, 2013 to kick off Sydney's annual arts festival, a celebration which combines high-art with popular entertainment. The rubber duck by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman forms part of the 2013 Sydney Festival which will present more than 750 artists from about 17 countries around the world.
(Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)
John O'Reilly takes refuge in the cool water behind a waterfall of a fountain in central Sydney, on January 8, 2013, as the temperature reached 42 degrees C (107.6F). Temperatures across much of New South Wales state were expected to reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) creating severe wildfire conditions.
(AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
A wildfire near Deans Gap, Australia, crosses the Princes Highway on January 8, 2013. Firefighters are battling scores of wildfires in southeastern Australia as authorities evacuate national parks and warned that hot, dry and windy conditions were combining to raise the threat to its highest alert level.
(AP Photo/NSW Rural Fire Service, James Morris)
A house destroyed by a bushfire in Dunalley, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Hobart, on January 5, 2013. Over 100 homes have been destroyed in Australia's island state of Tasmania, with police saying that thousands of residents have been displaced by dozens of bush fires, driven by record high temperatures last week across the country.
Yacht Loki carves through the heavy swell after the start of the Sydney Hobart yacht race in Sydney, on December 26, 2012. With spinnakers up, the 76-yacht fleet weaved its way around thousands of spectator craft in the harbor before heading out to the Tasman Sea for the 628-nautical-mile (723-mile; 1,163-kilometer) race to the island state of Tasmania.
(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
A python (upper right) lies wedged on the wing of a Qantas passenger plan as it flies over Port Moresby, on January 10, 2013. Passengers on a flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea were shocked to look out their cabin windows to find a huge snake on the wing of the plane. The three meter-long (9.1 foot) non-poisonous Amethystine python appeared about an hour into the Qantas flight between Cairns in northern Queensland and the Papua New Guinean capital of Port Moresby.
A scrubfire burns up a hillside south of Bookham, near Yass in the southern region of Australia's New South Wales, on January 11, 2013. After two days of cooler weather, heat and high winds returned to much of the country as fire crews tackled the infernos that have been burning for a week, 18 of them out of control in the most populous state of New South Wales.
(Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)