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The Best Sunrise Predictor Tools To Witness A Great Sydney Sunrise!

Hi there fellow sunrise chasers – if you’re a sunrise enthusiast like me and live for those jaw-dropping moments when the sky paints itself in hues of pink and orange over Sydney, you’ve probably wondered if there is a predictor app or website that can give you a good idea about what tomorrow’s sunrise will look like. 

bondi icebergs sydney sunrise predictor print photography

Sunrise over Bondi Beach.

You’ve probably seen some people posting a lot on Instagram, sharing their stunning Sydney sunrise shots, that you’re wondering if it’s luck how they consistently capture these breath-taking colours in the sky, or if there’s something they know that we don’t.

The good news is that it’s not just luck, and you can actually learn to predict a good Sydney sunrise for yourself by looking at just a few simple weather factors. 

Knowing what makes an epic sunrise is actually very simple, and it’s such a game changer!

sunrise over north bondi

If you’ve ever found yourself waking up ridiculously early to get down to the shore of one of the beaches in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, waiting in anticipation for that golden moment when the sky lights up but nothing special happens – you know the struggle!

Or you snoozed the alarm, only to find out from your friends and social media later that the sunrise was out of this world, then you know the feeling.

Capturing these incredible moments on camera when the sky is ablaze with colours is truly special, but as any enthusiast knows, not all sunrises are created equal. They can be as unpredictable as they are beautiful.

sunrise predictor bondi beach sydney

You might experience a dazzling, colourful sunrise on an otherwise cloudy day or be disappointed with a lacklustre display on a day that’s predicted to be a scorcher.

Thankfully, there are apps and websites dedicated to sunrise and sunset predictions that help us in determining the likelihood of a colourful sunrise or sunset.

These tools forecast the intensity and vibrancy of colours during the golden hour, helping photographers and photo enthusiasts plan their sunrise and sunset adventures.

While these predictive apps prove invaluable in saving time and helping us decide whether it’s worth chasing that early morning sunrise or skipping it (because who wants to rise early only to find a cloud-covered horizon stealing the spotlight), it’s essential not to treat their data as absolute gospel as weather conditions can change.

sunset Fiji tropical captions

Make it a habit to consult the sunrise/sunset predictor apps or websites a day or two ahead of your planned sunrise photography session.

Consider checking them both in the morning and at night to stay on top of any updates, and it’s always worth cross-checking on a different app or website as well!

Keep in mind that weather forecasts can sometimes change. Even if the prediction appears promising a few days in advance, always double-check closer to the scheduled time – for instance, right before bedtime if you’re gearing up for an early sunrise shoot!

So are you ready to up your sunrise game? Get ready as we spill the beans on the best way to predict a great sunrise in Sydney so you won’t miss a spectacular sunrise again.   

sunrise pacific harbour    


Many photographers will use a combination of websites and apps to predict if it will be a good sunrise or not.

Below are the best sunrise and sunset prediction websites and apps:

Best Free Apps for Sunrise and Sunset Predictor in Australia and New Zealand:

1. Cloud Free Night:

  • Cloud Free Night is powered by an Astrology community, it excels in accuracy for Australia and New Zealand.
  • Provides a map with total cloud cover options and a meteogram for detailed breakdowns.
  • Valuable for those wanting real-time cloud coverage information.

2. Bureau of Meteorology (Australia):

  • BoM features high-resolution satellite footage from the last 5 hours for real-time cloud coverage.
  • Essential for seeing cloud formation and direction at your current location.sunset Marlo jetty snowy river east Gippsland Victoria

Free Apps for Sunrise and Sunset Predictions:


  • is an excellent website and app breaking down cloud height and cover into percentages for easy interpretation.
  • Hour-by-hour breakdown with clear indications of high, middle, and low cloud percentages.
  • Offers a straightforward approach to sunrise and sunset predictions.

2. Sky Candy:

  • Sky Candy offers a timer countdown to sunset and a percentage calculator for sunrise/sunset quality.
  • Provides map and satellite images, aiding photographers in planning photoshoots.
  • Free version includes three forecasts per day.

3. MySunset:

  • My Sunset features an interactive map with a forecasted quality percentage for upcoming sunrises and sunsets.
  • Allows customization with added custom locations for personalized predictions.
  • Completely free with no in-app purchases.

4. SunsetWX:

  • Sunset WX is a global sunrise and sunset predictor website with an easy-to-follow ‘How To’ Guide.
  • Provides hourly predictions on the quality of the golden hour, using a color-coded map.
  • Interpretation is made easier with the guide, ensuring accurate planning.

5. Alpenglow:

  • A simple app with essential information on Magic Hour times and sunrise/sunset forecasts.
  • Classifies the quality of the event into categories like great, good, fair, and poor.
  • Free version available, with optional upgrades for additional features.

6. Windy:

  • A radar-based website (also available as an app) offering detailed cloud cover information.
  • Covers total cloud cover, wind, temperature, and visibility.
  • Particularly useful for those who appreciate detailed data in addition to sunrise and sunset predictions.

7. Magic Hour:

  • Provides detailed information, including weather forecasts, countdown timer, and upcoming event details.
  • Offers ‘moon watch’ information for moonrise, moonset, and moon position in relation to the sun.
  • A comprehensive tool for photographers seeking in-depth insights.

island sunset fiji paradise

Best Paid App for Sunrise and Sunset Predictor:

SkyFire (The Photographer’s Ephemeris):

  • An $8.99 subscription service for sunrise and sunset colour forecasting for the upcoming 3 days.
  • Integrates with The Photographer’s Ephemeris app, a valuable tool for photographers.
  • Uses a proprietary algorithm for precise calculations.

Note: While these apps and websites provide valuable insights, keep in mind that nature can surprise us, and the sky may have plans of its own. Use these tools as guides, but trust your eyes when the moment arrives.

What Makes A Good Sunrise?

So, what makes a good sunrise? It actually primarily depends on the presence and characteristics of clouds. The factors to consider include:

  • cloud cover (ideally 30-70%)
  • cloud height (ideally no low clouds, and high and middle clouds present)
  • low/no wind
  • low humidity
  • good visibility
  • no rainfall

Ideal Sunrise/Sunset Conditions:

  • cloud coverage between 30-70%
  • high and middle clouds, no low clouds
  • a range of cloud formations – thin and broken clouds and fluffy clouds in particular.
  • if shooting at sunrise, shoot before a storm/rain.

How Clouds Help To Predict A Good Sunrise

Understanding the different cloud levels—low, middle, and high—plays a crucial role in predicting a captivating sunrise or sunset. Here’s how each level contributes to the vibrancy of colours in the sky:

  1. Low Clouds:
    • Ideally, aim for low cloud cover as close to 0% as possible.
    • Few or no low clouds on the horizon allow middle and high clouds to capture sunlight below the horizon, resulting in a more colourful display.
    • Overcast conditions with numerous low clouds can block red light from reaching middle and high clouds, diminishing the orange and red tones in the sunset or sunrise.
  2. High Clouds:
    • High clouds contribute to a more vibrant sunset or sunrise as they intercept vivid sunlight.
    • Ideal conditions involve a higher cloud cover for a stunning sunrise or sunset.
  3. Middle Clouds:
    • Medium-height clouds are less predictable, impacting vibrancy based on weather conditions.
    • Their influence can either enhance or detract from the overall colour display.

Cloud Cover:

  • Cloud cover between 30-70% is optimal, allowing light to shine through.
  • Less than 30% cloud cover makes it challenging for red wavelengths to be intercepted, resulting in fewer red tones.
  • Above 70% cloud cover with thick clouds can prevent red wavelengths from penetrating, potentially diminishing the vibrancy of the sunrise colours.

Cloud Type:

  • Ideal cloud types for stunning sunrises and sunsets are high clouds, specifically Cirrus clouds (long, thin, broken, and wispy), Cirrocumulus clouds (fluffy like cotton candy), and altocumulus clouds (textured appearance).
  • These high cloud types allow light to pass through, creating a plethora of colours during golden hour.

Predicting Sunrise/Sunset:

  • Cirrus clouds, being one of the highest cloud types, often retain colour the longest during golden hour.
  • Cirrocumulus clouds beautifully reflect sunrise and sunset colours.
  • Altocumulus clouds, with their textured appearance, enhance golden hour photos.
  • Over time, patterns between cloud formations and colourful displays will become apparent, aiding in prediction.
  • While surprises can happen, following these guidelines as a sunrise or sunset predictor proves reliable in the majority of cases (about 9 times out of 10).

Knowing when it’s worth waking up early for a spectacular sunrise becomes easier with this understanding of cloud dynamics and their impact on the sky’s colours.