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What time is it in Hawaii when it’s 3pm in California? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. With time zones spanning the globe, it can get confusing to figure out the time difference between locations. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the time zones of California, Hawaii, and Australia so you’ll know exactly what time it is where when you’re contacting friends, booking travel, or just curious.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Hawaii is typically 2 hours behind California. Eastern Australia is 17 hours ahead of California’s Pacific Time Zone. So when it’s 3pm in California, it’s 1pm in Hawaii and 8am the next day in Eastern Australia.

Time Zones Overview

What are time zones?

Time zones are regions of the Earth that have the same standard time. They are used to simplify timekeeping and ensure that clocks across the globe are synchronized. Time zones are based on the rotation of the Earth and the concept of dividing the world into 24 equal parts – one for each hour of the day. Each time zone is typically centered around a specific meridian, such as the Prime Meridian or the Greenwich Meridian.

How time zones work

Time zones work by dividing the world into regions with the same standard time. The time within each time zone is usually set to a specific offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). For example, Pacific Standard Time (PST) in California is UTC-8, which means it is 8 hours behind UTC. Hawaii Standard Time (HST) is UTC-10, while Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) is UTC+10. This offset allows people in different time zones to coordinate activities and schedules.

Why time zones were created

Time zones were created to address the need for standardized timekeeping across different regions. Before the introduction of time zones, each city or town would set their clocks based on the local solar time, which could lead to confusion and inconsistencies. The establishment of time zones allowed for better coordination in transportation, communication, and commerce. It also helped to improve safety and efficiency in various industries, such as aviation and international trade.

For more information about time zones, you can visit the official website of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at

Comparing Time in California and Hawaii

California time zone

California is located in the Pacific Time Zone (PT), which is UTC-8:00 during standard time and UTC-7:00 during daylight saving time. It is important to note that not all areas of California observe daylight saving time, so it is essential to check the specific location you are referring to. The state follows the same time zone as other western states such as Oregon and Washington.

Hawaii time zone

Hawaii, on the other hand, is located in the Hawaiian Standard Time Zone (HST), which is UTC-10:00. Unlike most states in the United States, Hawaii does not observe daylight saving time. This means that the time in Hawaii remains the same throughout the year.

Time difference between California and Hawaii

The time difference between California and Hawaii is significant. While California is either 2 or 3 hours behind Hawaii (depending on daylight saving time), it can sometimes feel like a world away. For example, if it is 12:00 PM in California, it would be either 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM in Hawaii. This time difference can have an impact on various aspects, including communication, scheduling, and business operations between the two states.

It is worth mentioning that this time difference can also affect travelers who are planning to visit either California or Hawaii. If you are flying from California to Hawaii, you will lose a few hours due to the time difference. On the other hand, if you are traveling from Hawaii to California, you will gain a few hours. It is essential to consider this time difference when making travel arrangements to avoid any confusion or missed appointments.

To keep track of the current time in both California and Hawaii, you can use various online resources and smartphone applications. Websites like Time and Date provide accurate and up-to-date information on time zones and time differences between different locations.

Comparing Time in California and Eastern Australia

California time zone review

California is located in the Pacific Time Zone (PT). This time zone is designated as UTC-8 during standard time and UTC-7 during daylight saving time. It covers most of the western part of the United States, including the state of California. The Pacific Time Zone is 8 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-8).

The Pacific Time Zone is observed in major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. It is worth noting that not all parts of California follow the Pacific Time Zone. For example, the city of Needles follows the Mountain Time Zone.

Eastern Australia time zone overview

Eastern Australia is covered by the Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which is UTC+10 during standard time and UTC+11 during daylight saving time. This time zone covers the eastern states of Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania.

Major cities in the Eastern Australia time zone include Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Canberra. It is important to mention that the Northern Territory and South Australia have their own time zones, which differ from Eastern Australia.

Time difference between California and Eastern Australia

The time difference between California and Eastern Australia can vary depending on the time of year due to daylight saving time changes. During standard time, California is typically 18 hours behind Eastern Australia. So, when it is 12:00 PM (noon) in California, it is 6:00 AM the next day in Eastern Australia.

However, during daylight saving time in Eastern Australia, the time difference becomes 17 hours. So, when it is 12:00 PM (noon) in California, it is 5:00 AM the next day in Eastern Australia.

For more information on time zones and their differences, you can visit websites like Time and Date or World Time Buddy.

Tips for Tracking Time Zone Differences

Use a time zone converter tool

When dealing with multiple time zones, it can be challenging to keep track of the differences. Luckily, there are online tools available that can make your life much easier. One such tool is Time and Date’s Time Zone Converter, which allows you to quickly convert times between different locations. Simply enter the cities or time zones you want to compare, and the converter will display the corresponding times, making it effortless to plan and schedule activities across different time zones.

Note time differences when scheduling calls and meetings

When arranging calls or meetings with individuals in different time zones, it’s crucial to be mindful of the time differences. Consider everyone’s availability and try to find a suitable time that works for all parties involved. Keep in mind that certain time zones, like California (Pacific Standard Time) and Hawaii (Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time), may have significant differences. For example, if you’re in California and want to schedule a meeting with someone in Hawaii, remember that Hawaii is three hours behind California. It’s always a good idea to double-check the time zones and adjust accordingly to avoid any confusion or scheduling mishaps.

Set clock displays when traveling

When traveling across different time zones, it’s essential to adjust your clock display to the local time as soon as you arrive at your destination. This helps you quickly adapt to the new time zone and avoid any confusion. Additionally, it’s a good practice to set the clock on your electronic devices, such as your smartphone or laptop, to automatically update based on the local time zone. This way, you won’t have to manually change the time each time you cross a time zone boundary. It’s a small but effective step to ensure you stay on track and make the most of your time in a new location.

By following these tips, you can navigate time zone differences with ease, whether you’re scheduling meetings with colleagues in different parts of the world or traveling to a new destination. Remember, time is a valuable resource, and being aware of time zone differences can help you make the most of it!


Keeping track of time zones can be confusing at first, but gets easier with practice. As you can see, Hawaii is 2 hours behind California, while Eastern Australia is 17 hours ahead. Next time you need to call a friend, book travel, or just want to know what time it is somewhere else, remember these key time zone differences. With a handy time zone converter and a bit of mental math, you’ll be able to quickly figure out the time anywhere else in the world.

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