Adaptation of wheat to heat stress is an important component of adaptation in variable climates such as the cereal producing areas of Australia. However, in variable climates stress conditions may not be present in every season or is present at different levels, at different times during the season. Such conditions complicate plant breeder’s ability to select for adaptation to abiotic stress. This study presents a framework for the assessment of the genetic basis of adaptation to heat stress conditions with improved relevance to breeder’s selection objectives. The framework was applied here with the evaluation of 1225 doubled haploid lines from five populations across six environments (three environments selected for contrasting temperature stress conditions during anthesis and grain fill periods, over two consecutive seasons), using regionally best practice planting times to evaluate the role of heat stress conditions in genotype adaptation. Temperature co-variates were determined for each genotype, in each environment, for the anthesis and grain fill periods. Genome wide QTL analysis identified performance QTL for stable effects across all environments, and QTL that illustrated responsiveness to heat stress conditions across the sampled environments. A total of 199 QTL were identified, including 60 performance QTL, and 139 responsiveness QTL. Of the identified QTL, 99 occurred iseparate to the 21 anthesis date QTL identified. Assessing adaptation to heat stress conditions as the combination of performance and responsiveness offers breeders opportunities to select for grain yield stability across a range of environments, as well as genotypes with higher relative yield in stress conditions.