Just because the weather is getting cooler, doesn’t mean you have to put your holiday plans on hold! Whether you’re looking to escape the cold and head somewhere warmer, or embrace the winter chill and hit the snow, we’ve put together some holiday ideas for your winter getaway!
Thaw out in the Top End
Winter is a great time to head up to the Northern Territory and check out Darwin as it’s the dry season, so daytime temperatures hover in the low 30s and blue skies are the order of the day. Make the most of the delightful weather with a swim – but remember that the beaches are off-limits for swimming due to saltwater crocs! Instead, head to the Darwin Waterfront precinct, featuring a wave pool and protected lagoon.
Darwin sunsets really turn on the goods, and the best place to watch the sky come to life with a thousand colours is from the ocean on a sunset cruise. If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, take in the stunning sunsets from the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, which are on every Thursday and Sunday evening and feature a stunning array of food, arts and culture.
Nearest G’day Park: Discovery Parks – Darwin
COSY UP AT A CELLAR DOOR
South Australia’s Barossa Valley wine region produces some of the best reds in Australia, so there’s no better time to find yourself a warm cellar door to cosy up in. It’s also one of the best places to go wine tasting. With over 80 cellar doors to choose from, you’ll be sure to find your new favourite spot. Many cellar doors these days have plenty to keep the kids entertained while you sample some of the wines!
Image credit: Epic Aussie Road Trip
Not just a wine lover’s delight, foodies will also feel right at home with the many fantastic food experiences to choose from. You can’t miss the Barossa Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, with over 50 stallholders offering everything from fresh seasonal produce to meats, pantry staples, baked sweets, and everything in between.
If you’re looking to hone your cooking skills, head to The Farm Eatery when you can enjoy delicious local food, or take part in one of their many cooking classes.
Hit the Slopes
If you’re a lover of the cold and snow, then head to Victoria’s Alpine Region! With snow season upon us, you'll be spoilt for choice with a selection of great ski slopes. Base yourself in Bright where you’ll be well-positioned to hit the snow on a few different mountains. If you’re a beginner, head to Dinner Plain which features gentle beginner slopes, or up the ante at neighbouring Hotham, one of Australia’s highest alpine villages with downhill runs up to 2.5km long!
Image credit: Visit Melbourne
To fill in your time not on the slopes, head to Red Stag Deer Farm located just outside of Bright, and see their red deer, emus, ostriches and goats, many of which you can hand feed, or try your hand on their mini-golf course. Or sample a local drop and keep warm at one of the nearby cellar doors, distilleries or breweries!
Seek Adventure in the Sun
With no humidity and no crowds, winter is arguably the best time to head to the Gold Coast! The average daily temperature still sits at a balmy 22⁰C, so it’s warm enough for a dip in the beach or to relax on the sand. Head to Wave Break Island for a guided snorkel tour, where you’ll have the chance to see up to 50 different species of fish!
It’s also a great time to hit the theme parks, with queues being much shorter than the busier summer months. Get your adventure fix at Movie World, Dreamworld and Sea World with their thrill rides offering endless fun for the whole family. Wet’n’Wild and WhiteWater World also offer plenty of nonstop fun with the water kept at 25⁰C, but don’t forget about the chill factor if it comes up breezy so be sure to pack some warmer clothes.
Watch for Whales
Head to Albany, Western Australia’s oldest town, for the winter months when it’s peak whale watching season. The incredible natural harbour of King George Sound is the nursery ground for the endangered Southern Right Whale, and a resting area for the southern migration of the Humpback Whale. It is one of the only places in Australia you can see the two species sharing the same water space. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!
If you're looking to keep warm by getting your heart rate up, head to the Torndirrup National Park which features a rugged coastline and many spectacular granite formations including Natural Bridge, The Gap and The Blowholes. Or brush up on your history with a visit to the National ANZAC Centre, The Museum of the Great Southern, and the Historic Whaling Station.
Explore the Events
The stunning coastal town of Byron Bay is a mecca of events throughout the cooler months, continuing to provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Head to the Byron Music Festival, showcasing local talent, or the Byron Writers Festival with feature events and workshops to suit lovers of all genres. Byron is a hub for talented creatives, and there’s no better way to immerse yourself than visiting the Byron Bay Markets, held on the first Sunday of every month.
Image credit: NSW Tourism
Mild winter temperatures mean Byron's beautiful beaches are still a must-visit, but you also can’t miss the hinterland with its green rolling hills, historic towns and lush rainforests. Explore the World Heritage-listed rainforest in Nightcap National Park, along with the Minyon Falls which drop a dizzying 100m. You'll be sure to work up a hunger, so grab a meal in the hinterland which features some of the best fine dining in the region.
Hike the Snow
Tasmania’s natural beauty means its hikes are stunning at anytime of year. If you’ve never hiked during winter, try tackling them during a snowy winter and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment like nothing else! The iconic Cradle Mountain features many hikes to suit all fitness levels and gives you the chance to discover the snowy landscapes from a new angle. Just make sure you've packed for the weather conditions!
Winter is also the best time to try to spot the Aurora Australis as it’s the darkest months in Tasmania. It’s almost impossible to predict the best time and place to see the lights but being as far south as possible away from light pollution, and on a clear, cloud-free night is your best bet.
You also can’t go past the exquisite Tassie cuisine, many of which are at their best in the winter months such as oysters, scallops, and truffles, as well as two of Tassie’s favourite beverages – pinot noir and single malt whisky.
Nearest G’day Park: Discovery Parks – Cradle Mountain