Dreaming of a holiday? Winter has come, and the mid-year holiday cravings have well and truly set in. But if jetting off to Europe to chase the sun isn’t your flavour, there are plenty of spots in Australia that will satisfy your need for some R&R.
Here are eight amazing Aussie winter wonderlands you have to visit.
During summer the temperatures in Australia’s Red Centre are extreme, so the best time to visit Uluru is between May and September. The colder weather makes it safer and easier to walk, and you’ll be able to discover all of Uluru’s hidden gems like waterfalls, plants and animals. The cooler temperatures also bring out the vibrant colours of the rock – it’s truly a sight to see.
2. Cradle Mountain
If you’re thinking of heading down to Tassie, Cradle Mountain is extra special in the winter. The mountain’s summit is 1,545 metres above sea level, and there’s a good chance you’ll see snowfall from late autumn and throughout winter. Make sure to check out the Cradle Valley forecast and Tasmanian Police Community Alerts when planning a trip to make sure the area is open.
3. Mount Kosciuszko
Soak in the epic views from Australia’s highest point at the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. Walking the summit is a 13km return trip so will take a few hours (allowing 4-5 hours is recommended). The track takes you through the headwaters of the Snowy River, and provides sweeping views across the Snowy Mountains and Victorian High Country as you gradually climb higher. It’s an amazing site to see and comes with a great sense of achievement from conquering the hike.
4. Bunya Mountains
200km north-west of Brissy is the steep, narrow and winding roads leading to the Bunya Mountains. The rainforest-clad peaks are home to some of the largest ancient bunya pines in the world. There’s panoramic views, spectacular waterfalls and beautiful wildlife to see along the way. The Bunya Mountains also hold cultural significance to Indigenous Australians, so if you’re visiting, ensure you do so with care and respect.
5. Montague Island
Off New South Wales south coast is Montague Island, the home of hundreds of seals (that’s right, hundreds) and over 90 different bird species. In late winter you’ll see the seals lazing over the rocks, so make sure you pack your binoculars. Get in touch with local tour guides for the full wildlife experience. You can even get involved in the penguin survey program. Volunteers get to monitor penguin nesting boxes to help conserve the beautiful natural environment on the island - plus you’ll get to stay overnight in the lighthouse keeper’s cottages!
6. Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains is the ultimate winter holiday destination. There’s so much to do, from high tea at the Hydro Majestic and strolling through the stunning Everglades Gardens, to discovering the Three Sisters and hidden waterfalls along the many walking tracks. After a day of exploring you can duck into the cozy restaurants and cafes dotted around Katoomba to enjoy a quiet meal or drink.
7. The Kimberley
The Kimberley is another destination that is best visited over the winter months. The highlight of the area has to be Cable Beach. With rolling white sand dunes and picturesque blue waters, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Or if you’re looking for an adventure, you can try four wheel driving or camel riding along the sand. There’s plenty of other great spots too, like the Willie Pearl Farm and Horizontal Falls.
8. Lord Howe Island
Situated off the east coast is the tiny, World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island. Spanning a humble 11km by 2km, the island is made up of towering rock formations, white beaches and ancient banyan tree forests. If you’re a keen fisherman, there are fishing charters operating daily - the sea around the island is rife with opportunity as commercial fishing is not allowed in the area. There’s also some amazing hiking and bike tracks, as well as bird shows where you can check out the rare species native to the island.
Preparing for your Aussie winter trip
When travelling in winter you don’t want to be caught out with the wrong gear. Here are my top tips for preparing for a winter trip.
1. Packing the right gear
First things first, you’ll need a suitcase rather than a backpack. Winter travel means heavier clothes and more layers, so you’ll need that extra space. You should include warm items like hoodies and jumpers, beanies, scarves, gloves and closed shoes. The temperatures vary between the different states around Australia, so refer to local temperature guides and weather forecasts before you start packing. You also want to make sure you’ve got plenty of moisturiser to fight the inevitable dry skin that comes with cold weather.
If you’re heading to the snow, you’ll need a few extra things. Wearing thermals under your gear will keep you toasty, plus ski pants and jackets specifically made for snow. You’ll also need snow boots for walking in the snow, and sunglasses to protect your eyes against the harsh glare.
2. Preparing for a road trip
If you’re jumping in the car for your trip, you need to make sure you have extra items like snacks and water for the journey. And even though you’ll have Google Maps on your phone, it doesn’t hurt to have a physical map on hand just in case your phone is damaged or you find yourself in a service dead zone.
Make sure you plan toilet and petrol stops along the way; this way you get to rest your eyes and stretch your legs. You also want to make sure your car is up for the drive. There are several ways you can make sure your car is ready for winter roads, but it’s always best to have a mechanic to service your car to ensure your vehicle is running smoothly.
3. Preparing for flights
The first step should be to look up your airline’s regulations so you know what size and weight suitcase you’re allowed to pack. You also want to make sure you leave plenty of time for travelling to the airport - there can often be long lines to check in baggage and get through security depending on what time of day you travel, so get there early to avoid problems. Finally, check that you have all the essentials. Have you got your ticket and ID? And have you got some entertainment for the plane?
Time for a holiday
It’s time to put in your leave at work and plan that winter holiday getaway. With so many amazing winter destinations right in our own backyard, why would you need to go anywhere else?
Stephanie on May 21, 2020:
Thanks for this list! Uluru is on my bucket list!