Top five winter destinations
The best domestic holidays for your next winter getaway.
The ski fields of New South Wales and Victoria
Keen for a ski holiday? Don’t waste time travelling overseas when Australia has plenty to offer. There’s debate around which state has the best ski fields – New South Wales or Victoria – so it’s best to try the slopes in both and decide for yourself. Thredbo and Perisher-Blue are the two most-popular ski destinations in New South Wales and cater to all skill levels. In Victoria, Falls Creek offers Australia’s steepest and most-expert terrain, Mt Buffalo has cross-country and downhill skiing, Mt Buller has tobogganing and Mt Hotham has a reputation for some of Australia’s best snow.
If your idea of a winter getaway is drinking wine by the fire, then South Australia is for you. While the wine can be enjoyed year-round, it is certainly more enjoyable while huddled by a fire, overlooking scenic vineyards. With less tourists, it’s a great time to unwind and admire the vines and be among the first to taste the new releases. To get a feel for all the Barossa Valley has to offer, try the Hop On & Hop Off bus tour, the Barossa Explorer. The coach picks you up and takes you around the vineyards for you to disembark, enjoy and hop back on at your leisure.
It’s festival time! While most Australian festivals are held in summer, Tasmania does things a little differently. Celebrate the Dark Mofo winter festival which delves into centuries-old winter solstice rituals, explores the links between ancient and contemporary mythology, humans, nature and secular traditions. The festival runs from 14-23 June, across Hobart with major exhibitions at the MONA, a public art playground at Dark Park and international musicians and artists performing around the city. Highlights include a Winter Feast on Hobart’s waterside docks, the ogoh-ogoh parade and burning on solstice night and the annual Nude Solstice Swim. Hundreds partake in the swim and plunge into the River Derwent at sunrise to welcome the return of light.
Uluru, Northern Territory
If you visit Uluru in summer, you will experience unbearable heat and attract a second skin of flies. If you visit in winter, those woes fall by the wayside. The daytime temperatures are perfect for a walk or bike around the base of the rock. For those a little more adventurous who enjoy hiking, try Kata Tjuta, a 7.4km circuit hike. Remember to pack some warmer clothes if staying overnight, as it can become freezing, but is a welcome relief to summer temperatures. Stay a while and appreciate the sunrises and sunsets from various locations.
Keen to escape the cold of winter for somewhere a little more tropical? The Whitsundays are your ideal destination. While it may sound like a summer getaway, average winter temperatures are 22-25ºC. Water temperatures also stay warm at an average 25ºC, meaning you can still swim, snorkel and do all the water activities without the humidity and extreme heat. Whales migrate north from June, so it’s a great time to see them and, if you’re lucky, their newborn calves. Holidaying in the Whitsundays in winter also has the added benefit of fewer people and off-peak pricing.