Winter is officially here and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking of warmer climates to hightail it to. The good news is that you don’t have to travel halfway across the world to bask in the sunshine or swim in warm waters between June and August. Australia has more than a handful of destinations that stay warm pretty much all year round.
The Queensland coast
For the beachy keen, the Queensland coast is where the winter sun shines. From the Whitsundays to Tropical North Queensland, temperatures remain above 25℃ and, due to the dry season in the tropics, you’ll be blessed with clear skies.
In areas such as the Whitsundays, marine activities such as sailing and snorkelling are available all year round, while in Tropical North Queensland the low humidity and cooler temperatures of the dry season makes for the perfect inland adventure like bushwalking or birdwatching.
If you don’t want to shell out for accommodation in the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach on the mainland has tons of backpacker options and is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the action.
Ocean Rafting boats in the stunning Whitsundays
Uluru and the Red Centre
Those seeking an Aussie outback adventure should look no further than the Red Centre. This region is best explored during winter, as the soaring temperatures and exposed landscape make it uncomfortable to stay outside for too long during summer.
Wake up early to catch the sunrise over Uluru then take a base walk around the sacred monolith. It takes roughly 3.5 hours to circuit and it warms up quickly, even during winter, so be sure to keep yourself well hydrated along the way.
For a more challenging bushwalk, drive to the nearby Kata Tjuta formations for the 4-hour Valley of the Winds walk and breathtaking views over the National Park.
The Olgas / Kata Tjuta
Similar to Uluru, winter is peak tourist season in the Kimberley as the dry season brings with it clear skies and warm days that are a relief from the extreme temperatures of summer.
The Kimberley is an exceptional place to connect with nature, boasting a landscape of waterfalls, cliff faces and beehive-shaped dunes that will take your breath away. There are plenty of cheap accommodation options and tours available in Broome to suit every style and budget.
Broome is the optimal place from which to enter the Kimberley. In Broome itself, there are numerous year-round activities that take place, one of the most iconic being a camel ride over Cable Beach. Winter is also one of the safest seasons to swim at Cable Beach, which is notorious for being overrun by poisonous box jellyfish and irukandji during the wet season.
Camel Ride on Cable Beach, Broome
The Central Coast of NSW
Generally speaking, the further north you travel during winter, the higher the temperatures. If you’re seeking a short and quiet getaway, the Central Coast offers sun, surf and camping, which can be enjoyed over a weekend.
As temperatures generally sit at just below 20℃ during winter, it’s not particularly ideal for those who want to swim and bake, but if you love to surf you can whack on a wetsuit and experience some of New South Wales’ best surf beaches.
During winter, the Central Coast also hosts numerous festivals including the Winter Jazz and Blues festival and the Central Coast Country Music Festival, both located at The Entrance and its surrounds.
Surfing in NSW
The Snowy Mountains
For those who like to embrace winter rather than escape it, this is pretty much the only time you can hit the slopes in mainland Australia.
If you’re coming from New South Wales, The Snowy Mountain resorts of Jindabyne, Perisher, Charlotte Pass, Thredbo and Selwyn are the most conveniently located resorts to hit the powder from.
If you’re closer to Victoria, your options include Mount Baw Baw, Falls Creek and Mount Buller. No option is incorrect as they all offer a wide variety of slopes that cater to different capabilities and accommodation options to suit all manner of travellers.
Author: Stephanie Yip, is a Travel Expert at finder.com.au, the site that compares virtually everything.