Every winter in Australia our population seems to halve, as many of us jet off overseas for a European summer. And why not! There are many reasons to venture to Barcelona’s bustling beaches or explore Paris’ inner city charm.
But the truth is, you don’t have to leave the country to have an adventurous, relaxing or romantic getaway.
Here are our top three places to visit this winter.
1. Victoria’s gorgeous snow-capped and activity-filled alpines
If you’re an avid skier, snowboarder or just a snow season fanatic, explore Victoria’s ten great alpine locations.
By traveling just a few hours north of Melbourne, you can conquer heaps of ski runs over a weekend, in just a one day trip, or overnight .
Skiers can glide over the powdered runs of Mt Donna Buang and Mt Baw Baw or visit Mt Buller for slopes catering to all abilities. There’s also plenty of action at Falls Creek in the Alpine National Park, with 90 runs and 20 cross country trails to tackle.
If extreme snow sports aren’t your thing, take the kids on a snow-trek to the top of Mt Buller and slide down in rubber tubes. There’s plenty to do – with tobogganing, a snow bungy-trampoline and snowmobiles at Falls Creek.
For something more relaxing, sit and enjoy the sunset from the 1,800m summit – or take it up a notch and witness the glistening terrain from a helicopter!
2. Experience winter cheer and spectacular scenery in the Blue Mountains
The NSW Blue Mountains are home to some of Australia’s most remarkable mountain ranges and national parks. With an abundance of winter activities to keep the whole family entertained, it’s the perfect winter destination.
The area is full of beautiful and enchanting scenery – sandstone cliffs, magical forests, tranquil streams and thundering waterfalls. Stroll or hike on one of the many walking trails, stop for a family picnic and visit all the astonishing World-Heritage sites in between.
First visit the famous trio of pinnacles, Three Sisters, named after an aboriginal legend from Katoomba. Investigate Jenolan Caves’ underground chambers and the exhilarating, three-tiered waterfall at Wentworth Falls.
Every year, thousands of people flock to the Blue Mountains for Yulefest, a Christmas in July tradition. Here you’ll experience roasting fires, scrumptious five-course feasts, sing-a-longs, carols and a vibrant parade.
3. Skip your winter blues and discover a vibrant Western Australia
Western Australia comes alive from June to September – exploding with colour and marine life.
Over 12,000 vibrant wildflower species sweep across the state, challenging the stereotypical characteristics of winter. Follow their bright, captivating trails to the sea, the reefs, caves or many national parks.
Stop in the Margaret River and experience the premium wineries and world-class eateries. You’ll need at least a few days to soak up the astounding natural surroundings and discover the many activities on offer.
Western Australia’s southern coastline in winter is arguably the best location to observe numerous whale and dolphin species frolic. The gorgeous Geographe Bay becomes a haven, as mother whales use the sheltered bay to rest during breeding and calving season.
4. Bask in perfect blue skies and tropics Queensland
If the crispy winds of the cold season aren’t for you, head to North Queensland instead. Up here you’ll find balmy weather, stinger-free seas and plenty of adventure.
The tropical havens are usually around 25 degrees – perfect for trekking the rainforests, bathing in the natural swimming pools and relaxing on the famous sandy beaches.
The World-Heritage listed, Great Barrier Reef is a must-see attraction, with its colourful coral and fascinating marine life. You can snorkel or deep-sea dive with many of the diving schools, but if you’d rather keep your toes on the sand, give the glass-bottomed boat a try.
There is also plenty to explore on land. Four-wheel drive through the Daintree Forest or explore the caves of Undara Volcanic National Park – the longest lava system in the world.