Top winter getaways

best winter destinations

Winter is here and with it comes shorter days and cooler weather. Taking a holiday will help break up what can seem like the longest season of the year. From tropical getaways to snow trips or out-of-town weekenders, you can shake away the winter blues with these fun vacation ideas.

Head to the snow

Embrace the cold this winter and head to the snow. From downhill, freeride and cross-country skiing to snowboarding and sledging, there’s plenty of fun to be had for all ages and levels of experience.

The duration of the snow season can differ from year to year – depending on the weather and where the snowfield is located – but tends to run from mid-June to early-September.

In Australia, you’ll find snow in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. This includes at Perisher, Thredbo, Selwyn Snowfields and Charlotte Pass in New South Wales; Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw in Victoria; as well as Ben Lomond and Mt Mawson in Tasmania.

Don’t worry if you’re a first timer to the snow, you can hire most of your gear and arrange to have ski lessons before you tackle the slopes. In fact, most ski resorts offer bundles that include essentials like lift passes, lessons and equipment hire.

Booking early usually means you’ll get a better deal. As does opting for smaller ski fields over larger, busier ones. There is also a range of festivals held across the snow season, including the family-focused Subaru Snow Festival at Perisher, the Thredbo Masters race and the 2019 Kids' Week at Mt Buller. All of which are on in July.

Whether you go for a day trip or a long weekend, make sure that your car is safe and fit for the trip, including being recently serviced, insured and equipped with chains for driving in snow.

Sun-soaked getaways

Many of us crave sunshine when the temperature drops. So why not get a mid-year summer fix with a trip somewhere warm?

There are many tropical destinations, just a short flight from Australia, where you can idle days away swimming, surfing, diving, relaxing by the beach or pool, and taking in the local culture.

  • New Caledonia

Less than a three-hour flight from Sydney is the tropical paradise of New Caledonia. Explore this French territory’s World Heritage-listed lagoons and sprawling coral reef as well as the smaller islands that surround the main island of Grande-Terre. Enjoy local food, attractions and experiences in Caledonia’s cosmopolitan capital Noumea.

  • Vietnam

Vietnam offers a tropical winter getaway where you can experience the best of the city, countryside and coast. Get caught up in the frenetic buzz of Saigon and Hanoi. Take in the rich history of Hue, home of Vietnam’s last reigning dynasty. Cruise through the stunning Halong Bay or just relax on the beach in sunny Nha Trong or the island of Phu Quoc.

  • Top of Oz

You don’t have to head overseas to get that summer feeling with many sunshine-filled domestic destinations. Darwin comes alive in August during Darwin Festival, the city’s winter arts festival, which runs for 18 event-filled days and marks its 40th anniversary this year. While the remote beauty of Broome in Western Australia is at its best in winter – swim and watch the sun go down on Cable Beach, take a camel ride, and cruise the Kimberley.

Take a weekend escape

You don’t have to head far from home to feel like you’re on holiday. From the coast to the country to the mountains, your home state offers a variety of weekend escapes often within a few hours’ drive or a short flight away.

Regional festivals, luxury retreats, romantic getaways, a weekend away with friends or family, a birthday treat, anniversary or babymoon are just some of the reasons to get out of town. Or you may just want to get back to nature and take your caravan or campervan out to a nearby national park or camping spot.

Here’s some inspiration.

  • New South Wales

If you’re in New South Wales, head north to the laidback coastal town of Byron Bay for sun, surf and nature. Feeling adventurous? Take in a bird’s-eye-view of Byron on a tandem sky dive, or kayak with dolphins and snorkel with sea turtles at Julian Rocks. A must-do is watching the sun rise from Australia’s most eastern point, the Byron Bay Lighthouse. After snapping that perfect panoramic shot, reward yourself with a big breakfast at one of Byron’s delicious cafés.

Or, head to Orange, in the state’s central west, a historic town that’s foodie heaven and host to the Orange Winter Fire Festival in August. Take a meandering drive through the wineries, book ahead for dinners and lunches at those famous restaurants you’ve been wanting to try, or take a cooking class.

  • Victoria

Victorians craving a country escape should head to the King Valley in the mountainous High Country. Three hours from Melbourne, this scenic region is home to many boutique wineries, restaurants and food producers. Get to know the region intimately with walking and bike tours visiting wineries, orchards and cheese makers.

Phillip Island, less than two hours from Melbourne, is a fun and family-friendly day or weekend trip. Experience the little penguins parading up the beach each night at dusk, take a winter whale-watching cruise, and see koalas up close at the Island’s Koala Reserve.

  • Western Australia

West Australians will love picturesque Augusta, the state’s most southern-west town. This is the place to whale watch – more than 35,000 of them pass the Augusta coastline over winter. Just 10-minutes-drive from Augusta is Jewel Cave, the biggest cave in WA. With three expansive chambers, and the longest straw stalactites out of all tourist caves in Australia, this is a truly awe-inspiring experience. You can also get back to nature at picturesque Hamelin Bay and the Boranup Karri Forest, home to the third-tallest tree species in the world.

For something different, head north of Perth to The Pinnacles, near the town of Cervantes. A natural wonder, The Pinnacles are limestone formations that rise from the desert sands of the Nambung National Park. Nearby, the Lancelin Sand Dunes add to the area’s surreal landscape and are popular with four-wheel drivers and sand boarders.

 

Whatever kind of getaway you take, make sure you’re insured so you can protect yourself and minimise the costs if something should go wrong. Learn more about our travel, car and trailer and caravan insurance policies.