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I can feel it. There is a slight chill in the air with Autumn upon us and with Winter only one month away. Although the temperatures are relatively mild in Winter where I live on the Tweed Coast of Far North New South Wales, I still enjoy the change in temperature and the lower humidity.
Although we often think of Australia as being a Summer travel destination I have brought together some other travel bloggers with suggestions on the best Winter travel destinations in Australia. Some of them may even surprise you.
Being travel bloggers we have travelled to destinations across the world. In our five years of travel we have experienced a multitude of weather extremes from the bitter cold of Scotland to the searing heat of India.
Along the way we have come to discover that when it comes to weather there is no better climate than our home town of Bundaberg in Queensland Australia. To me Bundaberg and the nearby Coral Coast would have to be one of the best winter travel destinations in Australia.
Bundaberg is approximately 4 hours’ drive north of Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland. Brisbane to Bundaberg flights take 45 minutes making Bundaberg easily accessible for visitors.
Bundaberg is a pretty regional city. The Digger’s War Memorial takes pride and place in front of the town clock and you will find a mix of new and old shopfronts that date back to Bundaberg’s founding fathers.
A short 15-minute drive through sugarcane fields are seaside town of Bargara and the nearby coastal attractions of Mon Repos Beach. These sun-drenched beaches make the perfect winter escape.
You can’t come to Bundaberg without visiting the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. There are a range of distillery tours to choose from and all include a tasting of Bundy’s iconic tipple, Bundaberg Rum!
Bundaberg is the birthplace of pioneer aviation Bert Hinkler (1892-1933). The Hinkler Hall of Aviation is located in Bundaberg Botanic Gardens and pays tribute to Bundaberg’s famous son.
Mon Repos Beach has the largest number of nesting marine turtles in eastern Australia. The centre is the place to learn more about the turtle conservation. Evening tours to watch the nesting and hatching are conducted by park rangers through November to March.
To appreciate the beauty of the Bundaberg region, the best place to stay is at Bargara. The warm Queensland sun, crystal clear waters and yellow sands of Kelly’s Beach, welcome the most hardened snow bird.
The Point Resort has sweeping views overlooking the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Perfectly located, the resort is a two-minute walk to Kelly’s Beach and to the beachside café’s and restaurants of Bargara.
Rick’s at Bargara has prime views overlooking Bargara Beach. Rick’s has a relaxed seaside atmosphere, the place to enjoy breakfast and lunch or just a quick coffee. From Thursday to Monday Rick’s at Bargara is open for dinner and live music.
So, come enjoy the Queensland sunshine and escape the winter blues, discover the Bundaberg region.
With the Gold Coast offering sub-tropical weather and around 300 days of glorious sunshine per year – it’s the ultimate place for winter if you’re wanting to escape those chilly days! During the Winter months on the Gold Coast you can expect sunny and dry days with temperatures of 12-22c. In fact even on the coldest Gold Coast day, you are still bound to find lots of tourists swimming in the beaches.
Whilst the nights can be a little cool, the days are lovely and warm and given the summer months can be really hot, Winter is the perfect time for long walks along the stunning beaches or through the hinterland. If you’re into theme parks, this is also a perfect time of year to visit. There are so many brilliant Gold Coast theme parks including Dreamworld, Sea World, Movie World as well as various water parks too. If you’re more adventurous you can also try SUPing, kayaking even surfing if you’re keen.
During the winter months, you can get some fantastic deals on luxurious Gold Coast resorts with fantastic views across the ocean. I recommend checking out accommodation in Broadbeach which is close to the Casino and the massive Pacific Fair Shopping Centre. Other beautiful spots include Burleigh Heads or the quieter Palm Beach. If you prefer to be in the heart of all the attractions, then stay in Surfers Paradise.
So if you’re wanting to escape the winter chills, the Gold Coast is certainly the place to be!
Noosa, Queensland is the perfect destination if you are trying to escape the winter in Australia. The average winter temperature in Noosa is in the low 20’s, so why not? While Noosa has stunning beaches, there is more to see and do. You could go to the Noosa Everglades and hire a canoe or kayak for the day, walk the track of the Noosa National Park and spot koalas sleeping in the trees, hire a 4WD and drive along the beach on the Noosa North Shore, hire a pontoon boat and explore the Noosa River, jump on a deep sea charter or learn about this history in Tewantin.
If you want to do a day trip, try to go out to Fraser Island and explore the Fraser Island Great Walk (90 kilometre total). There are also plenty of smaller towns nearby to explore, such as Eumundi (brilliant markets).
Accommodation ranges from camping right up to resorts. There are plenty of pet friendly places and even house boats if you want to really want to escape. One of my personal favourites is Pitch Luxury Camping which is essentially bespoke glamping tents.
Noosa has a variety of different cafes and restaurants. You could just go for a walk down Hastings Street and in between boutique shopping, grab a delicious bite to eat.
I’m originally from the UK where we have freezing cold winters which means lots of log fires and snuggling up over roast dinners and hot chocolate. In Queensland, most of our winter days are warm and sunny and I love that, but sometimes it’s really nice to go somewhere cold so you can wrap up warm and experience real cosiness.
Just inland from the Gold Coast is Tamborine Mountain. While the Gold Coast stays temperate all year around, Tamborine has temperatures that are four or degrees lower – you even get the occasional frost in winter!
The combination of the fresh, cool air and the rainforest location makes it a great winter getaway. There are plenty of outdoor attractions from energetic forest walks to more gentle attractions like the Sky Walk where you can get up in the treetops on a network of bridges and walkways. There are lots of quaint shops to explore on the Gallery Walk, and many places to indulge if you’re a foodie (our favourite place to eat is Belvedere on Main – an authentic Italian restaurant). For families, it’s hard to beat Thunderbird Park which offers everything from high ropes and horse riding to thunderegg fossicking and crazy golf (putt putt) – you could easily spend your whole weekend there without needing to leave. You can find more things to do at Tamborine Mountain here.
Thunderbird Park is also home to Cedar Creek Lodges – these are little cabins scattered in amongst the trees and they come with a ready-laid log fire and wooden board games! Everything you need to enjoy a winter’s night together.
Ever since we were kids growing up in Perth, Broome was seen as the ideal winter paradise without needing to leave Australia. Mild daytime temperatures around 28c, the calm waters of Roebuck Bay and the endless sandy shores of Cable Beach with some of the world’s most spectacular sunsets to be enjoyed.
The shipping port of Broome sits over 2,200kms north of Perth by road, or only 2.5 hours by plane, making it incredibly remote (even by Australian standards!) but still full of fun activities for all ages. The dry season lasts from April through to October, with the busiest time of year coinciding with the July school holidays. This still leaves plenty of time for those without date restrictions to enjoy! One date it is worth lining your trip up for though is the monthly occurrence of Stairway to the Moon, a natural phenomenon in Roebuck Bay that happens around full moon.
Beyond the beaches, there’s plenty to do from deep sea fishing to pearl farms, wildlife experiences including the Malcom Douglas Wilderness Wildlife Park and exploring the dinosaurs footprints at low tide on Gantheaume Point. At a price, you can enjoy the iconic camel rides at dawn or sunset on Cable Beach, and further afield, an absolute bucket list experience is to fly out to Horizontal Falls.
There are accommodation options ranging from hostels and camping through to luxury resorts and everything in between. There’s a touristy yet beautiful vibe in the centre of town, enjoy strolling China Town (and bring your wallet!), the famous Sun Pictures outdoor theatre and weekend markets are not to be missed.
If there’s one con to Broome it is price – unfortunately dining out and accommodation during the winter don’t come cheap, especially when compared to south-east Asian countries with similar flight times. For a unique dining and taste experience, try Matso’s brewery. There are also a couple of top Thai choices, Indian, pizza and fish and chips. Accommodation is mostly spread between the town centre and Roebuck Bay, but increasingly Cable Beach a few minutes’ drive away on the Indian Ocean coast is becoming the preferred choice, with its price tag but I think totally worth the hype!
When it comes to winter getaways in Western Australia, most people head north and follow the sun. But the Margaret River region, just 3 hours south of Perth, is the perfect spot for a winter weekend.
The region is famous for its art galleries, wineries, breweries, world-class restaurants, as well as its natural beauty and surf spots.
During winter, the region is less crowded so you can explore the towns at your leisure. Many wineries, breweries and restaurants have cosy fireplaces, making them ideal for whiling away a winter afternoon, relaxing with a glass of petit verdot by the fire.
Some of my favourite food and wine spots to visit in Margaret River include House Of Cards, Fishbone Wines (amazing Japanese food), Aramia Winery (interesting wines and food as local as can be), Windows Estate, The Beer Farm (get a tasting paddle) and Aravina Estate (fine dining at its best). If it’s wood-fired pizza you crave, head to the popular Swings & Roundabouts Winery on Caves Road.
When it comes to nature, there are too many places to list but these are some we love: Indijup beach (to spot dolphins), the caves (Lake Cave, Mammoth Cave, Ngilgi Cave and Jewel Cave), Hamelin Bay (to see and touch the sting rays that come right up to the shallows) and the breathtaking Boranup Forest lookout.
There is a lot of accommodation around the Margaret River region, but we love Llewellin’s Guest House just outside Margaret River. They offer bed and breakfast in gorgeously appointed rooms and the breakfast is spectacular. If self-catering is more your style, check out Eight Willows Retreat in Metricup. They have quiet country chalets with modern fitouts right in the heart of wine country.
The regional city of Ballarat is an ideal place to escape to during the wintertime.
This is predominantly due to the city’s annual Winter Festival. Held every July, the festival features a range of experiences, from theatre shows, to art exhibitions and opportunities to eat local-grown food and sip on vino from the nearby Pyrenees wine region. There are also plenty of activities available for families, particularly a pop-up ice-skating rink, built for the enjoyment of kids big and small.
Any visitor to Ballarat who has an interest in the town’s gold rush history should head out to Sovereign Hill, an open-air museum, which replicates a gold mining town. You too can pan for gold and interact with the costumed actors.
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you should skip a visit to Ballarat’s Botanic Gardens. One particular highlight is wandering along Prime Minister Avenue – a pathway lined with bronzed busts of every PM Australia has ever had, including Francis Forde, who only served for six days.
Nearby Lake Wendouree is worth a wander around (or kayak across), no matter what time of the year. If you have a car, you can travel out to the aforementioned Pyrenees region to sample some wine, best consumed in a cosy hotel room, or even in front of a roaring fireplace, at the end of the day. The region is best known for its Shiraz and Cab Sav. If you’re interested, you can try sparkling Shiraz, which isn’t for everyone, but those who love it swear by it.
If you’re looking for a mid-range accommodation option, Ballarat Central B&B is reasonably priced, very comfortable and only a short walk into the centre of town.
Those after something a little more up-market should consider Craigs Royal Hotel. It’s the most luxurious hotel in the city and you can book to have high tea there on a Sunday, in the beautiful Grand Dining Room.
The start of the Gippsland Lakes at Lake Wellington are located 240 kilometres east of Melbourne near Sale. The Gippsland Lakes are the largest inland lakes system in Australia. The lakes are very popular in the Victorian summer when the sun starts to shine and the waters warm up. The 4 main towns on the Gippsland lakes are Lakes Entrance, Paynesville, Metung and Loch Sport.
Winter is a great time to visit as tourist numbers are down. You will find a mild winter climate with many sunny days. Lakes Entrance is well known as the capital of the Gippsland Lakes. Its your typical tourist town with hotels, caravan parks, mini golf and ice cream parlours. From Lakes Entrance you can have fun fishing on the 90 mile beach or in the lakes system by boat or just off the jetties around town.
The smaller towns of Metung and Paynesville should not be overlooked either. Paynesville has direct access to Raymond Island and it’s popular Koala walking trail. Metung is great for yachting and relaxing at its famous pub.
Some great places to stay include the The Moorings at Metung, The Esplanade Resort and Spa Lakes Entrance, or the Captainsc Cove Resort at Paynesville. In lakes Entrance the local RSL does a great feed, while in Paynesville get fish and chips on the water front. The Metung Hotel is must for its location and food.
There is something for everyone on the Gippsland Lakes!
Melbourne is the perfect place to head during winter. While you won’t get warm weather, there are still often blue skies and there’s always a lot to see and do. As an added bonus, accommodation is often cheaper in winter too and you are likely to see less tourists.
There are the all-weather activities like shopping, eating delicious food and drinking coffee and then things you can only do in winter, like going to an AFL match on a Friday night or weekend afternoon. There is nothing quite like the magic of a close game at the MCG between two big sides.
There are also the many festivals that happen in Melbourne in winter. White Night, a hugely successful arts festival, is now held in August. There is also the Melbourne International Food Festival and Melbourne Writers Festival. If you like big events, make sure you time your visit to hit one of these.
Winter is also the perfect time to get cozy inside cute wine bars and great restaurants. Some you don’t want to miss are The Mayfair, where you can listen to jazz music as you eat, Beneath Driver Lane, where you can enjoy a cocktail at this whisky bar located in an old bank vault or enjoy Melbourne’s best coffee at Industry Beans.
The perfect place to stay is the Sofitel Melbourne. This 5-star hotel does everything perfectly and is located in a convenient location in Melbourne’s city centre.
If you are travelling to Melbourne in the winter months of June-August, and the weather is not too wet and cold, there are a great many places for a great outdoor adventure.
One of my favourite hiking destination near Melbourne is the Wilsons Promontory. Only 220km south-east of the city it’s a comfortable drive from Melbourne, ideal for a short break or a weekend getaway. The Wilsons Promontory is very popular place, among the locals, in the summertime, but if you are lucky to hit sunny days in winter, you will be able to avoid crowds and have it almost for yourself.
Of course you will not be able to swim, and it may get a bit windy too, but on the other hand, a winter hiking trip is less stressful and will allow you to plan last minute, without the hassle of booking your stay months in advance. The Tidal River Campsite is the central place where to stay in the Wilsons Promontory National Park, and while in winter not all of the facilities may be open, you have a great choice from comfortable large cabins to smaller ones with shared common bathroom facilities.
Moreover, you can also take advantage of the powered campground. There is only one small grocery shop at Tidal River, so you will need to pack your food and cook in the cabins/lodges. With over 25 walking trails from short and easy day walks to overnight hikes, I’d suggest choosing the most suitable ones and adjust them to the local winter weather conditions.
While wind and rain are two main factors that will influence your outdoor adventures, no matter what, I’m sure that you will love this road trip from Melbourne to Wilsons Promontory.
Tasmania is one of Australia’s hidden wonders. For those that live there and like myself, who are regular visitors, it’s a no brainer. There’s amazing hiking, fantastic food and wonderful wine (as well as world famous gin and scotch being produced here). Yet so many tourists only consider Tasmania a summer destination. Yes, this little island is perfect for the summer season with it’s pristine beaches and again great food. I’m a rebel and if you gave me the choice to go in summer or winter – winter it is! And there’s no better place to experience the wonder of Tasmania than Cradle Mountain.
Around a 3 hour drive from Hobart or Launceston, Cradle Mountain sits in the middle of the St Clair National Park. An area that is a hikers heaven, home to some truly unique animals and plant life. Now this is a place to connect with nature, disconnect from Instagram and refresh your soul. The best way to experience Cradle Mountain is to spend a few days on the mountain, indulging in the fine food, spa treatment at Waldheim Alpine Spa and spending your evening relaxing by a cosy fireplace. If you’re worried about the weather, don’t be. It’s no unusual for this area of Tasmania to get a sprinkle of snow and pea soup fog during the summer peak hiking season. Meaning that winter is the perfect season to visit as everyone will be prepared for the chilly weather.
During the cooler winter months I like to migrate north to the the Top End of Australia. Here the winter temperatures are still in the high 20s, but because it’s the dry season there is little humidity and generally you will get beautiful clear blue sunny skies.
Darwin is pretty much as far north as you can go in Australia – in terms of cities or large towns. I would describe Darwin as a very modern and vibrant city with great accommodation, restaurants and shopping. Amongst the many things to do in Darwin in winter is visit a Crocodile Farm, the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT, Fannie Bay Gaol, Aviation Heritage Centre, East Point Military Museum and the WWII Oil Storage Tunnels.
The areas around Darwin harbour are beautiful and there are many marinas with great shops and restaurants that you can visit. The waterfront precinct is breathtaking of an evening – you can do a sunset yacht cruise in the harbour if you wish or simply find a spot on the beachside and watch the sun dip into the Timor Sea.
It is a city that played a very significant part in the defence of our country amid Japan’s invasion during World War II. During WWII the Japanese forces mounted two air raids on Darwin leaving the city in ruins. Then again in 1974 Darwin was annihilated during Cyclone Tracy. So it’s certainly a city that holds a lot of history and intrigue.
But I guess the main reason people visit Darwin is for the amazing national parks that are within an hour or two drive from the city. The incredible Mary River National Park and Litchfield National Park both nurture exquisite landscapes and wondrous wildlife with thundering waterfalls, rock pools, rivers, wetlands and billabongs.
Otherwise spend some time exploring the world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Here you can bushwalk through rugged escarpments and lush rainforest and discover a treasure trove of Aboriginal rock art.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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JoMay 13, 2019
What some fabulous winter destinations. I love that Australia has both hot and cold destinations to discover during the winter months. In WA we can head north for the sun and south for the log fires. I love seasons and look forward to winter. Will definitely check out some on this list today too.
KathyMay 14, 2019
Yes you have so much diversity over in the West. Sometimes a cosy winter weekend escape to the cold is just what the doctor ordered. But at other times I like to escape to a warmer destination to escape winter.
KateJune 4, 2019
I like visiting wineries, but the other destinations sounds also very good. Great article. Thank you!
KathyJune 5, 2019
Wineries are always great to visit during winter in Australia. A nice glass of red or port always goes down well!