The Australian Winter Experience
Tourism Australia | 29 Jun 2017 10:05

Winter conjures up images of white blankets of snow, sub-zero temperatures and cosying up under layers of comforting quilts. But winter in Australia, which starts in June, is more than just ice and sleet; given the varying climes in different parts of the country, it is possible to enjoy more tempered weather. And of course, if it’s a proper skiing/snowboarding adventure you’re after, there’s that too.

1. Head south where it’s cold

Doesn’t feel like winter without a slush ball tossed down your back? No worries, it’s always snowy up in the higher regions down south. If you are an avid skier, snow boarder or fancy a slide down a toboggan, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania are the perfect destinations for you. Be sure to check out Thredbo, Perisher, Jindabyne, Alpine Way, Charlotte Pass, Mt Selwyn as well as Canberra. In Victoria, head to Mt Buller, Mt Stirling, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Lake Mountain, Mt Baw Baw and Dinner Plain. Further south in Tasmania are the ski areas of Ben Lomond and Mt Mawson. All resorts offer a range of accommodation options including, self-contained apartments, hotels, lodges and bed and breakfast properties.

2. Take in the cool sunshine at Straddie

Brisbane, the Sunshine State of Australia, never gets too cold and serves as an ideal destination to enjoy the sunny outdoors during the mid-winter break. Stradbroke Island or “Straddie” as the locals call it is a rejuvenating experience all year round. The daytime temperature even in winter is in the low 20s – an idyllic temperature for outdoor trekking or sea fishing.

Water sports such as diving and surfing are also popular pastimes at this island getaway, although landlubbers may prefer to stay dry and take in the fun on solid ground.

3. Journey through the Outback

If you’ve ever watched nature documentaries on Australia’s Outback, you might think that the hot, steaming desert looks quite inhospitable for travel. But in winter, magic happens and everything cools down to a comfortable level.

You can pay a visit to Uluru, also known as Ayer’s Rock, a large sandstone outcrop that is regarded by the aborigines as a sacred site.

The landscape around Uluru features springs, waterholes and caves, which visitors can explore.

Local tour operators offer exciting programmes that include guided trips to witness wildlife at Uluru in the early hours of dawn, and the opportunity to enjoy a traditional bushman’s breakfast.

On display at Uluru until March 31, 2018, is the Field of Light art installation by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. The display will feature more than 50,000 stems crowned with solar-powered frosted glass spheres that will bloom as dusk falls. Covering an area about the size of seven football fields, the Field of Light is Munro’s largest work to date.

More adventurous travellers who want to explore the country on their own, however, could rent a camper van and enjoy the quiet romance of a solo trip through the Outback.

4. Go below ground

Coober Pedy, the “Opal capital of the world”, in South Australia is a harsh place in the summer, but in winter, it’s lovely for an afternoon stroll. Now, if you think you would be making the trip there just to survey some brightly coloured stones, you would be wrong.

What’s really unique about Coober Pedy is how the town’s mining families live. They build their communities underground to escape the blazing daytime heat and have erected structures such as churches and art galleries, and yes, their homes below the earth. You can live like them too - the Desert Cave hotel, a four-star establishment, is probably the most luxurious hotel you will ever find underground.

5. Head down to the harbour for some whale watching

If you are looking to witness these majestic beasts in their natural environment then look no further than the start of the season in New South Wales and Tasmania in May, and Queensland and Victoria in June.

In fact, between May and November there are countless locations in Australia that host whale lovers every year. The whales migrate north for the winter for the breeding season, and they make their presence keenly felt as they breach and frolic off the Australian harbours.

6. Just stay in the city

You don’t always have to head outside of the city to have some winter fun. In fact, Brisbane has chosen the month of July to celebrate its annual homage to great culinary experiences. One event is enthusiastically called “Lanewood! Streetfood! Music!”, and brings together the best Australian street food to be paired with that other prized Australia manufacture, beer.

For fans of superheroes and comic books, the largest Marvel exhibition ever held in a museum will be held up until Sept 3 this year in Brisbane. The exhibition will trace the company’s history from its print origins in the early 20th century to its current boom in popularity as a profitable film franchise.

More than 500 historic artworks, iconic film props such as Iron Man’s armour and Thor’s hammer, and actual film sets, including some from the yet-to-be-released Thor movie, are on display at this exhibition.

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