Even in the colder months, Australia’s packed with things to do, from tropical top to snow-capped mountain south. Here are just a few of our favorite reasons why Australia’s winter is worth getting excited for.
Christmas in July
Katoomba, a town just two hours from Sydney, is one of the places in the Blue Mountains that celebrates Christmas off-season during Yulefest. Warm up around some classic ‘Mountains’ hospitality, log fires, seasonal food and other festivities in this quaint little town.
Stuart Highway cuts through the Outback of Northern Territory and connects tropical Darwin to Alice Springs and Uluru. The journey, which follows dead-straight roads through terrain that feels otherwordly, is best done in the dry winter months. From Darwin, you can rent campervans for about $100 a day, or head south by train.
Australian Rules Football takes over Australia – particularly Victoria – from April to September’s Grand Final. The best location to watch a game is at the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where footy was first played in 1858. Don’t know the rules? No problem; there will be large men in short shorts punching oblong balls at each other as loud, excited fans cheer them on.
Darwin hosts a Beer Can Regatta – yes, that’s races with boats made of empty cans – on the 10th of July. Another unforgettable boat race this winter is Alice Springs’ Henley-on-Todd Regatta, where participants ‘run’ boats by sticking their legs out holes in the sides of the boat, held on August 20th. Towards the end of the season in September is also the outback classic Alice Springs Desert Festival.
Potentially the greatest festival Australia has to offer is VIVID Sydney; it’s a large-scale party of lights, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere. Taking place in late May/early June each year, VIVID features free nightly light shows and incredible art.
You can see kangaroos in Victoria’s Yarra Valley – an hour’s drive from the southern city of Melbourne – but the true appeal of this region is the 80 wineries found in the rolling hills. Wine growing in this area dates all the way back to 1838. Sign up for a day tour or stay the night in the town of Healesville, with plenty to choose from between the many B&Bs, beer gardens and the wildlife-rich Healesville Sanctuary.
The hottest places to go snowboarding and skiing in Australia are the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales, Victoria’s high country, and mountain areas of Tasmania. Australia’s most glamorous ski resort, Mt. Buller, is just three hours’ drive from Melbourne. For luxury ski digs, reserve Andre’s at Buller, from $430 a night in peak season or after the end of June.
Explore more ways to enjoy winter in any region of Australia.