Sick of frosty mornings, runny noses, and that one jerk on the train who won’t stop coughing on you? Yeah, me too. But it’s winter, so what are you going to do?
I’ll tell you what you’re going to do. You’re going to ditch winter and run away to a tropical paradise. And you won’t even need a passport. ‘Cause here are seven wonderfully warm winter getaways right here in Oz – plus one surprise wildcard! Check ‘em out.
- Port Douglas, QLD Average winter temp: 25°CPort Douglas is gorgeous all year round, but the dry season (May-October) is when it really shines. In July, the average ocean temperature is 23°C, which is perfect for swimming and probably warmer than wherever you are right now. If you can drag yourself away from the beach (seriously, the struggle is real), check out the incredible Daintree Rainforest or the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef. For a natural getaway with a tropical twist, Port Douglas is unbeatable.
- Darwin, NT Average winter temp: 32°CDarwin is closer to Bali than Bondi, and in that tropical climate there’s no such thing as cold feet. Well, except for the ones you might get before taking a dip with the saltwater crocodiles at Crocosaurus Cove. Head to Mindil Beach Sunset Market for delicious Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, and Malaysian food, fun shopping, and fantastic views, or check out the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory for incredible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
- Broome, WA Average winter temp: 30°CIf Broome’s not on your bucket list, you need to rewrite it. While the rest of the country shivers through winter, June – August is Broome’s dry season – aka: the best time to visit. A camel ride on Cable Beach is a must-do, but make sure you give yourself time to explore and hunt for dinosaur footprints (seriously!). For even more adventure, try swimming with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef, or take a few more days and check out…
- The Kimberley, WA Average winter temp: 31°CYes, Broome is technically part of the Kimberley. But you really need to give yourself some extra time if you want to do them both justice. Hire a car or join a tour, then drive inland to check out jaw-dropping sites like the Napier Range (an ancient limestone reef that’s home to incredible rock art and the famous Gogo fish fossils), Purnululu National Park (where you’ll find the unique Bungle Bungle Ranges), and the stunning Mitchell Falls. Just a tad more exciting than listening to your co-workers sniff and snuffle.
- Cairns, QLD Average winter temp: 25°CWant fantastic weather, bucket-list natural wonders, awesome shopping, and rockin’ nightlife? Cairns has got your back. Like Port Douglas, the Daintree and Great Barrier Reef are just a daytrip away, but Cairns’ fun city vibes are perfect for when you want a little extra action. There’s no beach in town (although the Esplanade Lagoon is a pretty great substitute), but the Northern Beaches are just a 10-to-20-minute drive away. Or you could make do with a cocktail by your sparkling resort pool…
- Kakadu, NT Average winter temp: 32°CLike Broome, Kakadu is a bucket-list destination that’s best visited in the dry season (ie: winter). The days are cooler, all the roads are open, the crocs are easier to spot (they’re all out sunning themselves – lazy lizards), and there are fewer insects. Kakadu National Park is World-Heritage-Listed, in part due to its incredible rock art, some of which is 20,000 years old. Other must-sees include the massive Jim Jim Falls, the picturesque Gunlom Plunge Pool, and the tranquil Maguk gorge.
- The Whitsundays, QLD Average winter temp: 25°CWho needs sniffles and dry skin when you can have 74 islands of sunshine and suntans? The Whitsundays were hit hard by Cyclone Debbie, and some spots are still closed. But many – including iconic Whitehaven Beach – have re-opened and the locals are keen to welcome visitors back. Come at the end of July (29 July – 6 August) for the Whitsunday Reef Festival and its awesome street parties, pop-up beach bars, and fireworks.
Average winter temp: 20°C
OK, hear me out. I know you’re looking for places to warm up and winter in Uluru isn’t exactly tropical. But it’s an absolute must-do Aussie destination, and the cooler weather is perfect for long walks and hikes that might not be as fun when it’s 40 billion degrees (OK, 40). You don’t need sweat running in your eyes and blurring your view of incredible sights like Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. Yes, you’ll need to pack a jacket. But I promise it’ll be worth it.