7 Australian Escapes That Work Year-Round

  • 01 of 08

    7 Australian Escapes That Work Year-Round

    Summer weather in Australia
    ••• Ann Clarke Images/Getty Images

    One of the best things about traveling to Australia from overseas is that no matter when you arrive, you’re almost guaranteed to strike some sunshine!

    Some parts of Australia, particularly in the north, are literally warm and sunny all year round; in Cairns, Townsville, Darwin and other northern cities, winter simply means you may need to wear a light cardigan.​

    Our country’s beautiful, mild climate means that visiting Australia during the winter months is a great time to experience our incredible attractions – and you don’t have to fight the summer crowds.

    These are some of our top getaways for travelers down under this winter.

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  • 02 of 08

    Townsville and Cairns, Far North Queensland

    Palm fringed tropical beach at sunset
    ••• The beaches of Port Douglas lie just north of Cairns. Steve Daggar Photography/Getty Images

    Sydney and Melbourne are our largest, most famous cities, and they often come to mind first as ‘must see’ locations when visiting Australia. But there are some incredible experiences to be hard up north, many of which are unique to this part of the world.

    Cairns and Townsville, located a few hours’ drive apart in far north Queensland, offer you the chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef just off their coastlines. A 20-minute ferry ride from Townsville delivers you to Magnetic Island, an unspoiled, rustic island oasis – and a short drive north of Cairns deposits you in Port Douglas, one of the most beautiful beach locations in the world.

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  • 03 of 08

    Port Stephens, New South Wales

    Mt. Tomaree's Lookout
    ••• William Winkyi/Getty Images

    Looking to put some magic moments in the memory bank? Port Stephens, located a scenic 2.5-hour drive north of Sydney, could be the ideal place to start. It boasts no fewer than 26 crystal clear beaches that are warm enough to dip into during winter, but just as importantly, the area is famous for its whale and dolphin watching.

    Whale cruises commence in May, the last month of autumn (fall), and run into November (the last month of spring). “You’ll never forget seeing the awesome bulk of a Humpback whale, 15 meters long and weighing 40 tonnes!” says the team at Moonshadow TQC Cruises – which will even offer you a free return cruise if you don't see a whale on your first sea journey.

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  • 04 of 08

    Gold Coast, Queensland

    Australia skyline
    ••• Sean Scott/Getty Images

    Finding the perfect location for a family holiday can be a bit like searching for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You’ve heard it exists, you’ve just never seen it with your own eyes. Search no further, says Gordon Bayne, Head of Travel at Scoopon, as the Gold Coast may just be the elusive holiday hotspot you’ve been chasing!

    Theme parks, golden beaches, tropical rainforests and endless sunshine are just the start of the story. “Adrenaline junkies in the family will feel right at home taking on the famous theme parks, while nature lovers can get their fix at the spectacular Currumbin Wildlife Park or cuddle up to a furry friend at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary,” Bayne says.

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  • 05 of 08

    Mandurah Bay, Western Australia

    Mandurah Jetty
    ••• Light Bulb Works/Getty Images

    If you’re travel\ling to Australia’s western coast to check out everything Perth has to offer, then you’ll want to schedule a visit to Western Australia’s Peel Region as well. Situated around 70km from Perth, Mandurah Bay offers fun for the whole family.

    “You can go four-wheel driving, dolphin watching, horse riding and enjoy some of the country’s finest wineries,” Bayne explains. “The spectacular Seashells Mandurah is the ideal place to stay in the area. Mandurah’s top-rated hotel, it includes an impressive infinity pool.” 

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  • 06 of 08

    West Beach, South Australia

    Life saver hut, Glenelg South Australia
    ••• John White Photos/Getty Images

    A hidden hideaway that may just be Adelaide’s best-kept secret, West Beach is only 15 minutes from the CBD, but feels like you’re a world away from the business of the city. Here, you can swim in beautiful, safe waters year-round, or relax on the sand and watch pelicans fly by.

    No visit to West Beach is complete without visiting Mega Adventure Aerial Park. Thrill seekers will be impressed with the park’s high-octane adventures and obstacles! Or, if you’d rather take it slow, then West Beach Mini Golf is your best bet. Best of all, West Beach has accommodation options to suit every budget, from romantic, luxurious beachside bungalows, to self-serviced apartments catered for families on the seaside. Choose your own adventure!

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  • 07 of 08

    Phillip Island, Victoria

    The Nobbies landscape of Phillip Island, Australia.
    ••• Boy_Anupong/Getty Images

    Beautiful beaches, sunny weather, incredible landscapes… and fairy penguins? Australia may not be the first place you think of to meet and greet these gorgeous little critters, but they live in abundance in Victoria’s Philip Island (90 minutes from Melbourne), which is home to a whole bunch of these furry little friends.

    Penguins shuffle along the beach at sunset “every night of the year”, confirms Phillip Island Nature Parks. December and January are the busiest months, they add, so visiting during winter improves your chances of a great viewing position of the Penguin Parade.

    You can also go swimming and surfing in the local beaches, as Phillip Island is renowned as one of the most consistent and varied surf locations in Australia. Other attractions include the famous Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, and whale watching in June and August, to see the annual great whale migration in action.

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  • 08 of 08

    Airlie Beach, Queensland

    Aerial of sweet water river at Whitsunday Island
    ••• Airlie Beach is the jumping off point for the famous Whitsunday Islands. Daniel Osterkamp/Getty Images

    Searching for a quick, romantic getaway in the midst of your Aussie adventure? Or does a beach break with your family seem like the ideal respite from an otherwise packed holiday schedule? Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsundays in Queensland (around 1000km north of Brisbane), could be the perfect spot for you!

    Winter here lasts about two weeks, the locals say, and even then it doesn’t get much cooler than needing to wear pants and a long-sleeved tee. Towards the end of winter, you can still catch whale-watching season, while also enjoying warmer weather and low season accommodation rates before the area becomes packed with tourist in the September peak holiday period.

    During your stay in Airlie Beach, make sure you plan some time to look up: at night, the sky explodes with sparkling stars that aren’t dulled by nearby city lights. “You will never believe how many stars there are in the sky until you see them in real life,” shares Cindy, a traveler from Canada. “At night, we had the...MORE choice to either sleep up on the deck of the boat or down below. A bunch of us slept on the deck in the ocean breeze and watched the stars for the whole night. It was so amazing. I don't think I have ever seen that many stars in my life before!”