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maui beachside in cairns

Winter Destinations In Australia

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The nicest thing about an Australian winter is that depending on where you go you can pretty well dial in the climate you want.

That might mean a red wine and a fire with snow falling outside in the mountains or a balmy 25-degree day on a North Queensland beach. Even at its coldest Australia doesn’t ever get close to a cold northern European winter and in most places, it's just pleasant and still sunny, if 10 degrees or so colder than summer. 

Oysters Family at the beach Salad

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Wildlife

Australia is a feast for wild life lovers and once you get away from people there’s a lot to see. Dawn and dusk are the best times to see most wildlife as many nocturnal animals are still active in the early morning and many animals come to water at dusk. However during the day you might see things like kangaroos, emu’s, and cockatoos.

Most kangaroos you will see are grey kangaroos however in northern and interior areas you will see red kangaroos. These are the largest kangaroo species, can be up to 1.9m tall, weigh up to 90kg and can cover up to 10m in each leap – it’s best practice to avoid driving at dusk, dawn or night in rural Australia as they come out to feed. Notable Kanagroo celebrities include Roger the big red in the Kangaroo Sanctuary at Alice Springs who can crush a steel bucket with his arms. 

Emus are the second largest bird in height terms after their close relative the ostrich, look more like the roadrunner in the TV cartoon and can sometimes be seen by the roadside. Sulphur crested cockatoos live in huge flocks and makes a magnificent sight, pristine white against the deep red, brown and green of the bush and the clear blue of the sky.

Uluru

Formed 600 million years ago, Uluru is powerfully sacred to traditional owners and one of the ultimate Australian symbols. While it is best known for its iconic brilliant red colour caused by oxidisation of iron in its sandstone structure, Uluru goes through a tremendous range of colours as the light changes throughout the day.

In any case, the base of the rock holds many sites that are important in aboriginal “dreaming,” a mixture of traditional knowledge and sacred practice that form a living entity that needs to be maintained. 

Whether you take a guided tour with one of the traditional owners, a bike ride or camel tour around the base, Uluru carries with it a powerful sense of place that will stay with you long after you leave.

Find out more about Uluru.

Australian Wineries

Australia is a wine lovers paradise and you can find great wineries in some of the most beautiful and interesting locations in all of the southern states. These range all the way from the Hunter Valley north of Sydney to Tasmania in the south with everyone putting its special stamp of earth and climate on the wines it produces.

With faster ripening fruit in warmer climates comes big rich flavours such as you find in Shiraz and with slower ripening fruit in colder comes the refinement and balance of a great pinot.

Along with the wine you can experience wild coastlines, discover hidden valleys, see brumbies in the high country and experience another sort of life in charming country towns.

Great Barrier Reef

As the largest living thing on the planet, this literally stands alone as an attraction and is still lovely to visit in winter when you can swim, snorkel, dive, sail or just relax without the crowds. In fact, there are endless activities to be enjoyed here.

The best way to see this natural wonder is to get in the water and you don’t need to be a professional diver to do this. Just a mask and snorkel is all you need but you can also do a beginners scuba course. The great thing is that the water clarity is so good that you can see a lot of life in less than 10m of water. Other options are to take a charter, a tour to Green Island or try a jet-ski tour or canoeing on the rivers of the nearby Daintree Rainforest if you are feeling more adventurous. 

The other thing about winter is that because Australian tourists tend to be summer-centric, so many places are still nice but less crowded in winter. In the north the winter is also “the dry season” and as this implies you don’t get as much humidity or rain than in the summer months of “the wet”. On the northern Queensland coast temperatures are such that its business as usual but with less extreme heat and cooler nights and if you are anything like us what’s not to like about that?