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4 Balmy Aussie Destinations Where You Can Thaw Out All Winter Long

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Not everyone loves to hit the slopes or sit by a fireplace for their Aussie winter travel – many of us thrive in balmy temps. And while our usual pre-pandemic jaunts to Europe or Bali for summer/dry season might be on hold for a long while, not all is lost.

You can still don shorts and a singlet, just head to the top half of this glorious country instead.

Australia is a massive island with varying climates. According to the government’s Your Home arm, there are eight climate zones each with distinct characteristics. So if you don’t love a frosty winter, you’ve got options.

Basically, to step back into summer you’re looking at Aussie winter travel to the top half of the country: specifically, Broome and The Kimberley; Ningaloo and the North West Cape; Darwin and the Top End, and North Queensland.

In these regions, it’s not considered winter at all. It’s dry season, and with a lower chance of rain and lovely temperatures, it’s actually the best time to visit.

Source: Australian Building Codes Board via Your Home.

Here’s why these four regions offer the perfect winter getaway.

#1 Broome and The Kimberley, WA

 

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The ancient beauty of the remote Kimberley region is truly a sight to behold. Balmy temps with 20-degree lows and highs of 30 make it a fab time to visit this spot in WA for Aussie winter travel.

You can take a scenic flight over the mighty Bungle Bungle Range: towering, tiger-striped rock formations that have eroded into marvellous beehive-like domes.

Or explore the Buccaneer Archipelago, a collection of 1,000 islands surrounded by insanely perfect crystal blue waters. If you prefer to stick to the coastline, check out Cape Leveque north of Broome, with its ochre cliffs, white beaches and electric blue waters.

There are Indigenous communities and a rich culture as well as spectacular gorges, falls and other natural wonders. Plus, did you know that you can also see something most people travel to Africa for? Boab trees are right here in The Kimberley, too.

Another winter experience not to miss can be found across Broome’s pearl farms. The spectacular show is known as The Staircase to the Moon, where every full moon from March to October reflects off the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay as it rises, creating a ‘staircase’ that leads up to the heavens.

Check out The Kimberley’s Instagram to be blown away by the diversity of the region.

#2 Ningaloo Reef and the North West Cape, WA

 

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One of the best places to swim with whale sharks in the entire world is right on our doorstep in WA.

Sitting smack bang against the coast, the Ningaloo Reef is UNESCO World Heritage-listed and is the largest fringing reef on Earth, offering a slew of outdoor adventures for your Aussie winter travel. While Ningaloo’s most notable visitors are the whale sharks, it’s a great place to swim with manta rays, turtles, tropical fish and even humpback whales during their migration, too.

When is the best time for this? Winter, of course. Not only is the water a lovely 22 degrees, but whale sharks are most plentiful during March to August, with humpback whales migrating roughly from August through October (but these can vary year on year).

Opposite the Coral Coast’s sparkling waters are the striking red soils of Cape Range National Park. The whole North West Cape is worth exploring and includes one of the best beaches in the world – Turquoise Bay.

If you’re headed there from Perth, you’re going to pass gems like Kalbarri National Park and Francois Peron National Park. Here is our list of ridiculously cool experiences to put on your WA bucket list.

#3 Darwin and The Top End, NT

‘Winter’ is also dry season in the Northern Territory, making it the opportune time to visit this incredible destination. With warm days (temps up to 31 degrees) and pleasantly warm nights, it’s the best of both worlds. Darwin has a lot going for it (including a burgeoning food scene), like the Mindil Beach Sunset Marketscage swimming with a crocodile or seeing a film under the open skies at Deck Chair Cinema.

Further afield in the state, so much natural adventure is open to you – but just know that out in the desert, while the days are sunny and hot, the nights get very cold. You could hit up Buley Rockhole in Litchfield National Park to frolic in a series of connected swimming pools with clear waters, or chill in the other swimming hubs in the park, Wangi and Florence Falls.

South is Nitmiluk National Park where you can canoe in its ancient gorges, see incredible Aboriginal rock art and swim in natural plunge pools, including the Mataranka Thermal Pool. The other great thing about a winter trip north is that many amazing festivals run during this time, like GARMA Festival, BASSINTHEGRASS and of course, Field of Light.

There’s heaps to do in the NT, made more special when exploring with the land’s traditional custodians – here are 10 must-do Indigenous-led activities (including croc spotting in Kakadu National Park and seeing the impressive monoliths of Uluru and Kata Tjuta) to get you started.

#4 The Great Barrier Reef and Tropical North Queensland

 

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Queensland has a lot going for it, not least of all the fact it’s where two UNESCO World Heritage Sites meet – the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. Winter is the best time to head to this part of the Sunshine State, with warm waters and average temperatures sitting around 24 degrees. Ideal.

Obviously, The Great Barrier Reef should be on your tropical getaway list, along with The Whitsundays, Cairns, Port Douglas and Mossman Gorge, and The Daintree and Cape Tribulation (which enjoy dry season May through October). These areas were hard hit by the loss of international tourism due to the pandemic, so it’s more reason to make your way there this winter.

If Aussie winter travel is less preferable to earning some coin while living your best life, consider registering for the Queensland Government’s ‘Work in Paradise‘ program, which offers free travel and $1500 to relocate there to work in tourism and hospitality roles.


(Lead image: East Point Reserve in Darwin / Tourism Australia).