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10 places to go in Australia in winter

Whether you're after city, beach or nature, look no further than a domestic holiday for your next winter getaway.

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Kimberley, Australia

With one-of-a-kind festivals like Vivid Sydney and Hobart’s Dark Mofo, ski season being upon us, and favourable weather in the tropical north of the country, winter’s a great time to explore your own backyard. So, consider skipping Bali or Thailand and see what Australia has to offer.

Note: Some of the festivals and events below have been cancelled for 2020, but it's never too early to daydream about a future trip.

Best places to go in Australia in winter

  • Hamilton Island/Whitsunday Islands
  • Top End
  • Snowy Moutnains
  • Lord Howe Island
  • Canberra
  • Sydney
  • Kununurra and the Kimberley
  • Blue Mountains
  • Tasmania
  • Uluru

HamiltonIsland.RaceWeek

Hamilton Island and the Whitsunday Islands

Why you should go in winter:

  • Watch the flurry of yachts set sail around the Whitsunday Islands during the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, a must for boating enthusiasts.
  • Stinger season ends in May, so feel free to dive into the turquoise waters, explore the colourful underwater reefs, or just enjoy the stunning Whitehaven Beach without slipping into a stinger suit first.

What the weather is like: Winter is the dry season, and temperatures hover around 25 degrees.

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TourismAustralia.Kakadu

Image: Tourism Australia

Top End

Why you should go in winter:

  • Darwin’s Mindil Sunset Markets run every Thursday and Sunday night throughout the winter months. Dine on a huge range of cuisines from Thai and Sri Lankan to Brazilian and Greek, or shop at market stalls for fashion, jewellery and local craft.
  • Being the dry season, most of the attractions at Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks will be open as there should be minimal flooding. Plus, free movies under the stars.

What the weather is like: Minimal rain and temperatures around 33 degrees.

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Perisher.SnowyMoutnainsSquare

Snowy Mountains

Why you should go in winter:

  • Experience a white Christmas... in July at Thredbo, where you can watch the big guy in the red suit carve his way down the slopes.
  • They're called "snowy" for a reason, and the area is the closest place for Australians to go skiing or snowboarding.

What the weather is like: Expect snow, with temperatures around freezing.

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TourismAustralia.LordHoweIsland

Image: Tourism Australia

Lord Howe Island

Why you should go in winter:

  • Winter is the most affordable time to go to Lord Howe Island, with weeklong packages available for less than $1,000 per person and the luxurious Capella Lodge offers stay-and-save offers.
  • Looking like no less than paradise on earth, Lord Howe Island topped Australian Traveller’s list of the top 100 things to do before you die.

What the weather is like: Pleasant weather, around 23 degrees during the day.

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TourismAustralia.Canberra

Image: Tourism Australia

Canberra

Why you should go in winter:

  • Join gourmet degustation dinners, cooking classes, truffle hunts and more during the 12-week Canberra and Capital Region Truffle Festival.
  • Try open-air ice skating in the middle of the city at Garema Place and watch professional skaters.
  • It’s on the way to the snow from Sydney, and is the perfect pit-stop place for a quick overnight stop or as part of a road trip.

What the weather is like: Crisp days with blue skies, with temperatures around 12 degrees.

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VividSydney.Bridge

Sydney

Why you should go in winter:

  • Sydney really comes alive during the annual Vivid Sydney festival (cancelled for 2020) where brilliant light displays illuminate the city, including colourful projections on the Opera House, fairy lights adorning harbour ferries and much more.
  • Most years, Darling Harbour is transformed into a winter wonderland, including a skating rink, snow pit, and a frozen forest, for Cool Yule. 2020's event is to be confirmed.

What the weather is like: Expect temperatures around 20 degrees, and less rainfall than during the summer months.

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TourismAustralia.BungleBungles

Image: Tourism Australia

Kununurra and the Kimberley

Why you should go in winter:

  • Sitting more than 800 kilometres from Darwin, the small town of Kununurra sees big names in music come to the annual Kimberley Moon Experience Concert (cancelled for 2020).
  • Adventure seekers can join the Lake Argyle Adventure Race, combing a variety of running, cycling, paddling and swimming events over a three-day period.
  • With more comfortable weather, it’s a good time to visit the Bungle Bungles National Park, which sit about 200 kilometres away.

What the weather is like: It’s the dry season, so expect sunny skies with temperatures around 33 degrees.

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BlueMountains.ShutterstockSquare

Blue Mountains

Why you should go in winter:

  • Experience Christmas in July… and June, and August with Yulefest. Select hotels, restaurants and other venues will put on "Christmas" specials including traditional dinners.

What the weather is like: Depending on where you are in the Blue Mountains, daily winter highs hover between 5 and 16 degrees, with temperatures dipping below freezing overnight. That means there’s the chance of seeing a light dusting of snow on the ground come morning.

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DarkMofo

Image: @dark_mofo

Tasmania

Why you should go in winter:

  • With a combination of free and paid events, including music, art, film and light, Dark Mofo (cancelled for 2020) is a festival organised by MONA to celebrate the dark.
  • Tasmania’s one of the best places to view Aurora Australis, or the southern lights, in the country, and they tend to shine the brightest toward the end of winter and into September.

What the weather is like: It’s the wettest and coldest season in Tasmania, with temperatures reaching a maximum of about 12 degrees.

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TravelNT.FieldOfLightUluruImage: TravelNT

Uluru

Entry into Uluru is currently not permitted due to COVID-19, however you might like to keep it in mind for late-winter or winter 2021.

Why you should go in winter:

  • Check out the new Field of Light installation, where artist Bruce Munro has planted more than 50,000 lights in the desert. You can see the display by self-guided tours, on camelback or on a helicopter tour.
  • Uluru Camel Racing Club's Camel Cup will kick off the 2019 event at the Outback Pioneer Hotel & Bar with boot scooting and entertainment on Friday night, before the big Camel Cup race on Saturday.

What the weather is like: Clear skies and temperatures between 16-29 degrees during the day, dropping to single digits overnight.

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