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10 Australian winter destinations everyone should visit this year

This year, look no further than a domestic holiday for your winter getaway.

Starting to think about planning your winter getaway? Here are 10 places in Australia that should be added to your list.

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 this year, consider skipping Bali or Thailand and see what Australia has to offer.


TravelNT.FieldOfLightUluruImage: TravelNT

Uluru

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. 1 April 2015 until 31 March 2017
  • Uluru Camel Racing Club’s Camel Cup will kick off the 2016 event at the Outback Pioneer Hotel and Bar with boot scooting and entertainment on Friday night, before the big Camel Cup race on Saturday. 27-28 May 2016

What the weather is like: Clear skies and temperatures between 20-23 degrees during the day, dropping to single digits overnight.

Check the price of flights to 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. 20-27 August 2016
  • 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.

Check the price of hotels and packages on Hamilton Island


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. 28 April 2016 until 27 October
  • 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 30 degrees.

Check the price of flights to Darwin


Perisher.SnowyMoutnainsSquare

Snowy Mountains

Why you should go in winter:

  • With more than 30 artists playing over the four-day event, Peak Music Festival is the official kick-off of the snow season at Perisher. There will be a range of Australian and international acts across 10 stages at the mountain resort. 10-13 June 2016
  • 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. 23-24 July 2016
  • 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.

Check the price of flights to Cooma


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 $1000 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 20 degrees during the day.

Check the price of flights to Lord Howe Island


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. June until August
  • Try open-air ice skating in the middle of the city at Garema Place and watch professional skaters. 26 June until 26 July, 2016
  • 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.

Check the price of flights to Canberra


VividSydney.Bridge

Sydney

Why you should go in winter:

  • Sydney really comes alive during the annual Vivid Sydney festival, where brilliant light displays illuminate the city, including colourful projections on the Opera House, fairy lights adorning harbour ferries and much more. 27 May until 18 June, 2016
  • Darling Harbour will be transformed into a winter wonderland, including a skating rink, snow pit, and a frozen forest, for Cool Yule. 2 until 17 July, 2016

What the weather is like: Expect temperatures around 16 or 17 degrees, and less rainfall than during the summer months.

Check the price of flights to Sydney


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, with this year’s acts including the likes of Bernard Fanning and San Cisco. 21 May
  • Adventure seekers can join the Lake Argyle Adventure Race, combing a variety of running, cycling, paddling and swimming events over a three-day period. 2-4 September, 2016
  • 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 30 degrees.

Check the price of flights to Kununurra


BlueMountains.ShutterstockSquare

Blue Mountains

Why you should go in winter:

  • Celebrate the winter solstice with the locals, when the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival sees the main street in Katoomba shut down and cars replaced with countless markets, food stalls, and live entertainment. 18 June, 2016
  • Experience Christmas in July… and June, and August with Yulefest. Select hotels, restaurants and other venues will put on “Christmas” specials including traditional dinners. June until August, 2016

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.

Check the price of hire cars to drive to the Blue Mountains


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 is a 12-day festival organised by MONA to celebrate the dark. 10-21 June, 2016
  • 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.

Check the price of flights to Hobart


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Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at finder.com.au. If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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