Although I'm always happy to embrace summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I tend to get a little pang of homesickness when I turn my calendar over to June.
Why is this? Well, because I think it's best to visit Australia in winter, from June to August.
No, I'm not crazy (I think). Plenty of factors make the land down under an attractive place to visit in the colder seasons.
Here are five reasons why you should visit Australia during winter.
Why Australia in Winter?
Australia may not be the cheap backpacking destination it once was, but there are ways you can avoid having to sell a kidney to get there – and one is to travel during the off-peak season of winter.
As most travelers tend to visit in the summer months (especially to spend December 31st in Sydney, one of the best places to see in the New Year), it can often be drastically cheaper to visit Australia during the country's winter.
Australia's Winter Climate is Perfect
Here's how the seasons in most of Australia play out. Very hot, still very hot, mild, and getting hotter.
Winter in Australia is, in a word, beautiful. Half the trees are stripped bare, but our evergreens keep our cities and towns green.
The sun shines brightly in the clear blue sky, and in most of the country, you'll get a solid eight to ten hours of light. No one suffers from SAD in the Land Down Under.
Depending on where you are, you can easily navigate around any city in a jumper or a light coat (you'll need something a little more heavy-duty if you head inland or south to Melbourne).
You get to enjoy all the best parts of winter – feeling toasty in your dressing gown and ugg boots, roasting marshmallows over bonfires, cuddling up under your doona (Australian slang for duvet) at night, warm soups, and hot chocolate, with basically no fallout.
And like clockwork, at the end of August, winter packs up and leaves. The smell of spring is in the air, once again.
Make the Most of Australia's Snow Season
Yes, Australia does get snow! It's a common tradition for people in my home state of New South Wales to flock to two of the country's most famous ski resorts, Thredbo or Perisher, to indulge in traditional winter sports.
Although the snow at the resorts is often artificial, we get the real deal in many other parts of the country.
When I first went to Tasmania, I was surprised to see nearby Mount Wellington covered in snow. In October – the middle of spring.
However, you don't necessarily have to journey south to see it.
It's snowed more often than not in the Barrington Tops, which are a mere three-hour drive from the beachside city of Newcastle – talk about having the best of both worlds.
You Can Often Still Go Swimming
It's no secret that most Australians are partial to the beach.
Consequently, many people won't let a little thing like cold weather get in the way of their daily swim.
It's pretty common for residents to hotfoot it to their local beach or swimming pool on any winter morning to indulge in a practice that is known as “ice-breaking.”
Don't worry; it sounds worse than it is. I've never found myself in a situation where I've had to dive through the ice to make it into the water. I don't even have to wear a wetsuit.
The whole experience is quite refreshing – it's an excellent way to wake up and ready yourself for the day ahead.
That said, the weather will often work in your favor.
It's been known to reach the mid-twenties (around 70's in Fahrenheit) in the middle of winter – the perfect temperature for an ocean dip.
A few years ago, the Sydney region experienced thirty-degree (80°F) weather for two days straight.
I'm pretty sure the entire city called in sick at work to go to the beach.
It's the Best Time to Visit Specific Destinations
Northern Australia is renowned for being hot and humid – more so in the summer.
Darwin is one of the cities that I regularly encourage travelers to visit but is best seen during the winter months.
This is because the region has two seasons – the wet (during our summer) and the dry in winter.
During the wet, the city can be plagued by constant storms, and the humidity becomes unbearable.
You're also unable to swim in the ocean due to the presence of box jellyfish. You don't want to get stung by one of those little critters. Trust me on that.
On the contrary, Darwin has become a popular backpacking destination and the perfect gateway for exploring nearby Kakadu National Park during the winter months.
The cooler months are the ideal time to make a trip to Kata Tjuta National Park, which features one of Australia's best-known icons, Uluru.
The days are bright and warm, although be sure to bring a warm jacket. It gets COLD in the desert at night.
So if you want to see Australia, don't discount the winter season. It might be just the right time for you to plan your trip to the southern side of the world.
LC is an ex-expat who is currently re-exploring her home country of Australia. Follow her adventures at home and abroad via her blog Birdgehls, where she writes about travel, expat life, gushes on about various animals and bemoans her often futile attempts to go completely green. Or, you can look her up on Facebook.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Monday 13th of June 2016
Swings and roundabouts. :)
Green Global Travel (@GreenGlobalTrvl)
Thursday 9th of June 2016
Australia may not be associated with snow, but it's nice to know it's a great place to go skiing. Hopefully, adventurous types will still go to the beach in the winter.
Monday 13th of June 2016
If you time it right, you can often have the whole beach to yourself!