The East Coast road trip: Winter edition

Visiting Australia in the winter months.

One of the great things about Australia is the glorious weather. Holidays here are associated with golden sand beaches, warm water and alfresco dining. But, even during the winter months, when air fares are lower, demand for accommodation eases and there's more room on the sand – there's still plenty to do.

Here's what we like about winter in Australia.

Winter festivals

Vivid Lights – Sydney's aglow in the largest festival of lights and entertainment in the Southern Hemisphere. Taking place in May or June, much of the festival is free to access, providing great evening entertainment.

Winter Magic Festival – Get out of the city and into the bush by heading to the Blue Mountains' Winter Magic Festival. Held annually, the festival takes place in Katoomba, taking over the streets with music, dance, singing and art. You also get a good view of the mountains, can take advantage of plenty hiking tracks and enjoy some good restaurant options.

Nature spotting

Top of our list for winter is spotting humpback whales migrating along the coast of NSW and Western Australia. May is a great time of year to head out in NSW and try your luck, and whale tours are available from many of the main tourist centres.

If you're over on the West Coast, May to October is the main whale-watching season. As well as humpbacks, here you might see southern right and sometimes even blue whales pass by while heading north from Antarctica. You can join a tour from several locations, but Albany and Exmouth are among the most popular.

Dry weather in the tropical north

For the northern half of the country, winter is the driest time of year which means you're far less likely to be caught in a tropical downpour or storm when you visit Queensland. Known for year-round good weather, the state offers all sorts of winter entertainment. From as many theme parks as you can handle in the Gold Coast, to snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef or sailing through the mesmerising Whitsunday Islands, you'll have plenty to do through the winter months here.

Across the region, temperatures still hit a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius on a regular basis and you can still expect plenty of blue sky days. Just bring a couple of layers for late nights and early mornings. 

Skiing and winter sports

Not everyone's aware that you can ski in Australia, but come wintertime, the slopes are open in the southern half of the country. NSW offers the aptly named Snowy Mountains, while the Victorian Alps are your second option in the state of the same name.

In NSW, try the popular resort of Perisher with several parks available. Thredbo is the best known alpine village in the region, Selwyn Snowfields are family friendly and Charlottes Pass is appropriate for all levels and fairly consistent in terms of snow fall.

Meanwhile, Victoria offers a variety of snowy activities, such as tobogganing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Go in July or August for the best chance of good snow, but the season runs from June to October.

Hiking is cooler

Australia offers a huge variety of hiking tracks ranging from a couple of hours to overnight treks. The winter season is a great time to explore them thanks to the cooler weather. You don't have to head out super early to beat the heat of the day, worry about staying hydrated or keeping cool.

There's no shortage of possibilities wherever you're heading, with most of the major cities having national parks and well-known hiking regions within an hour's drive.

City activities

Australia's cities offer plenty of entertainment, whatever the weather. Both Sydney and Melbourne offer museums and art galleries alongside plenty of cosy coffee shops. While away a few days exploring Melbourne's laneways, or pick a team to support in the AFL (Australian Football League). 

Ready to explore? Hire a car today and get on the road.

About the Author

Chester is a foodie and loves to explore the great land of Australia. He is currently blogging for East Coast Car Rentals.

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