Destinations / Travel

Underrated Australian travel locations to visit this winter

australian holiday destinations

Some say Australia is at its best in summer. And they're partly right. We do have great beaches, we know how to make the most of the sunshine, and I don't know anyone who isn't a fan of daylight savings. But it would be a mistake to think that winter doesn't have its perks, either. For one, you can have campfires, stare up at the stars and, for those with a carefully curated winter wardrobe, get some mileage out of your coats, knee-high boots and woollen accessories.

Forget a European summer, it's time to embrace the magic of our country in winter (it's better for your wallets too). Up north, you can still swim and strip down to your bikini, while in places like Hobart you're encouraged to embrace the cold – and all the rugged, wild activities that come with it.

If you need a winter break, these are the best and most underrated Australian destinations to take refuge in.


Hobart (TAS)


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Australians don't know what to do with themselves when the temperature drops into the single digits. The obvious answer, of course, is to follow suit and head south to Tasmania. While there are plenty of spots worthy of your time, Hobart is a classic and where other cities shut down over winter, this place only ramps up. There's Dark Mofo, the everpresent peak of kunanyi, a walkable trail of restaurants and galleries, and the beloved Mona Museum to explore. And if you need a list of places to stay, why not peruse our guide of Tasmanian hotels and Airbnbs – though we can never go past The Tasman. Why not make a trip to Bruny Island while you're here?


Wolgan Valley (NSW)


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If your ideal winter vacation is off-grid and away from reception, one of my favourite spots is nestled in the Blue Mountains. One of the seven valleys, Wolgan Valley is the perfect location for those looking to go camping and sit around a campfire under the stars, sighing out a breath of fresh air. If you have the cash, you can also head to the ultra luxe conversation retreat, Emirates One&Only Wolgan ValleyHowever, a nice middleground would be spending a night in a Tiny Away cabin like Piccolino. Keep your eyes peeled for kangaroos, wombats and other native fauna.


South Gippsland (VIC)

You will likely know of East Gippsland, the region was devastated during the Black Summer bushfires. However, Gippsland's southernmost point is also a cracking place to visit. With crystalline beaches, rugged hinterland and some of the best eating in the state (gourmands will have a field day) this is for those who want the best of all worlds on their winter holiday: beach, mountains and piles of cheese. All you need is to park yourself in front of a fireplace and veg out.


Sawtell (NSW)

While Byron Bay to the north and Bellingen to the south often steal the spotlight (and for good reason), Sawtell is a vibey little coastal town on the east coast that should be on your radar. It has incredible swimming spots, a handful of relaxed restaurants and cafes, a host of walking tracks to explore and all the fishing you could want. Bring your fleece zip-up, a deck of cards and a group of pals and slow down here this winter.


Wirruwana (WA)

Known to the island's traditional owners, the Malgana people, as Wirruwana, you can only visit this gem between March 1 to November 30 each year via a privately operated barge, making it a great winter holiday. Much like K'gari on the east coast, to do so you'll need a 4WD. Once here, you can camp at a designated site or stay at the island's Lodge. The island is currently going through a regeneration program to restore it to pre-settler times, before feral cats and sheep grazing. Visit Rose Lake, see turtles hatching at Turtle Bay, go fishing or bushwalking. Just remember, leave no trace!


Adelaide Hills (SA)


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There are plenty of wine regions to explore in South Australia, and even more destinations to flock to as summer fades. But there's nothing like a tried-and-tested winter escape in the Adelaide Hills. Rug up and make your way through the region's food trail, hitting spots like The Scenic Hotel, Fourth Hill Providore, The Crafers Hotel, or even those in the city like Parwana Afghan Kitchen, Asian Gourmet, Leigh Street Wine Room and Pinco Deli, before flopping face down on the mattress of your room at Mount Lofty House.

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Images: @tasmania @dirkhartogisland