The cooler temperatures have arrived and while it may be tempting to snuggle up beside the fireplace at home there are far better ways that you could be spending your time. A plethora of experiences perfect for winter await. From cosy hot springs and mud pools to breathtaking ski resorts and hikes in the Australian wilderness – its time to do something different this winter. Start planning an Australian or New Zealand getaway with these 5 experiences beckoning you this winter.
Soak in Thermal Hot Springs or Mud Pools
Even though the Southern Hemisphere experiences a rather mild winter in comparison to our Northern friends it can still seem like a daunting idea to get your kit off and go swimming. But then there is the Mornington Peninsula with its natural hot springs just 90 minutes from Melbourne.
The alluring thermal waters fill dozens of private baths and pools nestled in the leafy green Mornington Peninsula answering the call to those looking for some rest and relaxation during the winter months. You can enjoy a rejuvenating soaking in the hot springs on a full day adventure exploring the Mornington Peninsula with a tour guide at the wheel so you can sit back and relax.
A short hop over the ditch will take you to New Zealand, a land rich with geothermal activity and for travellers this translates to hours lazing in hot springs or taking advantage of the therapeutic benefits of the bubbling mud pools.
Hells Gate Geothermal Park Spa and Mud Packages
New Zealand’s largest active mud volcano dubbed Hell’s Gate is an amazing natural wonder that you have to experience for yourself. Located near Rotorua, the thermal mud and sulphur mineral waters are said to have healing powers and the cool showers afterwards help restore the blood circulation after a relaxing session in the hot pools.
Onsen Hot Pools
For a pampering experience with a breathtaking view the Onsen Hot Pools in Queenstown ticks all the boxes. Enjoy the soothing benefits of the pure water as you overlooking the Shotover River.
Armed with a full day pass to the hot pools and optional sauna steam room, you can make the most of the five-tiered pools that overlooked the snow dusted peaks and lakes surrounding the Tekapo Springs. With pool temperatures that range from a toasty 28 degrees to 39 degrees, it’s not a bad way to spend the day.
Recharge during a thermal pools package at Hanmer Springs. Whether it is a massage or facial that you seek, you’ll find the experience refreshing and a great way to unwind.
Within minutes of Rotorua, the Polynesian Spa provides a relaxing escape with over 28 pools to soak in soothing any muscle ache or pain. The spa features a large geothermal pool, hot mineral pools and even a small hydro slide.
Hit the ski slopes
If you live by the coast then snow is probably quite the novelty for you. In fact, many Australians have never even seen snow but you don’t need to travel too far to experience a winter wonderland. Australian snowfields officially open in June in New South Wales, Victoria and New Zealand where travellers can enjoy a multitude of ski experiences.
Thredbo Snow Tour
The village can be found in the Snowy Mountains and there is no need to worry about driving in the snow with an overnight tour delivering you right to the mountain. The alpine resort is the ideal place to start for first timers or families wanting to learn how to ski or snowboard and off the slopes there are plenty of places to dine at. The overnight tour departs Sydney in the evening travelling by coach with comfortable recliner seats. When you wake up in the morning, there is no time to waste as you will have a full 7.5 hours to ski or snowboard to your heart’s content and return to Sydney later that evening.
Full Day Lake Mountains Snow Tour From Melbourne
Melbournians can also visit the snow at Lake Mountain and stop at the famous Yarra Valley for some delicious chocolate and ice cream samples. Lake Mountain is the closest snow resort to Melbourne and you can jump on a snow toboggan, build a snowman or walk to the summit for some breathtaking views. This tour is ideal for those who want to see the snow but not necessarily spend a day skiing.
Cardrona Alpine Resort
New Zealand’s cooler climate and mountainous terrain make the region a skiing and snowboarding paradise. One of the most adored alpine resorts can be found in Cardrona. With ski field suitable for beginners through to experts, it’s no surprise that it one of the most popular in the country. Cardona Alpine Resort is new to Experience Oz and you can browse all the ski lift, rental hire and ski lesson available below.
What makes this alpine ski resort stand out amongst the rest is the opportunity for visitors to ski or snowboard down an active volcano. The mountain also offers two of New Zealand’s largest ski areas. Happy Valley is one of the best facilities for beginners with long slopes of gentle gradients so that you can master the basics. Seasoned skiers can choose between a 1 Day, 3 Day or 5 Day mountain ski lift pass and chase the adrenaline on the upper mountain.
Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike
This is a thrilling snow experience unlike any other. Following a mind blowing helicopter flight, passengers will land on the Franz Josef Glacier and take a 2 hour hike to view some incredible ice formations, caves and arches.
Escape to a warmer climate
If you prefer balmy weather and outback adventures the Top End of the country is the destination for you. When the rest of the country is shivering through winter, Darwin is still enjoying sunny days with average temperatures between 21 to 31 degrees. May to October is the best time to visit in what is considered to be their dry season with warm sunny days, cool nights and low rainfall.
At the heart of Darwin is a connection to history, Indigenous culture, gorgeous natural assets and a crocodile or two. Litchfield National Park and The Kakadu are just a skip and a jump away from the tropical city and the multitude of remote waterfalls offer a respite from the humid weather. From stunning sunsets to WWII virtual experiences and outback adventures, Darwin offers a unique winter escape.
Where better to warm up the soul than to head to the desert? You’ll still need to pack your winter woollies for the cool nights but winter is the best time to head to Uluru. The iconic landmark in the centre of Australia is a natural wonder and a deeply sacred artefact for the Indigenous culture. Experience the wonder of the Uluru and nearby Kings Canyon on guided day tours, camel ride and we can’t forget the sunsets.
Dreaming of sailing the open seas, snorkelling tropical gardens and basking in the warm sun? Port Douglas in North Queensland awaits and is the perfect gateway to access the world heritage Great Barrier Reef. Discover your ideal holiday experience below.
There aren’t too many places in Australia that are more remote than Broome. If you are longing for a coastal escape with spectacular scenery, natural wonders and warm weather then Broome in Western Australia is not to be overlooked. From the mind boggling Horizontal Falls to Pearl Tours and 4WD adventure to Dampier Peninsula.
Recharge on a hike through the wilderness
Tasmania’ Cradle Mountain is considered one of the most iconic wilderness areas in the country and proudly holds a world heritage status. Get off grid with some incredible walking tracks or a wilderness cruise on the Gordon River.
At this time of year, the mountains have a light dusting of snow which adds a touch of magic to your experience in the Blue Mountains. From cosy bed and breakfasts to abseiling adventures, hiking treks to breathtaking lookouts and cave exploration, the Blue Mountains is a great day trip or weekend destination within arms reach of Sydney.
Wine flights and gourmet delights
Curate the wine holiday of your dreams with a jaunt to the Hunter Valley. As one of Australia’s acclaimed wine regions, it is quite simply a foodies dream. Hop to some of the best cellar doors in the country sipping on delicious wine or nibbling on cheese or chocolate overlooking the vineyards. The stunning backdrop is an ideal backdrop to a peaceful hot balloon flight at sunrise or a high rollers helicopter tour with a gourmet lunch at a winery.
Extraordinary culinary adventures can all be found within an hour’s drive of Adelaide. Some of Australia’s most renowned wine masters including Jacobs Creek and Penfolds are based here so you just know that you’ll be in for a treat.
Delivering its signature Pinot Noit and Chardonnay to the world, the Yarra Valley is a Victorian getaway that must add to your travel bucket list. Though if wine is not your preferred beverage of choice, there is always the Gin trail to tease the tastebuds. Yarra Valley has a myriad of award winning cellar doors, dairy farms and degustation menus or high teas. If you don’t leave here after these delightful gastronomy experiences having put on a little weight then you haven’t done the Yarra Valley right.
Lesser known though no less superior is Margaret River in Western Australia with a plethora of winery tours, gourmet lunches and cellar door experiences. Enjoying the stunning coastal scenery, craft breweries and boutique wineries is easy in a day with guided tours from Perth to Margaret River.
Australia and New Zealand deliver on extraordinary winter experiences regardless of what kind of traveller you are. Experience Oz has a huge range of experiences helping you to curate your own dream holiday. Start planning your ideal escape this winter right here.