/ The Sydney Traveler
Sydney — By Lauren Katulka on May 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm
Filed under: dining, family vacations, featuredarticle, festivals, skiing

Escape Summer Heat In the Southern Hemisphere

The mercury is soaring, but all that summer sunshine seems a bit wasted in the United Kingdom. The stones of the pebbled beaches just make your feet sore, and the oppressive heat warms the beer at your local pub. Rather than living up to the whinging Pom stereotype, why not take off in search of cooler weather?

The southern part of the world is your ideal destination at this time of year. Most people visit Australia, New Zealand, and the southern tip of Asia over the Christmas /New Year period to take advantage of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. By opting to travel outside the peak season, you’ll enjoy great savings.

Australia

whitsundays

White Haven Beach in Queensland's Whitsunday Islands

It might seem bonkers to travel to Australia during winter, but it’s possible to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand here no matter what the season. While Melbourne and Sydney can get a little chilly, the beaches of far North Queensland are perfect for swimming at any time of year. In fact, some argue that these waters are best experienced in winter when the stinging blue bottles have gone on holiday!

But holidays to Australia are about more than beaches. Many are surprised to know that during winter some parts of Australia enjoy snow! The slopes of Perisher, Jindabyne, Mt Hotham, and Falls Creek are fun for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. The excitement doesn’t end once the runs empty; that’s when everyone heads to the ski resort bars and clubs!

The Outback is also best experienced in winter; the weather is dry and the conditions not as oppressive as they are during summer.  Hire a four-wheel drive and take in the majesty of the Simpson Desert, the beauty of Ayers Rock (or Uluru as the locals call it), and the indigenous culture of Arnhem Land’s Garma Festival.

New Zealand

Mt Hutt

Mt Hutt, a popular ski field in New Zealand

New Zealand is chillier than Australia, but the country has many activities to help you warm up.

New Zealand’s ski fields are world famous; you’ll find resorts in the North and South Islands that open from June to August. Mt Hutt is a great option for families. Moms and dads can enjoy the skiing and amazing views of the Canterbury Plains and Pacific Ocean knowing their little ones are safe at the Skiwiland crèche. A dedicated beginners’ area and advanced runs ensure all skiers can enjoy the sport at their own pace. Cadrona is another favorite spot with its specialist beginners slope, advanced chutes, and extensive freestyle park.

The hot geothermal pools of Rotorua are the perfect antidote to the winter weather. You may need to hold your nose, as the area smells like rotten eggs, but a soak is very soothing.

Plan your New Zealand holidays to coincide with one of the country’s many winter festivals. There are many events which celebrate the Maori New Year, Matariki, during May, and the tasty Coromandel Scallop Festival in August.

Asia

orangutan

An orangutan in Semenggok Forest Reserve, Malaysia

While much of Asia is sweltering along with the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, many of the continent’s countries enjoy their best weather at this time of year.

From June to August Singapore’s relentless rain eases, allowing tourists to experience all the country has to offer. You can easily eat your way around Singapore, and with hawker stalls serving up affordable food it shouldn’t put too much of a hole in your pocket. That gives you more cash to enjoy the country’s shopping, which is considered some of the best in Southeast Asia.

Malaysia is just a short flight away. Again, the food is to die for, but it’d be a shame to spend your entire stay in restaurants. The orangutans who inhabit the forests of Borneo can be appreciated at any time of year, as can the bustling pace of Kuala Lumpur.

If it’s culture you’re after, consider venturing further afield to Vietnam. This country is an intriguing blend of the old world and the new, with buzzing cities and sleepy villages. Tour the Mekong Delta, gorge yourself in historic Hoi An, and have an art attack at the galleries of Hanoi.

Photos by Jan Derk, Richard Girvan, and Eleifert

This post was sponsored by Quantas Holidays, the opinions expressed herein are those of the author.

Tags: dining, family vacations, featuredarticle, festivals, skiing


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