8 Amazing Places To Escape The Sydney Cold this Winter
By Hayley Dean, ellaslist
The colder weather has finally started to set in, which can only mean one thing for Sydneysiders and Melbournites, it’s time to start planning your winter escape.
Here are my personal top picks, both at home and abroad.
At home in Australia
Uluru has been on the top of my bucket list for, well; I would say almost my entire life. I am so excited to be heading there next week! The weather is currently around mid 20’s and it’s a great time to be going with kids thanks to a load of actives happening during the winter months.
Two that come to mind are the Uluru Camel Cup and the Tjungu Festival.
The Uluru Camel Cup is on from May 25-26th, it’s a fun-filled Family friendly weekend of activities including BBQ’s, Camel races, helicopter flights, reptile shows and of course, fashions on the field.
Held in April, Tjungu Festival celebrates the best of Australian Indigenous culture. The festival happens all around the popular local resorts and a handy free shuttle bus offers ways to get to the different events.
Of course, there are some limitations when travelling with young children due to the age restrictions from tour operators but don’t forget the amazing Rock you are going to see and all the natural wonders that surround it. You can walk, bike ride, helicopter, bus and hike around Uluru. We secured cheap deals thanks to the Boxing Day Sales; $99 Jetstar flights and a family package through Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), who manage the Ayers Rock Resorts, such as ‘Sails in the Desert’ on their behalf.
Anytime you decide to holiday in Tropical North Queensland with the family, is frankly the perfect time to go. A few years ago, a friend of mine went on, what to this day, she terms “the best holiday ever” and it was to Cairns, staying at the BIG4 holiday park. The park itself, Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort has been voted the best caravan park countless times and it’s easy to see why.
It’s a family friendly way to have a wonderful family holiday in a tropical location. The park has a list of facilities as long as your arm, that are bound to suit all types of families on all types of budgets plus 14 different styles of accommodation. Onsite facilities include a super fun waterpark with splash bucket, giant jumping pillows, adventure playgrounds, mini golf, pools, tennis courts, kids movies, go karts toddler indoor and out door playgrounds plus pool and the list goes on and on and on.
And if you manage to get bored of the park (highly unlikely) you are very close to shops, tourist attracts like the Daintree Rainforest and of course the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit the BIG4 Website for all the current deals on offer.
My Aunt and Uncle have relocated here recently from Melbourne. When they first mentioned they were looking for house in the area, I have to admit that I never really thought there was a whole lot more to Kingscliff than their famous Peppers Salt Resort and Spa (sorry Kingscliff!), but as it turns out, it’s a real secret haven for families.
When you think about it, it is in a wonderful location on NSW far North Coast; only 15mins from the Gold Coast Airport and 30mins from Byron Bay. Its home to two world class surfing breaks and reefs with soft white beaches, a kayakers and cyclists paradise (my Uncle is testament to this!), animal encounters galore plus you have so many mouth watering food options, markets and shops AND World Heritage-listed Wollumbin National Park on your doorstep.
I’m embarrassed I never knew just how much this place had to offer and so happy to visit as often.
Weather averages around the low to mid 20’s during the winter months. Yes please.
For more information on accommodation and activity options in Kingscliff, check out the Visit NSW website.
Image: Visit NSW Website
If you never never go, you will never never know. Never have truer words been said on an ad campaign and never has a catch phrase had more impact than after you have been.
The best time to visit the top end is during our winter months, from June to late September. Visiting Darwin and nearby Kakadu makes you feel like a tourist in your own country. So far removed is it from our southern cities that you do gain a newfound appreciation for the wonderful country we live in and your kids will feel it too. Darwin is so much more than just crocodiles and Cyclone Tracey. There are the family friendly Mindil Markets, the free water and recreational lagoon at the Darwin Waterfront precinct, the deckchair cinemas (watch out for the possums!), the history, the Aboriginal culture, the museums, the parks and the gardens and home to some seriously amazing sunsets. And then, there’s the wonder of Kakadu and Litchfield National Park.
In my humble opinion, it should be compulsory for every Australian to see NT.
Image: Hayley Dean
The family holiday to the Gold Coast is an iconic Aussie tradition. Most of us would have done it ourselves as youngsters. With young kids, the secret is to not try and do all the theme parks at once, rather focus on one or two, depending on your left of stay. I highly recommend Sea World Resort as a great place to stay. Groupon (and the like) offer amazing deals once a year that is worth holding out for. The resort is a haven for kids, especially the water park in the centre of the rooms. Each night they have, what I can only describe as a pop up kids dance party! For around 30mins, fun party lights shine on the water park whilst playing popular tunes from Nickelodeon cartoons such as Sponge Bob Square pants. It’s a real highlight of the holiday for the kids.
But what I really liked best about staying at Sea World is the gate between the resort and the theme park, which means, you can come and go as you please throughout the day. With young kids, this was a godsend. We spent three days taking our time enjoying what the Sea World has to offer, instead of being stressed and packing too much into a single day. Was a great way to relax for parents too, and I don’t mind saying that I truly enjoyed the day spa treatment.
Image: Sea World Resort Website
Lord Howe Island
Another destination high on my bucket list! If you don’t like being surrounded by tourists and just need to recharge and reconnect with the family, then Lord Howe Island is the perfect place for you. Only 400 visitors are allowed on the breath-taking UNESCO World Heritage Island at anyone time and its actually only 600km’s northeast from Sydney (less then the drive from Sydney to Byron!). The flight “over” seas really does make you feel like you are, well going overseas, when in fact, you haven’t left New South Wales.
Thanks to the surrounding warm seas, it is said that the climate remains mild year round and average temps for winter 2018 are predicted to be around 20 degrees.
This is a place for nature lovers. 75% of the Island is protected, leaving the most pristine natural environment, aqua marine park and abundance of wildlife.
Image: Visit NSW Website
Sure, there are the usual suspects Fiji, Bali, Thailand and Vanuatu but I want to suggest two other locations you may not have considered.
Many years ago, my partner and I holidayed in the United Arab Emirates predominantly staying in Dubai. It was not my choice to go but I was pleasantly surprised by our time here. We were visiting a friend who had been posted on a work secondment. And oh my, what a playground it is for ex-pats living there and friends coming to visit! The shopping malls are out of this world, famously housing ski fields and large chucks of Australia’s own Great Barrier Reef. The weather is dry and hot during these months as it is their summer season but I did find it absolutely manageable. My partner, on the other hand, struggled (I mean it does get up to 45 °C most days!). The plus side to visiting at this time of year is cheaper accommodation and far less crowds at all the famous attractions.
For families, you cannot go past Atlantis, on the man-made island known as The Palm. Just like its famous Bahamas sister, this 5 star luxury resort has got something for everyone; romance, action, scrumptious food options (over 23 restaurants in the resort itself including Gordon Ramsey), spa and relaxation treatments, animal encounters (swim with dolphins and slide through a shark infested waterslide!!) and children’s activities galore including their mind blowing Aqua adventure waterpark.
Just one point to note, whilst you should not experience any issues in visiting Dubai, please consider the cultural differences and respectfully act accordingly at all times.
Image: Atlantis, The Palm website
New Caledonia has emerged in recent years as the increasingly popular alternative to Bali and Fiji for Aussie families. Perhaps that’s because the flight from Sydney to Noumea is only a little over 2.5 hours and tickets are cheap by international travel standards.
It’s a wonderful blend of sun and surf in a tropical paradise with a delicious French injection of culture (oh my, the food, the cheese, the wine oh la la - yum!)
Not unlike many other tropical islands in the South Pacific, you are welcome to do as much or as little as you’d like. Many visitors report the joy of hand feeding turtles as they swim in the beaches, and just relaxing on the sand. Others talk of experiencing the rich history through local museums and tours. The biggest surprise with New Caledonia is that it’s just not as expensive as you may have thought. It seems to have this incorrect reputation for not being very family friendly but that just couldn’t be further from the truth and most definitely, well worth checking it out.
Image: Kids and Compass website
And if you have any other suggestions or do visit one of these amazing places above, please write in and let us know - we'd love to see the photos.
Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!
Reviews get lonely too
Be awesome and write a review