Top Travel Tips for a Summer Vacation Down Under - Australia and New Zealand calling
With the Southern Hemisphere seasons reversed, the lands Down Under celebrate summer from December to February, making a vacation in Australia or New Zealand the perfect escape from the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Whilst our island nations bask under clear blue skies, their coastlines fringed by sandy beaches, breathtaking bays and sparkling waterways, the summer months invite all manner of outdoor fun:
Visitors to New Zealand can:
- Cruise the beautiful Bay of Islands or sail on Auckland’s sparkling harbour.
- Kayak with seals in the sheltered bays and white sandy coves of the Abel Tasman National Park.
- Swim with dolphins and feast on fresh crays in Kaikoura.
- Ride Rotorua’s mountain biking trails in the dappled shade of towering Redwood Trees.
- Heli-hike over glistening glaciers under clear blue skies.
- Seek out some Summer fun in Queenstown (the snow may have melted but there are still plenty of adventures to be had in the Southern Alps from jetboating to bungee jumping, climbing, canyoning or cruising).
- Explore magnificent Milford Sound and remote reaches of New Zealand’s fabulous Fiordland. Cruising the tranquil waterways to catch a fresh seafood feast or taking a heli-scenic tour to SUP on a secluded alpine lake.
- Be among the first people on the planet to welcome in a New Year as the sun’s first rays rise over the East Coast.
- Or do as the local’s do and simply escape to a beachside ‘bach’ (beach house) – we have countless fabulous hidden gems to recommend !
Across the Tasman in Australia, visitors can:
- Learn to surf the waves in Bondi, Bells or Byron Bay .. or almost anywhere along the east coast.
- Enjoy an idyllic Island escape. For the Summer months we can highly recommend: Fraser Island, Lord Howe Island, Kangaroo or Rottnest Islands, and of course Australia’s Island-State, Tasmania.
- See turtles nesting on Heron Island or on Western Australia’s Ningaloo Coast.
- Sip semillon in the Hunter Valley and catch all the action of the harvest or relax over lunch at a table by the water’s edge in Sydney.
- Explore some of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives: Victoria’s Great Ocean Road offers something new at every twist and turn in the road - from surf beaches and shipwrecks to lighthouses and spectacular limestone stacks. Alternatively, explore Australia’s stunning South West: from the magnificent Margaret River wineries to Australia’s wonderful wildlife hopping on the beach in Esperance.
- Hike Tasmania’s iconic walking trails. There’s something for everyone: choose from the iconic Overland Track, the beautiful Bay of Fires, magnificent Maria Island or the fabulous new Three Capes Lodge Walk.
- Celebrate Christmas with a BBQ by the beach and be a part of the biggest New Year’s Eve party on the planet, watching the fireworks spectacular over Sydney Harbour.
Whatever calls you for summer fun Down Under, wherever or however you choose to travel, we have hidden gems to recommend and locals waiting to share their laidback lifestyle and a genuinely warm welcome.
Top Travel Tips for a Summer Vacation Down Under
The promise of halcyon days by the beach and the long school holidays (December and January) lure locals on vacation too. So, if you’re heading Down Under over this time, we recommend booking as early as possible to secure your preferred accommodation and experiences.
Stay sun safe. The sun’s rays can be very harsh and more intense than Northern Hemisphere visitors are used to. So do as the locals do and Slip, Slop, Slap – slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. Don’t forget to pack a hat, sunglasses, light weight long-sleeve shirts and plenty of factor 50 sunscreen. We also recommend travelling with a re-useable water bottle to stay hydrated.
Check out the local events calendars for where you are visiting as the summer months are a time of festivals and celebrations from outdoor cinema and carols to Christmas by the Beach and New Year’s Fireworks under the stars. Don’t miss: the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race (26 Dec in Sydney), the Boxing Day Test Cricket (26 Dec in Melbourne), the Sydney Festival and Australia Day Celebrations (8-26 Jan 2020 in Sydney), the Australian Open Grand Slam Tennis tournament (20 Jan – 2 Feb 2020 in Melbourne) and much much more. Read on for more sporting and cultural events in the months ahead.
It’s also important to note that whilst there are many great reasons to visit Australia in the Southern Hemisphere summer months, this is by no means the only time to visit .. or indeed necessarily the best time to visit all areas of the region. Australia’s tropical Top End (including the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and the Kimberley) experience hot and humid summers, often with significant rainfall. The ‘green season’ as it is known locally can be a spectacular time to see Australia’s Top End in all its glory, but the summer months are not necessarily the most comfortable time to visit. The summer months are ideal for exploring New Zealand and Australia’s southern states.