As the Northern Hemisphere starts to bundle up for winter, temperatures are rising down in Australia. Whether you want to celebrate the holiday season, hit the beach, or just make the most of the sunshine, here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy summer Down Under.
Get Out on the Water
Australia’s beaches are some of the best in the world and summer is the optimal time to dive in and cool off. Queensland destinations like the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay, and the Gold Coast are top choices for sun-seekers, where you can learn to surf, try water sports from sea kayaking to jet-skiing, or simply work on your tan. Head further north to swim and snorkel at the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef or cruise out to an island paradise such as the Whitsunday Islands or Fraser Island.
See the Outback
Venture out into Australia’s "Wild West" and take in the highlights of the remote Red Centre. The iconic Uluru (Ayers Rock) is the must-see landmark, but for the most spectacular views, time your visit for sunrise or sunset, and camp out beneath the desert stars. Further north, explore the wild landscapes of the Litchfield and Kakadu national parks on a 4WD camping adventure, where you can spot crocodiles, swim at natural water holes, and marvel at the magnetic termite mounds.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve
Ring in the New Year Sydney-style by booking a dinner cruise or attending a glamorous New Year’s Eve Opera Gala. Both offer a prime view over Sydney Harbour, where the spectacular Sydney NYE fireworks display takes place against a backdrop of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to Sydney—there are huge celebrations in Perth, Brisbane, and Melbourne too.
Take a Road Trip
Summertime is perfect for a road trip, whether its wine tasting along the Margaret River or in the Barossa Valley, beach-hopping along the East Coast, or following the dusty Gibb River Road into Australia’s rugged northwest. By far the most famous road trip is the Great Ocean Road, which runs along the south coast and includes highlights such as Shipwreck Coast and Loch Ard Gorge, the Twelve Apostles, Port Campbell National Park, and Apollo Bay.