All is not lost. Not withstanding possible coronavirus-related disruptions to plans, if you haven't made a booking for a holiday this summer but still fancy some fun in the sun, there are options.
Though Australia's most popular destinations have been rapidly filling up as Christmas approaches, there are still accommodation providers across all price-points – everything from country luxury to beachside resorts to affordable staycations – with rooms to spare over the holiday period.
Let's begin in the classic summer destination: Queensland's far north. In Cairns, the Shangri-La Cairns Marina has rooms throughout January from $250 a night, while the Pullman Reef Hotel (from $196) also has space. For a more budget-friendly option, the Comfort Inn Cairns has rooms from $80, and the Oaks Cairns is available from $100 a night.
Up in Port Douglas, there's availability at the Freestyle Resort from $250 a night, and the apartment rental site Stayz has several private residences, including the Garden Villa on Murphy for $499 a night.
In the Whitsundays, meanwhile, the luxury InterContinental Hayman Island Resort has midweek availability through January for $1295 a night.
Moving down to the Gold Coast, the perennial warm-weather favourite, the recently refurbished JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort and Spa in Surfers Paradise has rooms from $280 a night. In Broadbeach, The Star Gold Coast has "Wildlife Starcation" summer packages from $242 a night, and Stayz has a range of apartments available in January from $355. In the Byron hinterland, Unyoked has two new "tiny home" wilderness cabins from $273 a night.
Moving south, there's still sunshine and good times to be had in rural NSW, with a range of options. YHA has both shared and private rooms available in its Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley locations, from $26 a night. On Airbnb, the lovely Blackheath Artist Cottage ($240) is up for grabs in late January.
Further inland, the sprawling Cadogan Country House, between Orange and Bathurst, has January availability at $990 a night. The Quest hotel in central Orange, meanwhile, also has rooms in January, from $295. And for a visit to the nation's capital, the stylish Ovolo Nishi Canberra has rooms from $249 a night.
There are plenty of summer options, too, in Victoria. Though Daylesford is full over Christmas and New Year, the website Daylesford Country Retreats has several beautiful properties up for grabs in late January and into February. On the Great Ocean Road, meanwhile, Stayz has several properties with January availability, while the Great Ocean Ecolodge – an off-grid, self-sustained property on Cape Otway – has rooms on select dates through January for $395.
In Victorian wine country, there's space in January at the Warburton Hotel in the Yarra Valley (from $143), as well as the Healesville Hotel ($120), the glorious Chateau Yering ($395 a night), and the Flinders Hotel in Mornington Peninsula (from $300).
Of course, there are also great deals to be had in both Sydney and Melbourne this summer, as well as plenty of availability.
In Sydney, the QT Bondi offers the best of both the beach and the city – rooms from $389. There's also availability at the Hyatt Regency Sydney (from $229), the Pier One Sydney Harbour ($295), the Swissotel (from $229, with rooms on New Year's Eve from $799), and the InterContinental Sydney ($255). Though it's normally booked out well in advance during summer, the YHA Sydney Harbour still has plenty of beds (from $35 a night), and even has tickets left for its New Year's Eve rooftop party.
In Melbourne, the Crowne Plaza has rooms from $194, Luxury Escapes has a deal at the QT Melbourne for a night's accommodation, a $50 dining voucher and rooftop cocktails for $399, and there's availability throughout summer at normally busy properties such as the Lancemore Crossley St, United Places in South Yarra, the Langham, the Ovolo Laneway, the Sofitel Melbourne, the Grand Hyatt, and the soon-to-be-unveiled W Hotel Melbourne.