Places to go in winter 2022: The best short holidays around Australia and beyond

Winter doesn't have to be miserable. Sure, the days are shorter and the house colder and it's harder to get out of bed in the morning.

But there are places not far from you where winter is worshipped, such as Australia and New Zealand's high country, and where the party starts in June and doesn't end until as late as October.

Alternatively, winter doesn't have to look like winter at all. It doesn't take long to fly to destinations within our region or even within our own borders that offer warmth from the start of June through to the end of August.

Some like it hot, some like it cold (with perhaps even a walk on the mild side). Whatever the case, Traveller's seasonal holiday guide will ensure you'll be a winner this winter.

GET SOME WIND IN YOUR SAILS

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Take a full day sailing excursion aboard Fiji's newest catamaran, Sabre, as it takes you through the Mamanuca Islands. Stop to snorkel along the way, and enjoy a gourmet lunch on-board before drinks on a sandy cay exposed by the tide, right in the middle of the ocean. Take paddle-boards around the reef, or ride waterslides, or just sit on deck in a day bed listening to the crew play guitar and sing. See southseasailingfiji.com

COLD

It's a rare day in the mountains where there's no wind. One person obsessed with harnessing it is Australian adventurer Jennie Milton. She teaches skiers and snowboarders the art of snow kiting on the peaks above Thredbo and Charlotte Pass, showing them how to ride with the wind and safely make the way back from wherever it may have taken them. "Ride the mountains and get that adrenaline flowing" is her mantra. See adrenajen.com

TAKE IN SOME CREATURE COMFORTS

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It's more the weather than the wildlife that will eat you alive in the alps, but you'd best stay in the boat as you admire the crocs at Corroboree Billabong on a Mary River Wetlands tour in the Northern Territory. This river system is said to host the largest population of saltwater crocodiles around, and as well as these prehistoric giants, the area is teeming with birdlife - from sea eagles to kingfishers - and unique plants, like vast gardens of lilies, with leaves like massive green plates. See wetlandcruises.com.au

COLD

In the shelter of the gnarled snow gum forests or out in the open on the alpine fields and ridges, strolling along on snowshoes is a unique adventure. They're light and easy to use and keep you on top of the snow to admire the flora and fauna of the mountains. Among that collection you may see wombats or their traces and the bonzai-like plants stunted by the extreme winter environment they survive in. See snowymountainsbackcountry.com.au

EXPERIENCE HEAVEN AND HELI

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It's sand you'll trudge through, not snow, on this helicopter experience. Take the ultimate heli-fishing charter through some of Australia's most pristine fishing country on Cape York, getting to fishing spots no-one else ever goes. Choose between half and full-day safaris, or stay overnight in exclusive campgrounds beside remote rivers, ready at dawn and dusk to catch the big one. See bungiehelicopters.com.au

COLD

Far from the crowds and the lift queues, the good fortune for skiers and boarders lies in the heritage of helicopters in New Zealand, long used to straddle the alps. Take a trip up the braided Rakaia River and meet your machine for a ride into the Arrowsmith Ranges and its vast variety of peaks and powder snow runs. There are glaciers to admire and rivers to lunch beside and on some peaks, you can even manage to see both coasts. See methvenheli.co.nz

STAY RIGHT ON COURSE

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Prefer something to work up more of a sweat? Take a four-night/five day golf tour around Bali's best golf courses, staying at its most luxurious resorts. Bali is one of South-East Asia's best destinations for golf, and you don't have to travel far - its best courses are next to each other. Play golf at three of Bali's top courses, including Bukit Pandawa, a par three championship course overlooking some of the world's most famous surf breaks, with a temple-style clubhouse looking across the sea. See ausgolf.com.au

COLD

Losing your passion for the piste? Looking for some company as you improve? Falls Creek's Women's Ski Program brings together small groups of skiers of similar ability and puts them in the hands of specialist female instructors with the aim of helping them brush up on their skills and get some skiing miles in the right kind of learning environment. Three and five-day programs include daily lessons, lunches and a group dinner. See skifalls.com.au

GO TO THE BACK OF BEYOND

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Take a seven-day hiking and sailing journey around Queensland's Whitsunday Islands – 74 islands protected within the Great Barrier Reef. Live aboard tall ship Solway Lass as you journey between islands only reachable by boat, snorkelling off-shore reefs, watching humpback whales on their annual migration and hiking the Whitsundays' tallest peaks. Or spend time on one of the world's top-10 beaches, Whitehaven Beach, a seven-kilometre strip of blazing white sand fringed by blue ocean that's as far from winter bleakness as it gets. See lifesanadventure.com.au

COLD

Drop into touring headquarters at Guthega, load up on coffee at the Basecamp Cafe and meet your guides from Snowy Mountains Backcountry. They run introductory tours, day tours and overnight tours on the ridges and ranges of the Kosciuszko National Park - cruising the nearby slopes away from the crowds or, for the more experienced, exploring the farther reaches of the Snowy Mountains Main Range and the dramatic Western Faces. As well as guiding, touring gear is available for hire from SMBC. See snowymountainsbackcountry.com.au

SAY HELLO (AND FAREWELL) SUNSHINE

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There's no sunset like Broome's sunset – and it just got better. After a $24 million redevelopment you can walk further out over Roebuck Bay to watch the sun set into the sea. Head 112 metres along a new fishing jetty. Between April and October there's a double feature too: sunset, then the best view in town for Broome's world-famous natural attraction, Staircase To The Moon (when the full moon rises over tidal flats providing an optical illusion of a staircase reaching the moon). See visitbroome.com.au

COLD

Ring the Thredbo Community Bell at Sunrise at the top of Karels T-Bar
Credit Thredbo Resort
sunmay29cover-cold
Cold and hot cover story by Jim Darby and Craig Tansley
Images supplied for Traveller, check for other uses

Happy with an early start? You'll leave Thredbo village before dawn, using lifts and oversnow transport to access Australia's highest lifted point (2037 metres) where you'll find the Thredbo Community Bell (above) and can ring in the new day on this Sunrise Session. Then ski your way to the Eagles Nest restaurant for breakfast before the biggest treat of the trip, first tracks down the freshly groomed Thredbo Supertrail. Sunrise Sessions run from late July to early September. See thredbo.com.au

TURN ALL HIGH AND MIGHTY

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See a whole country in a single flight. Book a chopper ride over Singapore and you'll see it all in 30 minutes (the city state barely covers 700 square kilometres). Look down on the striking architecture of its futuristic cityscape and notice how it manages to blend in with its colonial architectural roots. See the ship balanced on top of a 55-storey building at Marina Bay Sands and watch real ships enter and exit Asia's busiest sea port into the Strait Of Malacca. See helicopterscharter.com

COLD

Ski the Tasman would have to be one of the world's most remarkable alpine adventures, even more so because it's accessible to skiers of intermediate level and better. The Tasman is New Zealand's largest glacier and skiers access it by helicopter or ski plane, flying in to the top of the glacier beneath the mighty Aoraki/Mount Cook for a run through seracs and ice caves and open glacial terrain with more than 1000 metres descent. See skithetasman.co.nz

HOP AND PEDAL TO IT

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Visitors relaxing at Buley Rockhole during a mountain biking ride in Litchfield National Park.<br /><br />Get set for real adventure and to connect with nature at Litchfield National Park. At just over an hour from Darwin, it's every local's favourite day trip with its waterfalls and water holes, bush walks, four-wheel drive tracks, birds and wildlife.
sunmay29cover-hot hot cold winter cover story ; text by Craig Tansley & Jim Darby 
Top End Kakadu CycleTour
cr: Travis Deane/Tourism NT
(handout image supplied via journalist for use in Traveller, no syndication) 

Photo: Travis Deane/Tourism NT

Race yourself in the Top End on a self-guided cycling tour of the Northern Territory's two most famous national parks. Over five days you'll hike and bike the best locations in Kakadu and Litchfield national parks, glamping along the way on a road trip of more than 1000 kilometres (relax: you're not cycling it all). You'll swim in waterfalls, take boat tours down croc-infested waterways and cycle your way through countryside made famous by Crocodile Dundee. See australiancycletours.com.au

COLD

The Kangaroo Hoppet is the marathon of the mountains, where cross-country skiers race around a 42-kilometre course on their lightweight gear, starting at Falls Creek's Nordic Bowl and racing to the north of the Rocky Valley Lake. It's part of the World Loppet series of cross-country events and draws racers from the world over to tick it off their list or challenge for the podium. For those who might find the full 42 kilometres a stretch, there's the seven-kilometre Joey Loppet or 21 kilometre Australian Birkebeiner events to consider. In this, its 30th year, the Hoppet will run on August 27. See hoppet.com.au

GO FORTH AND HEAL THYSELF

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Let Bali's warm ocean heal you this winter. Book in to Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay's recently refurbished Healing Village overlooking five kilometres of white beach and pamper yourself silly. Book a DIY volcanic mud wrap in a private couples' spa garden room, or try the Blessings Of Bali – a ritual beside the ocean where a Hindu priest performs a purification ritual as you're massaged to the sound of the waves. See fourseasons.com

COLD

In the heart of Falls Creek village, the timber and stone Astra Lodge has been a regular winner of the "best boutique hotel" category at the World Ski Awards and part of that is delivering the whole package, including a wholesome spa experience. Within the lodge are treatment rooms for massage and beauty therapies, as well as a magnesium pool, hot tub, steam room and dry sauna. Plenty to offer on the spa menu - maybe the five-hour Ultimate Alpine Escape for "head to toe bliss"? See astrafallscreek.com.au

WATCH HOW THE PROS DO IT

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Watching the planet's best surfers take on the deadliest waves on Earth. Between August 11 and 21 the World Surf League hits Tahiti for its most challenging event. You'll get to mix with surfing superstars at the tiny village of Teahupoo, where the road ends in Tahiti (venue for surfing competition at the 2024 Paris Olympics). Surrounded by kilometre-high mountains and lagoons, take spectator boats from lagoon-side lodges to watch surfers ride three-metre-plus waves. See tahititourisme.com.au

COLD

Australian Jakara Anthony won gold in the moguls at the 2022 Winter Olympics and the Abom Mogul Challenge at Mount Buller is on her home ground and the competition all the athletes love to attend. The Abom is as much a festival of the bumps as it is a chance for the elite to show their moves and the up and comers show why they should be noticed. The Abom will celebrate its 32nd year in 2022, making it the world's longest running mogul comp. See it under lights on the Chamois Run, just to the side of the village, on Saturday September 3. See abommogulchallenge.com

LISTEN UP AND GET ON DOWN

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sunmay29cover hot cold winter cover story ; text by Craig Tansley & Jim Darby 
(handout image supplied via journalist for use in Traveller, no syndication) Freedom Festival - celebrate the birth of Aboriginal land rights on Gurindji Country, 480 kilometres south-west of Katherine in the Northern Territory.

There's no more remote music festivals in Australia. Travel with musicians as iconic as Paul Kelly to celebrate the birth of Aboriginal land rights on Gurindji Country, 480 kilometres south-west of Katherine in the Northern Territory. It's no frills out here with camping only – but you'll see the NT like you've never seen it before – with stars providing a spectacular show in the night-sky, not just on-stage. Immerse yourself in this three-day celebration of Indigenous Australia from August 26. See freedomday.com.au

COLD

Thredbo may well claim the mantle for best apres ski entertainment through the winter, but Perisher and its Peak Music Festival should take the title on opening weekend, June 10-12. In the modest rebirth of the festival, Kim Churchill (he has a concert-ready camper so he can perform at will), Sahara Beck from the Sunshine Coast and the nine-piece Bullhorn big band feature on the line-up. They'll be paying in venues across the resort and on the main stage. See peakfestival.com.au

SURRENDER TO THE URGE TO SPLURGE

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Who needs the chill when you can sit and watch the sunset from your private villa overlooking the ocean in your swimmers? Raffles Bali offers private pool villas overlooking Jimbaran Bay with your own well-being butler to take care of anything you'll need – a bath perhaps with floating frangipani? Aloe Vera for that winter sunburn? Raffles Bali is the island's hottest newcomer: book a secret cave for a candlelight dinner, or a massage on a spa set over the sea or a Bali Sling at the beach bar. See rafflesbali.com

COLD

Queenstown, with its lake and mountain setting, is blessed with quality accommodation - hotels like Eichardt's and the Sofitel - but just a little way out of town, right on the lake with views up towards The Remarkables mountain range is Matakauri Lodge, with sumptuous accommodation in villas, suites or rooms, a spa on the edge of the forest and food and drinks of the quality NZ luxury lodges are known for. Ski for the day if you can drag yourself away, but you might just wish for bad weather to hide out here. See robertsonlodges.com

TAKE A WALK ON THE MILDER SIDE

WHALE TALES

Get to Exmouth this winter - one of the planet's best spots for swimming with whale sharks. About 1200 kilometres north of Perth, average temperatures in winter are 25 degrees and the water's never below 22. Each year between April and July whale sharks congregate just off-shore at the world's largest fringing reef. See ningalooblue.com.au

GOOD AS GOLD

Explore one of the Gold Coast's best hidden attractions – its hinterland. Home to three World Heritage-listed national parks and some of Australia's longest established eco-lodges (and some fancy new ones, like hazlewoodestate.com.au), take forest hikes, go wine tasting and eat gourmet meals where the mercury won't dip below 20 degrees and you'll never see a cloud. See destinationgoldcoast.com

WARM TO BRISSY

Don't forget Brisbane in winter. Temperatures won't drop below 24 degrees, making this the best time (winter is also characterised by sunny, wind-free days) to get on your bike and ride. Choose between two hour and four hour tours that showcase the river city, weaving on bikeways across the city. Or book a twilight tour for a sunset over the city. See brisbanebybicycle.com.au

SKIP THE CROWD

Popular during the rest of the year, Coffs Harbour is often overlooked in winter for more northern options. But average winter temperatures sit in the low 20s – and there's no-one around. Take advantage of the small crowds to book onto Australia's most under-rated whale watching tours. Thousands of humpbacks pass by near to the shoreline and you won't get closer to them. See whalewatchexperience.com.au

HEAD TO THE HEADLAND

If you can manage to leave the beach, the cafes or the salubrious Surf Club, the Noosa Headland hosts some of the best walks around. Don't be put off if the track is crowded close to town - the further you go, the fewer the walkers. Admire the surf and the surfers on the various point breaks, watch for whales in the distance and do the circuit all the way past Alexandria Bay to Sunshine Beach if you're so inclined. See parks.des.qld.gov.au