Warmest places in Australia during winter: The hottest holiday destinations

It's starting to get a little chilly, in case you hadn't noticed. Last week Sydney experienced its coldest day in five years, when the mercury barely nudged 13 degrees. This week in parts of the city it's forecast to be even colder.

Melburnians, meanwhile, are probably reading that and snorting with derision. 13 degrees? In the Victorian capital that's just called June.

All of which means that now is the time all of us should start turning our attention towards warmer climes, and dreaming of a getaway to T-shirt weather (lockdowns permitting). And there, Australia has you covered. These are our hottest winter tourism destinations - literally.

Drysdale River National Park, WA

Average July temperature: 38 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 29 degrees

You probably haven't heard of Drysdale, and with good reason: this 5000-square-kilometre reserve in the Kimberley has no airstrip, no public roads, no visitor facilities, no marked hiking trails, and permission to enter must be obtained from the Kalumburu Aboriginal Corporation before your visit. The reward for your endeavours, however, is not only a unique snapshot of almost untouched Kimberley wilderness – gorges, cliffs, waterfalls and more – but one toasty warm stay. Drysdale River National Park is right near Kalumburu, which, with average July temperatures of 38.3 degrees, is consistently Australia's hottest winter locale.

See parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au

Timber Creek, NT

Fairfax News -12/05/10 - GREGORY NATIONAL PARK- Aboriginal Park Ranger Michael Murrimal  L  Larry Johns of Timber Creek NT pictured in the Gregory National Prk,one of the Traditional Aboriginal Owners of the Park located in tne Nt s Victoria River Region , will have the park handed back to his people on his 65th birthday on Thursay the 13thof May at a ceremony at Jasper Gorge , attended by the Govenor General and leading politicians.  Pic Glenn Campbell

Park rangers Michael Murrimal (left) and Larry Johns in Gregory National Park. Photo: Glenn Campbell

Average July temperature: 37 degrees

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Thursday's forecast: 27 degrees

You don't come to Timber Creek for the bustling, cosmopolitan lifestyle – the population here is a mere 249. You come to Timber Creek because you're on your way from Katherine to Kununurra, or vice versa. You come to Timber Creek to drop a line into the gorgeous Victoria River and hope to bag a barramundi. You come to Timber Creek to get in touch with local Ngaliwurru culture, to explore nearby Gregory National Park, to visit the old police station built in 1898. And you come for the warm weather. Arrive here in winter and you can expect daily high temperatures of around 37 degrees.

See northernterritory.com

Middle Point, NT

TRAVELLER SunSep3cover Title: Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise, Adelaide River Mandatory credit: Shaana McNaught/Tourism NT

It's warm, but perhaps don't go for a swim in the Adelaide River to cool off. Photo: Tourism NT

Average July temperature: 36 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 30 degrees

It's hot in Middle Point, a settlement about an hour east of Darwin. Last July the average high temperature was 35.6 degrees. That's warm in anyone's language. There's more reason to come out here though: Middle Point sits on the banks of the Adelaide River, and is home to the famous "jumping crocodiles". This is one of the most popular tourist experiences for those staying in Darwin, heading out on the river and watching as guides dangle baits over the side and wait for enormous crocs to leap out of the water and grab them. Amazing stuff. Hot, too. Just a shame you can't go for a quick dip.

See jumpingcrocodile.com.au

Cooktown, QLD

sunjan20cooktown cooktown FNQ QLD ; text by Steve MeachamSUPPLIED Tourism Tropical North Queenslandhttps://www.barberstock.com/tropicalnorthqueenslandCouple at Captain James Cooks statue in Cooktown.jpg

The Captain James Cook statue in Cooktown. Photo: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Average July temperature: 26 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 26 degrees

The town affectionately known as "Cookie" can't quite compete with its neighbours to the west when it comes to raw heat. In winter here you're looking at average highs of about 26 degrees, which is still comfortably T-shirt weather, if not exactly sauna-esque. And the great news is that there's plenty to do in far north Queensland in winter. Get up to Cooktown before June 20 and you can check out the Cooktown & Cape York Expo, an amazing showcase of history and culture. All winter long there's also great fishing on charter boats, plus the chance to drive the Bloomfield Track, explore Cape Tribulation, and have a beer at the Lion's Den Hotel.

See cooktownandcapeyork.com

Darwin, NT

Darwin Convention Centre and The Lagoon wave pool. Photo: iStock

Average July temperature: 31 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 31 degrees

Winter is high season in the Top End, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. Gone is the dripping humidity of the rest of the year, banished are the towering cumulonimbus barricades that signal wet season in earnest. Darwin in winter is pleasant and warm, with average daytime temperatures around 31 degrees, plenty of sunshine, not a care in the world. This is the time to go barra fishing, stroll historic streets, visit markets, watch the sunset, visit nearby national parks and more. You can't lose.

See northernterritory.com

Thursday Island

Green Hill Fort Thursday Island Torres Strait Island Group of Islands
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Green Hill Fort on Thursday Island. Photo: Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Average July temperature: 27 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 29 degrees

The outcrop otherwise known as TI might not be as warm as you would expect in the middle of the year – though it's around the same latitude as the island of Timor, it stays a breezy 27 degrees – but it's still a cracking destination for a winter getaway. In the heart of the Torres Strait, TI is rich with unique culture, the kind of place where you have no choice but to blend in and soak it all up. Visit the cultural centre, chuck a line in the water, and take time to explore some of the surrounding islands.

See queensland.com

Cocos Keeling Islands

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Cocos Keeling Islands
Credit: Rik Soderlund

Average July temperature: 28 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 29 degrees

A coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean sounds pretty sweet any time of year; in the depths of winter it's nothing short of paradise. The Cocos Keeling Islands are an Australian external territory that's set way out in the deep blue sea, closer to Jakarta than it is to Western Australia. The two inhabited islands tick all of the beachy boxes, with white sands, swaying palm trees, fringing reefs, and pretty much no one else to share them with. Average temperature in winter is an outrageously pleasant 28 degrees. Yeah, you want to go here.

See cocoskeelingislands.com.au

Kununurra, WA

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El Questro Homestead The Kimberley - Aerial

El Questro.

Average July temperature: 31 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 27 degrees

Leave your jumpers and long pants behind when you go to visit Kununurra in winter – average high temperatures here hang around the 31-degree mark. Balmy. Once you've adjusted to not having to wear a scarf outside, there's plenty to do, too: Kununurra is the perfect base for exploring the eastern Kimberley, checking out Purnululu National Park and the Bungle Bungle Range, cruising the Ord River, and setting yourself up for a 4WD journey along the Gibb River Road. Spend a few nights at El Questro Wilderness Park, just 100 kilometres west, if you have the time.

See visitkununurra.com

Katherine, NT

Be drawn to the spectacular sandstone country of Nitmiluk National Park and the majestic Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge with spectacular cliffs that glow in the changing light.<br /><br />Nitmiluk National Park, just 30 kilometres north-east of Katherine, covers a vast area, including 13 impressive gorges carved from the ancient sandstone country which stretch for as far as the eye can see. satsep26coverNT
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Nitmiluk Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park. Photo: Tourism NT

Average July temperature: 30 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 27 degrees

It's no surprise to find that Katherine, in central NT, is not exactly a bone-chiller in mid-winter. It's just a stone's throw away from some of Australia's hottest locales, and at 30 degrees most days in the middle of the year, it's no hardship to hang around. Katherine is an amazing place, too, right near Nitmiluk National Park, with its rugged gorge filled with wildlife and ancient rock art; there's also Mataranka, with its thermal pools, Cutta Cutta caves for subterranean wonder, and the town itself, where there's never a dull moment.

See northernterritory.com

Broome, WA

Sunset camel ride at Cable Beach, Broome<br /> Credit: Tourism Western Australia 

Broome's famous Cable Beach. Photo: Tourism Western Australia

Average July temperature: 29 degrees

Thursday's forecast: 31 degrees

As plenty of us shiver away this week in the southern half of Australia, up in Broome they're thinking: shirt, or singlet? Reason being it's 31 degrees, slightly above the wintertime average of 29. Yep, that will do us. And of course the true glory of Broome is that it's absolutely gorgeous. Picture Cable Beach with those processions of camels. Consider a whale-watching trip out on the warm Indian Ocean. Think about a drive up to the Dampier Peninsula, or even a cruise up into the Kimberley. Lovely.

See visitbroome.com.au

See also: Undiscovered Australia: Amazing destinations tourists don't know about

See also: Fabulous freebies: The 10 best free activities in Australia

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