Google Photos and Facebook can be so cruel when they send you an anniversary photo of you in thongs enjoying the sun on a winter sojourn. I mean Google (and Zuckerberg) are pretty smart – they should know I haven’t headed north in search of warmer days this winter. Instead, I’m hibernating at home in front of the heater…in ugg boots. Keep your memories to yourself thanks Google!
If you vowed not to hang at home all of next winter feeling as miserable as the weather outside, it’s time to act. Think of an overseas destination that you have wanted to visit, one that can almost guarantee you warm sunny days with fantastic photo opportunities.
While most would love to skip winter entirely next year, a three month vacation overseas may not not be an option. But a week-long overseas holiday in the grip of our winter will allow for a good dose of vitamin D that will see you through until the Australian summer kicks off.
But where? I did some research/Googling and came up with the following seven sun-soaked destinations.
Book your holiday in advance so you can take advantage of any cheap airfares and accommodation deals.
We spent the July school holidays in Singapore three years ago, and I said then, I’ll be back one winter to warm the bones. Nothing felt better than landing in the most organised city which can see you checked in to your hotel, changed into your mothballed summer threads ready for a balmy alfresco dinner in under an hour. We spent a week visiting the zoos, Universal Studios, Gardens by the Bay, Jurong Bird Park, Merlion, Science Centre and there is still so much more we could do.
Singapore is great for the kids – not only is it clean and safe, but the kids can also learn so much from an overseas holiday like Singapore. We gave the kids little tasks like navigating our way around the MRT and locating the water playground on the zoo map.
Much like Singapore, Beijing will be ready to welcome you with a humid hug the moment you step off the plane. The peak in the domestic tourism season is August so maybe look at heading over early winter. Although let’s not kid ourselves, the tourist hot spots are going to be teaming with people whenever you visit. Check your impatience in at the hotel and spend your days visiting Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and Museum of Mao Zedong. Your trip wouldn’t be complete without scaling the Great Wall of China. It won’t be long before you are sweating your way up the steps and thinking an Australian winter isn’t that bad after all.
For Australians on the east coast, Fiji offers a tropical escape from the wretched winter on their doorstep. Within hours you can be enjoying the beautiful white sandy beaches and amazing azure water. For the active traveller, there’s river tubing, snorkelling, island cruising, waterfalls to swim under, quad biking, zip lining and villages to visit. If the kids aren’t up for some of the adventures, they can be accommodated within the hotel’s kids club or babysitters. The best time to travel to Fiji is July to September when the tropical storms have dried up, and the weather is dry and balmy.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
On the banks of the Red River, the French colonial architecture and wartime history make Ho Chi Minh City an interesting city to visit. Walk through the city to discover the pagodas, temples, arts and history museums, Notre Dame cathedral. If it’s pampering you need to wash away some of the winter blues from home- Ho Chi Minh City has late night pedicure and manicure salons with treatments costing a fraction of the price at home. If history is more your scene, the War Remnants Museum is not for the faint-hearted detailing the Vietnam War in text and photos and military vehicles and helicopters on display. Take a day trip over the border to Phnom Penh in Cambodia and return home with your own tale of two cities.
Lucky for us cyclone season in Madagascar is during our summer months, so winter is the best time to visit.
Off the south-east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, lies an island with a history that dates back to the early 1600s. The capital city Antananarivo is an eclectic mix of colonial architecture, markets and artisan boutiques that will keep any hard-core shopper happy with everything from knock-off sneakers to jewellery.
Made famous by the movies, the wildlife is a big attraction for Madagascar. The Lemurs Conservation Park has nine native species of animals wandering around.
It’s low season in Thailand in the middle of the year, so if you are happy to swap winter rain for monsoon rain, you are good to go! At least with the monsoon, the short burst of rain is followed by warm sun and clear skies.
Phuket can keep you busy in the great outdoors with its beaches, snorkelling, and scuba diving. Take a longtail boat and island hop around Phi Phi, Coral and Racha Islands. If your busy days haven’t worn you out, take in the nightlife including a cabaret. You might be glad it’s low season, free of the hordes of tourists.
This one has been on the bucket list since Pearl Harbour hit the cinemas. The four main islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island (Big Island) offer a range of cultural, historical, and natural attractions. Apart from visiting the USS Arizona Memorial and WWII historic landmarks, there are Hawaii’s famous surf beaches at Oahu North Shore, snorkelling, Volcanoes National Park, botanic gardens, falls, craters, lookouts and markets. April or May is the best time to travel as it gets pretty hot and humid a few months later. Hawaii has a long list of events and festivals throughout the year to celebrate cultural events, customs and sporting games so check out the events calendar to see which ones pique your interest.
Make some memories having fun in the sun that your future self will be jealous of, act now and book yourself on a journey that sees you escape winter – even if it is for just one week.
Before heading off on your winter escape, grab a guide or map so you don’t miss any of the sights. We keep the shop stocked with guides and maps on almost every country in the world.
Singapore guides and maps
Travel guides and maps for China
Guide books for exploring Fiji
Ho Chi Minh City guide books
Madagascar travel and wildlife books
Phuket travel guides
Hawaiian guides and maps