Whether we like it or not, winter is now well and truly upon us. But it isn’t all bad. Shorter days and cooler nights mean we can tuck into a pub lunch in front of a fire without regret, sip on mulled wine at a night-time festival or jet off on a cosy winter weekend away.
To make booking your own wintervention that much easier, we’ve listed our favourite spots around the country where you can soak up all things wintery.
Why winter weekend here? If there’s one season Melbourne does particularly well, it’s this one. Winter-themed markets, festivals and shows, not to mention the countless bars and restaurants lining its laneways, all give visitors plenty to do over the chilly months.
What to do: Rooftop bars are some of the last places you’d think about going on a winter’s night, but with space heaters, fur blankets and twinkling city lights adding to the mood, they’re easily some of Melbourne’s best-kept winter secrets.
Where to stay: Steps from the heart of the city, and with super sophisticated (read: Instagrammable) décor, the historic Hotel Lindrum is an easy pick for a luxurious Melbourne stay. Curl up next to the fire in the Back Bar & Billiard Room with a glass of red, or enjoy a game on one of the original billiard tables preserved from the hotels’ days as Lindrum’s Billiard Centre.
The historic Hotel Lindrum is an easy pick for a luxurious Melbourne stay.
Why winter weekend here? When most people think about visiting Sydney, they think summer – but the city does winter surprisingly well, too. Just look at Vivid Sydney, the largest winter festival in the world or Sydney Film Festival – which you can still catch until the end of June.
What to do: If you missed out on Vivid this year (the festival wraps up on 15 June), why not check out Bondi Winter Magic Festival – running from 28 June to 28 July – take a whale-watching cruise, or indulge in a gorgeous high tea served on Luna Park’s Ferris Wheel?
Where to stay: Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is an attractive option, not just because of its central location, but also because, well… have you seen it? A stylish, grand building with glittering city views, you’d be right to question whether you weren’t in fact in London or Paris.
3. Barossa Valley
Why winter weekend here? Wine, wine and more wine. If that’s your idea of a good time, Barossa Valley is your best bet for a weekend getaway. This charming South Australian wine region was made for warm socks and evenings spent by the fire.
What to do: In between wine tastings, break for lunches at quaint old pubs and fine-dine your way through dinner at one of the region’s top restaurants. Plan your visit around annual wine shows and festivals, organise a DIY wine trail or up-skill in the kitchen with a cooking class.
Where to stay: The region’s rolling green hills are one of its best features, and Novotel Barossa Valley Resort offers guests front-row seats to take it in with plenty of floor-to-ceiling windows throughout. A tennis court, giant chess set and heated outdoor pool aren’t too shabby either.
Why winter weekend here? From truffle-hunting to nearby skiing, you’ve probably forgotten – or maybe you never knew – Canberra had so much to offer in winter. But it does and, with convenient direct flights, and just a three-hour drive from Sydney, the country’s capital makes for one easy winter weekend away.
What to do: There is, of course, that ol’ truffle festival. Running from June to August, it sees 250 events rolled out to celebrate the region’s Black Winter Truffle. Not into truffles? Take a day trip out to one of the many nearby ski fields or check out a blockbuster exhibit at one of the country’s most impressive line-up of museums.
The Mercure Canberra is just a stones throw from The Australian War Memorial.
Where to stay: The heritage-listed Mecure Canberra has all you need in a base for a weekend away. It’s easily located, a 10-minute walk from the Australian War Memorial, has a hotel restaurant you’d actually want to eat at and will even let you bring your pet; choose the pampered pet package to give your pooch the star treatment.
Why winter weekend here? Dark Mofo may have put Hobart on the winter destination map, but as visitors to the Tassie city quickly realise, there’s a lot more to it than just the quirky arts festival. Whisky trails, cider festivals and endless crisp nature hikes are just a few of the many things to do here.
Hiking the Tasmanian Overland Track in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is an unforgettable experience.
What to do: Salamanca Markets are always a cold-weather favourite. Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park will have you pinching yourself at its breathtaking, surreal scenery. And Tasmanian Whisky Week (12-18 August) will leave you a total whisky expert.
Where to stay: With a whopping 300 rooms, ibis Styles Hobart Hotel is the largest hotel in Tasmania and Australia’s first and only 5-star Green Star certified hotel. Sitting right against the Hobart waterfront, its rooms are afforded some stunning views – particularly at sunrise or sunset. Add a heated indoor pool, two saunas and an award-winning restaurant to all that and it’s exactly where you want to be after a long day of outdoor exploring.
Sitting right against the Hobart waterfront, ibis Styles Hobart Hotel is impressive on a lot of fronts.
6. Margaret River
Why winter weekend here? Most people know Margaret River for its wine, but with an exciting line-up of music, arts, food and film festivals – as well as number of walks that take advantage of its glorious beaches and greenery – the region makes for one solid winter weekend getaway.
What to do: It’s truffle season too in Margaret River, so drive over to Manjimup to join a truffle hunt. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, taste your way around the region’s many breweries and wineries, explore its caves or lunch at one of its picturesque tiny towns.
Where to stay: ‘Pinterest-worthy’ is the first word that springs to mind when first laying eyes on the much-awarded Pullman Bunker Bay Resort Margaret River. After a day of winter wandering, slip into its heated pool and watch the sun slip behind nearby vineyards. In the morning, use its direct beach access for a sunrise stroll.