Snow seekers happy to give the heat a miss this winter
With luxurious hideaways, breathtaking views and an old-worldly feel, it’s no surprise that more and more people are travelling during the cooler months.
Is there anything cosier than a hot cuppa, soft woollens, a crackling fireplace and a warm cabin nestled into some of Australia’s most incredible winter wonderlands? Julie Andrews was onto a good thing when she sang the line ‘silver-white winters that melt into spring… these are a few of my favourite things’.
While the rest of Australia bunkers down when the mercury dips, the snowfields and wine regions flourish and the scenery is old-worldly. It’s truly breathtaking. So, pop on your winter boots because once you finish reading this, you’ll be ready to book your tickets.
The first stop?
The Blue Mountains and Yulefest, NSW
If toasty cabins, log fires, singalongs and warm ‘mountain’ hospitality appeals to you, look no further than The Blue Mountains in NSW. Hosting their annual Yulefest from June-August, the region sparkles with glistening snow falls and twinkling lights. Christmas in July is a big deal for the region and coupled with the spectacular scenery of the canyon that surrounds the three most famous sisters in Oz, it’s a winter holiday you won’t soon forget.
The Barossa Valley, SA
A time of rejuvenation and total relaxation for both yourself and the vines, a winter trip to the Barossa Valley in South Australia is as opulent as it is laid-back. While it may not snow in the region, there’s a beautiful calmness throughout the rolling hills during the winter months, so why not celebrate the Barossa way with a stay in some of Australia’s most prestigious vineyards. Sit and watch the wild olives be harvested while you tuck into some homemade preserves and melt-in-your-mouth fine cheeses. Fancy a winter feast? Book an evening at the region’s award-winning cellar door, Hentley Farm – an 1840s cottage characterised by heavy wooden beams, insular stone walls and a huge open fireplace that oozes historic charm.
There aren’t many towns in Queensland that can say they experience the full force of the four seasons, though Stanthorpe would have a good argument! With the mercury often dropping into the oh-so chilly negatives during winter, the locals are accustomed to sparkling snowfall during the winter months. Fondly known as the heart of The Granite Belt, Stanthorpe is one of the frostiest towns in the region but don’t let that discourage you – because the warm local hospitality and sweeping vineyards (all 45 of them) well-and-truly make up for it. Surrounded by unspoilt National Parks, spectacular rock formations and some of the country’s best vine and fruit plantations (due to the high altitude and nutrient-rich soil) Stanthorpe is the Sunshine State’s solution to a winter escape.
Mt Mawson and New Norfolk, TAS
Perched along the Derwent River sits the historic town of New Norfolk in Tasmania; a fascinating town characterised by stained-glass windows, charming shop fronts and the oldest church in Tassie – The Anglican Church of St Matthew. It’s perfectly picturesque and only a 30-minute drive to both Hobart and the snow-capped Mount Mawson. Otherwise known as the least expensive snowfield in the state, if you’re in search of a winter escape but also an escape from the hustle and bustle of the well-known snowfields in Oz – this is the place to take a deep breath of crisp, clean air. New Norfolk is also hugged by a magnificently rugged landscape, so grab the camera because the scenery is worth framing.
The view is spectacular from Bob’s Peak in Queenstown
Admittedly this one’s across the ditch, but Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand is certainly deserving of its spot on the winter-wonderland countdown. Somehow Queenstown has perfectly balanced charm and adventure, luxury and warmth and history and nightlife, with a bit of nature thrown in-between. It’s a winning recipe that’s earned Q-town the title of the best winter holiday destination this side of the equator (and perhaps the world!). Capturing the hearts and imaginations of all who venture to this glistening gem in the south, you can enjoy the exhilarating zing of a chilly day spent adventuring through the countryside, cruising through Milford Sound surrounded by snow-capped mountains or making your way through the many vineyards. All before returning to the charming village-like restaurants and bars for steaming drinks and fireside dining.
Reap the rewards of winter this year with a magical mid-year holiday and be sure to share your snaps and travel tips on our Facebook page @lendleaseretirementliving. We love to see what you’re up to!