We’re on record stating that an winter in Australia is an adventurer’s dream. The cooler weather, the reduced fire danger, the fact that the animals that want to kill you are generally asleep – for us, these are all things that contribute to winter coming up trumps in the Aussie ‘battle of the seasons’. But we were curious – what do our trans-Tasman cousins think of this theory? And what does the average Aussie actually get up to in winter? It’s only natural that cold weather makes it a little harder to get motivated to get outside, so to provide you with the inspiration you need, we surveyed our Facebook community for some hot tips for cold weather adventures – here’s a sample of what East Coast Aussies came back with.
Tasmania has come out of this exercise looking very good, not that the Apple Isle needed any help looking good – Tassie is stunning. Mountain ranges dusted in snow, near untouched trails and lush green foliage, abundant wildlife and friendly locals; you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in New Zealand! But seriously, Tasmania’s growing popularity in recent years comes as no surprise. Tasmania’s coastline is rugged and a bit scary – massive swells can roll through the Tasman, battering the cliffs of the southern and eastern coastlines. Ship Stern Bluff (SW of Hobart on the Tasman Peninsula) is known for two things – mutant waves and Great White Sharks, and while the crazy people who surf here have to wait months at a time between swells, the coastline makes for stunning, rugged viewing especially on a sunny winter’s day.
If mountains are more your cup of tea, Tasmania has you covered on that front, too. There’s Cradle Mountain, Mount Wellington, Barn Bluff, Ben Lomond – the list goes on. While these peaks don’t have quite the elevation of some in New Zealand, it doesn’t mean they’re any less beautiful. Tasmania is littered with National Parks, and there are tracks and trails aplenty for the winter walker. Wellington Park (home to Mt. Wellington) is a must-do for trampers visiting Tasmania. This description from the Wellington Park website sums it up nicely:
“From dry woodlands to windswept summits, Wellington Park is threaded with tracks and trails. Shorter walks in the eastern foothills are well suited to families, while exposed tracks extend beyond the summit of the mountain to wild and remote places.”
Some good resources for walkers in Tasmania – Greater Hobart Trails trip planning tool; Bushwalk Tasmania; Parks Tasmania. Tassie is also very small compared to mainland Oz, so everything is comparatively close together!
Huh? The Sunshine State as a destination for winter activities? Yep, you read that right. The tropical heat in Southern Queensland is less intense in the winter months, so winter adventures become far more appealing. The further north you get, the division of seasons is less warm/cold and more wet/dry, but in the south of the state you see a real increase in outdoor adventures come winter time.
Mt. Barney National Park lies about 130km south of Brisbane, near the NSW border. Gnarled peaks poke their heads through ancient rain forests, offering bushwalkers plenty of options for all experience levels. Mt. Barney is in the Scenic Rim area of the Gold Coast hinterland – a region known for its well preserved and easily accessible wild places, like Lamington NP, Tamborine Mountain, Beaudesert and Lake Maroon.
New South Wales
As we head further south into NSW, the temperatures start to feel a little more wintry, and so do the landscapes. The jewel in Australia’s alpine crown is Mount Kosciusko – the country’s highest peak at 2228m. Kosi is located in the aptly named Snowy Mountains, and is a hotbed of cold weather activity thanks to the beautiful snows-capes it offers during winter. You can walk to the summit, affectionately known as the rooftop of Australia, from a couple of differently locations. The Snowy Mountains region is littered with small towns, perfect to use as jumping off points for outdoor adventures, all of which ooze regional, alpine charm.
The Perisher Valley is a stone’s throw from Mt. Kosciusko, and is home to some of Australia’s best ski fields. If you’ve got the necessary skills, there’s plenty of backcountry hiking and skiing to be done.
Home to all things sport and Australia’s most ‘livable’ city, Victoria has much more to offer than just urban adventures. Arguably one of the country’s best alpine environments is the Victorian Alps. Riddled with trails for bikes, runners and trampers, the Victorian Alps are an adventurer’s playground.
Feature image: Hugh Percival