Where To Travel During The Australian Winter To Keep Warm

03/03/2016 12:39 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Jordan Siemens via Getty Images
A woman relaxes while floating on her back in the warm turquoise waters of Thailand.


Even though it's not technically autumn yet, to borrow the wise words of pretty much every 'Game of Thrones' character, winter is coming. (Eventually.)

So while you still have ages before you need to dig out your woolly socks and favourite hot chocolate mug, in the name of saving money it makes sense to start planning your winter escape now.

But where to go?

According to a recent Wotif survey of over 1800 people, one in ten Aussies will opt to take advantage of the cooler weather to go skiing (with Perisher, Thredbo and New Zealand coming out as top destinations) while more than a third prefer to chase the summer sun.

Interestingly, this doesn't necessarily mean heading overseas, with some Aussie destinations still packing plenty of heat even in winter months.

"With the current value of the Aussie dollar, there is no better time to embrace domestic travel than this winter," Wotif.com travel specialist, Kim Stockham, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Many people think they need to leave Australia to banish the winter blues, however in reality we have some incredibly warm destinations in our own backyard such as North Queensland, The Kimberley in Western Australia and Kakadu in the Top End.

"Queensland’s tropical north -- in particular Port Douglas -- is on my personal wish list for destinations to visit this winter. With the mid 20s temperature, palm tree-lined beaches and close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, it’s the ultimate tropical holiday destination for both attracts adventurers as well as those seeking up-market resort experiences and pampering."

cape tribulation

Cape Tribulation, Queensland.

In terms of heading overseas, it's no secret Aussies have long had a love affair with the Asia Pacific region. According to Andrew Shelton, Managing Director of Cheapflights, 70 percent of all flight searches in January 2016 were to Asia Pacific destinations.

"Only a short flight away, the tempting warmth of India, Philippines, China and Sri Lanka makes them some of the most popular destinations for Aussie travellers looking for a reprieve from the colder winter months," Shelton told The Huffington Post Australia.

"We see a discernible increase in searches to destinations where the temperatures are higher than 22 degrees Celsius during the colder months between June and August, such as India, Philippines, China and Sri Lanka. Now summer is drawing to a close, searches for sunnier climes are rising by between eight and 10 percent per month."

Bali continues to prove a hot favourite -- no doubt because of its relative proximity and affordability from most capital cities (according to Shelton it is, in fact, the most affordable Asia Pacific destination from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Perth, and the second most affordable from Brisbane).

Other popular destinations proved to be India, Philippines, China and Sri Lanka, whereas if you really want to see how far your money can go, Cheapflights' top value airports (based on the national average for return fares), were Indonesia (Bali), Thailand, Fiji, Malaysia and Singapore. Being aware of these destinations, Shelton says, can come in handy for those on a budget.

"As an example, by choosing Singapore (one of the cheapest) over Manila (one of the most popular), Aussie travellers could save around $268 ex Perth, $263 ex Melbourne, $205 ex Darwin, $167 ex Sydney," Shelton said.

"Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei also featured as an affordable option for Melbournians with Myanmar’s Yangon emerging as an inexpensive alternative across the country, well ahead of more traditional ‘off the beaten track’ destinations like Cambodia."

bandar seri begawan

The Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque, Brunei.

Alternatively, if you have some cash to splash around, a European summer could well be on the cards.

"If you want to go all-out and truly escape winter, take an extended summer break in Europe -- think long lazy beach days, afternoon siestas, breathtaking sunsets and not to mention delicious European food," Stockham said.

"According to Wotif winter 2016 research, Italy, France and the Greek Islands are firm European favourites for Aussies escaping our winter this year, however other incredible alternatives I’d recommend are Croatia and the Spanish coastline."

Added Shelton: "This European summer, iconic riverside capitals like London and Paris are set to shine, and the beaches of the Mediterranean are calling foodies, families and twenty-somethings alike.

"If you are thinking about travelling to Europe for summer however, remember to plan ahead and book early as many destinations are often crowded as the entire continent migrates to make the most of their own holidays."

When it comes to booking your getaway, there are a couple of tips and tricks you can employ to save some extra spending money for the trip.

"There’s definitely a sweet spot when it comes to planning and booking holidays," Shelton said. "Our 'Cheapflights Compass' report revealed that booking two to six months in advance rather than one to two months ahead ultimately only delivers around $22 in savings per fare. However, leaving things to the very last minute or being too organised doesn’t pay off either -- booking a holiday 6-12 months in advance will cost an additional $60 on average per fare.

"Generally, we’d recommend booking 50 days ahead of departure to get the best price."

"Also, be disciplined with your browser history, as prices can vary based on the number of times you re-enter a particular website.

"Book on a Tuesday, as our data shows this is the cheapest day of the week to lock in holiday plans, and, if you can, fly on a Wednesday. The Cheapflights Compass shows this is the cheapest day to fly, with Thursday and Friday being the most expensive."

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