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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Six week long winter escapes from Australia

After two UK winters I thought I would never complain about an Australian winter again, turns out I was wrong. There's nothing like daylight savings ending, a bit of drizzle and winter chill for one to start daydreaming about tropical climates, sunshine and holidays! Whilst we love ski holidays and visiting snowy places, we really don't enjoy the cold when there is no snow involved and so more often than not end up chasing the summer sun! There are some incredible places in Asia and the Pacific that are right on our doorstep and are perfect to visit during winter! Here are six destinations that could provide you with the perfect week long winter escape from Australia!

Tropical Island Paradise

BALI
Indonesia is so close to the equator that it really doesn't have a summer or winter but it does have wet and dry season. The dry season falls during our Australian winter and so May to September is really the perfect time to visit as it is dry and not ridiculously humid! Bali is such an amazing island and is without a doubt one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. This tropical island paradise truly has something to offer every traveller. Whether you are seeking culture and spirituality, beaches and surfing, food and entertainment or a relaxing villa holiday by the beach or among the rice paddies, there is something for everyone! 

In addition, Bali is so popular thanks to it being an extremely affordable luxury holiday destination! It is such a fantastic location for Aussies as our dollar goes a long way, you can get a flight to Bali in less than 7 hours (ex Sydney) and it really is the perfect place to escape the Australian winter! 

Bali is one of those destinations that I cannot believe I haven't visited yet, although Dan has before we met and we even considered having our honeymoon there, but have decided to save it for our winter escape next year!

Bali rice paddies

FIJI
Fiji's tropical South Pacific location means it boasts a beautiful, warm climate year-round and is considered to be one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Similarly to Bali, the Fijian 'winter' is between May to October and is often considered the best time to visit thanks to low rainfall and humidity and lovely, mild temperatures. Fiji is the perfect winter escape from Australia and you can get direct flights to Fiji that take less than 4 hours from Sydney meaning no long journeys and no jet lag which is ideal for a week long getaway. 

Fiji is a destination where you will leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated because from the moment you arrive you will be on 'island time'. Fiji offers a wealth of culture and stunning natural landscapes ranging from picture perfect beaches to lush rainforests. The Fijians are also famous for their hospitality and warmth and a lot of visitors like to immerse themselves in the local culture on a village homestay. 

Fiji also attracts divers from all over the world thanks to its world class scuba diving, seemingly endless stretches of incredible coral reefs, over 1500 types of fish and animals and over 300 islands to choose from! 

Fiji island and rainforest

THAILAND
Both Dan and I have been lucky to visit Thailand a few times (not together yet though) and we absolutely love everything about the 'land of smiles'. If you know me personally or have been following along on the blog for a while then you will know that my last trip to Thailand unfortunately didn't go quite to plan as I broke my ankle at a full moon party! Since then I have been itching to get back to Thailand and finishing the South East Asia loop is still high on my bucket list. 

Thailand is one of those countries that really offers something for everyone. A lot of people travel to Thailand to soak up the culture and explore the incredible northern cities of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle whilst also seeking out a hillstay with one of the hilltribe villages. Others visit Thailand to experience the craziness of Bangkok or the natural beauty of the Thai islands. Thailand has hundred of islands, all of which are known for their unique qualities whether it be amazing diving, luxury resorts, nightlife, natural beauty or the relaxed way of life. 

Whilst the Aussie winter is the wet season in Thailand, this means despite the odd downpour of rain you'll be able to relax with less tourists and cheaper prices for accommodation and transport! Flights to Thailand take just under 10 hours direct from Sydney. If you choose Thailand for your week long winter escape I recommend that you choose one area to spend your time in, whether it be the north or the islands (and save the other region for your next trip)!

Thailand island and limestone cliffs

SOUTH PACIFIC
Cruising is one of my favourite ways to travel and I cannot think of a more relaxing winter escape from Australia! I cruised the South Pacific with three of my best friends when we graduated from University. We sailed for 14 nights and visited Vanuatu and New Caledonia and it was an unforgettable holiday in paradise! The Pacific Islands also include Hawaii, Bora Bora, Fiji and Tahiti, all of which are incredibly high on our to-do list! The South Pacific is the ultimate paradise with swaying palms, tranquil, turquoise waters and endless tropical islands to explore. I loved cruising because we woke up docked at sea overlooking a new island to explore every single day before returning to the luxury of our ship! It really was paradise!

The South Pacific islands define tropical luxury and this incredible cluster of islands collectively make up one of the most desired travel destinations in the world. Cruises depart Sydney and Brisbane regularly and once you are on board basically everything (food, accommodation, entertainment and facilities) are all included and all you need to buy is drinks meaning you can sit back, relax and enjoy the open seas!

The South Pacific is truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen and whilst we enjoyed living in luxury on sea days, we loved exploring Vanuatu and New Caledonia, with stops in beautiful Santo, Champagne Bay, Port Vila, Wala and Noumea.

South Pacific Cruise

PHILIPPINES
The Philippines comprises more than 7,000 beautiful tropical islands with no shortage of stunning jungles, mountains and beaches to explore. Like Thailand, the Australian winter falls during the 'wet season' in the Philippines but this shouldn't stop you from visiting. You can fly directly to the Philippines from Sydney in less than 8 hours and during winter the airlines often offer fantastic seat sales meaning it is an ideal option for your winter escape!

The Philippines is known as one of the friendliest countries and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia, boasting some of the best islands and beaches in the region. Whether you are looking for culture and heritage, pristine waters and tropical islands, adventure or luxury there is an island for you. Oh and the world's best surf pros make the pilgrimage to the Philippines for their world class surf breaks too so if you, like Dan are a surfer be sure to remember this when planning your trip!

The Philippines is another country I am absolutely itching to get to and we are potentially planning a visit there over December/January this year! If I could take more holidays from work then I would be escaping to a Filipino island paradise this winter quicker than you could read this article!

Philippines Island

CHINA
Now China may seem like a random country to have in this article but my best friend just got back from China (during our winter) and her photos looked unreal and she absolutely loved her time there (plus it was super hot)! Our winter is China's summer and so it is the perfect time to escape the Australian cold and soak up some Chinese culture. Whilst you won't be able to see all of China's amazing sites in a week, thanks to their high speed trains and internal flights you'd still be able to tick off quite a few of the major sites! 

The top items on most people's China bucket list are of course the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Beijing, the Terracotta Army, visiting the giant pandas in Chengdu, taking a cruise on the Yangtze River, shopping in Hong Kong and exploring the majestic countryside, plus much more! 

There are an endless amount of airlines that fly through China and you can fly directly from Sydney to Beijing in less than 12 hours. Summer is the perfect time to visit China and so it makes it another great option for a winter escape from Australia!

Great Wall of China

Where would you go to escape winter? x

Island paradise

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Momondo. 
Our opinions are as always, our own.

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