While the majority of the world on the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the arrival of spring; the other side of the hemisphere does the exact opposite, it starts preparing for winter. Now, when you think of vacation, the sun barely leaves your mind. Waddling with tons of layers across snow-clad roads does not really paint an inviting picture. But there are plenty of perks of winter vacations. For starters, lower costs and lesser tourists and fun snow activities. So for those of you who favour snow more than the sun, these winter destinations and long weekend getaways would be the perfect escape. Just rent a car and head out.
Queenstown & Wanaka, New Zealand
Known for its beautiful snowy slopes, Queenstown is the perfect family destination. Located by the pristine banks of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a must on any skiing enthusiast’s bucket list. The Coronet Peak & Remarkables cater to skiers of all levels. 20 mins drive away from Queensland is the Cardona Ski Resort which is one of the top ski resorts in NZ. For the advanced skiers, there’s Treble Cone.
Queensland Winter Festival has gained popularity over the past couple of years. It takes place over 4 days in June and packs one heck of a crowd. Enjoy fireworks, live acts, gigs, and stand-ups. The crowd is a mix of both locals and tourists.
The former mining village of Arrowtown is another destination that is spectacular during the colder months. Situated between the snow-capped peaks that beset the Arrow River, this quaint little town is filled with picturesque cafes, boutiques, galleries and much more.
For the younger members of the clan, don’t forget to visit the Puzzling World in Wanaka. It sports world’s first 3D maze and is filled with several amusing options for the kiddies. Why leave the four-legged family members behind? There are even some pet-friendly accommodations available all over New Zealand!
Barossa Valley, Australia
The Barossa Valley is known for its Shiraz, and what’s better than gourmet cheese, chilly air, and a bonfire to go with this gorgeous wine. As there are lesser tourists during the winters, the vineyards become a private escape which makes it an ideal place to roam around, meet the winemakers, and get a taste of some of the year’s new releases. As there’s no crowd it is the perfect time to steal a bargain.
The two wineries that should be on your list are Pindaire and Kellermeister, to watch the sunset with a glass of wine and some fine cheese. The kids have plenty to explore, which keeps them busy and gives you much needed alone time. Yelland and Pappas are other tasting rooms with spectacular ambiance complete with a bonfire to keep you toasty.
If vintage is more your scene, visit Seppeltsfield for wines that go a few decades back, it is truly a taste of history. The Barossa Explorer, a minibus takes you on a tour across Barossa and is a delight to travel in. It covers various hot spots such as the Farm Shop, Langmeil Winery, and many others.
When one thinks of Brazil, vibrant sunny sceneries rush to the mind. The majority of the country has a warmer climate, Curitiba being one of the exceptions. The city lies more than 2000 feet above the sea level and hence enjoys a lower temperature than the other parts of Brazil. It has a semi freezing winter in June & July with temperatures hitting from 20 to 4 degree Celsius. A lot of tourist both domestic and international visits Curitiba which is the cleanest, safest and relatively tourist friendly city in Brazil.
The city has botanical gardens, culture themed parks to cater to immigrants that form majority of the population of the city. The not-so-freezing climate is perfect to stroll around the city without freezing to death.
Lesotho, South Africa
Lesotho or The Kingdom Of Sky as it is sometimes known, is a hilly region surrounded by South Africa. The name is given as the country is at a 4,593 altitude. In fact it has the highest low point in the world, which alone makes it worthy of a visit. Afriski, the only ski resort in Africa is situated in Lesotho. With a mere four lifts it does not compare to the Alps or the Rockies, however it being the only destination for skiing in Africa draws in both domestic and international audience.
The country also has minimum 300 days of sunshine which adds to its charm. Untouched scenery is what this country offers with plenty to do for the entire family. Look for farm stay accommodation to get into the local vibe and enjoy Lesotho close up.
Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua is New Zealand’s geothermal wonderland. Rotorua attracts tourists from all over the world who come to visit the active geysers and mud pools and other geothermal wonders. One of the must sees at Rotorua is the Redwood Forest. Zip through the wide trees through a zip line, trek through the forest or ride a mountain bike. There’s a hundred and thirty kilometres of treks that are sure to keep to busy and to discover hidden gems along the way.
Te Puia is another popular spot to immerse into the Maori culture. It’s also a geothermal hotspot which sports the largest active geyser in the southern continents. Another geothermal location to look out for is Te Whakarewarewa, which has some renowned mud pools and 500 other geothermal marvels. For the kids there’s the kiwi house which houses two iconic native kiwi birds. For a truly luxurious time, stay at the many luxury lodges and hotels in Rotorua.
This concludes our list of winter destinations that are hot all year round. Remember to book in advance to get the best off season rates, and enjoy the lesser crowds and an escape from winter!