Although we may not be known for our cold climate, each year Australia’s winters get better and better. These days, when the temperatures drop there’s no shortage of things to do, places to go, and sights to see. Aside from the obvious choice of heading to the mountain slopes, there’s plenty of undiscovered secrets to uncover. Luckily, Nifty has done the research for you and found everything you need to check out this year. From the east coast to the west, here are some of Australia’s best kept winter secrets.
Dog Sledding Tours | Various Locations, VIC
That’s right, you can go dog sledding in Australia! Up in the Victorian Alps, there are a range of dog sledding tours on offer at Mt Hotham, Mt Baw Baw, and Mt Buller. So, prepare to sit back and enjoy the thrill of gliding through the snowy white landscape by a team of beautiful Siberian Huskies. Tours at Mt Hotham go from between 30 minutes to over an hour and will lead you through the stunning Alpine National Park. Plus, be prepared to enjoy cuddles with your furry guides, as all tours include 15 minutes of downtime. So, show your dogs some love!
At Mt Baw Baw, tours start from 30 minutes and can be as long as five hours. For an extra treat, book the sunset tour! You’ll get to enjoy a glass of wine as you glide over the glowing snowtops. Alternatively, if you’d like to take the reins yourself, trips at Mt Buller range from 30 minutes to 3.5 hours and some allow you to drive the sled. Best of all, you’ll get a hands-on introduction to your team of huskies. It’s a dog lovers dream!
Alpine Glamping | Mt Hotham, VIC
You may have heard of ‘glamping’ but this experience will see you staying in the heart of the snowy wilderness. In the Victorian Alps, Mt Hotham offers up the perfect winter retreat with the Alpine Nature Experience. Snowshoe through the white covered gum trees to your secluded location known as the eco-village. On arrival, you’ll get to enjoy a tasty cheese fondue as you sip on wine by the fire and learn the art of making traditional French fondue. Then, it’s time to settle into your luxury snow-dome tent or real genuine igloo!
Complete with a crackling wood fire to keep you toasty, these tents and igloos take glamping to another level. Cosy up with blankets by the fire and a good book, then wake up to the sounds of nature. Is there anything more romantic than that? A weekend in the alps has never sounded so good.
Winter Wonderlights | Sovereign Hill, VIC
Situated in the historic city of Ballarat, Sovereign Hill is one of Australia’s best spots to immerse yourself in the past gold-rush era. In winter, this historical tourist destination takes it up a notch by putting on a stunning light display – Winter Wonderlights. For two weeks, Sovereign Hill’s Bradshaw Street is adorned with festive yuletide animations and over 15km of fairy lights. Faux snow falls throughout the day, as bands play into the night and activities pop up around the township. For optimal viewing, head to the top of the hill around 5.30pm to get away from the crowded Main Street. There you’ll be able to see the lit up 1850s shop fronts in all their glory and watch the snow fall lightly over the glowing town.
The Winter Wonderlights festival runs from 29 June to 21 July. We recommend visiting after 14 July to avoid the school holiday crowds and get the most out of the experience. Ultimately, if you live near Ballarat, you simply cannot miss a trip to the town to see this incredible display.
Dark Mofo Festival | Hobart, TAS
Okay, so this one could hardly be considered ‘hidden’ given its notoriety among art lovers but for us plain Janes out there this festival may have gone unnoticed. Hosted in the city of Hobart, Dark Mofo is an extraordinary event and undoubtedly one of the most unique winter festivals in Australia. Organised by the city’s Museum of New Art (MONA), Dark Mofo explores ancient winter solstice rituals through numerous festivities held over the fortnight. From the annual Winter Feast to the Nude Solstice Swim, there’s plenty of weird and wonderful activities to get in on.
Better yet, if you’re a music lover, the festival always hosts an incredible mix of worldwide artists each year. For 2019, the lineup included FKA Twigs, Empress Of, Nicolás Jaar, John Grant, Jónsi, Sharon Van Etten and more.
Whatever you’re looking for, check out the Dark Mofo website to see what’s on and make a plan for the three week event.
Lighthouse Cottage Stays | Various Locations, NSW
From Byron Bay in the north to Eden in the south, the New South Wales coastline is dotted with beautiful lighthouses that you can stay in. Although it may sound whimsical, these destinations offer some of the best views and are located within some stunning natural parks. Typically able to host a large number of guests, lighthouse cottages also make for a perfect family getaway or winter trip with friends.
Why not try out the award-winning Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottages in Cape Byron? Or the circa 1875 Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages in Myall Lakes National Park? Surrounded by natural bushland and offering sweeping views of the coastline, it really can’t get much better!
Bubble Tent Glamping | Coonawarra, SA
See the stars from a whole new perspective with what could be one of South Australia’s most quirky accommodation options. Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park’s new bubble tents leave only a clear bubble between you and nature’s wonders. Complete with 100% climate control, these three room bubble apartments even have their own ensuite and are kitted out with comfy modern furniture. So you can enjoy uninterrupted 360 views this winter all from the comfort of your own bed! There’s no time like the present to start planning your Limestone Coast adventure!
Tiny House Getaways | Various Locations, NSW + SA
With locations in South Australia and New South Wales, CABN allows you to go off-grid in tiny, self-contained, sustainable houses. Located in secluded areas amongst Adelaide Hills, Kuitpo, and Kangaroo Valley these cosy little homes offer the perfect winter getaway. Each CABN has its own unique location right in the heart of nature and you can add meals to your booking if you want to be truly indulgent. Check out their site if your interested in booking one for a relaxing stint away this winter.
Six-Course Cave Dinners | McLaren Vale, SA
Yep, you read that correctly. This winter, you can enjoy a delicious six-course meal at Maxwell Wines in the heart of McLaren Vale. The wine-matched spread will see you eating in a unique subterranean setting – a cave carved 50 metres into a limestone hill. The perfect stop off on any group holiday, this magical and intimate space will play host to one of the best meals of your life. Unearth some of the tastiest food and wine in the region, enjoy the ambience, and make sure you check out the full vineyard above ground. Dating back to 1893, the winery is rich in history and offers some of the most picturesque views around. Check out their website to book this ideal winter experience today!
Itching to get away but need help funding your next big adventure? Well, you’re in the right place! Nifty can help you get a personal loan to cover your upcoming trip with our easy online application. If you’re approved, you could receive the money before your holiday and know exactly what your repayment terms will be. This makes it super easy to budget for your trip as you’ll know just how long your contract is and what your future repayments are going to be.
Better yet, Nifty Loans allows you to pay off your loan prematurely without charging early exit fees. So, if you get your holiday loan well in advance you could pay it off before you even head off on your adventure!
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