Escape to 7 Winter Travel Destinations in 6 Hours or Less

Escape to 7 winter travel destinations in 6 hours or less

  • Winter is cold. Tropical holiday destinations are not cold. Chase that summer feeling. 
  • Check out our seven suggested getaways, all within a six-hour flight (or less) from most Australian state capitals.
  • Explore the best things to see and do at each destination.

The arrival of winter means shorter days, colder weather and daydreaming about taking a trip to sunnier climes.

There are plenty of reasons to book a mid-year escape. For some, like me, it’s the promise of warmer weather. For others, it’s a red-hot deal on flights or a time of year your employer encourages taking leave. Plus, there’s the added potential to redeem your rewards points for flights and travel-related expenses if you have the right reward credit cards.

Whatever your motivation, here are seven winter escapes that’ll give you that summer feeling. Each of them is less than six hours away by plane.

Bali

The W Hotel Bali Seminyak
The W Hotel Bali Seminyak

It's hard to go past Bali. You know what you're going to get. Guaranteed sunshine and tropical warmth just north of Australia.

Bali is about six hours from Melbourne and Sydney, three hours and 45 minutes from Perth and only two hours and 50 minutes from Darwin.

Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Garuda, and low-cost Malindo Air all fly direct to Bali from Sydney. 

Melbourne is a little different. Qantas, Jetstar, Garuda, and Malindo Air all fly direct to Bali. Virgin Australia has a stop in Sydney and Brisbane before flying on to Bali.

Be sure to read our guide on how to plan the cheapest Bali holiday

Fiji

Surfing in Fiji
Surfers know that the waves in Fiji are unreal if you time it right.

Lose yourself in the palm-fringed beaches and blue waters of the 330-plus islands that make up beautiful Fiji in the South Pacific. Sunny days and a tropical climate are the norm in Fiji year-round, with temperatures sitting between 19°C and 29°C from May to November.

Whether you’re seeking a romantic, family-friendly or adventure-filled escape, Fiji has you covered. Surfers, divers and water lovers will enjoy Taveuni, the Mamanuca islands and Vanua Levu. Denarau Island is the pick for a luxury resort escape. Fiji's capital Suva mixes the tropical with the cultural and cosmopolitan. Thrill seekers will appreciate Pacific Harbour, while the Yasawa and Lomaiviti Group of islands offer a more secluded escape and a taste of traditional Fijian life.

You can fly direct to Fiji, from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne to Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu in under five hours.

Broome

gantheaume point in Broome, Western Australia

The turquoise blue of the Indian Ocean meets the red soil of the Kimberley in the remote peninsula town of Broome, which sits on the edge of Australia’s northwest tip.

Home of the Yawuru people, Broome offers a unique Australian escape. Here, you can ride camels, cruise the Kimberley, watch the sun set on the white sands of Cable Beach, visit a pearl farm, bird and whale watch, fish and see dinosaur fossils over 130 million years old at Gantheaume Point.

Winter is dry season in Broome, making it a popular time to visit. Average temperatures range from 17°C to 30.8°C. So the days are warm, the nights are cool and the ocean is an inviting place to swim. 

Fly direct to Broome in two-and-half hours from Perth and four-and-half-from Melbourne. Direct and connecting flights operate from most Australian capital cities.

Vanuatu

Efate Island, Vanuatu
Efate Island in Vanuatu is the perfect winter escape

With its rugged mountains, crystal clear waters and tropical climate, Vanuatu is the perfect remedy for the winter blues.

Explore some of the 80-plus islands and islets that make up this friendly Pacific island nation. Swim, snorkel, dive or surf one of its many stunning beaches. Visit the colourful capital city of Port Vila on the island of Efate. Take a local tour or pop into the Vanuatu Cultural Centre for an insight into its rich indigenous history.

Vanuatu is located east of Queensland, and direct flights take three hours from Brisbane and three-and-a-half from Sydney. The Australian winter conveniently falls within the idyllic cooler, dry temperatures Vanuatu experiences between May and October.

Darwin

Sunset over Mindil beach, Darwin

Tropical Darwin is the Northern Territory’s colourful capital and an ideal base for exploring nearby natural attractions, like the Litchfield National Park, the Adelaide River and Kakadu National Park.

Expect warm, sunny days (between 21.6°C and 31.8°C) and crisp nights (from 17°C to 23°C) during winter in Darwin – perfect weather to wander lively Mindil Market at sunset or have a picnic on the beach. See crocs up close at Crocodylus Park and Crocosaurus Cove. Or visit the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and one of many local indigenous art galleries, such as Outstation.

Planning a trip in August? Darwin Festival is a highlight on the city’s winter arts calendar. The festival turns 40 this year and runs for 18 days from August 8 to 25.

You can fly direct to Darwin from most Australian capital cities in under five hours.

New Caledonia

Carved totem poles, New Caledonia
Carved totem poles, commemorating the arrival of the first missionaries at St Maurice Bay, New Caledonia

New Caledonia is a tropical paradise surrounded by World Heritage-listed lagoons of the deepest blue and a coral barrier reef second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in length.

The beauty of its lagoons and many pristine beaches make this French territory a popular destination for travellers who love the water. As does its weather, which averages a sunny 20°C to 22°C in July and August.

Caledonia’s pretty capital, Noumea, is located on the main island of Grande-Terre and is less than three hours from Sydney by plane. The peninsula city is a hub of restaurants, bars, shops, and local attractions, like the striking Tjibaou Cultural Centre and the colourful Port Moselle Market.

Noumea also offers easy access to Caledonia’s other islands of Ouvea, Lifou, Tiga and Maré (the Loyalty Islands), the Isle of Pines and the Belep islands.

Cairns

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef should be on everyone's bucket list! It is truly magnificent.

With direct flights less than five hours from most capital cities in Australia, Cairns is an easy domestic winter escape.

This laidback city is the gateway to many of Tropical North Queensland’s natural attractions, including the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and the stunning Daintree Rainforest, the home of Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation.

Winter in Cairns is a mild affair with low rainfall and humidity and average temperatures between 18°C and 26°C – ideal for relaxing by the pool, wandering the city’s pretty waterfront and taking day trips to explore the surrounding region.

The picturesque town of Port Douglas is also an hour’s drive north of Cairns.

Put it on the right rewards credit card

Offset the cost of your winter escape with the right credit cards. If you already have a credit card which earns rewards points, don’t forget to use it when you book your flights and accommodation. Not only will you earn valuable points which could be used for future holidays, you may also activate free travel insurance cover if your rewards card has this feature.

And if you don’t have a credit card which earns points or gives you free travel insurance, why not compare your card choices now and apply? Most cards have a speedy approval process, which means you still have time to earn points and get free insurance with your well-deserved winter break.

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