Winter Trip


  • Cheaper airfares, greater availability of seats. Getting your first choice of dates and times, and finding discount fares, is much easier in winter than in the popular holiday periods when it seems everyone is wanting to travel at once. Applies to bus and train travel too.
  • Less traffic on scenic roads, making driving much more pleasant.
  • Good deals on accomodation. Outside of ski resorts, winter in cold areas can lead to low-season bargains. I've sometimes paid less than half price, as owners would rather receive low rates than see a room remain empty.
  • Part of Russell falls, TasmaniaDiscounts on car hire - as with accomodation, I've been blessed with bargain rates in winter.
  • Flexibility - fewer things need to be booked ahead in winter, making it easier to be spontaneous, vary plans to suit the weather, and linger in favourite places.
  • Taking leave from many jobs can be easier in winter, with fewer other staff competing for time off.
  • Peace and quiet. If you want a beach all to yourself with no other footprints on it, or you want to enjoy the sounds of a waterfall without it being drowned out by busloads of noisy tourists, then winter is best.
  • Reality. The winter off-season is often the best time to experience the true character and ambience of a place, not when it is invaded by peak season crowds. Locals are sometimes friendlier to visitors when their numbers are fewer.
  • The Olgas at sunriseLater sunrises - those who like photographing sunrises, or using the early morning light, will appreciate not having to get up so early to do this in winter.


  • Fewer flies and mosquitoes. Hordes of bush flies and march flies can spoil a walk in the warmer months, but they are refreshingly absent in winter.
  • Temperatures more comfortable for outdoor activities - body temperature is easier to regulate by adding or removing layers of clothes.
  • Less perspiration. This means less risk of dehydration, less drinking water required, and clothes get less smelly.
  • Drinking water more readily available - creeks that dry up in summer are wetter, and fresher, in winter. Little or no need to carry lots of heavy water.
  • Snakes are relatively inactive. This makes winter much safer for hiking than summer. Especially for solo walkers, whose quieter approach means they generally encounter more snakes than people in groups.
  • Conspicuous Beach, Western AustraliaFewer people. In many places the wilderness tracks can be packed out in summer, pariticularly the school holidays. This can destroy the feelings of remoteness, solitude, peace and quiet that make such places attractive in the first place.
  • Less pollen and dust. Spring can be an unpleasant time for hay fever sufferers, and dust can be an irritation to eyes and noses in summer in dry areas. In contrast, winter air is cleaner and kinder to sensitive noses.


  • Less competition for the best campsites.
  • Tent cooler in daytime. In summer the sun can quickly heat up the inside of a tent, making it feel like an oven, and restricting its daytime use. In cold weather this is not a problem.
  • Natural refrigeration - milk and perishable foods can be carried in cold weather without going off.

When camping on snow:

  • Snowcamping, Snowy MountainsA level smooth tent site is almost guaranteed. With a bit of digging, bumps can be removed, and even a moderate slope can be levelled if the snow is deep enough.
  • Abundant clean water close by - when melting snow for water, any campsite on snow is close to a plentiful supply. It is also less likely to be contaminated than creek water.
  • The perfect campsite is easier to find. Without snow, finding a campsite that is level, and near water, and sheltered, and has a spectacular view, is tricky if not impossible. Compromises are the norm; a view is often sacrificed for level ground or shelter. However, when snow camping, the spot with the best view is fair game, with shelter a secondary concern. To some extent, shelter can be created by building snow walls.
  • Waste disposal - its not a pleasant topic, but human waste must be disposed of, and in fragile wilderness areas the most environment-friendly method is to carry it out. In warm weather this could be unappealing! When snow camping its just a matter of leaving "it" to freeze solid, then storing it in a sealed container for transport. When frozen, leakage and odour aren't an issue.


To be fair, winter travel has aspects that don't suit everybody.

  • Cold weather - easily counteracted with warm clothing, but not everybody likes it. Having your drinking water (and sunscreen!) freeze overnight is an inconvenience.
  • Shorter daylight hours - this can limit outdoor activity, although in middle latitudes like Australia the daylight hours aren't really all that short, particularly in late winter. Getting an early start goes a long way towards getting around this..
  • Closures - some tourist attractions close in the off-season, and snow can close roads in some areas (or make driving a bit of an adventure).
  • Melting snow for water can be time consuming and requires more fuel to be carried (which may be offset by less need to carry water).

Despite some disadvantages, winter travel tickles the fancy of many people. Next time you see someone working through the summer then venturing into the great outdoors when the weather turns cold and inclement, just remember there is method in our madness. And that we are all different.

[Top 10 Places to Beat the Winter Blues]




An Antarctic winter is far from a tropical paradise – imagine a continent surrounded by densely packed ice, near-perpetual darkness, unpredictable blizzards, and temperatures that dip to about -60 ºF. With the seasons flipped, winter here in the Northern Hemisphere means that it’s as close to summer as it will ever be at the White Continent, and also the only time of year when voyaging to this last great travel frontier is possible, as the warmer climate serves to break up the ice barriers that otherwise prohibit access to this remote white wilderness full of exotic wildlife and savage landscapes. More than 20,000 tourists now head to the South Pole each year to witness its monumental glaciers and icebergs, comical penguins and seabirds, and majestic whales and marine creatures. Cruising is the most popular way to attempt an Antarctic expedition; cruise lines like Holland America, Radisson Seven Seas, and Princess operate sailings from Argentina or New Zealand.

2. Banff

With its backdrop of waterfalls, caves, cliffs, canyons, and glaciers, it's no wonder Banff attracts visitors from around the globe. The famed mountain resort is centered on a spectacular stretch of land preserve, Banff National Park, which is not only Canada’s oldest national park, but one of the nation’s most persevering tourist draws. Its snow-powdered Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks are its crowning glory, providing some of the world's best skiing and snowboarding conditions – any die-hard skier or nature-lover will tell you that the Rockies' pristine surroundings will take you to new heights – the only downfall might be the somewhat overwhelming crowds that hit the three main ski areas and nature trails. However, with the area’s two main towns - Banff and Lake Louise – providing a host of additional winter activities, museums, eateries, nightspots, and quaint accommodations, there’s a little haven for everybody to head back to after a long day spent gliding along glorious snow-covered terrain

3. Belize

This Central American up-and-comer – about the size of Massachusetts – is packed with potential. The tiny English-speaking country fronts the Caribbean Sea and offers sunny, warm weather all winter long and loads of adventuresome and exciting travel opportunities. Case in point: the longest continuous barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere borders the coast of Belize making the waters here outstanding for snorkeling and diving. Offshore atolls and sandy reef shelves are home to baby sharks, massive stingrays, eels, and lots of colorful marine life. Inland, the Maya Mountains are swathed in thick rainforests with thousands of streams and rivers cascading down – ideal for jungle treks and nature-lovin’ tours. Also not far offshore are dozens of islands, called cayes, which make for great day trips or secluded stays; Ambergris Caye and Isla Bonita are among the most developed, boasting chic restaurants and resorts, while Caye Caulker remains more laid-back and remote. Nature buffs will also love the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary – just a few miles east of Belize City – which protects over 7000 acres of sea and mangrove; local guides bring visitors by boat to survey the abundant wildlife

4. Búzios

For a ritzy St. Tropez-like escape in the dead of winter, you can’t beat Búzios – located at the tip of a long beach-fringed peninsula about 100 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. Much beloved since the days Brigitte Bardot strolled the shores of the area's Ossos Beach, this former fishing village retains much of its old-world charm but now boasts a slew of glitzy boutiques, restaurants, and beachfront mansions to complement its fantastic string of 20+ beaches, rugged coastline, and darling town. December to March is the best time to visit, since Brazil’s summer weather is just right for a dose of Brazilian pleasures. Beat the winter blahs this year by sunbathing to you heart’s content, sipping caipirinhas at beachside cafés, and, at night, hitting the happening Rua das Pedras – a popular street lined with galleries, restaurants, and bars

5. Key West

For the perfect winter escape, set out to Key West and bask in its tropical-Victorian-fantasyland feel, Jimmy Buffett/Margaritaville vibe, and hedonistic laissez-faire attitude. Indeed, this southernmost bit of the continental United States has plenty to tempt visitors, whether you're interested in snorkeling – North America's only coral barrier reef is found here, and you can swim with dolphins or discover shipwrecks – or into history, culture, and art, which this quirky beach town has plenty of. You could easily while an afternoon strolling through Bahama Village, a quaint neighborhood favored by Ernest Hemingway (when you're done, you can also visit his house, Ernest Hemingway Home); other worthy local highlights include the Harry S. Truman Little White House and the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum. Come dusk, Mallory Square hosts nightly sunset celebrations, with musicians and street performers serving as backup for the magnificent sunset show that illuminates the Gulf of Mexico, while street cafés and open-air bars invite you to partake of the carefree atmosphere. However you spend your day, rest assured that local priorities are where they should be – fun comes first

6. Los Angeles

Where else can you drive with the top down all year round, rub elbows with celebrities at the supermarket, delight in glamorous escapades by night, and go for a morning surf in the Pacific? Only Los Angeles offers all of these sun-kissed splendors come winter. The incomparable weather mixed with the allure of Hollywood has been attracting visitors for decades yet the second largest US city maintains its cool with a collection of inventive hotels, cutting-edge restaurants, and posh nightclubs. From celebrity spotting at sidewalk cafés to window-shopping on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, you’ll quickly become part of the scene and get a taste of Angelenos’ laidback lifestyle. Stroll the Walk of Fame, hit the bars on Sunset Strip, tour Hollywood, explore the city’s museums, or join the perpetual traffic along the Pacific Coast Highway, where a sweet ocean-side drive will take you to the surf-swept beaches of Malibu and Venice; you won’t mind the trek with the wind in your hair, the radio blasting, and the sun shining when you think about the winter weather you’re missing back home

7. Melbourne

Australia’s second-largest city is quite arguably second to none, with in-the-know locals and avid Aussie visitors declaring Melbourne the more sophisticated, savvier sister of Sydney. A cosmopolitan melting pot, with more than a third of its residents born abroad – Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bun) is the cultural capital of the continent, with a magnificent array of eateries, boutiques, and nightlife options reflective of its fashionable and worldly patrons. Its vibrant riverfront attractions, fine European architecture, central squares, renowned zoo, botanic gardens, and galleries add to the allure of a winter visit – all augmented by the fact that while we’re mulling about in the dead of winter here, summer is in full swing Down Under

8. Rajasthan

The second-largest state in India derives its name from a term meaning "land of kings,” and today tourists can discover the very essence of a regal India, with its fairy-tale architecture, colorfully turbaned men and sari-covered women, rich folk traditions and religious festivals, and desert landscapes of sun-kissed plains and glimmering lake oases. An expansive and exotic region, loaded with forts, palaces, gardens, temples, and other monumental relics of the high-society aristocrats who have occupied Rajasthan over the centuries, demands no less than a week to sample its highlights, including the lovely lake city of Udaipur; the golden fort city of Jaisalmer; the “blue city” of Jodhpur, with its impressive fort and eye-catching blue houses of the Brahmin caste; or the Ranthambhore jungle, where opportunities to track wild tigers abound. Unusual hotels cater to the tourists that flock here during the temperate months of September through March, and guests can expect accommodations in converted havelis, ancient forts, and picturesque palaces. Skilled artisans, meanwhile, dish out the ultimate retail therapy by peddling a magical array of jewelry, rugs, pottery, and more one-of-a-kind goods.

9. Red Sea

We’re all familiar with Egypt’s ancient wonders, pharaoh-filled history, vast pyramids, and boundless desert, but the world-class beach resorts lining the Red Sea are still somewhat unknown, even to savvy travelers. Yet, where the eternal (and actually crystal blue) Red Sea laps the desert shore, you’ll find a truly beautiful and exotic destination with much to offer during the cold winter months. Just offshore from Dahab, a small coastal town between the Israeli border and the tip of Sinai, is a fantastic dive site where sharks, mantas, turtles, and eels will take bread right from your hand; the sea and its deep reefs are a tapestry of brilliantly colorful fish, dazzling coral, and exotic creatures. Another popular resort town, busy Hurghada, itself also an international center for aquatic sports, boasts an array of fine resorts and restaurants – and a bustling nightlife scene much favored by Europeans. When you need a break from the underwater paradise, or to clear your head from a night out on the town, plan a day trip to the Red Sea Mountains via camel or jeep.

10. St. Barths

Ironic that a tiny, rocky Caribbean island ill-suited to agriculture and populated only by poor Norman and Breton fishermen should wind up luring Rockefellers and rock stars, real and reel royalty. But St. Barthélemy, affectionately known as St. Barths (or Barts – both are correct) with its exquisite coves, gingerbread-trimmed Creole cazes, and low stone walls trimming emerald hillsides became the bi-continental set’s playground, separating true chic from chicanery. On this special chunk of rock, located southeast of St. Martin, in the northernmost arc of the Caribbean's Leeward islands, the beautiful and wealthy play at anonymity, violate personal trainers’ and nutritionists’ advice, and indulge in the occasional vice away from the paparazzi’s popping bulbs. Despite the island’s stratospheric prices, gourmet eateries, and duty-free haute-couture boutiques, few visitors parade in Prada; sarongs and denim cut-offs (and often little else on the beaches and yachts) are more common, although the flip-flops are more likely to be branded Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik than Havaiana.





North Shore Activities Tour




Oahu (Honolulu)

Tour Oahu’s famous surfing beaches and get up close to huge Hawaiian green sea turtles! Laze on the beach; shop in Haleiwa Town, and reserve equipment to snorkel, surf, bike, or kayak on this full-day tour.


Orbs of Oahu Evening Tour
Oahu (Honolulu)
Witness Oahu’s otherworldly. Journey into the night adding a new dimension to the term, “aloha spirit,” where contact with the paranormal makes even the warmest of tropical nights a chilling experience.
Hawaiian Kayaking Excursion
Oahu (Honolulu)
Kayak in one of the most beautiful settings in Hawaii, at Kailua Bay. Famed for its beautiful beaches, turquoise water, offshore islands, and sea turtle feeding grounds, Kailua is only 12 miles from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. Lunch and personal free time is included.
Beginning Windsurfing Lesson
Oahu (Honolulu)
Learn how to windsurf at the world-famous Kailua Bay, just 12 miles from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. Steady trade winds, warm turquoise water, and miles of sandy beaches make Kailua an ideal place to take to the waves. Lunch and personal free time is included.

North Shore Shark Adventure
Oahu (Honolulu)
Featured in many native legends, the shark (mano) is central to Hawaiian culture. See these creatures' beauty and splendor up close as they rise from the depths to greet you.