Where should you wander this winter?

July 29, 2019

Australia has an incredible diversity of landscapes, experiences and places to visit—there really is something for just about everyone across this vast land of ours. With beautiful natural landscapes, breathtaking coastal areas, rusty-red deserts, and glistening rainforests, it’s little wonder that tourism is one of our largest industries.

Image: Vivid lights up Sydney’s winter nights: Credit: Destination NSW.

Beyond diversity of landscapes and regions, another advantage that comes with scale is diversity of climate. So whether you like it cold and moody, or warm and relax-y, no matter when you visit, you’ll find a place to please. Visit in winter, for example, and you can hit the slopes of our snowy mountains, explore our cities in uniquely wintery ways, or even break out your hat and cozzie and head north for the beaches and warm waters of the tropics.

 Image: Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas QLD. Credit: Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree

If you’re up for a break this winter and aren’t sure what to do, these ATAS-accredited travel agents might just have the inspiration you need to pack that bag and go! Kim Simpson, owner of Our Travel & Cruise Experts in Byford, Western Australia, knows a thing or two about warming up in WA. 

“If you’re wanting to get away from it all and escape the freezing cold winter then the perfect place to go is Kooljaman at Cape Leveque”, says Kim.

Image: Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, WA. Credit: Tourism Western Australia

Cape Leveque is at the northernmost tip of the Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia’s Kimberley region about 2.5 hours from Broome by four-wheel drive. Kooljaman at Cape Leveque is a remote wilderness camp owned and run by the Indigenous Bardi Jawi Communities. For other Indigenous experiences check out our blog on Australia’s Aboriginal Tourism Experiences.

“They have everything on offer from unpowered campsites to beach shelters, log cabins and Family Safari Tents. Plus, the most breathtaking sunsets you will ever witness”, adds Kim.

Image: Indigenous experiences at Kooljaman, WA. Credit: James Fisher/Tourism Australia

With average winter temperatures ranging from about 19°C to 29°C, pristine white sand, crystal clear waters, and a range of fascinating local touring options, Cape Leveque is a perfect, secluded winter getaway.

And being owned and run by the local Indigenous communities, a visit here comes with an added layer of richness.

Image: Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, WA. Credit: James Fisher/Tourism Australia

“To have the opportunity to learn from the Traditional Owners about the land and the stories of their people and the local area is a rare opportunity and a privilege. Their stories are mesmerising—it is a life changing experience”, says Kim.

Talk to Kim and you’ll hear Kooljaman described as the epitome of relaxation mixed with Australiana—not just a relaxing getaway but an immersion in local culture and the traditional way of life of the Bardi Jawi people.

Image: Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, WA. Credit: James Fisher/Tourism Australia

Whether you’re planning a trip to Cape Leveque or simply to Broome and beyond, consider contacting Kim. The combination of local knowledge, contacts and professional ATAS-accreditation is a powerful mix.

Giselle Pennington from ATAS-accredited travel agency Spencer Travel Southside (Sydney, NSW) is also a fan of escaping the winter chill by heading to the Kimberley Coast and Top End. The main difference? Giselle recommends heading to sea, and cruising between Broome and Darwin.

Image: Kimberley Cruising. Credit: APT

“Exploring the coastline by water, and unpacking just once on a 10-day adventure is my idea of the perfect winter escape”, says Giselle.

“The spectacular scenery along the way is truly unbelievable, and the astonishing turquoise water is more Fiji Islands than Outback Australia”, she adds.

For Giselle, highlights of a cruise here include the bird and green turtle breeding grounds of the Lacepede Islands; the famed Horizontal Falls’ huge tidal current that surges powerfully through narrow gorges in the Buccaneer Archipelago—”Incredible!”, exclaims Giselle; and Montgomery Reef—a jaw-dropping experience to suddenly see a 400 square kilometre reef appear out of nowhere as the tide recedes.

 Image: Horizontal Falls. Credit: Kimberley Expeditions.

When the tide is out, vast lagoons, sandstone islets, and a central mangrove island are revealed at Montgomery Reef. The outward movement of the tide forms a torrent, creating a river that cuts through the reef, and hundreds of cascading waterfalls. At low tide, more than 4 metres of reef can be exposed.

“It revealed large lagoons around a mangrove island in the centre. And whilst on zodiacs to see the marine life, we were surrounded by countless green turtles playing peek-a-boo around us”, recalls Giselle.

And for history and culture buffs, on dry land the region brims with ancient rock art, and even relics from World War 2.

“We have so much amazing scenery right here in our own back yard, and I’m so blessed to have explored this part of it. It certainly won’t be my last visit to this remarkable, warm corner of the country”, she says.

Image: Broome Camel Rides. Credit: Tourism Australia.

Professional, experienced and well-travelled, Giselle was named Australia’s Best Travel Consultant at the 2018 National Travel Industry Awards.
But not everyone seeks a warm escape from winter. Maria Masutti, from the ATAS-accredited SmartFlyer network of home-based and mobile travel advisors, prefers a more urban pursuit.

A Sydneysider by birth, and enthusiastic urban explorer by nature, Maria thinks winter is the ideal time to explore a familiar city in an unfamiliar way.
“When most people think of Sydney, they probably envision our glistening harbour, the iconic Opera House, and surfing at Bondi Beach.  We are certainly blessed with some natural and manmade marvels”, says Maria.  

Image: A morning surf at Bondi Beach. Credit: Destination NSW

“But as summer fades away, the winter chill sets in and outdoor pursuits become less enticing, so it’s a perfect time to explore our city’s more alternative side”, she adds.

For Maria, it’s about embracing a Sydney winter, not escaping it. So, what does she recommend?

“A cultural day out, exploring galleries, markets, eateries and meandering through quirky neighbourhoods, with a nice balance of walking and driving. That’s the perfect way to spend a winter’s day in Sydney!”, she enthuses.

 Image: Spice Alley, Chippendale. Credit: Destination NSW.

Without revealing Maria’s full secret-squirrel list of Sydney winter must-dos, here are a couple of her favourite urban expedition hot-spots:

  • Chippendale: Recently labelled Sydney’s hippest suburb, Chippendale is known for its cutting edge architecture, creativity and cool cafes. Tip: Warm up with a meal at Spice Alley and a browse through one of the world’s most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art at White Rabbit Gallery.
  • Paddington: A Saturday stroll along Paddington’s beautiful boutique lined backstreets and a visit to the legendary Paddington Markets is another. Then venture into nearby Centennial Park, hire a bike and pedal the flat, 5-kilometre circuit of its beautiful parklands and lakes.
  • Marrickville: Sip on a gin served by handsome barmen at Poor Tom’s rustic warehouse, then take in the street art of Enmore’s back lanes.

Maria knows Sydney’s unique urban experiences intimately. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to tap into her expertise, professional connections and local knowledge.

ATAS accreditation—experience you can trust.

Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents? Check out these top tips about making the most out of your next theme park holiday, managing a lost luggage situation, and 6 Bushfire-Affected Places You’ll Love in Australia.

ATAS travel agents recommend that Australia passport holders register for travel alerts before they travel.


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