It’s hard enough to get out of bed we hear you cry, much less into a car that’s destined for even chillier climes. We get it, winter can put a dampener on even the most wilful of wanderlust. But Sydneysiders, you might just be missing out on what is actually a wonderful time of year to go road-tripping. So we’ve picked three winter getaways that will inspire you to throw on all your sweaters at once and embrace the not-so-bitter cold.
The Blue Mountains
With a lively alpine community renowned for its alternative arts, music and café culture, and plunging valleys prime for hiking on a sunny winter’s day, we can’t think of a better place to hug a mug of mulled wine and melt our woes away. The yearly Yulefest which runs from June to August sees many local establishments switch their menus to hearty Christmas-style fare, accompanied by singalongs, log fires, Santa cameos, and if you’re really lucky, a light dusting of snow.
What to pack: Scarves, chunky knits and your festive spirit.
The Hunter Valley
As the Hunter Valley’s driest and quietest season, winter is an extremely rewarding time to sample a slice of ‘Tuscany’. The sky is clear and blue, the climate is mild and the grapevines have shed their summer growth. Striped along the golden hillsides, the stark, bare rows are a sight to behold (and a treat for photographers!). But let’s not forget the real reason we’re here. With its storybook charm (and an actual storybook garden to match), use Pokolbin as a base to sip your way through NSW’s most desirable wine country.
What to pack: Tumbled leather boots for touring the cellar doors, and sunglasses for a hazy alfresco date with a dozen oysters and some bubbles.
Courtesy of Destination Southern Highlands
The Southern Highlands
Rain doesn’t have to be a killjoy. In fact, the southern highlands would lose much of its attraction without it. World-class fresh produce (we’re talking good enough to tempt Jamie Oliver!), verdant scenery, thundering waterfalls and swollen streams are just some of the rewards for weathering the occasional downpour. If staying dry is more your scene, take shelter in any one of the many highland villages, poking through boutiques, sampling the spoils of local providores, and rummaging for old wares and antiques.
What to pack: A weatherproof jacket, walking shoes and an appetite for homemade pies.
What places do you think are better explored in winter? Share your ideas for winter getaways on our Facebook page!