Travelling Oz and not sure how to decide your route? Whilst we can guarantee you'll have a great time whenever and wherever you go in Australia, it does help to know the best places to go at which time of year…
The Blue Mountains, NSW
OK, the Blue Mountains are really a magical place to visit any time of year. Named so because of the combination of eucalyptus oil, dust particles and water vapour in the air casting a mystical blue sheen, the Blue Mountains are generally divided into two regions: Upper and Lower Mountains. The Upper Mountains include the areas of Katoomba, Leura and Blackheath and are generally cooler, whilst the Lower Mountains (Springwood and Glenbrook) are typically warmer year round, which may influence your decision.
In January, the weather should be ideal for outdoor activities: cool nights, warm days and relatively little rainfall make perfect conditions for an explore. This time of year you're more likely to get clearer views of the magical mountains themselves.
The driving route we'd suggest: Sydney to Hartley Vale and back again
Byron Bay, NSW
There's something enchanting about Byron Bay that has visitors far and wide coming back again and again- not least due to its reputation for being the surf mecca of Australia. A popular holiday destination for Australian families, by February the school holidays are over and you will have missed the busiest period whilst still being able to reap the beautiful summer weather. Days are hot, the sea is bath-water warm and cooling showers in the evening keep the air fresh.
The driving route we'd suggest: Sydney to Brisbane
What makes Melbourne stand out? That's easy. The food. The wine. The music. The art. The sport. In summary: the culture. Typically, Melbourne natives say that the Autumn months (so that's between March and May) are the best to visit the city for its blend of "festivals, fashion, food and flowers". The temperature is typically in the late teens-early twenties during this period, which is a nice temperature to wander around all the hotspots: Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victoria and the zoo or aquarium.
The driving route we'd suggest: The Great Ocean Road
Barossa Valley, SA
April is a special time for the wine haven that is Barossa Valley. With the harvest recently completed, this month is when the famous Barossa Vintage Festival is happening. Over the course of the nine day festival, you can sample some of the region's best wines, enjoy delicious local food and listen to some amazing music.
The driving route we'd suggest: Adelaide to Alice Springs
Australia's capital city thrives in autumn. The cityscape blurs into a fusion of autumnal golds, russets and coppers- with chilly mornings giving way to mild days, perfect for digging deeper into Australia's history which can be done through attractions such as the National Portrait Gallery, Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial. After working up an appetite, stop off at one of the many fab cafés or restaurants for a spot of brunch, lunch or dinner and soak up the incredible hospitality Canberra is known for.
The driving route we'd suggest: Adelaide to Canberra
Port Douglas, QLD
It's a myth that Australia is hot all year round but there are some pockets of the country that remain blissfully warm even in the winter months- June, July and August. If you're looking for a little snap of summer when the rest of the country is cooling, we'd suggest travelling up to Port Douglas, 70kms away from Cairns. The town itself is next to two World Heritage areas, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. As well as being the month most recommended for sailing, hitting the beach and checking out the rainforest, June is also just before schools break up for a winter holiday, so you'll miss the influx of families.
The driving route we'd suggest: Cairns to Cooktown
Winter in Darwin is famous for providing warm winters, spectacular sunsets and yummy farmers markets. Even in mid-winter, temperatures tend to rise to the high twenties but without the humidity that Darwin often experiences in summer. The capital of Australia's Northern Territory is a gateway to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks so take some time to explore these beauties in the sunshine.
The driving route we'd suggest: Nature's Way – Darwin to Darwin
Mount Buller, VIC
Skiing in Australia. In August. It sort of goes against everything you know, right? But try skimming the snow-capped mountains of Victoria- there are several great alpine locations across this region. Just three hours' drive away from Melbourne, Mount Buller is a great option, with plenty of winter adventures to keep you entertained even if you're not a skier and slopes that suit every ability. There are also snowboarding options and challenging cross-country trails looking out over Mount Stirling and the Bluff.
The driving route we'd suggest: Melbourne to Canberra
Ayers Rock, NT
When it comes to Australia Bucket List items, Ayers Rock- or Uluru as it's also known – is a must. Located in Australia's Red Centre, Ayers Rock and Kata Tjuta, are at their best during May and September. The colours of the rocks are at their most vibrant and you will see all the waterfalls, plants and animals hidden within Uluru. Opt for a sunrise or sunset tour of Ayers Rock, followed by an outback camel ride – an unforgettable experience.
The driving route we'd suggest: The Red Centre - Alice Springs to Alice Springs
By October, the rainy season in Perth is over and the days are warm and sunny with maximum temperatures reaching around 25. Perth's natural beauty comes alive in November, with colourful wildflowers coming into vibrant bloom. Enjoy this magnificent sight with a picnic in King's Park and Botanic Gardens. Alternatively, browse the number of buildings that make up Perth's Cultural Centre: Western Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and The Blue Room Theatre. Less than an hour outside of the city centre is Rockingham, where you can park up and access Shoalwater Islands Marine Park where you can dive amongst reef and shipwrecks, go snorkelling, hang out with seals, dolphins and penguins…who knew such a place of natural beauty could be so close to the "City of Light"?
The driving route we'd suggest: The Western Explorer – Perth to Perth
Sunshine Coast, QLD
Honestly, there's never NOT a great time to head to the beautiful Sunshine Coast but in November you're getting the height of the blissfully warm days and temperate waters before the school holidays start. Whether you're looking for a few days to lie down on a brilliant beach and just chill or you'd prefer something a bit more adventurous, the Sunshine Coast has it all. If you're on the Sunshine Coast, you really must head to gorgeous Noosa for a little bit of indulgent down time on Main Beach and Laguna Bay.
The driving route we'd suggest: Brisbane to Cairns
It's hard to travel Australia without doing Sydney. As far as we're concerned, it's best done when the whole city is buzzing with activity and excitement for Christmas. In the height of summer, Sydney should be gloriously warm meaning the waters at some of the world's most famous beaches- Bondi, Manly and Palm Beach will be the perfect temperature for a swim or a surf. If you're lucky enough to be in the city over New Year's Eve, then make sure you're at the Sydney Harbour. Famous for its epic firework displays and laser shows, no expense is spared for NYE in Sydney.
The driving route we'd suggest: Wollongong to Sydney