Winter doesn’t have to be cold and dark. Ditch your Netflix nights for some time out of the city walls to refresh the mind, explore and try new experiences. From famous Australian sites to adventurous activities, here are five must-do trips to help you survive the Australian winter. Bonus: We’ve also found five great local classes to get you in vacation mode!
Starting destination: Sydney
It’s cold, so let’s just embrace it and make winter even cooler by exploring the Blue Mountains. Not only is this area recognised with a World Heritage listing, easily accessible from Sydney by road or rail, and offers spectacular scenery, it also boasts so many fun adventurous activities.
Scenic World at Katoomba offers a skyway, walkway, cableway and railway, as well as waterfall and nature walks. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Blue Mountains, the Three Sisters and the Jamison Valley. Give your legs a workout on the 1,000 steps of the Giant Stairway. For those who want even more adventure, contact one of the local adventure companies and try out the abseiling, climbing or kayaking day trips.
For some yummy food, indulge at the award-winning Darleys Restaurant or Echoes Restaurant & Bar that looks over Scenic World. Both offer beautiful accommodations, too. For something more casual, The Milkbar at Echo Point offers yummy grab-and-go food and drinks with a great view and access to nature walks.
Just beyond Katoomba, tick off another famous Australian site with a cave tour at the Jenolan caves, one of the finest and oldest cave systems in the world! Walk through (options to crawl and climb, too!) these amazing cave systems with underground rivers and amazing limestone crystal formations. To get the most of the Jenolan Caves, stay one night at their hotel and book a few different cave tours.
Get vacation ready: Scenic Cycle
To get ready for your Blue Mountains adventure, warming up the legs with some leg-based cardio should do the trick. Try a Scenic Cycle Ride class at Scenic Cycle in Sydney CBD, a 45-minute spin class where you ride to an HD scenic vision of a destination (like, say, Lake Como or Barcelona), which is matched to the latest and hottest tunes.
Starting destination: Perth
South of Perth you’ll find the beautiful Margaret River. While it is famed for its wine and award-winning cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and semillon vintages, there is plenty to see and do besides going on tastings! Try the local produce at the farmer’s markets on a Saturday morning, watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean, admire the lake and Mammoth Caves, or walk through the gorgeous national and state forest trails.
If you’re game to get wet, jump in the water for a surf. This region is a world-famous surfing destination and only a 10 minute drive from town with over 135 kilometres of coastline and 75 breaks to choose from. There are also cycling tracks that meander along the river and through the surrounding forest to the vineyards and farms.
There are a lot of accommodations to choose from—chalets, hotel resorts, holiday houses, camping sites, luxury retreats and backpacker accommodations—so there is sure to be something to suit everyone. Make sure you also have a car to get around to see everything and treat yourself to a cellar door stop. Check out the foodie, music, comedy and other events held throughout winter.
Get vacation ready: LA Fit Studio
With lots of fun and exciting activities to choose from at Margaret River, try a class that offers a total-body conditioning, high-intensity workout. LA Fit Studio’s Megaformer class will work your entire body! The class offers variable spring resistances to challenge you, a slower pace to target fat-burning muscle fibres and minimum transitions to increase intensity and keep your heart rate up—it’s ‘the Pilates Reformer on steroids!’
Starting destination: Adelaide
Take a short one hour drive north west of Adelaide and you’ll find yourself in the picturesque Barossa Valley. Home to some of the world’s most esteemed vineyards and perfectly suited for red wine production, this region also has a German heritage food culture, historic stone buildings and is steeped in history and culture.
They say the Barossa is best by bike—and for good reason. With shared paths, quiet country roads and rolling landscapes, you’ll find something new around every corner, catering for all levels of fitness. Cycling will also allow you to travel around at your own pace and there are options to hire or join a cycle tour. Hot-air balloons and helicopter tours are also popular for the birds-eye view of the area.
For a farm, wine and food experience, try the award-winning Hentley Farm. A short drive away is the beautiful waterfront Stonewell Cottages & Vineyards, this little slice of heaven is worth the splurge. Don’t forget to drop into Maggie Beer’s farm and take home some goodies!
Get vacation ready: Pulse Power
To get cycle-ready, focus on building core strength with some leg exercises. Book into Pulse Power’s Power Tone class to improve your overall tone, posture, circulation and coordination. The Power Plate used in the classes vibrates as you perform your workout routine, activating multiple muscle groups to burn fat, tone, strengthen and stretch.
Starting destination: Melbourne
There is nothing like Australia’s Great Ocean Walk. Located on the Great Ocean Road region between Apollo Bay and the iconic Twelve Apostles, it hugs the coastline for more than 100 kilometres. Create your own unique experience and discover nature as you walk beneath tall trees, across rock seashore platforms, along deserted beaches and soak in breathtaking clifftop vistas.
There are various accommodation options from camping, lodges, seaside cottages and self-contained holiday houses. Also drop into the Apollo Bay Bakery on the Great Ocean Road for their famous scallop pie.
Get vacation ready: Barre Body
This is a long walk—a very long walk! Strengthening up the legs will be very important to keep going on this adventure. Get walk-fit with a mix of cardio and strength training. Try a Barre Fit class at Barre Body, where you’ll use big, dynamic movements and constant cardio, combined with body-sculpting barre exercises. You’ll move quickly to maintain a fast heart rate and use resistance bands to find and work muscles like never before.
Don’t forget to stretch out the hamstrings, thighs, and calves and ankles during stops on the walk, and take comfy shoes!
Starting destination: Brisbane
Travel north to Noosa and experience its expansive beaches, hike across the National Park’s cliffs and forests, or canoe through the river. Noosa really has something to offer anyone and everyone. Even though it’s winter and the temperatures are slightly cooler, the weather is still warm enough to swim.
Nestle yourself amongst the rainforest in the National Park for a cosy winter escape or pick a beachfront room overlooking the water. You can eat well, too! Dining out in Noosa is a gastronomic delight so try out Bistro C, Season, Sails, Wasabi and Rickys—some of the newer ones in town. Don’t forget to get in some Hastings Street shopping and treat yourself by dropping into one of the day spas.
If you happen to take your break at the end of July, sign up for the Sunshine Coastrek. There is a 30 kilometre and 60 kilometre challenge that will allow you to explore the Sunshine Coast’s beaches, bays, bush trails and headlands.
Get vacation ready: 12 Round Fitness
Before traveling north to the warmer side, visit 12 Round Fitness and try a 12 Round Workout to get the ultimate ‘total-body’ workout. The high-intensity group workouts are built around functional strength, conditioning and sports-based cardio activities. What’s even cooler is there are no set class times; a new round starts every three minutes!