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Travel in winter?

Brussels, Belgium
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Travel in winter?


We are looking into the possibility to travel to South-Australia this year from Belgium. However, we are bound to the period between July 7th and August 5th. We realize it is winter time in Australia then and we wonder if this would be an appropriate to travel down under? The reason we would like to go to South Australia is because we have friends in Melbourne we would like to visit. We absolutely do not mind having to put on warmer clothes to travel around and this would not be a summer/beach vacation for us. But it should be doable during this period, otherwise we would have to look for another destination in the world. However, we really have our harts set on Australia.

This would be the preliminary itinerary we have in mind:

- Fly from Brussels to Sydney

- Drive from Sydney to Melbourne along the coast

- Stay in Melbourne a couple of days with friends

- Drive from Melbourne to Adelaide (visit some vineyards)

- Probably discover area around Melbourne with 4x4

- Fly back from Adelaide to Brussels

We really would appreciate your honest opinions on the following questions:

- Is it really sensible to visit this area during the period as described above, tanking into account we really are not looking for a summer/beach holiday? We absolutely do not mind having to dress warmer, but it should be doable during this time of year.

- Is there enough to see and do during this period?

- Is it possible to visit the vineyards during this time of year to do some tastings?

- Should you have any other remarks, they would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot for your feedback.

Canberra, Australia
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1. Re: Travel in winter?

You will have a fantastic time - irrespective of the weather. A road trip along the coast from Sydney to Adelaide is a wonderful journey, with so many good places to go - Gerringong, Batemans Bay, Bermagui, Eden, Malacoota, Metung, Wilsons Prom, Phillip Island, Dandenongs, Mornington Peninsula (wineries here), Yarra Valley (wineries here), Great Ocean Road, Kangaroo Island, Clare Valley (wineries here), Barrossa Valley (wineries here). Even though it is winter, it is beautiful, often sunny, and good fun and there are plenty of things to do.

During this period there is Australian school holidays, but at this time of year you shouldn't have too much problem with crowds. You might want to consider booking lodge accomodation in the national part at Wilsons Prom if you want to go there, but I expect most other places you could follow your nose and organise where to stay as you go.

I am a strong personal believer in using a travel guide (I use lonely planet a lot, but I have also used others) - it can help you find all the fun hidden places on a road trip like this - for which you have a truly awesome amount of time.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
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2. Re: Travel in winter?

It will be very similar to a poor Belgian summer so weather should not really have a huge impact. I actually like th southern coast during winter because you get wonderful storm surges to sit and sip a coffee and watch. Nothing much closes for the season.

Not really sure a 4x4 would be worth the dollars as most hire ones are not allowed off road.

Vineyards should be ok...just check which ones on what day...msny are cloud mondays

School hold will have minimal impact as most either go snow inland or head to the far north

Newcastle, Australia
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3. Re: Travel in winter?

I love Melbourne in winter. I travel there every year from Sydney to go shopping. The galleries and museums are the best in Australia so is the food.

I agree with the above comment about a lonely planet guide. There is so much to see in the itinery you talked about, you would not want to miss it.

I reccomend a trip to Philip Island to see the penguins. Also the Barossa Valley is lovely! My partner has just returned with lots of faboulous wine.

Brussels, Belgium
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4. Re: Travel in winter?

Thanks all for your replies. You are not making it easy for us ;-)

We really love Australia and have been there twice already (east coast and red center / west coast), so the south is not yet known to us. We really have no doubts about the locations, we are excited about that. The only doubt we have is about the period (Aussie winter). As said, we are really not looking for a summer/beach vacation.

But from the above reactions, it seems that our fear for the winter period is really not necessary. We only need some reassurance from you all :-)

Adelaide, Australia
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5. Re: Travel in winter?

Adelaide weather is on a par with Mediterrean winter weather, and temperatures during the winter days are usually mild.

You can check weather www.bom.gov.au


In Winter in South Australia seafood is in abundance, and you can enjoy Stellar Artois beer and a bowl of fresh cooked Mussels

Edited: 02 January 2012, 13:29
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6. Re: Travel in winter?

We had the same concerns when we visited in August, we were very lucky we had a wonderful 4 weeks of sunshine.It felt like a decent uk summer day, we did get a few funny looks in Sydney wearing cropped trousers & light sweatshirt when locals were dressed in full winter clothing. We did'nt go any futher south than Sydney,but spent many a day sat outside at the beach or at a cafeor walking in the beautiful outdoors. We might have been lucky but it wouldn't stop me travelling to australia in july or august again.

7. Re: Travel in winter?

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Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Travel in winter?

Your itinerary and the timing sound fine. Winter weather is southern Australia is just not that cold compared to Europe. In Melbourne the temperature never goes below zero (well maybe very very occasionally) and to find snow or really cold conditions you have to go up into the mountains (which might be a fun side trip for you as it will be quite different from the European ski fields). Especially around the coast, winter temperatures will be mild and you may well get plenty of crisp clear sunny days. Don't discount the beach either. It'll be too cold to swim but a windswept south coast beach in winter is a beautiful place for a walk.

Wineries will be open and a glass of Australian Shiraz in front of an open fire in the Yarra Valley, Barossa or any of the many other wine regions you can choose from is a great winter experience (Check out rutherglen and the king valley for some great winter wines in Victoria).

Sounds like a great trip.


Destination Expert
for Victoria
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9. Re: Travel in winter?

Having been in Bruges two years ago in January it is a very, very different winter experience. I actually really enjoy winter travelling as it is great for walking and not as many people. Your winter is soooo much colder and icy but we still found it easy to travel around. Our trip to Flanders Fields was bone chilling cold but a great experience nonetheless.

Our winter is nothing like that, you will find overnight average temps from around 4C and day temps average around 14C. The wind can be cold but apart from that, you should be fine. Winter is pretty good with rain as well, we don't tend to get too many rainy days.

If you are sports lovers at all, you will also have the bonus of going to an AFL, Australian Rules football game. Our footy is very popular with overseas visitors...even my Irish cousin who has never been to a game of any football loved the match and atmosphere.

Also unlike Bruges where many places close in your winter, everything stays open here....doubt you would find any business closed.

Brussels, Belgium
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10. Re: Travel in winter?

Thanks again. It now seems we have nothing to worry about! On the contrary, less crowded, beautiful winter beaches, enjoy a glass of wine in front of open fire, .... and our friends in Melbourne already really excited about the idea we might be coming over!

We will be looking further in our options, but strangely enough being wintertime in july/august, the flights are really expensive. We are thinking about flying into Sydney and flying out again from Adelaide. I already tried Sydney/Sydney, but prices seem roughly the same. (about 1500-1600 euro's per person).

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