Jan Etherington found the greetings of “Happy Christmas” a surreal experience. You would too if you are celebrating Christmas for the first time in Sydney – open barbi, big open fire, Bondi Beach, etc. – and you are used to having a frosty Yuletide. For her, spending Christmas in Sydney is still is a unique experience, yet it is still with the family – her son and her son’s family.
If you are one of those new breed of merrymakers who find Christmas season a great reason to go globetrotting, you can also have the surreal experience of a sunny Christmas Down Under. Finding the right place to go will not be a problem. The problem would be deciding which unique place and experience would you prefer or rather have, having so many options.
Home Away shares a short list of wonderful destinations in the sunny Australia during the Yuletide in the blog Top 5 Christmas Holiday Destinations. The list is intended for both the Australian merrymakers looking for a fun, Christmassy destination in their own backyard as well as for international tourists. Home Away recommends the following:
- The Whitsundays:
“For the ultimate luxury getaway, head to The Whitsundays. Those dreaming of a white Christmas won’t find snow here, but they will find some of the purest, brightest sand seen anywhere in the world.”
This tropical paradise has 74 islands to explore. The coast of Queensland is right in the midst of the Great Barrier Reef and one of the world’s best beaches – the Whitehaven Beach – is right here for you to enjoy this “summer” in Australia.
2. Kangaroo Island:
“Kangaroo Island is a great destination for anyone who wants to feel a world away from home without leaving Australian soil. The island boasts 509 kilometres of coastline, plus bushland and wildlife to explore when you feel like a break from the beach.”
The island is home to some of Australia’s best gourmet delights that gastronomic adventurers would love to experience. The Kangaroo Island Farm Gate and Cellar Door Trail introduces you to a sensational array of varietal wines. Christmas lunch can be unforgettable if you’ll have it in King George Whiting with a fare consisting mainly of “fresh seafood such as prawns, oysters, snapper, whiting and freshwater marron” to be washed
3. Coffs Harbor :
“Families will love a Christmas in Coffs Harbour, with a beachy, relaxed area that welcomes visitors with open arms. Make the most of the sunny Christmas weather and head to the Solitary Islands Marine Park for uncrowded beach time and plenty of nature to explore.”
A holiday at Coffs Harbor can be very relaxing. The attractions include the hidden Botanic Gardens an authentic treasure trove of natural lures – the sensory garden, the glasshouses, koalas, rainforests, etc. For a more active holiday, go kayaking, cycling or bush walking to an off-the-beaten-track destination.
“Christmas in Canberra is a family-friendly affair … SIDS & Kids Christmas Lights in the City… The city will be lit up with millions of lights, creating a breathtakingly beautiful Christmas ambiance.”
Canberra is a fabulous destination for wine aficionados with its over 30 boutique cellar doors. Don’t fail to sample the “Toast the season with a Shriaz or Riesling, which the region is known for…” One destination open to public during Christmas day is the National Zoo. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy its attractions – the one-of-a-kind white lions and more.
5. Morning Peninsula
“Known for its golf and favourable weather, Christmas is the perfect time to get out on the green and enjoy 15 of Australia’s best golf clubs, each more beautiful than the last.”
Feeling sophisticated and desiring a taste of the fine life? Then Morning Peninsula is for you.
Aside from golf, you can take a horse for a canter or gallop at Red Hill and Main Ridge, or down the beach “…where the horses frolic in the waves – a truly memorable experience.”
For more lovely and unique destinations and experiences, it can’t get more surreal than the suggestions made by Australian Traveller in the blog 10 Unusual Christmas Holiday. Alison Plummer Martin writes, “Choosing the road less travelled is fine in theory – but it helps if you’ve got something to choose from. So, to fill your summer with places and pastimes that never even occurred to you, here are ten Christmas destinations you might have left off the wish list.”
- “The word is out” about Esperance dubbed as WA’s “secret south.” It is a dream coastline – gorgeous islands and beaches, wildlife, adventure playground on the Esplanade, a Mini Steam Express train, and more.
- Have a laidback Christmas at Lord Howe Island – fishing, swimming, snorkeling, biking, bush walking, golf, cruise and enjoy the local wildlife.
- Have a meaningful Christmas; “leap into action” volunteer and work with Earthwatch in their current endeavor.
- Be “fossil-wised” at Lake Mungo National Park. “home to the longest continuous physical records of Aboriginal life.”
- Live “a beautiful life” in Victoria’s summer playground – the 94-km Bright Rail Trail.
- “Go wild” at the Snowy River National Park in Victoria, which is where you’ll find the Little River – rock climbing, abseiling, camping, etc.
- South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula has all the aquatic attractions that ar drawing tourists “like ducks to water.”
- Beside the seaside is Manly, an upbeat year-round destination for folks who love beaches and water sports, and that includes the Yuletide.
- For young ones and “young once” who love great rides, all you need is “just the ticket” to enjoy the rides: Puffing Billy (Victoria), Pichi Richi Railway (South Australia), Ghan (Adelaide to Darwin) and the Indian Pacific (Sydney to Perth).
- To those vacationers wanting to chill in the ice, the “snow difference” is in Lake Crackenback Resort, a great place for winter skiing.
Now that Christmas is just “around the corner,” so to speak, you might want to make your experience this year depart a bit from the tradition. A surreal Christmas awaits in Australia .