If you missed out on travelling to Europe this year but are dreaming of a warmer destination this winter, enter Tropical North Queensland – a place right on your doorstep where your typical idea of winter doesn’t really exist.
Maximum temperatures remain mostly in the mid-twenties, with many brilliant sunny days perfect for exploring the region from the coast and seas to remote areas.
Soak in Talaroo Hot Springs
Talaroo’s hot springs and mounded travertine terraces are unique to Australia and have developed over millions of years. In the cooler pool and outflow streams, the waters have long been prized by the Indigenous Ewamian people as healing waters for the body and spirit. Now visitors can enjoy a relaxing soak in the geothermal mineral waters in one of Talaroo’s private soaking pools. Sessions last 40 minutes, and each pool can accommodate up to four people.
Road trip the Savannah Way
Discover what lies between the beach and the bush, under bright blue skies, buckling up for a road trip along the iconic Savannah Way. This famous route, which runs for 3700km (if you’re doing the drive in its entirety), is best explored in winter – with lower rainfall to ensure safe driving conditions all the way from Cairns to Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park. The journey is all part of this adventure, which is best defined by pitstops including Undara Volcanic National Park (one of the world’s longest lava tubes) and Cobbold Gorge (a 10,000 year old gorge).
View an example road trip itinerary starting from Cairns here.
Fringed by world-famous mountain ranges and UNESCO-protected rainforest, you better believe Cairns’ backyard involves waterfall chasing. Adventurers relish in the fact cooler temperatures relieve some of the longer hikes required to find falls like Nandroya Falls or Behana Gorge.
Dive into the reef
Open every day of the year, the Great Barrier Reef is perfectly seasoned all year round. Even on the coldest days of the year, you can expect the same spectacular swimming conditions, with the water temperatures a comfortable 24 degrees. With sunny, still conditions, and a weather forecast reading a low chance of rain, prepare for a case of winter blues the region is so famous for.
Suggested reef experiences:
- Reef Magic – snorkellers and divers are exploring the Great Barrier Reef from the Reef Magic pontoon, which uses the wind and sun for power and has a dedicated laboratory for marine scientists.
- Passions of Paradise – Passions has expanded its Marine Biologist for a Day program to offer an option for snorkellers to participate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Eye on the Reef Rapid Monitoring, while divers can observe the crew working in the underwater coral nursery.
- Frankland Islands Reef Cruises – offers adventure snorkel safaris where guests are taken by boat to discover coral gardens, giant clams and an abundance of colourful fish.
- Sailaway Port Douglas Sunset Sail – relax and unwind as you set sail around the coast of Port Douglas, watching the sun fade behind the mountains of the Daintree Rainforest.
Take a hike
Get your daily steps up with a walk through the famous foliage of Tropical North Queensland. With 450km of World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics rainforest running right through the region, hiking opportunities come aplenty. Use the cooler weather to your advantage to tackle some of the longer, more challenging climbs like Mount Bartle Frere and Walsh’s Pyramid, which can be a little more humid than heavenly in the summer months.
You’ll be spoilt for choice, as there is a plethora of incredible hikes easily accessible near Cairns to conquer.
Go island hopping
Spend winter the Tropical North Queensland way, marooning yourself on a tropical island. Off the coastline you’ll find miles of isles to base your adventure – from the uber luxe such as Bedarra and Lizard Island – to family friendly escapes such as Green Island or Fitzroy Island – and that’s just the tip of the island iceberg.
Are you looking for a winter getaway? Have you visited Far North Queensland? Let us know in the comments section below.