From the snowy southern alps to the temperate northern plains, New South Wales is a delight to travel through in winter.
The Snowy Mountains
Kosciuszko National Park, in the Snowy Mountains, is a popular winter destination for good reason: there’s nothing quite like cross-country skiing on the spectacular high plains, gliding over blankets of crunchy white snow and passing graceful snow gums set against clear blue skies. Head up to the popular snow destinations of Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass to hit the slopes. Cooma, the largest town in the Snowy Mountains region is a perfect place to make your base camp and has rich heritage to explore.
Surrounded by the mountains to the east and the outback central interior to the north-west, the Riverina has plenty for you to explore. Often referred to as the food bowl of Australia, you’ll be spoilt for choice for places to satiate your winter appetite. In June, enjoy sweet, juicy navel oranges. Nature has plenty on show in the Riverina: head up to The Rock, a striking geological formation standing 364 metres above the township below. On an early winter’s morning, you’ll see crystal white frost stretched across the plains, or on a foggy morning, watch as the white blanket lifts up from the lowlands.
If you’re after a slow, chilled-out winter weekend, the Southern Highlands is a magical place to spend some time unwinding, only 90 minutes from Sydney. Wander through the farmers’ markets, sink your teeth into a crisp, hot pie from one of the area’s award-winning pie-makers, explore local art galleries in the charming towns of Mittagong, Bowral and Bandanoon, or head to the wineries to savour exquisite cool-climate wines. Explore Morton National Park, a must-visit for bushwalking, sight-seeing and lookouts. Its crowning jewel is the spectacular Fitzroy Falls, which plummets more than 80 metres.
For a unique New South Wales winter experience, journey north to Walgett, an outback town situated near the junction of the Namoi and Barwon Rivers. This winter gem is also the gateway to real gems – the famous opal fields at Lightning Ridge lie an hour’s drive to the north, where you can experience opal mining in action. For those crisp outback mornings, there’s a unique way for you to warm up in Walgett: take a relaxing dip in the free bore baths, where warm water rises from the Great Artesian Basin at a delightful 41.5 degrees.
The Tweed Area
From mild, lush green valleys to stunning coastal beaches, Tweed is an ideal area to visit in winter. Situated partly in a crater of an extinct volcano, the region’s rich volcanic soils and abundant rainfall nourish the semitropical rainforests and patchwork of farms, plantations and market gardens. If you drive through the valley, you’re sure to come across an honesty box selling fresh fruits and vegetables. As you travel, witness the dramatic peak of Wollumbin Mount Warning, standing at 1157 metres above sea level in the nearby World Heritage–listed Wollumbin National Park. With its serene, majestic scenery, it’s easy to see why this part of Australia attracts creatives.