The winter break is finally here, and it’s a great chance to relax and enjoy your time away from university. And, if you’re not travelling during the mid-year break, it’s also the perfect opportunity to explore your adopted city. Here are ten things you can do in your city over the winter break.
1. Visit a museum or art gallery
Spending the day inside browsing art galleries or museums is a great way to escape the cold. Australia has plenty of amazing museums and galleries, with most capital cities offering multiple options to choose from. You can visit the big, state-run institutions for major exhibitions, or head to smaller, independent galleries for something a bit different. Plus, many major galleries and museums – including ACMI in Melbourne and the Art Gallery of NSW – hold special nights throughout winter where you can check out the exhibitions after hours.
2. Stop by a café
If you need a change of indoor scenery, why not head to your city’s café strip? Australia has plenty of beautiful cafes in incredible locations, and there’s nothing like grabbing a cup of coffee or tea to warm you up in winter. If main-street cafes aren’t your thing, keep an eye out for smaller secret cafes and laneways, like Degraves Street in Melbourne, or Wolf Lane in Perth.
3. Take a walk along the waterways
Major Australian cities are built around waterways. While it’s nice to splash around in the summer, don’t let the cold weather drag down your adventurous spirit. Taking a brisk walk along the beach is a great way to wake up in the morning, and visiting a nearby river or lake makes for a nice way to relax.
4. Wander around a national park
Australia is home to beautiful national parks, and winter is the best time to explore them. In summer you risk coming across a snake or two, but in winter you can relax and explore the wild bushland. Most capital cities have small national parks that are a reasonable drive from the city centre, where you can have a picnic or learn about Australia’s flora and fauna.
5. Swing by the winter festivals
Although you may miss out on real snow this winter, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of winter activities. Most cities throw winter festivals over the colder months, transforming city squares into ice-skating rinks, placing ice sculptures on display, and bringing (fake) snow for snowball fights. You’ll often find delicious winter treats like hot chocolate and mulled wine at these festivals, too.
6. Browse a market
Visiting a winter market is a great way to pass the weekend. Check out the fresh produce section for fruits and vegetables, grab some warm food, or shop for comfy cold-weather clothes. If you’d prefer to stay out of the cold and keep warm, you can even browse the stalls at Australia’s incredible indoor markets.
7. Enjoy the winter sports
Sport never stops in Australia, and despite the cool weather, you can still watch and participate in plenty of sporting activities. Football, soccer, hockey, and rugby are popular winter sports; you’ll catch fans heading out even on the rainiest of days to watch their favourite team play.
8. Visit a zoo or aquarium
If you want to see and interact with Australia’s unique animals without heading into the bush, travel to your local zoo or aquarium. You can even pet a koala or feed a kangaroo at some of Australia’s wildlife parks.
9. Go on a heritage tour
A great way to explore your city is to take a heritage tour. Australia has many buildings and landscapes connected to its rich history – and what better way to get to know your city than by exploring its past? Many cities have guided walking tours available, but some also have self-guided tours that you can access through apps.
10. Take a day trip
Even if you’re not travelling over the mid-year break, you can still go on an adventure close to your city. Taking a day trip is a great way to explore new territories and still be home in time for dinner. Visit the penguins at Philip Island in Victoria, take photos with the quokkas at Rottnest in Western Australia, or see some beautiful waterfalls just outside of Darwin.