One of the best times to explore Australia and all it has to offer is during the Christmas break. The Australian sun is warm and shining, the ocean fresh and inviting, locals are relaxed and excited for the holiday break, and Christmas decorations adorn cities and country towns alike. Most Australians are Christmas lovers regardless of religious beliefs, so the holiday spirit fills the air.
Going away during the Christmas break is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the year’s end and reward yourself for all your hard work studying – so here is your guide to the best holiday destinations in Australia over the Christmas break.
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney is Australia’s biggest city and is always hustling and bustling! The city sprawls over a geographically large area, so there are lots of pockets to visit each offering different delights. Run to the East Coast for picturesque beaches, spend time window shopping in the towering CBD or kick back with friends on King Street, Newtown. On Boxing Day, shopaholics can delight in sales — but beware of the queues!
Melbourne is a grungy hub of trendiness, which is why it attracts student tourists year-round. Australia’s second-largest city is home to innovative and famed eateries, such as Lune croissanterie, as well as shopping arcades and markets. During Christmastime, you can explore many Christmas markets and festivals in the CBD and surrounding suburbs.
Adelaide, South Australia
Although less busy than Sydney or Melbourne, Adelaide is quickly growing in popularity as a city destination — it offers similar shopping and natural experiences as other big cities without the high cost of living or traffic problems. Tourists flock to Rundle Mall, as well as Adelaide Showground – which undergoes a Christmastime transformation to become Santa’s Wonderland – Adelaide Central Market, and more. The Ninth Avenue Christmas light festival is a secret gem in the suburb of St Peters.
Rottnest Island, Western Australia
Rottnest Island is a slice of paradise. Encircled by beaches and bays, you can wind right down by dipping your toes into frothy water or sunbathing on sandy shores. Animal lovers will be pleased that Rottnest Island is home to Australia’s happiest animal — the quokka — and patient tourists may be able to score a selfie with the furry creatures.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Also known as ‘nature’s playground’, Kangaroo Island boasts an idyllic natural landscape, home to many animals. You can visit a sea lion colony at the Seal Bay Conservation Park, or spot a penguin population at Penneshaw. Below the sea, you can snorkel with pods of wild dolphins and colourful schools of fish. The Island is also known for its food and wine, for those who wish to relax on land with a glass in hand.
Bay of Fires, Tasmania
This picturesque location is named for the lichen-covered granite rocks that frame the shores. These fiery orange rocks meet the turquoise sea at the Bay’s stunning coastline, perfect for moments of relaxation or adventure. Make sure to also sip on and savour the region’s famous wines.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
The Sunshine Coast, with its warm weather and beautiful beaches, is perfect for a Christmas holiday. Enjoy outdoor activities, fresh seafood, and festive markets. Stay in Noosa for chic beach vibes, Maroochydore for urban flair, Mooloolaba for vibrant beach life, or Montville and Maleny for a scenic, tropical retreat, each offering a unique experience of the area’s charm.
Byron Bay, New South Wales
A buzzing coastal town at the border between New South Wales and Queensland, Byron Bay is popular with tourists from all over the world for its unique culture and sun-kissed shores. Visitors are fond of the famed Cape Byron Lighthouse and the bustling nightlife after a long day of soaking up the sun.
Shark Bay, Western Australia
With a beach spanning over 1,000 kilometres, tourists can never get sick of Shark Bay’s shores. You can watch dolphin feeding, snorkel in the Little Lagoon and spot sharks and turtles gliding through the water from the Eagle Bluff lookout. A unique experience is found at Shell Beach, where the sand is entirely composed of tiny cockle shells.
Coorong National Park, South Australia
Just an hour from Adelaide, this national park has camping spots on the beach, which is perfect for sweltering summer nights. The beautiful beach views will captivate you during the day, and at night you can marvel at the star-studded sky due to lower levels of light pollution.
Ellery Creek Big Hole Camping, Northern Territory
Here, campers congregate around a large waterhole, sleeping near its cooling draughts. Branching off from the Big Hole are hiking trails that adventurous campers can explore during the day. You can also swim or kayak in the gorge to cool down from the Northern Territory’s feverish temperatures.
Mount Wilson, New South Wales
If you want to escape the summer heat, travelling to the chillier Blue Mountains is a great idea. This camping site is very large and free to use without booking. With close proximity to high-intensity rainforest walks, your day can easily fly by in the mountains.