LOOKING for some last-minute winter getaway inspiration to escape the dropping temperatures? Here are five red-hot destinations to warm your body – and soul!
- Alice Springs Beanie Festival, June 29-July 2: Join thousands of beanie enthusiasts from around the world as they descended on the Red Centre for this annual festival. Now in its 22nd year, the event will sell more than 7000 beanies donated by a loyal group of volunteer beanie-makers. The proceeds go back to the Indigenous artists and their remote communities.
GETTING THERE: Qantas and Virgin fly into Alice Springs, or travel on an overland rail adventure on the Ghan from Adelaide or Darwin. Greyhound Australia also services the town. www.beaniefest.org
- Camel Cup, Alice Springs, July 14. The quirky annual Apex Camel Cup attracts visitors from all over the world. Join the locals and watch these ships of the desert race around the dusty track – with plenty of entertainment off the track too, from bellydancers and rickshaw races to rides.
- Gold Coast Marathon, June 30- July 1. The Commonwealth Games may be done and dusted, but the region will still be abuzz with all things sporty for this event. Cheer on the runners and soak up the festival atmosphere. If you fancy pounding the pavement, but a marathon isn’t your goal, there’s still time to enter the all-ages Gold Coast Airport Fun Run (5.7km) or the Southern Cross University (10km); entries close the end of June.
GETTING THERE: Fly direct to Gold Coast Airport from Adelaide, Cairns, Canberra, Perth, Melbourne, Townsville (via Rockhampton), Newcastle, Avalon and Sydney.
- WA wildflowers, June. The wildflower collection in Western Australia is the largest on Earth. The six-month flowering season kicks off in the north in June and July on the vast outback plains of the Pilbara, Goldfields and Coral Coast. With more than 12,000 species, over 60 per cent of which are found nowhere else, they colour the landscapes from coast to forest and city to outback.
GETTING THERE: Regular flights to Perth operate from all major Australian cities, or fly direct to Broome, the gateway to the Kimberley region, from Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne or Sydney.
- Whale watching in Queensland, July. Humpback whale watching season starts in earnest in July when these marine giants undertake their 10,000km annual migration from Antarctica to have a babymoon holiday along the Queensland coast. Some of the best places to go are the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef and Tropical North Queensland.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Whitsunday Coast Airport from Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, and to Cairns from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin, plus major regional centres.