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Table Mountain and Lions Head

Where to go in winter: 4 destinations for sun or snow

Table Mountain and Lions Head
05 Min Read

As daylight hours shrink and nights become colder, pangs for a winter getaway grow stronger. For some, the morning frost stirs up a desire for snow-blanked adventure further afield, while for others, the chilly weather is a sign that it’s time to fly to warmer climes.

Squeeze in a last-minute trip for 2024 or pre-empt your wanderlust and start stoking your plans for next winter. Whether you want to embrace the snowy season or escape it completely, discover our specialists’ best-loved destinations for the cooler months, from white-tipped mountain exploration to feet-up coastal retreats.

Where to go for winter sun

Balmy swims, safaris in the savannah, and sunny vineyard walks — here are our specialists’ favourite ways to soak up the winter rays.

 Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

Kangaroo spotting & wine tasting in Australia

By Australia specialist Sean

If your idea of a winter escape sees you trading snow boots for sandals, then a visit to Australia will fit the bill. Drive along the Great Ocean Road, sip wine in verdant vineyards, travel by train through the red-tinged hills of the Outback, or walk along the rugged coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Of course, Australia is known for its wildlife, with many endemic species that you can only see here. On the aptly named Kangaroo Island, you can go in search of these leaping marsupials as well as have the chance to spot seals lolling around on untamed beaches. Or head to Cradle Mountain in Tasmania to spot the Tasmanian devils, wombats, and wallabies that call this golden heathland home. Just off of Melbourne on Phillip Island you’ll find little blue penguins.

What I love about Australia is that a winter visit can still have a seasonally festive spirit as you wander through Christmas markets in Sydney and ring in New Year’s Eve by watching fireworks light up the night sky above Sydney Harbour.

Get me there: Options abound to explore Australia, whether you opt for a classic self-driving adventure in Tasmania, a journey into Southwest Australia’s beaches, wine, and wildlife, or a 20-day ultimate luxury tour of Australia.

Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island, Australia

Coastal exploration & a Big Five safari in South Africa

By Africa specialist Arista

If you’re looking to swap winter for a second summer, South Africa could be the answer. Predominantly sunny, warm, and dry in the Cape region, I find it’s the best time of year to embrace the outdoors.

While you’re staying in Cape Town, I suggest escaping the city for a day to explore the Cape Peninsula with a private guide. They’ll shape the day entirely around your interests. Perhaps you’ll try surfing, paddleboarding, or kayaking — be sure to look out for African penguins zipping through the water. Or maybe you’ll enjoy a chef-prepared picnic on one of the vast sandy beaches, followed by a cycle through Cape Point Nature Reserve to admire the native fynbos vegetation.

Afterwards, fly up to Kruger National Park for a safari in one of the bordering private reserves. While rain is more possible this far north, you’ll still have a good chance of spotting the Big Five alongside cheetah, wild dog, and an orchestra of birdlife.

Get me there: Our suggested trip combines Cape Town with time on safari in the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, as well as a visit to Victoria Falls in Zambia.

Game drive
White rhino, Kruger National Park

Where to go for snow

If frosty outdoor adventures and cosy evenings in take your fancy, discover our specialists’ top recommendations for a wintry getaway.

Antarctic cruise

Icy expeditions & playful penguins in Antarctica

By polar specialist Tom

Penguins sliding on their bellies into the water, spotted leopard seals lazily sunning themselves on ice floes, fast-flying albatross swooping overhead. A getaway to the eternal winter wonderland of Antarctica gives you a glimpse into the diverse wildlife of this ice-clad continent while you cruise past snow-covered peaks and shape-shifting icebergs.

The ideal time to visit Antarctica is during the northern hemisphere’s winter, when it’s summer down south, which means you’ll have a chance of experiencing some blue-sky days. All the better to view the icy cliff walls of the Lemaire Channel, which sparkle in the sunlight, and listen out for the sound of ice calving and crashing into the water. You’ll soon see why this photogenic strait has earned the moniker ‘Kodak Gap’.

Your expedition ship might nose into the narrow harbour entrance known as Neptune’s Bellows on Deception Island, where you’ll anchor in the sunken caldera of the still-active volcano and land ashore the black-sand beach to hike its rim.

Get me there: You can kayak past immense icebergs, look out for whales from the ship, and land ashore to visit noisy penguin colonies on our suggested 15-day Antarctic Peninsula cruise.

Adelie penguins, Antarctica
Adélie penguins, Antarctica

Wolf spotting & cosy ranch stays in the US Rockies

By USA specialist Alex

You’ll find plenty of world-class ski resorts in the Rockies, but I prefer venturing into the depths of the parks instead. During the chilly months, they transform into snowy playgrounds that abound in adventure — and you don’t have to share the snowscape with many others, either.

You can snowshoe to steam-engulfed geysers, take a toasty-warm snowcoach to admire frozen lakes and waterfalls, or go on a photography safari to capture the snow-draped scenery and wildlife. But perhaps my favourite Rockies pastime is wolf spotting with an experienced tracker. In winter, wolves rule Yellowstone National Park and there’s nothing quite like spotting a pack resting while the gangly adolescent pups gambol in the snow.

To wrap up your time here, I recommend a stay at Lone Mountain Ranch for a luxury winter retreat complete with hot chocolate by the fire and sleigh rides under the stars.

Get me there: Explore the wildlife and snow-blanketed scenery of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks before settling into your luxury log cabin as part of our suggested winter in the Rockies trip.

Grey wolves in Yellowstone National Park, USA
Grey wolves in Yellowstone National Park, USA

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