If you're desperate for some sunshine, top it up this winter with a visit to the southern hemisphere where sunshine is pretty much guaranteed. Here's a selection of our favorite countries in the southern hemisphere that are particularly good to visit at this time of year - the perfect winter escape.
Green Island, Great Barrier Reef
Australia offers a wealth of travel options at any time of year, whether you're visiting to enjoy the delicious food and wine, explore the vastness of the Outback and the Maori culture or simply relax on one of the neverending white sand beaches. City breaks can be combined with visiting rainforests, wildlife sanctuaries, islands or coral reefs.
There are many islands to choose from when considering a vacation in the Maldives. Huvafen Fushi has an excellent spa with two sub-aquatic treatment rooms providing an underwater spa experience. If you love diving and snorkelling, Baros is situated close to a reef where a myriad of sealife can be seen, including sharks, rays and turtles. If you're more of a foodie Velassaru Island has five restaurants with cuisine from all around the world.
Famous for its wines, mythical landscapes and outdoor activities, New Zealand can be combined with a trip to Australia or the South Pacific. Ideal for tramping or walking, there are plenty of national parks and coastline to explore. Take a balloon ride over the southern alps, go in search of whales and dolphins in Kaikoura, or try the many delicious wines of the Marlborough and Napier regions.
There's so much to see in South Africa and the temperatures are lovely and hot in January - March, but not unbearable. Take a game drive in Kruger National Park in search of leopard, black rhino, lion, elephant and buffalo, enjoy some wine tasting in the winelands of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, take in the scenery along the Garden Route or explore cosmopolitan Cape Town and the iconic Table Mountain.
Brazil is an ideal destination for bringing in the New Year. Parties are held on Copacabana beach in Rio and fireworks set off, the weather also stays at a steamy 30 degrees plus. If you're planning a trip around February time you'll also get to see the famous carnival. Watch highly decorated floats pass by at the biggest show on earth and join in with the locals as they dance the night away.
Home to the Serengeti Plains, a vacation to Tanzania almost guarantees a sighting of one of the big five. If you tire of searching for lions and rhino on game drives, relax on some of Tanzania's beautiful islands including the spice island of Zanzibar with its superb snorkelling, turquoise waters and white sand beaches.