From the mild Australian winters in Byron Bay to the awe-inspiring fall colours of Bar Harbor in the US; there’s a perfect city or region to visit no matter what time of year it is.
Summer is in full swing in Australia’s glittering Harbour City at this time of the year. Think lazy days by the beach at Bondi, catching ferries across the sparkling turquoise harbour, enjoying a cold acai bowl in uber cool Manly, soaking up vitamin D at the Botanic Gardens, sipping on signature cocktails from Opera Bar, plus a jam-packed summer social calendar with plenty of events to keep you busy. And if you feel a need for a retreat from the heat, head into the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Museum of Contemporary Art at Circular Quay, take a tour of the Opera House, or wander the leafy streets of Surry Hills – with a gelato in hand, of course!
Perfect for: A summer beach holiday with all the cosmopolitan trimmings.
Handy hints: Don’t forget your water bottle and sunscreen; the Sydney summer sun has bite, and you don’t want to get sunburnt or dehydrated. Stay hydrated and sun-smart, and you’ll be rewarded with endless sunny days on the vast number of beaches that surround Sydney.
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Wellington, New Zealand
The summertime crowds of December and January have disappeared but the weather is still pleasantly warm in New Zealand’s capital city come February. The blistering winds of the winter are a long way off still, and the days are sunny, enticing you to explore the great outdoors that sits on the doorstep of Wellington. Find hidden gems of the city through a walking tour, or admire the city from above with a walk up Mt Victoria;, where you’ll be treated to 360-degree views of the city and surrounding waters.
The end of summer (and beginning of Autumn, too) is also the perfect time to hit up New Zealand’s wine trails, and there are plenty of wineries and tasting cellars in the greater Wellington region. If you time your trip right, you may also find yourself immersed in the New Zealand International Art Festival (21 February -15 March).
Perfect for: Those who love the outdoors, warm days and a glass of good wine in equal measures.
Handy hints: While you’re in Wellington, why not traverse Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South Island on the InterIsland ferry. It’s one of New Zealand’s most iconic ferry rides and runs daily between Wellington and Picton.
New Orleans, USA
March is undeniably the most exciting time to visit New Orleans as the city catapults head-first into Mardi Gras celebrations. Music, dancing, larger-than-life festivities and general merrymaking are all on the itinerary, so remember to pack your dancing shoes. While you’re there, don’t forget to indulge in some famous Creole cuisine and enjoy the exemplary Southern hospitality New Orleans is known for.
Perfect for: Party-lovers who embrace the buzzing energy of a city in the midst of celebration.
Handy hint: The festivities means it gets busy and accommodation needs to be booked well in advance, so if crowds are not your thing, consider visiting New Orleans in February or April when the weather is still pleasant but the crowds have dispersed.
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The spring break crowd have generally left Miami by now, and it’s the last month to enjoy hot sunny days on the beach with cooling ocean breezes before the steamy wet season kicks in for the summer months. There’s a jam-packed events calendar too, including the Miami International Jazz Festival (26 -28 April), Miami-Dade County Fair (15 March-8 April) and even the Miami International Agriculture Cattle and Horse Show (13-15 April), the latter attracting more than 50,000 people through its gates each year.
Perfect for: Beach lovers, outdoorsy folk and sun chasers.
Handy hints: This is the best time of year to enjoy Miami’s sunny beaches, without the tropical downpours and unbearable humidity of the summertime, or the hordes of crowds escaping the cold during the winter months.
Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands, Scotland
Aye, welcome to the Scottish Highlands, home to jaw-dropping beauty, craggy landscapes, wild coastlines, romantic castles and one of the most infamous mythical creatures in the world, the Loch Ness Monster (though some swear black and blue of ‘Nessie’s’ existence!). May brings beautiful spring sunshine without the pesky midges that are usually found swarming in the summer months. Bluebells turn the countryside into a carpet of hazy purple and dolphins play around the nearby Moray coast. Gorgeous!
Perfect for: A holiday that combines stunning scenery with a touch of magic in the air that will make you feel like you’re walking through the pages of a fairytale.
Handy hints: The closest main hub for Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands is the town of Inverness, about four hours from Edinburgh.
Yosemite National Park, USA
What’s a more quintessential American summer vacation than exploring California’s majestic Yosemite National Park? Visiting in June means endless sunshine and little-to-no rain, and the waterfalls are still cascading beautifully from the melted snow right before they run dry by the end of August. Clear skies are perfect for stargazing, and there are plenty of wildflowers blooming; keep an eye out for Mariposa lilies and flowering dogwood, which are at their best in June.
Perfect for: The all-American summer vacay. Hiking, walking, waterfalls, nature, sunshine… it’s got it all!
Handy hints: California is no stranger to wildfires during the summer months, so always check the weather conditions before you head out, in case there are fire warnings.
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Byron Bay, Australia
Australia might be in the midst of winter, but that’s a good thing in Byron Bay on the country’s east coast, where winter means mild weather and endless blue skies. The wetter months have passed by now (March-May) and the tourist hordes of the summer are nowhere to be seen, so July is the perfect time to visit this beautiful coastal town. Walk up the Cape Byron Lighthouse and try to spot pods of dolphins, turtles, seals, or even breaching humpback whales from the most easterly point of Australia; stroll along the famous Wategos beach; go for a bush walk in the nearby national parks; make the most of the clear skies with a night of stargazing, and enjoy healthy, fresh produce in the many cafés and restaurants tempting you with seasonal menus. Who said winter had to be miserable?!
Perfect for: Outdoor- and nature-lovers who enjoy sunny days without the blistering heat of a Byron Bay summer.
Handy hints: Music festival Splendour in the Grass takes place at the end of July, and as a result the town sees an influx of visitors for that weekend.
There’s nothing quite like a summer on the Emerald Isle, especially in August. Daylight stretches on past 9pm, temperatures are warm (for Ireland, anyway!), and the perpetual Irish rain eases off a wee bit (although don’t leave your umbrella at home, this is Ireland after all). Irish heather is in full bloom, so expect to see vivid purple hues illustrating the green paddocks. Festivals, music gigs and art shows fill the streets this time of year in Dublin too, so whether you like exploring the outdoors, or the interior of a pub, Dublin has something to please you in August.
Perfect for: A magical summer of frolicking through lush green countryside or exploring quaint Irish pubs, all while enjoying mild temperatures.
Handy hints: August is the sunniest, but also one of the busiest months to visit Dublin. If you’re willing to trade sunshine, colder weather and more rain for less crowds, consider visiting in September or October.
Rotorua, New Zealand
As New Zealand emerges from winter, Rotorua on the North Island embraces the change in seasons. The city has a plethora of entertainment options, from museums to theatres and restaurants, and those who wish to visit for the city’s main attractions – thermal geysers that spurt hot steam into the air, bubbling mud pools and other geothermal wonders – you’ll be battling far less crowds than if you visited in the summer.
Perfect for: Anyone who enjoys marvelling at the wonders of Mother Nature.
Handy hints: While the winter months have passed, Rotorua is known to still experience a few wintry blasts during September, so don’t forget to bring warm clothes.
Bar Harbor, USA
New England in October is practically synonymous with spectacular fall colours, so prepare to be dazzled with incredible hues of scarlet, orange, purple, gold and bronze in Maine’s Bar Harbor. Of course, the town is not restricted to just viewing pretty leaves; Acadia National Park is close by, offering visitors plenty of walking trails, and even whale watching.
Perfect for: Fall foliage connoisseurs and leaf peepers who want to see the best of the best in autumnal beauty.
Handy hint: Fog and rainy days are not uncommon in October in Maine, so make sure you pack your raincoat and umbrella so you can keep exploring all the fall colours even if it’s drizzling.
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The month of November is when Melbourne has well and truly stirred from its winter hibernation – gone are the drizzly grey days, gloomy skies and the early September winds. The weather has warmed up, and so have people’s moods; the city is buzzing with a fresh new spring energy, like a flower embracing the sun after a long time underground. November also brings Spring Fashion Week and the Melbourne Cup – the ‘race that stops a nation’, so expect to see plenty of hair fascinators. Admire spring blooms at the Botanic Gardens, shop ‘til you drop at the South Melbourne and Queen Victoria Markets, or pull up a seat in the quirky enclave of Degraves Street and enjoy people-watching with a strong latté.
Perfect for: Art-, culture- and coffee-lovers who enjoy a warm spring breeze.
Handy hints: While you’ll need to purchase a Myki Card to use Melbourne’s public transport system, all tram travel that’s within the ‘free tram zone’ will cost you absolutely nothing, as long as you only travel within that zone.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially if you visit London in December! A winter wonderland indeed, with twinkling Christmas lights sparkling everywhere, carollers spreading cheer through music, mulled wine warming everyone’s spirits, sparkling Christmas markets, and if you’re lucky, a sprinkling of snow. December is undoubtedly the most magical time to visit England’s capital city and soak up the festive cheer.
Perfect for: Anybody who really, really loves Christmas.
Handy hints: While certainly magical, London is also at its busiest in the lead up to Christmas, so ensure you book your accommodation, flights and airport transfers in advance so you don’t miss out!