Beat the summer heat down under

Winter in the middle of the year? Why not?

Skiing in the middle of summer? It's definitely possible — you just need to know where to go. PHOTO: ISTOCK
Skiing in the middle of summer? It's definitely possible — you just need to know where to go. PHOTO: ISTOCK

While it may be summer all year round in Singapore, temperatures become particularly unbearable around the middle of the year. 

What better time is there to take a holiday in Australia? Due to its position in the southern hemisphere, the land down under experiences its autumn and winter seasons at the time most countries are in high summer.

But what’s the best city for your ideal getaway? Here are some recommendations to help you decide. 

For the foodie: Brisbane 

Brisbane rivals even Singapore when it comes to sheer variety of food. PHOTO: ISTOCK

Melbourne may have the coffee of choice, but Brisbane’s food is second to none. From wine bars and beer gardens to marketplace stalls and food trucks, the variety of culinary delights in Brisbane rivals even that of Singapore. 

In fact, Brisbane takes their food scene so seriously that they have a dedicated website, Brisbane Food Trucks, for real-time updates on where food trucks are located across the city. 

And as is fitting for a city that loves its food so much, food festivals abound in the winter months. Got a sweet tooth? You can’t afford to miss the Sweet As Dessert Festival in May, which even promises to provide sweet treats for the lactose and gluten intolerant. Whisky aficionados can also enjoy Whisky Live in June, with a vast array of whiskies and other spirits on offer. 

But the crown jewel of Brisbane’s food festivals is July’s Regional Flavours. Held in the South Bank Parklands, the festival promises two fun-filled days packed with the best food Australia has to offer, along with fine wine, live music performances, and exciting activities for the whole family. 

Regional Flavours also boasts a producer market with more than 80 stalls from all over the Sunshine State. Grab a few jars of preserves or wedges of cheese as gifts for friends — or just keep them for yourself. 

For the beach bum: Darwin

Temperatures in Darwin rarely drop below 20 deg C, even at night, making it possible to browse the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets in just a T-shirt and shorts. PHOTO: ISTOCK

Going to the beach in winter may seem unthinkable, but it’s actually a fairly common practice in Darwin. Winter temperatures in Darwin typically hover around a high of 30 degrees and 20 degrees at night, so beach bums looking for the quintessential beach experience need only head to the largest city in the Northern Territory to get their fix. 

As do most cities in Australia, Darwin has its fair share of beautiful beaches. But Mindil Beach, located just 2km from the city’s central business district, is by far its most famous. 

This is not least because of the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, an ongoing tradition since 1987. Between the months of April to October, Thursday and Sunday evenings see the beach fill with over 200 stalls, selling everything from Turkish doner kebabs to crocodile skulls to model biplanes made out of aluminium cans.

For the whale watcher: Cairns

May to September is the best time to see migrating whales off the coast of Queensland. PHOTO: ISTOCK

While Cairns may be the go-to beach destination in warmer weather, you’ll find no shortage of tourists flocking to its sun-kissed shores in the winter months too. 

This is because Cairns happens to be one of the best places to whale watch. From May to September, Queensland’s east coast is blessed with the majestic sight of migrating whales. 

The best way to see these gentle giants is to take a cruise out to sea. Cairns plays host to several companies that have been in the business for years — some of them even using spotter planes to find whale hotspots. 

Each company has its own unique itinerary, so do some research to see which of them best suits your fancy. For instance, most of Reef Magic Cruises’ itineraries involve a stopover on Fitzroy Island, a wildly popular resort just a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns. For a more up close and personal experience, Eye to Eye Marine Encounters lets whale watchers actually get in the water with them.

If you’re especially lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the white humpback whale Migaloo, or one of his calves. Scientists state that as Migaloo matures, he may start moving further offshore during migration season, so you should catch him while you can. 

For the wine connoisseur: Adelaide 

As the wine capital of Australia, Adelaide stands proudly alongside other world-famous wine-producing regions like Bordeaux and the Napa Valley. PHOTO: ISTOCK

The wine capital of Australia, Adelaide is nowadays mentioned in the same breath as the Napa Valley, Bordeaux and Verona. As the home of some of South Australia’s most renowned wine regions like Adelaide Hills, Barossa and McLaren Vale, it’s easy to see why. 

As such, every wine connoisseurs worth their salt can’t afford to miss a trip there to sample the region’s best. Pay homage to the most revered of Australia’s wines, Penfolds Grange, by making a pilgrimage to the Penfolds Magill Estate — where winemaker Max Schubert started his journey back in 1930.

Or go to Jacob’s Creek in Barossa, home to one of the most famous brands to ever come from down under. Have a walk through the Steingarten vineyard, where some of Australia’s best dry Riesling grapes are planted. 

More adventurous wine lovers can head to Wirra Wirra in McLaren Vale, a James Halliday 5 Star winery revered for the quality of its Church Block Shiraz — but just as famous for its medieval trebuchet, which lets visitors fling watermelons at high velocity across a field.

But you’ll probably want to visit during the Adelaide Hills Winter Reds wine weekend, which takes place from July 26 to 28. With more than 14,000 visitors in attendance every year, the wine event of the year spans multiple venues. Previous iterations have included gourmet lunches and dinners hosted in some of the world’s most renowned vineyards, alongside masterclasses by the nation’s finest sommeliers. 

For the winter sportsperson: Canberra

Perisher Ski Resort is renowned for having some of the best skiing slopes in the world. PHOTO: ISTOCK

If you’re really champing at the bit to get those skis on in the middle of summer, there’s no better place to go than Canberra. Australia’s capital has several world-renowned ski resorts basically perched on its doorstep. You could be off the plane and on the slopes in less than three hours.

The Canberra region is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest ski resort, Perisher Ski Resort, which encompasses the four resorts of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. Its name may sound ominous, but don’t worry — there are slopes of all difficulties available at the resort, as well as an experienced team of friendly staff ready to teach those still getting the hang of skiing and snowboarding. 

Prefer your ski trips a little more metropolitan? Try Thredbo Ski Resort instead, located just south of Perisher. While Perisher offers a more lodge-based skiing experience, Thredbo is a town nestled in the heart of the Snowy Mountains, with an active shopping and nightlife scene. Their monthly Full Moon Parties are the stuff of legend. 

But make no mistake: Thredbo has more than its fair share of challenging ski courses as well. Five of Australia’s longest skiing runs make their home in Thredbo, from the 3.2km Funnel Web to the 5km Village Trail. The resort also has the highest ski lift in Australia — Karel’s T-bar — which goes to a dizzying 2,037m. 

Getting there

Don't settle for anything less than Singapore Airlines' and SilkAir's award-winning service, unparalleled comfort and delectable in-flight menu. PHOTO: SINGAPORE AIRLINES

When it comes to travel, the journey is just as important as the destination. It’s ok to squeeze your family into the car for a short drive across the Causeway — but for a longer flight, you’ll want to travel in comfort. 

Which is why if you’re headed down under, you shouldn’t settle for anything less than Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. With award-winning service, unparalleled comfort and a delectable in-flight menu, there’s no better way to get to where you need to be. 

Singapore Airlines' and SilkAir's extensive flight network covers a staggering number of destinations in the Southwest Pacific. In addition to the above five cities, you can also enjoy flights to Auckland, Christchurch, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wellington. 

Stand to win a free Singapore Airlines or SilkAir economy class ticket to the Southwest Pacific destination of your choice in the SingaporeAir Games. PHOTO: SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Sweetening the deal is the addition of the SingaporeAir Games, which gives players a chance to win attractive prizes on completion of region-specific achievements. In particular, the top scorer for the Southwest Pacific region will win a free Singapore Airlines or SilkAir economy class ticket to the Southwest Pacific destination of their choice.

But for the first three users who complete all achievements across all six regions, a whopping 80,000 KrisFlyer miles stand to be won, so get cracking. 

All you have to do is log on to and start playing for a chance to win. Who knows — you might not have to pay a dime for your next trip. 

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