Golden sands, scorching summer days, barbeques and backyard cricket.
Sounds like the quintessential Aussie summer, but what the postcards don’t show you is the pale-skinned snow lover, cowering indoors, wearing extra sunscreen and dreaming of a rainy day.
Not everyone loves summer, which is probably a good thing really, because the beaches can get pretty crowded as it is. So for everyone out there who has made a snow angel, shaken their first at the sun for a brutal sunburn or danced in the rain, this one’s for you.
Here are four of our top picks for places to spend an Australian summer – in the depths of winter.
Wintry Whistler is already such a popular place for Aussies that there are rumours* Vegemite might soon be traded as the local currency. *(We’re the ones instigating the rumours)
The local village is fairytale-like by night, with floods of warm light pouring from windows onto the snow outside, while during the day this is a bustling hub of activity for all things winter.
Snuggled into the base of the mountains, Whistler is a snowsport mecca and an ideal escape from the sweaty summer sun with temperatures at an icy -10 to -15 degrees Celcius. It’s not hard to keep warm though, just lace up your ski boots and hit the slopes – you’ll be feeling the burn in no time.
When most people think of playgrounds, they think swings, slides and roundabouts. Vermont, one of the smaller states in the US, redefines the word “playground”.
Here you can participate in just about any winter activity you can dream of. Hire a snowmobile, ski and snowboard between the snow ghosts (trees with snow on them), give ice climbing a go (rock climbing’s colder cousin), strap on your snowshoes for a hike, skate around an ice rink or check out an ice hockey game (in the local lingo, this is known as “hockey”).
You can base yourself in the capital Montpelier and venture out from there or book a stay in one of the outer cities. Prepare well for your trip though, even if you love the cold, the average -5 degree temperature’s will have you reaching for a vat of traditional hot cocoa with marshmallows.
The Lofoten Islands, Norway
Summer is usually a time of lying on your back staring at the beautiful cloudless sky.
Sorry summer, you’ve got nothing on winter in Norway. Lows often reach -10 degrees Celcius, but without much wood in these areas to burn for heat, the locals have historically had to use the fat from seals and other sea animals as a primary source of fuel.
The Lofoten Islands are one of the most remote places you’ll ever hear of, but the reason you do hear about them is because they’re among the best places in the world to lay back and stare at the sky. On a clear night, solar particles rush into earth’s atmosphere and give us the view of a lifetime, better known as the Aurora Borealis.
The South Pole, Antarctica
If you’re so averse to summer that you have to sit out the ‘sun salutation’ in your yoga class, there’s no better place for you than a frozen wasteland of ice at the southernmost point of the planet.
Temperatures here can drop down to -60 degrees Celcius in winter, so any visitors are required to take four pages of gear with them, including special-fabric jackets and pants and their own stoves.
Team Glenfiddich (including two returned servicemen, both Australians) took three weeks to make the trek after months of training and preparation for the South Pole Allied Challenge. But to say you’ve been to a place where even the penguins can’t bear the sub-zero temperatures, well, it doesn’t get much cooler than that.
Keep cool where ever you go with Virgin Travel Insurance. Where’s your dream location to escape the heat?