Need some seasonal inspo to help plan your next holiday? Check out these ideas from around the world (some of them might just surprise you).
DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SUMMER:
Still want to chase the sun before the weather cools? Book a beach getaway in an unexpected location. Summer, for instance, is the off-season in Broome. While it’s also the Kimberley’s rainy season, this doesn’t mean it rains all day long. This time of year is great for magnificent sunsets thanks to the combination of vibrant colours and majestic storm clouds. Resorts such as Cable Beach Club can offer brilliant accommodation deals during this time.
In Far North Queensland, marine stingers are an issue in summer – but not if you’re staying at a resort such as the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas, which offers an astounding five acres of swimmable saltwater lagoons.
OR TRY A NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WINTER:
Ski bunnies should point themselves towards a ritzy resort town such as Aspen Snowmass in Colorado, USA or St Moritz in Switzerland – but remember there are plenty of attractions beyond the slopes. Aspen, for instance, is home to a brilliant art museum and Woody Creek Tavern (a favourite haunt of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson) is just 12km away. From St Moritz, travel two train stops to the village of Samedan to soak in an ultra-contemporary “vertical spa” with a rooftop pool overlooked by a dainty baroque tower.
It’s also a great time of year to visit Kyoto, Japan which is booked solid in spring and autumn as visitors flock to see the cherry blossoms and autumn colours. The city has riches all year-round, such as wandering through the thousands of vermilion torii (shrine gates) at the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shinto shrine. You might also be able to snag a room in the brand-new, hot-to-trot Four Seasons Kyoto Hotel.
MARCH TO MAY
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE AUTUMN:
Lord Howe Island can be visited year-round but head there in autumn and you’ll find the ocean temperatures are still agreeably warm. During the day, conquer one of the world’s most challenging day hikes – to the summit of Mount Gower – and along the way see the Providence petrels. The birds (their numbers peak in April) are so unafraid of humans that you can pick one up and feel its tiny heart beat in your hands. Stay at Capella Lodge, Pinetrees Lodge or Arajilla Retreat.
OR TRY A NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SPRING
In Quebec, Canada, the winter thaw signals one thing: the start of the sugaring-off season. This is when temperatures rise enough to allow sap to flow through maple trees, and they’re tapped to make maple syrup. March is the traditional month for a sugar-shack feast – a hearty, multi-course banquet designed to revive half-frozen forest workers. Urban sugar shacks pop up in Montreal throughout March but for the real deal, head to La Sucrerie de la Montagne, tucked into a maple forest an hour’s drive from the city. The best news is that it’s open year-round.
Or perhaps Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands? Straddling the Equator, there’s little seasonal change. However, the water is warmer from December to June (cruise ships usually carry wetsuits to counter the brisk sea temperatures at other times). Snorkelling is a highlight of any trip to the Galapagos Islands, which are famous for creatures such as marine iguanas, giant tortoises and the blue-footed booby.
JUNE TO AUGUST
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE WINTER:
This might sound crazy but Tasmania in winter is brilliant: there are no queues (especially at Hobart’s phenomenally successful MONA gallery), plenty of accommodation availability and lower prices. Of course, the weather can be brisk but this is the chance to rug up in cosy layers or to relax in front of an open fire such as the one in Weindorfer’s Library at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. A new waterfront hotel – MACq 01 Hotel – is scheduled to open in Hobart by mid-2017.
Winter is also a great time to head to Uluru. For one, daytime temperatures are milder (although it is cold at night, so bring warm clothes). Secondly, sunrise occurs later so you can grab a few more winks before seeing the day dawn upon Uluru. For art lovers, the best news is that Bruce Munro’s epic installation Field of Light, “planted” in view of Uluru, has been extended until March 31, 2018.
OR TRY A NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SUMMER
A British summer is truly something to be swept up in. Pub and restaurant goers across the city spill out into the streets seeking the sun and the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park is always worth a visit. There’s great excitement surrounding the transformation of London’s original Scotland Yard police station into a luxury hotel. The Great Scotland Yard Hotel, which will retain the station’s Edwardian façade, is scheduled to open in early 2017.
It’s also a pleasant time to try river cruising. Head to Bordeaux, in south-western France, for a cruise that takes in several of the region’s famed wine chateaux. The city also has a compelling riverfront water feature, Miroir d’eau, which anyone can splash around in for as long as they like. La Cite du Vin is a multi-faceted riverfront wine museum that opened in 2016 – put aside half a day to explore its permanent exhibitions. The entry fee includes a glass of wine at the end of the tour.
SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SPRING:
Spring means wildflowers, and Western Australia is home to the largest collection on the planet. The flowers start blooming in June in the state’s north and finish on the south coast in November. The colourful floral carpets include more than 12,000 species (more than half these species aren’t found anywhere else in the world). The easiest spot to track down wildflowers is Perth’s Kings Park. A visit to Perth also means you can try one of Australia’s most highly rated new hotels: Como The Treasury.
OR TRY A NORTHERN HEMISPHERE AUTUMN
Great Bear Lodge, a floating lodge snuggled up against Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada sees the largest number of grizzly bears during autumn when the salmon run peaks in September and October. Mother bears can be seen fishing for salmon during this period, laying down the fat layers they need for their approaching winter hibernation. Cubs are often nearby, frolicking as they wait for mum to bring their dinner. Another option is to see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, also in Canada, during October and November, when the bears migrate from their summer tundra feeding grounds back to the pack ice that forms in Hudson Bay.