When I announced my plans to move Down Under in June, veteran travellers smirked at me and joked “you do know June is Australia’s winter right??”. Yes genius, I figured that.
Any Aussie friends I had over here warned me against the bitter cold that is Sydney winter time! To be honest, it’s chilly in the mornings and cold at night without a heavy duvet; other than that I think the climate is gorgeous!
I know when travellers choose Australia, they mainly choose it for the sunshine, but there are some great benefits to travelling to Oz in the winter time:
1 – LESS CROWDS
One of my first outings in Sydney was to the Taronga Zoo, one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions. When we arrived there wasn’t even so much as a queue for the ticket line and we walked straight into the park with absolutely no waiting.
There is a paddock where you can walk in and meet the kangaroos and wallabies. We spent 45 minutes with them and taking pictures, something that would be impossible to do in high season. At some points of our day we felt we were the only ones in this huge zoo as there were no bus loads of tourists being dropped off every half hour.
It is the same for all the other outdoor attractions in the city, apparently only us Irish think this weather is acceptable to walk around in! Bondi beach is pleasantly quiet at the moment, compared to peak season – up to 35,000 people on a hot summer’s day!
2 – MORE ACCOMMODATION
At the moment, there is an abundance of accommodation to rent in Sydney. A lot of Irish and Europeans are renting their rooms out on AirBnB, while they go home to their summer for a holiday. Backpackers are also following the sun and moving up north, so hostels are emptier and more apartments are becoming available.
3 – CREEPY CRAWLIES
This one might sound a bit pathetic, but if you’re anything like me and have a morbid fear of spiders, the winter climate will definitely ease you gently into a life of creepy crawlies. Spiders, snakes and other nightmarish critters are sparse due to the colder climate. Things hibernate and also with the shorter evenings you’re less likely to spot something slithering/creeping across the ground!
4 – CHEAPER
One thing I quickly came to realise was Australia is NOT cheap! Think $4 for a bottle of Coke and $20 for a full Irish. As winter is “off-season” for most tourist attractions, prices will be dropped to attract customers. Even menus during the evening time are lower than the summer months as it gets dark at roughly 5pm in the winter, meaning less people eating out. Shop around, look out for early birds and you will get a decent meal for the same price as home.
5 – MORE JOBS
While we’re on the topic of money, if you plan to work while over here, you will find a job much easier in the winter months. Again, backpackers usually move on to a warmer climate and people go home to catch the European summer. Sign up to an agency and they can find you a temp position to cover other people’s work while they’re away.
So while all the local Aussies are complains about the “freezing” winter, take it from me: You might need an extra jacket, swap the shorts for some jeans and maybe throw an extra rug over your bed, but it’s totally worth it for the amazing winter sunsets, fewer queues and a fuller wallet!