Christmas in Australia
It’s no secret that Kiwis love to visit their neighbours across the Tasman. In fact, Australia is the number 1 travel destination for Kiwis, looking for all things sun, sand and sports. And what better time for sun, sand and sports than Christmas in Australia?
Whether it's a day at the cricket, a dive at the Great Barrier Reef or a dip at Bondi Beach, Australia has so much to offer in its summer months. However, as any shirtless beach-going backpacker can confirm, the Australian summer should be approached with caution.
Australia’s strong relationship with New Zealand means visiting Kiwis are granted free emergency medical treatment should they suffer an accident or serious illness while visiting. However, there are still many reasons that travel insurance is worthwhile when making the trip across to Australia.
There are a number of reasons to visit Australia over the Christmas period, and it’s important to cover yourself with travel insurance – we’ll go over the best things to do in Australia over the festive season, and some things to keep in mind to make sure your Christmas escapade is an unforgettable experience!
Best things to do in Australia over Christmas
- Embrace a Beachside BBQ - Just like in New Zealand, Australians have a strong affinity for beachside barbecues during the Christmas season. Australia boasts an abundance of coastline and pristine beaches to choose from. Whether you're in Bondi, Byron Bay, or Broome, gather your loved ones, fire up the grill, and enjoy a sizzling Christmas feast by the waves. Be sure to check local regulations regarding BBQ use to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Dive into Outdoor Adventures - With Australia's diverse landscapes, there's no shortage of outdoor activities to keep the family entertained. Dive into the Great Barrier Reef's mesmerizing underwater world, embark on a thrilling hike in the Blue Mountains, or surf the iconic waves of the Gold Coast. Australia's mild summer temperatures make outdoor adventures a must, so pack your sunscreen and sense of adventure.
- Admire the Local Christmas Lights - Australians have a passion for decorating their homes with dazzling Christmas lights. Take an evening stroll through your neighborhood or explore renowned Christmas light displays like the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas Lights Spectacular in New South Wales or the Christmas Lights Trail in Perth, Western Australia. It's a delightful tradition that brightens up the holiday season.
- Embark on a Scenic Road Trip - Discover the beauty of the Land Down Under with a scenic road trip. Australia offers some of the world's most breathtaking drives, from the Great Ocean Road in Victoria to the Red Centre Way in the Northern Territory. Keep an eye out for the native Christmas Bush, adorned with red flowers, as you explore the diverse landscapes of this vast country.
- Savor the Local Wineries and Eateries - Australia is renowned for its world-class wineries and outdoor dining experiences. Head to the renowned wine regions of the Yarra Valley in Victoria, the Barossa Valley in South Australia, or Margaret River in Western Australia. Sit among the vineyards, sipping on Shiraz or Chardonnay, and indulge in delectable dishes created by talented local chefs. It's a culinary journey that pairs perfectly with the Australian summer.
Do I need travel insurance for Australia?
The simple answer is yes; New Zealanders should protect themselves with travel insurance even if they are only visiting Australia.
While Kiwis visiting Australia are currently entitled to emergency medical treatment under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, added expenses such as air evacuation, upgrades to flights due to certain injuries, ambulance rides and so forth, are not always covered under the agreement. Other events such as lost luggage, delayed flights or theft can also be covered under insurance.
What are some other things to keep in mind when visiting Australia over Christmas?
- Don’t underestimate the weather - Australia's climate can be quite unpredictable, especially during the holiday season. In March 2023, Sydney recorded it’s hottest day in 2 years, reaching 40.1 degrees, indicating that they’re bracing for some hotter temperatures this summer, with El Nino coming into effect. It’s a good idea to keep up to date with any bushfire warnings, if you’re heading out of the major cities. While we’re expecting the heat, it could quickly turn the other way. A bit of rain won't dampen your spirits, be prepared for the possibility of floods or strong winds that might affect your plans. It's a good idea to have backup accommodation, stay informed about weather forecasts, and pack for all seasons. Don't forget the sunscreen; the Aussie sun can be intense!
- Stay vigilant around waterways - With summer in full swing, Australians flock to lakes, rivers, and beaches. While these waterways are inviting, it's essential to be vigilant, even if you're a strong swimmer. Australia has its share of water-related incidents, so always swim between the flags at patrolled beaches, watch out for rip currents, and never underestimate the power of the ocean.
- Keep safe when celebrating - It’s summer, school’s out, workers have hung up the suit and tie and Australia is letting its hair down. Australians love to party over the Christmas and New Year period, enjoying the spectacular Sydney Harbour fireworks display and flocking to one of the many summer music festivals across the country. Alcohol is commonly a part of these celebrations. If you plan to partake in the festivities, ensure you drink responsibly, designate a sober driver if needed, and be mindful of the local alcohol laws. Staying safe and enjoying the holiday cheer go hand in hand.
Spending Christmas in Australia is a fantastic experience, and with these tips you can be sure to make your time across the Tasman a festive success.
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