If you’re a road trip planner and you see a trip with both the words February and Beach in the itinerary, you can bet you’re looking at a trip near or south of the equator. While someone living in North America might say, “February & March are dang cold months,” an Aussie would say, “Nah, mate, that’s the hook end of summer here.”
Summer is equated with beaches, on both sides of the equator. And there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a summer road trip in July or August and get another taste of it in February or March (or vice versa). Your twin summer vacations will still give you plenty of time to appreciate the nuances of each season at home.
But first, did you know Australia is the only country that has a whole continent to itself? While Antarctica is also a continent unto itself, it is not considered a country nor has it been claimed by any other country. That said, even though it’s the “smallest” continent, it still has over 4 million square miles, a population of over 20 million people and some of the most awesome beaches you’ll find anywhere in the world.
· Summer: December to February (first rains in November with the Wet Season in January and February, into the last of rains mid-April)
· Autumn: March to May (Last of rains into the beginning of the hot dry period)
· Winter: June to August (cooler dry period)
· Spring: September to November (humid period into the first rains)
Okay, time for your road trip planning! Here are 5 of the best beach towns to choose from for building your road trip itinerary. Keep in mind you’re visiting during their peak season so it’s best to book early.
Byron Bay, New South Wales: The locals head to Byron Bay when the Wet sets in. The town has several beaches that are popular with surfers. This resort attracts international tourists as well as backpackers who like to travel along the Australian coastline. Whales, bottlenose dolphins frequent this area known for its wildlife. Activities run the gamut from sunning on the white sandy beaches to parasailing, hang-gliding, surfing and scuba diving. The overall atmosphere of this town is laid back and non-pretentious.
Gold Coast, Queensland: The Gold Coast is known for its sunny climate, popular surfing beaches, a dominate skyline and a lovely rainforest. That’s not counting the active nightlife and the variety of things to do there. It’s become an extremely popular destination for those living in North America. You’ll find all sorts of water sports to add to your road trip planner. More than 10 million people visited the Gold Coast in 2008 so this is definitely a place you’ll want to book your hotel early.
Jervis Bay, New South
Wales: Jervis Bay is stunning and one of the most
popular spots along the South Coast. Parts
of it is protected as a National Park and includes areas for recreational
fishing and scuba diving (popular diving sites include the Labyrinths,
Gorgonian Wall, Point Perpendicular, a Fairey Firefly aeroplane, scallop beds,
Middle Ground, Ten Fathom Reef, and Bowen Island). Besides scuba diving, kayaking has grown very
popular recently. Since this area is
only 2 hours south of Sydney, many locals head here for the weekend so start
your road trip planner mid-week to get the best hotel rooms.
Noosa, Queensland: Noosa
is about a two-hour drive from Brisbane. It's on that part of the coast known as
the Sunshine Coast. Popular as a
holiday resort city, it’s quieter than the Gold Coast but more
sophisticated. Surfers love coming here
even though accommodations are tougher to secure. The many beaches surrounding Noosa offer varied activities, including
optional clothing at Alexandria Beach.
Port Douglas, Queensland: Port Douglas is another place where you’ll need to book early if you want to stay there during peak season. Its main claim to fame – and deservedly so – is the Great Barrier Reef. Then of course, there’s the primo surfing, and 4-wheel driving. Snorkeling is always popular but this may be the spot where you decide to take it a step further & learn to scuba dive just so you can immerse yourself in the Great Barrier Reef.
You’ll have such a blast at the spot you choose that you know those other four beach towns will show up in your Road Trip Planner the following “winter”. Four more reasons to throw another shrimp on the barbi.