Explore 7 winter destination dupes in Australia

If you’re itching to travel the world again, but every destination on your bucket list seems so far away, all is not lost!


Here are seven stand-ins for popular destinations abroad that might even be a better choice.


Tasmania’s snowy Dove Lake ©Matt Palmer

Tasmania instead of Scandinavia

Scattered with icy peaks, evergreen forests and icy fjords, Tasmania’s winter landscape is hard to tell apart from the vast Nordic scenery that Scandinavia is famous for. Start your days with spectacular hikes exploring the snow-covered summit of Cradle Mountain or the enigmatic tundra of Mount Wellington, and cosy up beside the fire Hygge-style, as the sun sets early. The nights are long and clear around this time of the year in Tasmania, which makes the conditions perfect for stargazing. Make sure to look out for aurora australis, the southern equivalent of the northern lights that may be slightly fainter in this hemisphere, but certainly just as spectacular. To round up your trip with a day in the city, stroll around Hobart’s port – filled with galleries, high-end boutiques and award-winning restaurants, it can certainly pass for Copenhagen. While you’re at it, take in the vistas crammed with sailboats and picturesque historic buildings. 


The picturesque village of Falls Creek ©TNE

Falls Creek instead of Austria

While skiing and snowboarding are commonly associated with an expensive getaway to the Alps, Falls Creek proves that Australia’s mountain ranges can easily keep up with popular European winter destinations. In this European style resort, there are 90 runs that transform the face of this stunning Alpine National Park into a snowsport haven. From take-it-easy Wombat’s Ramble (the longest green run in Australia) to plenty of black runs and even some freestyle terrain parks where the pros practise, Falls Creek caters to all skill levels and ages. Down in the charming village, families, honeymooners and other guests can stay in accommodations ranging from a grand hotel, to the most awarded ski lodge in Australia (Astra Lodge) to more simplistic digs that will have you from your bed and on to the white stuff in no time. After a day of outdoor adventures, recharge at one of the many bars or restaurants with some hot mulled wine, or a local craft beer and a huge array of dinner options. On Thursdays, head to the village bowl for the weekly night show of fireworks that celebrate snow season at Falls Creek in style.


Early mornings in the Yarra Valley ©Visit Victoria

Yarra Valley instead of Redwood Valley, California

Located at the outskirts of Melbourne, the acclaimed Yarra Valley is the perfect weekend getaway for wine connoisseurs and nature enthusiasts who appreciate the finer things in life. Not only are the inviting wineries and thriving art scene reminiscent of rural California, but the Valley is also home to its own enchanting redwood forest. First planted 90 years ago as a hydrology experiment, the towering trees that get their name from their reddish bark still stand tall to this day and are best explored in winter when all the crowds have gone. Another perk of visiting this picture-perfect valley during this time of the year is traditional fireside dining. Enjoy a glass or two of the celebrated local sparkling wines that rival California’s world-class whites before an open fireplace, and indulge in local foods at one of plenty winery eateries overlooking vineyards and rolling hills. Situated in the middle of these vast landscapes, TarraWarra Museum of Art is an absolute stunner of a destination created by philanthropists – the late Marc Besen AC and Eva Besen AO – who were passionate collectors of Australian art from the 1950s. Not only did they gift the building that houses the Museum, but also a significant proportion of their collection of modern and contemporary Australian art.


The peaks of the Flinders Ranges ©Stephen Mabbs

Flinders Ranges instead of Atlas Mountains, Morocco 

Climbing the rugged peaks of the Atlas in Morocco may be on every trekker’s bucket list, but the Flinders Ranges are a destination for outdoor lovers that is equally as spectacular. Here, June, July and August are the prime trekking months. Temperatures are moderate, which is ideal for keeping hikers cool during explorations, and there’s more rainfall, which attracts wallabies, wombats and other wildlife to newly filled waterholes. It’s a truly fascinating event in this seemingly barren landscape. While the Atlas Mountains are rich with untouched North African culture, the Aboriginal history of the Flinders Ranges is just as prominent. Learn about the ranges’ significance in Adnyamathanha lore and culture and access otherwise private locations with a local First Nations’ guide. While the days are filled with adventure, the evenings are tranquil in the Flinders Ranges. Especially dramatic in winter, the sunsets paint the weathered peaks in golden colours that seem to illuminate the ancient rock formations from within. 


King Island’s endless grasslands ©Rod Long

King Island instead of Ireland

With its rocky cliffs, wild waters and seemingly endless stretches of green fields King Island is especially reminiscent of the Emerald Isle in winter. Embrace the solitude and stormy weather with a stay at one of the many quaint old cottages in Currie, the island’s largest town that lies on the west coast, or splash out on a luxurious retreat. Explore the scenic harbour, duck into the shops at Currie Community Market Hall and play a round at one of the world-class golf courses perched above the ocean. The beaches on King Island are rough and rugged in winter, just like the Irish North Sea. Take a walk along Disappointment Bay, the sandy stretch that gets its name from the convict ship Neva, which sank off the coast in 1835, or head to Grassy Harbour. Here, you can observe the local fairy penguins waddling back from the sea to their burrows every night. Foodies will also have the chance to indulge in plenty of local delicacies. Mainly famous for its fresh crayfish, abalone, beef and dairy products, the island attracts visitors every year just for its mouthwatering local produce.


West Beach, just outside of Esperance ©Michael Milverton

Esperance instead of Algarve, Portugal

While the Algarve may be home to one of the most stunning coastlines in Europe, it also shares a lot of similarities with WA’s breathtakingly beautiful Esperance. Avoid the 24-hour long haul and make your way to one of the most remote regions in Australia, that is also renowned for distinguishable remarkably rugged cliffs and bright turquoise waters. As the masses tend to visit Esperance in summer, you can have its pristine beaches all to yourself during the cooler months, where temperatures only drop to a comfortable 17°C during the day. It is the perfect time for unforgettable four-wheel drive adventures at Cape Le Grand National Park, and hikes along the cliffs reminiscent of world-famous Praia do Barranco. Another highlight of winter in Esperance is the whale watching season. From June to October the secluded bays and tranquil waters make the coast a perfect place for humpback whale calves and their mothers having a frolic and resting during their annual migration. 


destination dupe Mexico
A panoramic view of tropical Port Douglas ©Josh Withers

Port Douglas instead of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

For those seeking a more tropical retreat in the winter months, Port Douglas is the ideal stand-in destination for the Mexican town of Puerto Vallarta. Compared to its touristy neighbour Cairns, it’s more of a bustling village rather than a city, but is packed with resorts, restaurants, galleries and clothing and homewares stores. With its “less is more” mentality – ie. no excessive constructions or imposing multinational resorts – Port Douglas is the perfect place to recharge in a relaxing environment without having to deal with all the crowds coming to Queensland around this time of the year. Port Douglas is the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas meet – the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Whether you are looking for intense wild water rafting tours and diving adventures or relaxing strolls through the lush greenery and refreshing dips in the Ocean, it’s all there up North. 

For more affordable destination dupes in Australia, check out this guide.


Travel Australia with Rex

Rex flies to all of these destinations around Australia. Book your flights here and check out the route map below.

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