You might think winter does not exist in Australia, or at least feeling cold is a rare experience here. Nothing further from the truth! Of course it’s sounds funny when you’re freezing if the temperature is around 16 degrees plus, but..! Due to the humidity, the real feeling is much different. I grow up in Poland and I honestly tell you I still need a big scarf and gloves in here. I would like to point out few things that you might find helpful during winter!
1. Choose your apartment wisely
First thing to remember as a key matter is where you live. At this point you might already have your agreement signed off but worth to keep in mind. When choosing your apartment, take into consideration a few key points: is it warm in terms of temperature, are the rooms sunny, is there an air condition (it will cool the place during summer and give you heat in winter), is the floor carpeted or not (it might not be pretty, but it keeps the floor warm). Drafty windows in a tenement house will definitely be a problem. So far I’ve lived in 4 different apartments and from my own experience that I know how much the place itself matters. You won’t believe it but I was wearing jacket at home some nights, constantly having little heater on, while I am wrapped like a Michelin man others were walking in shorts in their warm apartments!
2. Home equipment and proper clothing make a difference
What to do if your apartment is cold? Let me share with you my best discovery that helped me to survive the first winter in Australia: an electric blanket! It is certainly a game changer, that kept me warm during cold nights. It was my first experience with this marvelous engineering piece of art, I guess I’ve never heard of it before (big thank you to my Australian family!). You put it under the sheet, turn it on about an hour before going to sleep and enjoy a warm bed for the night. Add a soft blanket as a cover (I recommend fluffy fleece) and you are set!
It also is worth getting a heater for the room, a smart investment for sure. Depends on the size it will work faster or slower, but make your room warm at the end of the day!
3. Proper clothing make a difference
In the past, I never paid enough attention to the fabric used in my clothes. Not anymore. In order to be prepared for winter, you need the right clothing. There are textiles that looks just pretty but not fit for purpose and the others that are actually do the job.
Side note, I have been vegetarian for few years. I try to limit all animal products and I think vegan substitutes may be the way to go for me. I would love to apply this idea when it comes to things like clothing and other home ware, but I am absolutely honest with you. Unfortunately, my best winter sweaters and socks are made of wool ( sheep or merino), cashmere and alpaca.
I have a good woolen coat and a few favorite sweaters that keep me warm in winter and complete my outfit! To add to it, UGG shoes are super warm and lots of people wear them indoors as well. I also have a slippers type – you don’t need socks when wearing them.
Those cloths are more expensive compare to synthetic alternative, but they will do their job and last longer (remember to wash them properly!). If you don’t mind I absolutely recommend you to check op shops such as Vinnies and RedCross! I’m considering myself a second-hand hunting queen as I always get lucky to find a good pieces. Those sweaters and coats I got from Vinnies for so small amount of money. Plus, I totally resonate with idea to give the cloth a second life!
4. Don’t stay home, check this events!
Sydney is perfect city for outdoor activities doesn’t matter the season! There are so many events happening every month. Winter would be much less interesting without them too.
My beloved VIVID festival is a time when the city sparkles with beautiful colors of lights and thousands of people go out in the evenings to admire it. You can read about Vivid here.
Another event is the interesting and fun tradition of “Christmas in July” – the celebration of Christmas in the middle of the year. Take a look here to see what it looks like!
Added to this is the Night Market in the Carriageworks, the Noodle Market in Hyde Park or the Bondi Wind Festival (this one is morning/avro event), just to name few. These are cool events that I encourage you to get out of the house on a winter evening, and I promise you – you won’t regret!
In addition to organized events, winter is a fantastic opportunity to….
The period from May to November is the time when humpbacks, the beautiful mammals come from Antarctica to mate and give birth to their young in warmer waters. You can sometimes spot them while walking along the coast or go on an organized trip and admire them up close. I was lucky enough to observe two dancing together and it was an amazing experience!
You might not think Australia is the place to do winter sports, but why not? We have ski resorts in some parts of the country and you can definitely go ice skating in Sydney! There are several ice rinks, including one on Bondi Beach, where you have the view of the ocean. Regardless of its view, I do not recommend this, because the sun melts the ice and makes it difficult to skate (simply you will get wet, not fun). Check the indoor rinks instead. ICE Zoo in Alexandria is good place. There is a lot of space, equipment can be rented and the fun is guaranteed!
Hiking on the coast or national parks
If you are one of those who struggle to hike under the hot sun, winter might be a more pleasant time to do so! On a sunny day, it is super nice and the views are just as beautiful as in summer. Australian residents are active all around the year, but due to fewer tourists these routes will be less crowded. Take advantage of it!
Blue Mountain and the autumn vibe
The mountains are less than 100 km from Sydney. It is great to go there any time of the year, but in winter even more so. Blue Mountains has lot of trials, you can choose the one that suits your physical ability and interest.
Let me know, what you think of my ways to enjoy during the winter! Maybe you would like to share some of your own ideas in the comments below? Stay warm!