Winter’s here again and if you’re anything like us, you’re dreaming of being warm, sitting on a sunny
beach with a nice cool drink in hand. There’s nothing like leaving work behind to escape the wintry
months while making your friends jealous with a second summer. So, to help you plan your mid-year
holiday overseas, we’ve created this list of the top 5 islands to visit during the Australian winter.
For anyone who wants it all on your winter island vacation, it’s just got to be Hawaii! Choose any of
the six main islands to explore from the highly developed Waikiki, Oahu to the more local, laid-back
vibe of Kauai, Maui and Lanai. We’ll leave it up to you whether you want to be a beach bum, seek
out adventure, party all night or hit the shops!
Currency you’ll need: US dollars (USD)
Things to do:
- Learn to surf on Waikiki Beach, Oahu
- Shop until you drop at Ala Moana, Oahu
- Get up close to hot lava as it flows into the sea, the Big Island
Insider tip: Food trucks are where it’s at if you’re visiting Oahu’s North Shore. BUT, most only accept
cash so make sure you’ve got enough to feast on the local delicacy of garlic shrimp (prawns) at
Giovanni’s and grab yourself some shave ice at Matsumoto’s.
2. Cook Islands
Just six hours from Sydney, you could be relaxing under a palm tree on a white-sand beach in the
gorgeous Cook Islands. Known for their incredible weather, colourful Polynesian culture, nightlife
and stunning resorts, the islands of Rarotona and Aitutaki have stolen many hearts.
Here, you won’t find high-rises or too much hype, just a laid-back atmosphere that’s perfect for
escaping Australia’s winter. Spend a week chilling out on the main island of Rarotonga or head out
for an unforgettable day (or overnight) trip to the crystal clear, turquoise waters of Aitutaki.
Currency you’ll need: New Zealand Dollars (NZD)
Things to do:
- Explore the island on scooter
- Take the Te Vaka cruise in Aitutaki
- Experience traditional Polynesian culture and food at the Te Vari Nui Village Over-Water
Night Show and Dinner Buffet
Insider tip: Water activities like paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkelling are a must when visiting
the Cook Islands. You’ll find gear rental facilities dotted over the island. Carry cash to make payment
Bali has for a long time, been a favourite winter destination for Australians. And, for a good reason
too! Beautiful scenery, gorgeous beaches, top-notch dining, spas and cultural activates abound.
While you’ll need to fly into Denpasar, most tourists enjoy spending time in Ubud, Kuta and
Seminyak as well.
Currency you’ll need: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
Things to do:
- Satisfy your taste-buds at as many Ubud restaurants you can manage
- Wander the Balinese version of the Smithsonian, the Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali
- See over 600 monkeys in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Insider tip: If you want to explore more of the island, you’ll most likely want to catch a bus, bemo
(mini-van) or taxi. To avoid being ripped off, make sure the meter is on or you’ve negotiated a good
fare before your journey. You’ll need to carry enough cash for your trip too.
While you’re right in thinking that Tahiti is a honeymoon destination, it’s also a great option for
younger adventure seekers and families. Stay in Papeete and explore the beaches, mountains and
waterfalls or head out on an island-hopping escapade.
Fall asleep to the sound of the waves lapping at your overwater bungalow in Bora Bora, or visit the
more accessible and affordable Mo’orea. Here you’ll still find luxe resorts and pristine beaches along
with dense jungle and an intensely blue lagoon.
Currency you’ll need: French Pacific Franc (XPF or CFP)
Things to do:
- Catch the ferry to Mo’orea from Papeete for a day or overnight trip
- Day trip to the white sands and warm waters of La Plage de Maui beach
- Spend a half day to a day hiking to the Fautaua Waterfall near Papeete
Insider tip: Many local tour providers, restaurants and shops don’t accept credit cards so always
carry some cash. Even if you’re staying at an inclusive resort, it’s the best way to avoid paying hefty
credit card charges for optional extras.
For those with a bit more time to go farther afield, Italy’s Sardinia is a winter island retreat that’s just
as rich in terms of food and culture as it is relaxation. As the second largest island in the
Mediterranean, most tourists head to the major towns of Cagliari, Sassari and Alghero. Here you’ll
find enough history, attractions, cuisine and culture to balance out the time you’ll spend laying on a
white sand beach with crystal clear waters.
Currency you’ll need: Euro (EUR)
Things to do:
- Snorkel or scuba dive at Cala Mariolu beach
- Take a short hike to Cala Goloritze beach, one of the islands best rated
- Explore the ancient ruins of Nora
Insider tip: If you want to spend some time wandering the local shops and restaurants, be sure to
carry cash as many don’t accept cards or travellers’ cheques.
Cashing in For Your Winter Island Escape
One of the best (and often overlooked) ways to save money on your overseas holiday is to take cash!
It’s cheaper than paying credit card charges or loading up a travel card (most of which won’t hold
the currency you need for Bali or Tahiti anyway). You’ll also know exactly what currency exchange
rate you’ve secured so you’ll have a set budget to play with once you’re there. And, because there’s
been a growing number of stories of credit cards being charged in excess, exorbitant international
ATM fees and travel cheque fraud, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you can avoid those
Have you chosen your winter island holiday destination? Time to start planning and request a
foreign cash quote today.