Going Away on Holiday at Christmas Time in Australia

anz june14This may seem like a strange subject for a post in September, but it will get stranger before we are finished. Today’s post will also talk about summer arriving in the UK and it being winter here in Australia.

Neither is true.

Yes, it’s time for another reprint of one of my articles for Australia and New Zealand magazine, this one appeared in their June edition. The time delay between me writing it, the magazine printing it, and me reprinting it, can make some of my writing a little nonsensical.

So what’s new? The article is called…

Summer holidays

Yamba beach (1)I hope summer has arrived for those of you in the UK. Here in Australia, of course, its winter. Our summer is around Christmas time and aside from making the festive season totally weird, it does completely change the summer holiday concept as well.

Let me explain.

In all the years I lived in the UK I can’t ever remember going away on holiday during either the Christmas or the New Year period. Why would I? It’s usually cold, it’s an expensive time of the year to go away and it’s also a time best spent close to your family and friends.

Moving to Australia though, now that really does turn everything on its head.

It’s hot and very sunny at this time of year and you’ve probably left the vast majority of your family and friends behind. The kids have broken up for their school summer holidays, usually about a week or two before Christmas and they don’t go back until towards the end of January. So its peak holiday season here and many Australians do choose to go away over the Christmas and New Year period.

It’s an idea that is warming on me.

Since we moved here we have spent Boxing Day on the beach at Bribie Island; that was just one day, literally testing the water. Next we had three days of camping by the beach in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Then for the Christmas just gone we had a whole week in Yamba.

See how we are getting used to this ‘away for Christmas’ idea? Who knows, next year we might go away for a fortnight.


Yamba is a seaside town in New South Wales about three hours drive south of Brisbane. So, no flight to pay for, just a bit of petrol for the car. We rented a large house on the river, arriving the day after Boxing Day and staying until the New Year.

The house was twice as expensive as it usually is to rent out for that week, but with the costs shared between three families it actually ended up being quite a cheap holiday. After all, it costs nothing to sit on the beach all day (Yamba has 11 of them) and I can’t remember the kids complaining about having to do that.

Yes, going away on holiday at Christmas time is much more of a thing here in Australia and it’s easy to see why; it’s the biggest school holiday break and the middle of summer.

It’s not all about the beaches though; the river offered the kids the chance to enjoy a bit of fishing from the jetty. The adults, meanwhile, could relax on the veranda taking in a little festive spirit whilst keeping an eye on our offspring.

A win-win.

Yamba on the river (2)Then there was Angourie Blue Pool, a popular swimming hole just a short drive out of town. Our kids just loved launching themselves from the rock; I think it gave them a bit of an adrenaline rush. Us parents too, except we called it fear.

Angourie Blue PoolNo, it’s not all about the beaches, but cooling down in the water certainly plays a big part. The really cool part though is, no matter where you go in Australia at Christmas, Santa always manages to find you.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • djmcbell September 3, 2014, 9:56 pm |

    Looks like a great place for a holiday…

    We’ve had a strange summer in the UK this year. We’ve definitely had hot weather – got into the mid-twenties and even moving towards thirty degrees! Which, I know, isn’t really that much compared to Australia, even during their coldest times, but for us in the UK it’s brilliant! It then went pretty grey and dull for a bit, but seems to be picking up again.

    We love going away at some point during the year here, abroad of course. The few breaks we’ve had in the UK have been just that – breaks. Unless we toured the UK and did lots of different things I’m pretty sure I’d get bored after a pretty short time. And going abroad is brilliant, especially as the UK has good access to a fair chunk of the world. My only worry is that prices during school holidays are so restrictive, and of course you get fined now for taking your children out of school (£60 per child per week per parent/guardian – so if a couple have two kids and take them out of school for two weeks, the fine would be £480).

    One thing though that I enjoy is actually going to places that do seem “different”. Yamba looks perfectly pretty, but is it a nice, refreshing change compared to where you live? Mind you, I suppose we did the same when we holidayed in the Lake District, compared to living in a city.

    • BobinOz September 4, 2014, 9:30 pm |

      Gosh, you get fined now for taking your child out of school? Never knew that.

      To be honest, wherever you travel Australia you’re never going to get anything that’s very “different” from anywhere else here, every town has its Coles and Woolworths and Target, that sort of thing. The UK is better off in that respect, you have the whole of Europe and all those different cultures on your doorstep.

      For us Australians, we need to fly for at least about eight hours before we can enjoy a different culture, but as far as I can see though, that’s about one of the only downsides of living here.

      I always advise anyone to see as much of Europe as they can before they leave the UK to move to Australia, because it’s much harder to do it after you’ve left.

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