Does it still feel like winter in your neck of the woods? Is spring disappointing you and the sun shining just a pleasant memory? If your thoughts are turning to summer already, don’t despair. It is summer – you just have to go a little further to find it. While it may be winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, there are many exciting new destinations just waiting for you to explore in the Southern Hemisphere. So spread your wings a little and head out to countries that are in the throes of their summer. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Where to start? There are so many places to explore that it’s hard to narrow it down. How much you see and do here will depend on how much time you have and where your interests lie. You can travel the Outback, dive in the Great Coral Reef, visit world-class wineries or stay in Sydney and take in the arts. The Sydney Harbour is where you will find the famous Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, all of which are synonymous with Australia.
It would be a travesty to travel all the way to Australia and not go to the Great Barrier Reef, located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland. Now a World Heritage Site, it is the largest coral reef in the world. Visitors have a choice of taking to the water on a dive or viewing the spectacular sea life from a glass-bottom boat. Love wine? Australia ranks as the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world. With almost 2,000 wineries located throughout the country, a well-planned itinerary will be needed to insure you enjoy the fruits of this expanding wine industry.
Central and South America
Thinking about nothing else but lying on a white sandy beach with a good book and lots of sunscreen? If the song “Girl from Ipanema” runs through your mind, then that’s the place to head. This popular beach is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is considered one of the best beaches in Brazil. People watching, shopping from local vendors and volleyball is the past-time here. When that becomes tiresome, take a swim and settle in for a nap. Don’t leave Rio without taking a cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain and ride the cog train through the Tijuca Rain Forest to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. End your stay by watching the sun set over the beaches from Corcovado Mountain. Rio makes an excellent destination by offering both great beaches and cultural sites, satisfying everyone’s tastes.
If time permits and hiking is your thing, be sure to visit Machu Picchu in Peru. Discovered over100 years ago in the Cusco Region of Peru in the Urubamba Valley, this Lost City of the Incas is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Truly magnificent, breathtaking and awe-inspiring, it should be on everyone’s bucket list. To reach Machu Picchu, you must first fly into Cusco and spend a day or two acclimating to the extreme altitude, then make your way by train into the Urubamba Valley and from there get on a bus up to the site. For the hardier and more adventuresome traveler, you can book a four day hike over parts of the original Inca trail into Machu Picchu.
So get down to the Southern Hemisphere and get warm – before it becomes their winter!