5 cosy winter escapes

27 June 2024

The Danes have long embraced the simple pleasure of feeling warm, snug and cosy – especially while in good company. They call it hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) and it describes an attitude of slowing down, connecting with others and embracing simplicity in a cosy and soothing environment. 

Australia may be famous for beaches and endless summers, but it’s also an ideal setting for hygge with its rustic countryside, mountain ranges, lush bushland and historic towns. So if you’re needing a little winter recharge, grab a warm jacket, some comfy hiking boots, a deck of cards and your favourite wine and head for the hills (or wherever your heart fancies).

1. Grampians National Park, Vic

Perhaps it’s the peace in watching kangaroos lazing under eucalypts or the magic of the mountains towering protectively over the town, but you’ll feel a sense of calm wash over you the minute you arrive in Halls Gap in the Grampians.

About three hours west of Melbourne, Halls Gap is spectacular year-round – but when the cold sets in, the views become even more striking against the evolving winter scenery. The cool conditions are perfect for scenic winter hikes and provide an inviting setting to cosy up by a warm fire with a hot drink.

Where to stay

Nestled among a tranquil bushland setting, DULC’s Nature Retreat Cabins offer elegant décor, glass-ceilinged bathrooms, spa baths and gas log fires. They’re designed to maximise comfort while providing a seamless connection with nature.

Don’t miss

The Pinnacle walk and lookout offers breathtaking views of the entire Grampians region. 

DULC’s Nature Retreat Cabins

2. Adelaide Hills, SA

Leave the cool boutiques and bars of Adelaide’s CBD behind, and in just 30 minutes you can be breathing in the crisp clean air amid the serenity of the Adelaide Hills.

Beloved for its rolling hills, abundant vineyards and charming villages, the Adelaide Hills takes on a slower pace in winter, providing a quieter, more intimate experience as you explore the region's attractions, such as Cleland Wildlife Park, Beerenberg Farm or one of the many scenic cycling or hiking trails in the national park. And if you’d rather sit than stroll, a glass of local pinot noir is the perfect pairing.

Where to stay

Whether simply downing tools for a lazy weekend or heading out of town for a romantic getaway, the adults-only Sequoia Lodge, nestled into the greenery of Mount Lofty, offers the ideal backdrop for a reset. Each of the property’s 14 open-plan suites has been styled with cosy luxury in mind. The highlight? A moon window that allows you to stargaze from the comfort of your bed. Search “travel booking” in the CommBank app.

Don’t miss

The historic villages of Stirling, Woodside and Hahndorf. 

Sequoia Lodge

3. Blue Mountains, NSW

Epic landscapes, a plethora of outdoor activities (from hiking to canyoning) and a contemporary dining scene make the Blue Mountains a dreamy winter getaway.

The days are chilly but the sky is typically clear, so you can enjoy the spectacular winter colours of the Jamison Valley or a ride on the Scenic Skyway, offering amazing views of Katoomba.

Where to stay

Spicers Sangoma Retreat, an adults-only, all-inclusive haven on the edge of the Blue Mountains, balances bushland surrounds with richly appointed suites and indulgent meals for full relaxation. Search “travel booking” in the CommBank app.

Don’t miss

The majesty of the Three Sisters ancient rock formation. 

Spicers Sangoma Retreat

4. Flinders Island, Tas

If you want to genuinely disconnect and rediscover life’s simple pleasures (while still enjoying its comforts), Flinders Island offers spectacular granite cliffs, rocks that glow orange and more than 120 pristine beaches.

This island at the top of Tasmania can only be reached by charter flight or weekly barge, making it a crowd-free experience (if you don’t count the wombats waddling past). Scale Mount Killiecrankie and reward your efforts at The Flinders Wharf, where you’ll tuck into fish caught that morning.

Where to stay

Coastal cottage Black Shack is a tranquil retreat for those wanting to switch off.

Don’t miss

Fossicking for topaz at Killiecrankie Bay.

Black Shack

5. Stanthorpe, QLD

If Queensland wasn’t on your cosy winter destinations list, think again. A three-hour drive from Brisbane, Stanthorpe proudly embraces its tag as Queensland’s coldest town (there’s even the occasional snow fall).                                                

The countryside is enveloped by misty mornings in winter, which usually make way for clear days – ideal for sampling the region’s gourmet offerings or local wineries.

Where to stay

Alure Stanthorpe offers sophisticated villas with crackling fires, kitchens and floor-to-ceiling views of the native gardens and nearby ranges – perfect for relaxing and reconnecting.

Don’t miss                            

A stroll along one of Girraween National Park’s many trails. 

Alure Stanthorpe

Things you should know

An earlier version of this article was published in Brighter magazine

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