13 Best Places To Visit In January From Australia


Keen on a holiday after the busy festive season? Perhaps you’re looking to escape the Aussie summer? Reset and start your new year off on the right foot with an incredible trip away to one of the following best places to visit in January from Australia!

As an Aussie, January is one of the hottest months of the year so one of my top holiday destinations is hitting the ski slopes in Japan!

If you’re itching to swap that scorching Aussie summer for something a bit different this January, I’ve got you covered.

We know how it goes – you’re back at work after the holidays, reminiscing about the beach BBQs and backyard cricket. But what if I told you that the world is your oyster, even in January?

Yep, it’s time to dust off that suitcase, slap on some sunscreen, and get ready to jet off to some seriously epic destinations.

From snowy wonderlands, and big cities to gorgeous beaches, buckle up as I whisk you away on a whirlwind tour of the best places to hit up this January, all the way from the sunny shores of Australia! Your 2023 adventure starts… now!

✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on DiscoverCars

✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com

✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

best january holiday destinations
Flying from New York to San Fransico

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Best Places To Visit In January From Australia!

In this post, I will take you through the best places to visit in January from Australia, from the sun to the skies. 

Depending on where you are headed, January can be peak travel time due to school holidays in the Southern Hemisphere or extended Christmas leave. 

But don’t let that stop you! These are truly the best places to visit in January from Australia factoring in weather, cost, and peak travel rushes.


Make the most of public holidays in January to score extra Annual Leave days for free!
Jet off just before or after New Year’s to make the most of the New Year’s Day holiday. Or wait until the end of January to make use of the Australia Day public holiday on the 26th of January!

Domestic Trips – Places To Visit In January In Australia

Australia is filled with epic adventures, you don’t even need to leave the country for a memorable trip!

From the beaches on the west coast to the wildlife down south, let’s cover the best places to visit in January in Australia.

warm places to visit in january
Naked for Satan Rooftop Bar, Melbourne

1. Melbourne

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 16° / 26°
Cost: $$$

Melbourne, the coastal capital of Victoria is filled with art, culture, trendy cafes, and bars.

Drink some of the world’s best coffee and enjoy some of the most delicious cafe brunches. 

Melbournes is also very well known for its street art and urban vibe. The council has designated certain areas as approved for street artists. The art is exceptionally high quality and changes regularly with budding street artists itching to show their artistic side of graffiti. 

You can find a map of street art in Melbourne here.

Next, visit Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. A gorgeous sight that is listed on the Victorian Heritage listing. Federation Square is iconic in Melbourne with a unique and fascinating architectural design. 

If you are a fashion fanatic, Melbourne offers world-class shopping. Chapel Street in particular is popular with locals and celebrities. For more eclectic vintage finds check out Fitzroy. 

For the foodies, I loved visiting The Queen Victoria markets which are filled with an abundance of local produce, cheeses, meats, hand-crafted jewellery, and crafts. 

Lastly, add St Kilda to your itinerary, Melbourne’s most famous beach. Known for its colorful bathing boxes, the iconic pier, and beautiful coastlines, step out of the city centre and enjoy a day by the seaside. 

Things To Do In Melbourne In January

Start your year right with these exciting things to do in Melbourne in January.

  • Explore the Arts and Culture: Melbourne’s art and cultural scene is thriving. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) to admire an extensive collection of artworks, from classic to contemporary. You can also explore the city’s numerous galleries and art spaces for a dose of creativity.

  • Café Culture: Melbourne is known for its coffee culture. Spend your mornings exploring the city’s iconic laneways to discover cozy cafés that serve up exceptional brews and delicious brunch options.

  • Queen Victoria Market: Get a taste of Melbourne’s local flavours at the Queen Victoria Market. From fresh produce and gourmet treats to unique crafts and clothing, this historic market is a treasure trove for shoppers and foodies.

  • Yarra River Activities: The Yarra River offers various recreational opportunities. Take a leisurely walk along the riverbanks, rent a kayak or paddleboard for an aquatic adventure, or simply relax by the water with a book.

  • Culinary Experiences: Besides cafés, Melbourne boasts a diverse culinary scene. Venture into neighbourhoods like Fitzroy and Brunswick to savour global cuisines, from authentic Italian to mouthwatering Asian fusion.

  • Street Art Tours: Embark on a self-guided or guided street art tour to discover Melbourne’s world-famous urban art scene. The city’s laneways are a canvas for talented artists to express their creativity.

  • Beach Time: While festivals might not be your thing, Melbourne’s beaches are worth a visit. Bask in the sun at St. Kilda Beach, enjoy a peaceful day at Brighton Beach, or take a scenic coastal walk along the shores.

Where To Stay In Melbourne In January

✔️ Quest Docklands

Docklands is an inner city suburb of Melbourne that is a great spot to stay to explore the shops and range of cafes and restaurants along the docks.

Only a short 2km walk from the city, Docklands is a great place to stay to be close to the action but in a safe more chilled atmosphere.

I highly recommend staying at Quest NewQuay in Docklands, for a great value, comfortable room.

Situated close to the tram, getting into the city is a breeze. Plus the views from the hotel are gorgeous!

A studio apartment starts at a great price of $ 183 AUD per night.

➡️ Book your stay at Quest Docklands

Sunshine Coast beaches are one of the best places to visit in January

2. Sunshine Coast

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 21° / 29°
Cost: $$

Next up on the list of the best places to visit in January from Australia is the Sunny Coast!

Visiting the Sunshine Coast in January is like stepping into a paradise of endless summer vibes.

With its golden beaches, clear blue waters, and relaxed atmosphere, this coastal gem in Queensland, Australia, is the ultimate destination to kick off the new year.

Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, ride the waves, or explore the natural beauty of the hinterland, the Sunshine Coast has something for everyone.

With temperatures soaring and the ocean at its warmest, January is perfect for swimming, surfing, and enjoying water activities.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the charming coastal towns like Noosa, where you can indulge in world-class dining, boutique shopping, and leisurely walks along the boardwalk.

Plus, with the Sunshine Coast’s lush hinterland just a stone’s throw away, you can immerse yourself in the tranquillity of rainforests, and waterfalls, and indulge in wine tasting.

January on the Sunshine Coast offers an ideal blend of relaxation and adventure, making it the perfect escape for those seeking a sunny start to the year.

Things to Do in The Sunshine Coast in January

Absolutely, here are some fantastic things to do on the Sunshine Coast in January:

  • Visit Australia Zoo: Get up close and personal with amazing wildlife at Australia Zoo, made famous by the late Steve Irwin. Experience animal encounters, watch thrilling shows, and learn about conservation efforts.

  • Water Sports: January is prime time for water sports. Try your hand at kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, or even take a surfing lesson to ride the waves like a pro.

➡️ Book 2hrs surfing lessons at Noosa Heads

  • Eumundi Markets: Discover unique arts, crafts, and local produce at the Eumundi Markets, held every Wednesday and Saturday. It’s the perfect place to find souvenirs and enjoy delicious street food.

  • Day Trip to Fraser Island: Hop on a day tour to Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. Explore stunning lakes, ancient rainforests, and drive along its sandy highways.

✔️ Click Here to Book a Day Trip from Rainbow Beach to K’gari Fraser Island

  • Whale Watching: January marks the tail end of the whale watching season. Book a whale-watching tour to witness the majestic humpback whales on their migration route.

➡️ Click Here to Book Whale Watching Without the Crowds

Where To Stay In The Sunshine Coast

Novotel Twin Waters

I highly recommend you book your stay at Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast, just 10 minutes north of Maroochydore.

You can expect to be drinking cocktails by the pool at happy hour, enjoying a short walk to the beach, taking photos of Kangaroos by the lake and capsizing a canoe. It’s a getaway with everything you need in one spot.

Why not take day trip to Noosa, it’s about a 30-40min drive away.

For the ultimate luxe resort-style holiday that makes for epic Intsa photos and relaxing in style, Novotel Twin Waters is the place to be.

✔️ Click here to book your stay at Twin Waters!

Lucky Bay beach is a spectualar place to visit in January in Australia

3. South West of Perth

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 19° / 30°
Cost: $$

Western Australia is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit in January.

Due to the summer heat, I recommend taking a trip down south instead of north, and what better way than by a road trip?

Embarking on a road trip to the southwest of Perth in January promises an unforgettable adventure filled with coastal beauty, cultural delights, and boundless exploration. If you have the time venture as far as Esperance, known for its bright blue waters and kangaroos lining the beaches!

On your trip, explore the pristine beaches of Margaret River, Busselton, and Dunsborough for sun-soaked relaxation and exhilarating water activities.

Along the way, you’ll discover world-renowned wineries, where you can savour the region’s finest wines and indulge in gourmet delights.

Be sure to make the visit to the iconic Busselton Jetty, the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.

Whether you’re exploring underground caves, sampling local produce at bustling markets, or gazing at the breathtaking sunsets, a road trip through the southwest of Perth in January is a journey of discovery, relaxation, and nature’s wonders.

Things To Do On a South West Road Trip In January

Here are some amazing things to do on a road trip in the southwest of Perth in January:

  • Visit the Beaches: Explore the stunning beaches along the coastline. From the turquoise waters of Albany to the rugged beauty of Yallingup Beach, you’ll find plenty of spots to swim, surf, and relax.

  • Wine Tasting: The Margaret River region is famous for its wineries. Take a wine tasting tour and sample award-winning wines while enjoying picturesque vineyard views.

➡️ Book Your Margaret River Small-Group Full-Day Wine & Food Tour

  • Cave Exploration: Discover the fascinating underground world of caves in the region. Places like Mammoth Cave and Lake Cave offer guided tours that unveil stunning formations and intriguing stories.

➡️ Click Here To Book Mammoth Cave Self-guided Audio Tour

  • Busselton Jetty: Walk or ride along the iconic Busselton Jetty, stretching nearly 2 km into the Indian Ocean. You can also take the jetty train for a unique experience.

  • Scenic Drives: The roads winding through the southwest are a treat in themselves. Drive through towering forests, lush farmland, and coastal cliffs, stopping at viewpoints for breathtaking panoramas.

  • Water Activities: Besides swimming and surfing, enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding in the crystal-clear waters of the region.

  • Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for wildlife. You might spot kangaroos, wallabies, and a variety of bird species in their natural habitats.

Kangaroo Island is on best places to visit in January in Australia

4. Kangaroo Island

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 13° / 25°
Cost: $$

Kangaroo Island in January is a true natural wonderland. I took a solo road trip to Kangaroo Island in January and it was nothing short of spectacular. As an Aussie who is used to great beaches, the turquoise waters on Kangaroo Island are next level!

Plus kangaroos are a common sight and the vast island with loads to explore means it never feels crowded, even during peak season.

January offers the perfect weather to wander along secluded shores, such as Vivonne Bay or Emu Bay, where you can relax, swim, and soak up the sun’s warmth. It is also a great place to escape the scorching heat further north of Australia.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be in awe as they encounter sea lions basking on the shorelines and playful dolphins frolicking in the waters.

Take a stroll through Flinders Chase National Park to witness the Remarkable Rocks, naturally sculpted by the elements, and the Admirals Arch, a striking rock formation that’s home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals.

With a range of outdoor activities, seriously picturesque landscapes, and loads of wildlife to spot, Kangaroo Island in January offers a wonderful trip!

Things To Do In Kangaroo Island In January

Here were my favourite things to do on Kangaroo Island in summer!

  • Wildlife Encounters: Wander through Flinders Chase National Park to see kangaroos, koalas, and the adorable tammar wallabies. Seal Bay Conservation Park is a must-visit to observe Australian sea lions up close.
  • Beach Bliss: Enjoy the summer sun on Kangaroo Island’s beautiful beaches. Whether it’s the white sands of Vivonne Bay or the serene waters of Emu Bay, swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing are a must.

  • Remarkable Rocks: Marvel at the natural wonder of Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park. These unique granite formations have been sculpted by wind and sea, creating a surreal landscape.

  • Admirals Arch: Visit Admirals Arch, where you can view the resident New Zealand fur seal colony. The arch is a stunning geological formation, and the sight and sound of seals adds to the experience.

  • Explore Seal Bay: Embark on a guided tour at Seal Bay Conservation Park to witness sea lions lounging on the sand or frolicking in the waves. It’s a rare opportunity to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

  • Sandboarding at Little Sahara: For a unique adventure, try sandboarding down the dunes at Little Sahara. It’s an exhilarating activity that promises both fun and unforgettable views.

Where To Stay On Kangaroo Island

Aurora Ozone Hotel

I stayed in the Aurora Ozone hotel which had everything I needed. 

The room I booked was the executive double room which had a single bed and a king bed, perfect for up to three people. There is Wi-FI, air conditioning, comfy beds, a small fridge and some kitchen essentials. The room is cleaned daily which is always a treat when you’re on holiday.

There is a restaurant onsite with beach views that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. For $25AUD you can purchase a buffet breakfast which was great. The lunch and dinner options are typical bistro food that has a fair price for the location on the beach. 

Located in Kingscote it is the perfect location for exploring the key sights of Kangaroo Island.

➡️ Click here to book your stay at Aurora Ozone Hotel

Short Haul International – Best Places To Visit In January From Australia

Want to explore beyond Australia but don’t want to waste your precious time off sitting on a plane? These are the best short-haul international places to visit in January from Australia.

Queenstown is one of the best places to visit in January from Australia

5. Queenstown

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 9° / 22°
Cost: $$

Next on the list of the best places to visit in January from Australia is a personal favourite of mine.

Let’s talk about Queenstown in January – it’s like hitting the adventure jackpot in a postcard-perfect setting! Queenstown is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

The rugged mountains that surround the town make every way you turn absolutely stunning.

This place is a total stunner, nestled between epic mountains and the sparkling Lake Wakatipu.

So, picture this: you’re soaking up the Kiwi summer vibes with a side of heart-pounding fun.

You’ve got bungee jumping, jet boating that’ll make your hair stand on end, and trails that scream for your hiking boots or mountain bike.

And let’s not forget the lake – it’s perfect for lazy cruises, throwing in a fishing line, or just lounging by the shore with a chilled drink.

When you’re ready to swap the outdoors for some town action, Queenstown’s got you covered with its cool shops, tasty eats, and cozy bars.

Oh, and the sunsets here? Unreal.

As the day winds down, the town lights up, and you’re in for some seriously awesome evenings. If you’re all about mixing adventure with laid-back vibes, Queenstown in January is calling your name.

Things To Do In Queenstown in January

Ready for an epic adventure? Queenstown in January is packed with awesome activities that will keep your heart racing and your camera clicking.

  • Bungee Jumping: Take a leap of faith off the famous Kawarau Bridge or the hair-raising Nevis Bungy – trust us, your adrenaline will thank you!

  • Jet Boating: Hold on tight as you zoom through narrow canyons on a jet boat ride, getting splashed and thrilled like never before.

➡️ Book Shotover River: Extreme Jet Boat Experience

  • Hiking and Biking: Lace up those hiking boots or rent a mountain bike to explore Queenstown’s stunning trails, like the Queenstown Hill or Ben Lomond tracks.

  • Milford Sound Adventure: Don’t miss a trip to the breathtaking Milford Sound. Cruise amidst towering fjords, waterfalls, and dramatic landscapes – a highlight of any Queenstown visit.

➡️ Click Here To Book Milford Sound Coach & Cruise Full-Day Trip

  • Cruises on Lake Wakatipu: Hop on a boat and cruise along the breathtaking Lake Wakatipu, soaking in the scenery and snapping envy-inducing pics.

✔️ Book The Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

  • Wine Tasting: Not all thrills involve speed. Sip on some of New Zealand’s finest wines in nearby Gibbston Valley, known for its vineyards and charming cellar doors.

➡️ Discover the Otago Winery Tour with Gourmet Wine & Food-Paired Lunch

  • Luge Fun: Embrace your inner kid with the Skyline Luge – a gravity-fueled adventure where you race down the track in a little cart. Whee!

  • Explore Arrowtown: Take a short drive to the charming Arrowtown, known for its historic gold mining past, cute shops, and stunning autumn colours. Trust me, it’s worth a visit!

Where To Stay In Queenstown In January

Mi-pad Queenstown

Mi-pad Queenstown provides 4-star lodging in a prime location!

It presents a variety of room options, each offering unique views based on their category. Certain rooms even come with inviting balconiess

Book your stay at Mi-Pad Queenstown

best holiday destinations in january for sun
Niseko, Japan in January

6. Niseko, Japan

Quick Info

Season: Winter
Average January Temperatures: -2° / -11°
Cost: $$$

First up, and probably my favourite January holiday destination is hitting the slopes of Niseko in Japan.

For three consecutive years, my family and friends journeyed from Australia to Japan to experience some top-quality skiing and escape the Brisbane summer heat. Unfortunately, 2020 broke the streak.

Japan is a great holiday destination for Australians as it is relatively close and the time differences are similar, so no jet lag! Hop on a red-eye flight and arrive the following night. 

Things To Do In Niseko In January

Beyond skiing, you can enjoy watching the winter wonderland from resorts or coffee shops, stroll around Kuchan Town, try the local cuisine or warm up in an outdoor onsen (hot springs). 

If you are an avid skier, Niseko has been awarded the best ski terrain in Japan. The soft powder snow in abundance and the dry, light snowfall makes for optimal ski conditions. 

I found Niseko a great place for beginners to learn the slopes and progress through to more advanced runs. There are plenty of green runs or test your skills on black runs. 

Stop for a katsu curry and Asaii beer to refuel in between runs or keep a couple of cold ones in the car for after your ski, leave the esky behind, they will stay super cold in the open!

Niseko is expensive. In particular, accommodation is pricey during the winter time. The closer to the slopes the more expensive it will be. Combined with ski rentals, ski passes, and transport to and from the mountains, expect to spend at least a couple thousand dollars. 

Where To Stay In Niseko In January

  • The Maples Niseko (ski-to-door access, a minute’s walk from Niseko, Grand Hirafu luxury)
  • Australia House (budget accommodation offering a ski school and storage, a 10-minute walk to Grand Hirafu)
  • Chatrium Niseko (located in Hirafu, 5-minute shuttle bus to Niseko United Ski Resort, great for families or groups) 
  • Lodge 401 (mid-range lodge, ski-to-door access in Annupuri, close to hot springs)

7. Koh Samui, Thailand

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 23° / 27°
Cost: $

Koh Samui in January is a tropical paradise that beckons with its warm sunshine, stunning waters, and a vibrant blend of relaxation and adventure.

As the peak of the dry season, this Thai island welcomes visitors with balmy temperatures and minimal rainfall. It’s the perfect time to sink your toes into soft sandy beaches, from the bustling Chaweng Beach to the tranquil Bophut Beach.

January offers ideal conditions for snorkelling and diving, allowing you to explore the vibrant marine life and colourful coral reefs that surround the island.

Beyond the beaches, immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the Big Buddha temple or the lively Fisherman’s Village Night Market.

As the sun sets, the island’s nightlife comes alive with beach parties and vibrant bars.

Just a word of warning, January is peak season for Thailand so prepare for it to be busy! Make sure to book well in advance.

Things To Do In Koh Samui

Get ready to dive into a world of tropical delights on the beautiful island of Koh Samui. Here’s a lineup of awesome activities!

  • Beach Bliss: From lively Chaweng Beach to the serene Lamai Beach, Koh Samui boasts stunning shores. Relax under swaying palms, swim in crystal-clear waters, and soak up the sun.

  • Big Buddha Temple: Pay a visit to the iconic Big Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Yai), a revered site housing a majestic golden statue that overlooks the island and offers panoramic views.

  • Fisherman’s Village Night Market: Immerse yourself in the vibrant local scene at the Fisherman’s Village Night Market in Bophut. Enjoy street food, shop for souvenirs, and embrace the lively atmosphere.

  • Island Hopping: Explore nearby islands like Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. Each island has its own unique charm and offers opportunities for relaxation, snorkelling, and adventure.

  • Namuang Waterfall: Trek to the picturesque Namuang Waterfall and take a refreshing dip in the natural pools beneath the cascades.

  • Spa Indulgence: Pamper yourself with a traditional Thai massage or indulge in a spa treatment at one of the island’s luxurious wellness centers.

  • Elephant Encounters: Get up close and personal with elephants at ethical sanctuaries. Feed, bathe, and interact with these gentle giants in a responsible and respectful way.

➡️ Book an Ethical Elephant Home Guided Tour with Transfers

  • Sunset Cruises: Set sail on a sunset cruise around the island, sipping cocktails as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky in hues of gold and pink.

➡️ Book Mu Ko Ang Thong Park: Semi-private Sunset Cruise Tour

Dhigurah Maldives is one of the best places to visit in January from Australia

8. Dhigurah, Maldives

Dhigurah, Maldives in January is a tropical paradise that promises a magical escape from the ordinary.

With its pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and vibrant marine life, this small island is a haven for those seeking both relaxation and adventure.

January is an ideal time to visit, as the weather is warm and dry, making it perfect for soaking up the sun and indulging in water activities.

Snorkelling and diving enthusiasts will be in awe of the breathtaking coral reefs and the chance to swim alongside graceful manta rays and gentle whale sharks.

Dhigurah’s laid-back atmosphere invites you to unwind on the beach, have picnic sand banks and savour the island’s delectable seafood cuisine.

The island’s small size ensures a sense of tranquillity and seclusion, allowing you to truly escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And if you think Maldives is only for luxurious honeymoons or those with loads of cash to spare, think again!

By visiting the local islands such as Dhigurah you can enjoy a surprisingly affordable getaway.

Things To Do In Dhigurah

Let’s break down the best things to do in Dhigurah Maldives!

  • Snorkelling and Diving: Dive into the turquoise waters and explore the stunning coral reefs that surround Dhigurah. The island is renowned for its proximity to manta ray cleaning stations and whale shark sightings, offering an incredible underwater experience.

  • Whale Shark Excursions: Join guided tours to swim with the gentle giants of the ocean – whale sharks. These majestic creatures are a breathtaking sight.

  • Beach Relaxation: Indulge in ultimate relaxation on the island’s pristine beaches. Bask in the sun, read a book or take a long beach walk.

  • Island Hopping: Explore neighbouring islands to experience the local culture and way of life. Maamigili Island is a short boat ride away and offers a chance to interact with Maldivian residents.

  • Water Sports: Try your hand at various water sports, from kayaking and paddleboarding to jet skiing and windsurfing.

  • Relax at Spas: Pamper yourself with luxurious spa treatments offered by the island’s resorts. Enjoy massages, facials, and wellness rituals.

  • Visit Sandbanks: Take a boat trip to the nearby sandbanks, pristine stretches of white sand surrounded by the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. They’re seriously beautiful.

  • Day Trips to Resorts: Experience the luxury and amenities of nearby resorts by taking day trips. Enjoy activities like water sports, dining at world-class restaurants, and lounging by infinity pools. Plus you can only drink alcohol on resort islands not local islands so be sure to get a cocktail!

Where To Stay In Dhigurah In January

Seaside Dhigurah

Seaside Dhigurah presents accommodations featuring a private beach area and a terrace, conveniently located around 200 meters from Dhigurah North West Beach.

This property boasts an array of amenities, including a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk, and round-the-clock security.

And it is excellent value! Relatively affordable for the Maldives.

➡️ Book your stay at Seaside Dhigurah

Long Haul International – Best Places To Visit In January From Australia

Looking to venture further out for an unforgettable trip? These are the best places to visit in January from Australia!

best places to travel in january 2022
Table Mountain, Cape Town

9. Johannesburg, South Africa

Quick Info

Season: Summer
Average January Temperatures: 15° / 26°
Cost: $$

Number 9 on the list of the best places to visit in January from Australia is Johannesburg. I visited Joburg and Cape Town in January as part of a Water polo trip and fell in love with the country!

The animals, the diverse way of living, the cultural experiences and the natural scenery, it’s all fantastic.

South Africa in January is one of the hottest yet best months to visit the beaches and witness incredible sunsets. 

While you will find the place crowded with tourists, the places to visit aren’t short on thrill and excitement. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t plan your trip at the start of the year to this beautiful country.

You can’t visit South Africa without going on a safari to see the spectacular native animals. 

If you enjoy horse riding, you can actually go on a wildlife safari riding them. Get even closer to nature by riding a horse and seeing the beauty of everything up close. Witness giraffes, wildebeest, and zebras pass you by, an unforgettable experience. 

Before you leave Johannesburg, stop by the famous Sun City, located 2 hours outside of Johannesburg. Sprawling with luxurious casinos, hotels, restaurants, and my favourite, water parks!

Things To Do In Johannesburg In January

Johannesburg in January offers a vibrant start to the year with a mix of cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and entertainment. Lets dive in.

  • Visit Apartheid Museum: Immerse yourself in South Africa’s history at the Apartheid Museum. Gain insights into the country’s past and its journey towards democracy through interactive exhibits and powerful displays.

  • Explore Maboneng Precinct: Wander through the trendy Maboneng Precinct, known for its artsy atmosphere, hip cafes, boutiques, and street art. It’s a hub of creativity and urban culture.

  • Lion and Safari Park: Get a taste of the wild by visiting the Lion and Safari Park. See lions, cheetahs, giraffes, and other animals up close, and even have the chance to interact with lion cubs.

  • Constitution Hill: Discover the important role of Constitution Hill in South Africa’s history. This former prison complex has transformed into a museum that highlights the struggle for human rights.

  • Market on Main: Experience the vibrant Market on Main, where you can sample local foods, shop for unique crafts, and enjoy live music in a lively atmosphere.

  • Explore Soweto: Take a guided tour of Soweto, a historic township that played a significant role during the struggle against apartheid. Visit landmarks like Vilakazi Street, Hector Pieterson Memorial and Nelson Mandela House.

  • Hiking and Nature Trails: Enjoy the summer weather by exploring hiking trails in nearby nature reserves like Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden or Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve.

  • Live Music and Performances: Check out the local live music scene by attending concerts and performances at venues like The Orbit Jazz Club or Bassline.

10. United States, San Fransico

Quick Info

Season: Winter
Average January Temperatures: 8° / 14°
Cost: $$$

Next up, San Fransico in winter is very bearable with temperatures around 50 Fahrenheit. It is certainly a milder winter than in other American states. 

I visited San Fransico back in 2014 over the winter break and it is one of the best January holiday destinations, particularly if you want to escape summer but don’t want to experience below-zero temperatures or snowy conditions. 

Things To Do In San Fransico

I recommend adding the following to your San Fransico itinerary: 

  • Bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge: See the Golden Gate Bridge up close as you ride across it. Beware, there are loads of cyclists, often travelling quite fast, so riding slowly to take in the scenery can be tricky. 
  • Alcatraz Island: A short boat ride from Pier 33 along Fisherman’s Wharf will take you to the infamous high-security prison. Take a tour and learn all about famous prison breaks and the conditions prisoners were exposed to as you walk through the cells. 
  • Fishermans Wharf: Enjoy fresh fish and chips or the signature clam chowder after strolling around the wharf. Watch the Sea Lion’s sun baking on Pier 39. 
  • Lombard Street: Claimed to be the most crooked street in the world. A steep street with 8 hairpin turns, it’s certainly unique. 
  • Cabel car through the city: Lastly, hop on the cable cars to the city and check out the abundance of shops, restaurants, and department stores. 

best holiday destinations december january
Times Square, New York

11. United States, New York

Quick Info

Season: Winter
Average January Temperatures: -8° / 4°
Cost: $$$

Last but certainly not least on the list of best January holiday destinations is New York City!

In January New York is below freezing but it is also the cheapest time to visit the expensive city. Save money, skip queues, and snatch up some great deals. If you want to experience the New York Christmas cheer and New Year’s Eve celebrations, I recommend travelling end of December. 

If you’re not convinced yet, did you know in January there are 2-for-1 Broadway tickets during Broadway week?

Things To Do In New York In January

My top recommendations for sights to see during your travels are: 

  • Empire State Building: View the impressive sweeping views from the top of the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock. It’s a magnificent site and one of the best ways to take in all of New York.

  • Explore iconic movie scene sets: If you are a Friend’s fan like I am, visit the iconic Friends apartment block located in Greenwich Village at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street. Sit on the Met Steps in true Gossip Girl style, visit the Law and Order court house or check out the Seinfeld cafe in Harlem. 

  • Statue of Liberty: Jump on a ferry tour to see the Statue of Liberty up close. 

  • Shop in Soho: Soho is one of the city’s prime shopping destinations, and we all know New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world.

  • The Met Museum: Explore the art, history, and culture of New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of the world’s largest and finest museums spanning over 5,000 years of art from around the world. Pieces you must see include Van Gough, The Egyptian Temple of Dendur, The Dance Class painting by Edgar Degas, and the Greek and Roman sculpture court 

  • Times Square: The heart of New York is often what people picture when thinking of New York. Check out the hustle and bustle of Times Square, once is probably enough as it is filled with tourists and can be quite overwhelming.

  • Brooklyn Bridge: Walk along Brooklyn Bridge and stop for a bite of New York’s finest pizza at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (or in my opinion at least).

  • Central Park: Take time out of the busy city by walking, running or having a picnic in central park. 

  • 9/11 Memorial: Lastly, pay your respects at the 9/11 memorial site. 

best places to visit in december in europe
Zermatt, Switzerland

12. Switzerland, Zermatt

Zermatt is a charming village overlooking the highest peak in Europe, The Matterhorn. Zermatt’s cozy wooden chalets, historic homes, and the ever-present towering mountains are magical places to enjoy Christmas.

Zermatt is a haven for expert skiers. Fresh powder, a guaranteed snowfall in December, epic ski-lift views, and gorgeous resorts to unwind in. 

The ​​après-ski scene (after skiing) or activities beyond the slopes for non-skiers is also some of the best around. Experience mountain excursions, tobogganing, paragliding or enjoy more relaxing outdoor activities such as taking a stroll around the town. 

Escape the winter chills by exploring the restaurant scene or immerse yourself in the town’s history at museums. 

The spectacular views, winter sports, and quaint towns do come at quite an expensive price tag. If you have the budget it’s worth every cent! A trip that won’t disappoint. 

Things To Do In Zermatt

Zermatt in January is a winter wonderland waiting to be explored, offering a delightful mix of snow-covered landscapes, outdoor adventures, and cozy alpine experiences.

Here’s a list of things to do to make the most of your time in this charming Swiss mountain town.

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Zermatt is a world-renowned ski destination, and January is the perfect time to hit the slopes.

  • Matterhorn Glacier Paradise: Take a cable car ride up to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, the highest cable car station in Europe. Enjoy panoramic views, visit the ice palace, and experience the thrill of being on top of the world.

  • Gornergrat Railway: Hop aboard the Gornergrat Railway, a vintage cogwheel train that takes you to the Gornergrat summit. The views are insane!

➡️ Book your Gornergrat Bahn Cogwheel Train Ticket Now!

  • Sleigh Rides: Experience the magic of winter with a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snowy countryside.

  • Ice Climbing: If you’re feeling adventurous, try ice climbing on frozen waterfalls. Guided tours are available for both beginners and experienced climbers.

  • Zermatt Village Exploration: Stroll through the car-free village, admiring the traditional Swiss chalets and charming streets. Explore local shops, and galleries, and enjoy Swiss cuisine at the restaurants.

  • Swiss Fondue Feast: Indulge in a traditional Swiss fondue meal at a local restaurant. There’s nothing quite like enjoying gooey cheese while surrounded by snowy mountains.

Where to stay in Zermatt

Matterhorn Lodge Hotel & Appartements – Alpine style, wellness spaces, 3 saunas, fantastic proximity to ski lifts 

Hotel Holiday – Close to the city center, balcony with mountain views, ski-to-door access for advanced skiers

Zermatt Youth Hostel – Surrounded by the mountains, great for skiers 

best places to visit in december in world
Lapland, Finland

13. Lapland, Finland

Last but by no means least on the list of the best things to do in January from Australia is the gorgeous Lapland.

Finland is just as beautiful in January as it is during the summer. Venture to Lapland to witness the mind-blowing Northern Lights unobscured, a sight you can’t see all year round!

To see the Nothern lights, ensure you are far enough from the city’s light pollution by immersing yourself in Finland’s wilderness and keeping an eye on the forecast for clear skies as clouds will block your view.

To maximize your chance of seeing the Northern Lights, consider taking a tour to access remote viewing spots.

Venture to Lapland’s capital, Rovaniemi, not only one of the top places to view the Northern Lights but is also home to the iconic Santa Claus Village. 

What better way to spend Christmas than in the official home of Santa Claus? Get in the festive spirit by visiting his village to see elves hard at work, taking reindeer rides, and discovering how to make igloos! Sounds like something straight out of a Christmas movie right?

Celebrate the end of the year and start the New Year with an unforgettable stay at SnowCastle Hotel in KermiThe hotel complex includes a SnowHotel, SnowRestaurant, and SnowChapel. A sight to be seen to be believed!

Lastly whilst in Lapland, sign up for a thrilling snowmobile and animals day tour. A jam-packed day including a high-speed snowmobile ride, a scenic ride on a reindeer sleigh, and lastly a ride in a husky sleigh!

Things To Do In Lapland In January

Lapland in January is like stepping into a winter wonderland straight out of a fairy tale. Here’s a list of enchanting activities to make your Lapland experience truly magical.

  • Chase the Northern Lights: January is one of the best months to witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights dancing across the Arctic sky. Join a guided tour or venture out on your own to catch this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

➡️ Click Here To Book The Northern Lights Wilderness Tour with Camera

  • Husky Sledding: Embark on a husky sled adventure through snow-covered forests and landscapes. Feel the rush as the eager dogs whisk you through the serene wilderness.

✔️ Why Not Book A Husky Safari on a Snowy Trail

  • Reindeer Encounters: Visit a traditional Sami reindeer farm and enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride. Learn about the Sami culture and their unique way of life in Lapland.

➡️ Book a Reindeer, Huskies & Santa Claus Village Tour

  • Snowmobile Safaris: Get your adrenaline pumping with a snowmobile safari across the snow-blanketed terrain. Choose from short rides to multi-day expeditions for a thrilling experience.

  • Visit Santa Claus Village: No Lapland trip is complete without a visit to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi. Meet Santa, cross the Arctic Circle, and explore festive shops.

  • Stay in an Igloo Hotel: Experience the unique accommodation of an igloo hotel, where you can sleep under the starlit Arctic sky in comfort and warmth.

✔️ Book your stay at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Igloos and Chalets

  • Savour Traditional Cuisine: Relish Lappish delicacies like reindeer meat, salmon, and berry-infused treats. Warm up with hot drinks like glögi (mulled wine) and enjoy hearty meals.

Where to stay in Lapland

Pyhä Igloos – Stunning mountain views, ski-to-door access, spa bath
Holiday Village Inari – Stay in the Aurora Hut for an unforgettable experience, mountain views from your bed, or if you’re lucky the Northern Lights too!

Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos – Stay in a glass igloo in the Arctic Circle, ice bar and 3 restaurants onsite, once in a lifetime experience 

Kierinki Village Majatalo – Great location for skiing, sauna onsite, restaurant, bar, and a shared lounge

FAQs: Best Places To Visit In January From Australia

Moving onto commonly asked questions about the best places to visit in January from Australia.

Which country is best to travel in January?

When it comes to choosing the best country to travel to in January, it largely depends on your preferences and what kind of experience you’re looking for!

If you’re a fan of winter wonderlands and dreamy landscapes blanketed in snow, countries like Switzerland, Canada, and Japan should be at the top of your list.

These destinations offer stunning skiing and snowboarding opportunities, charming Christmas markets that spill into the new year, and the chance to witness some of the most beautiful scenery.

On the flip side, if you’re seeking an escape from the winter chill and yearning for tropical vibes, countries like Thailand, Australia, and Maldives beckon with their warm weather, lush landscapes, and inviting beaches.

The key is to align your travel desires with the climate, activities, and cultural experiences each country has to offer during the magical month of January.

Where do people from Australia go on vacation?

Aussies sure know how to holiday! When they’re not firing up the barbie in their own backyard, you’ll find them exploring the world.

Bali’s a hot favourite – it’s like a home away from home with its stunning beaches and affordable vibes.

Thailand’s another go-to, where the beaches are as inviting as the local street food.

And when Aussies feel like going all out, Europe’s on the cards, especially the big guns like London, Paris, and Rome – who can resist those historic streets and amazing pastries?

Oh, and the good ol’ US of A, can’t be forgotten – Los Angeles’ glamour, New York’s buzz, and Hawaii’s laid-back bliss.

So, whether it’s a quick island escape or a grand overseas adventure, Aussies are up for anything that brings a bit of excitement to their holidays!

What is the cheapest destination out of Australia?

When it comes to finding a budget-friendly escape from Australia, Southeast Asia often takes the cake as the cheapest destination.

Countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia offer incredible value for money without skimping on experiences.

Bali, in particular, has become a go-to for Aussie travellers seeking affordable luxury – from wallet-friendly accommodations to delectable street food that won’t break the bank.

Thailand’s bustling markets, pristine beaches, and reasonably priced activities also make it a hit among budget-conscious adventurers.

So, if you’re looking to stretch your Aussie dollar while still enjoying an unforgettable getaway, Southeast Asia’s where it’s at!

Where should I go on holiday in January in Australia?

January is the perfect time for Aussies to explore their own backyard. The weather is warm and sunny, ideal for hitting the beaches, going snorkelling or heading out on an epic road trip.

If you’re a beach lover, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast offer endless stretches of golden sand and exciting water activities.

For a unique cultural experience, head to Sydney and join in the festivities of the Sydney Festival, where you can enjoy live performances, art installations, and a vibrant atmosphere.

Keen on a road trip? Why not head to the west coast and explore South West of Perth? Stop by Margaret River, explore the incredible rocks of Denmark and even venture to the gorgeous beaches of Esperance.

If you’re after a nature-filled escape, consider venturing to the breathtaking landscapes of Tasmania, where you can hike through national parks, indulge in local cuisine, and enjoy a quieter, more serene holiday.

So, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Australia’s got you covered in January!

The Wrap-Up: Best Places To Visit In January From Australia

As we wrap up this whirlwind tour of the best places to visit in January from Australia, it’s clear that the world is your oyster when it comes to starting the year off with an unforgettable adventure.

From the snowy slopes of Japa to the sun-soaked beaches of Koh Samui, Aussies have a plethora of options that cater to every type of traveller.

Whether you’re seeking an escape from the scorching summer heat, eager to explore vibrant cultures, or simply craving a change of scenery, January offers an array of destinations that are just waiting to be explored.

So, dust off your passport, pack your bags, and embark on a journey that will not only satiate your wanderlust but also create lifelong memories.

Cheers to a year filled with exploration, discovery, and new horizons!

For more destination ideas, check out my top places to visit before 30!

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