Very few Brisbane locals have experienced a white Christmas. If you're looking to swap air conditioning for snow this Christmas, here are five ideas to start your planning.
1. Castles in Europe
Never mind the turkey and Christmas pudding, how about a taste of Europe? From festive Christmas markets in Munich to the romance of Salzburg and locations made famous in the film The Sound of Music and fairytale castles, Brisbane-based small group tour specialist Albatross Tours hosts itineraries from 10 to 17 days across the winter wonderland of Europe.
2. Whitest sand in the world
According to the Guinness Book of Records Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay, on the south coast of New South Wales, has the whitest sand in the world. For a different kind of white Christmas with a classic Aussie twist, stay in a restored whalers cottage, take the White Sands Walk or a guided tour of Booderee National Park with an Aboriginal ranger, chill like a local at Hyams Beach Store and Café or order a gourmet hamper for a picnic from Hyams Beach Hampers, and generally enjoy the beach. Hire a car in Wollongong and enjoy the Grand Pacific Dive along the coast to Jervis Bay.
3. Antarctic Expedition
Imagine life as a polar explorer while kayaking between icebergs, hiking and camping on the ice, visiting historic huts and a research station, viewing penguin colonies, whales and leopard seals during a 10-12 day tour of Earth's southernmost continent. Aurora Expeditions and One Ocean Expeditions operate guided tours to the Antarctic over Christmas aboard refitted research vessels.
4. Hot springs and skiing in Japan
A white Christmas is guaranteed on the snowy slopes of Japan's ski resorts where the average annual snowfall is often more than 13 metres deep. While there are many good resorts in Japan for beginners and experts alike reader reviews on Powder Hounds pronounced Nozawa Onsen best overall.
The traditional village is renowned for its many hot springs - great for après ski - and accommodation in many inns and pensions for an authentic experience. It's not a big resort compared to some others in Japan but it does have more than 50km of slopes and more than 1000 metres of vertical drop. It also gets a big tick for its restaurants, izakayas and karaoke rooms for après fun, and first timers will want to take a side trip to see the snow monkeys.
Gold Coast-based tour specialist Nozawa Holidays offers packages including accommodation and lift tickets over the Christmas period and owner Mark Baumann has been skiing there for more than 25 years so can offer expert advice on how to get there and things to do.
5. Touring the Rockies by train
Dashing through the snow on a two-horse open sleigh, dogsledding, snowshoeing and spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains from the glass dome carriage of The Canadian train are just some of the ways to experience the natural beauty of Canada in winter - from Vancouver to the snowy wonderland of Whistler, Lake Louise, Banff and Calgary on a Christmas in the Rockies tour.