Australia & NZ

Where to Keep Cool in Australia This Summer

With Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s feet constantly on the fire, it now seems the rest of Oz is under the spell. Wildfires rage. The meteorological heat index has new colours – ominous purple and vile violet. And ghastly as it is, temperatures of 54°C – or 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit – now enter the discussion with frightful regularity. The tennis pros at Melbourne Park need morphine drips after epic five-setters. Which begs the question. Where to go to keep cool?

Photo credit Australian Bureau of Meteorology

South Bank
Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD

Brisbane’s top man-made beach, pool and waterpark opens at 7 a.m. throughout the summer months.

Where to stay: Royal On The Park Hotel Brisbane

Brisbane City Guide

Minus5 Ice Bar
Shop 39, Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise, QLD

Surfers is not all about fun in the sun. Hot spot Minus5 is a “beautiful people” magnet that doubles as a spectacular cool zone.

Where to stay: Q1 Resort & Spa Gold Coast

Gold Coast City Guide

Fitzroy Pool
160 Alexandra Parade, Fitzroy, VIC

Good pools are not a rarity in Victoria’s capital but Fitzroy’s best place to swim is particularly good when the mercury rises.

Where to stay: The Langham Hotel Melbourne

Chill On Ice Bar
3 Southgate Ave, Southbank, Melbourne, VIC

Beat the heat with a cocktail on the rocks, literally, at Southbank’s swish epitome of cool.

Where to stay: Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Hotel

National Gallery of Victoria
80 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC

Get your culture on while the air con is on. The National Gallery of Victoria has long hours (which sometimes extend, mercifully, for special exhibits) and myriad gallery spaces to wander.

Where to stay: The Swanston Hotel Grand Mercure Melbourne

Melbourne City Guide

WetWorld at the Australian National Maritime Museum
2 Murray St, Darling Harbour, NSW

What a grand idea. Open from December 28 to February 28, the brand new outdoor family play area at the Australian National Maritime Museum is one of the best bets for children to keep cool in the city.

Where to stay: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney

Watsons Bay
Sydney, NSW

Camp Cove beach at Watsons Bay is a top recreation spot when torrid weather sets in. Under-the-radar with tourists but a fave with locals in the know.

Where to stay: The Sebel Surry Hills Hotel Sydney

Hoyts Entertainment Quarter
The Entertainment Quarter/Bent St, Moore Park, Sydney, NSW

Sydney’s most whizz-bang cineplex manages to find new ways to delight and lure customers from the old home entertainment system. Hoyts pulls out all the stops, from cushy lounges to state-of-the-art IMAX and THX and un-theatre-like grub like salt-and-peppper squid and meze dips.

Where to stay: Rydges World Square Hotel Sydney

Sydney City Guide

State Library of South Australia
Kintore Ave, Adelaide, SA

It got so bad in Adelaide recently that the central bus station was open 24/7 to welcome heat-weary residents without air con at home. When the sun scorches, we like to hole up in a good library if we can. The State Library of South Australia is a standout.

Where to stay: The Majestic Roof Garden Hotel Adelaide

Adelaide City Guide


Why Collinsvale, you ask? Well, the wee community 25 km west of Hobart has the coldest maximum average temperature in Australia. Sure, it can be overcast. But no need to slip, slop, slap. And besides, the Museum of Old and New Art probably has superb air con if you need it.

Where to stay: The Henry Jones Art Hotel Hobart

Hobart City Guide

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