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Expat Exchange - Best Places to Visit in Australia for Christmas Cheer
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Centre Place in Melbourne


Best Places to Visit in Australia for Christmas Cheer

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: Plan a day trip or weekend getaway to get some holiday cheer. This article highlights the best places to visit in Australia for Christmas cheer.

Australia may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a traditional Christmas with snow and sleigh bells, but the Land Down Under offers a unique holiday experience with its warm December weather and festive spirit. Expats and digital nomads looking to get into the holiday mood will find plenty of places across Australia that go all out with Christmas decorations, markets, and events. Here are some of the best places to visit in Australia during December to soak up the holiday cheer.

Sydney's Martin Place

In the heart of Sydney, Martin Place transforms into a festive wonderland each December. The centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree that lights up the area with thousands of sparkling lights. Visitors can enjoy choirs singing carols, interactive displays, and the aroma of seasonal treats filling the air. The Sydney Christmas celebrations usually kick off in late November and continue throughout December, with various events and performances scheduled throughout the month.

We Recommend: Don't miss the opportunity to take a photo with the impressive Martin Place Christmas tree. Also, try the local version of a Christmas treat, such as a mince pie or a refreshing summer-inspired Christmas cocktail from one of the nearby stalls.

Melbourne's Federation Square

Melbourne's Federation Square becomes a hub of Christmas activities with its own version of a Christmas market and a plethora of decorations. The big Christmas tree and light shows are a sight to behold, and the square often hosts a range of family-friendly activities, including workshops and live entertainment. The Christmas Festival in Melbourne typically starts in early December and offers a diverse program of events to celebrate the season.

We Recommend: Be sure to taste the gingerbread cookies often sold at the market, and if you're there at the right time, enjoy the live performances that bring festive music to the square.

Adelaide's Victoria Square

Adelaide's Victoria Square, or Tarntanyangga, is known for its Christmas spirit, with the annual Adelaide Christmas Festival. The square is adorned with lights, a giant Christmas tree, and hosts a variety of events, including the popular Christmas market where artisans sell unique gifts and decorations. The festival usually begins in late November and runs until Christmas Eve.

We Recommend: Sample some of South Australia's finest wines at the market, which are perfect for holiday celebrations, and keep an eye out for the traditional German Christmas treats that are a hit among locals and visitors alike.

Brisbane's South Bank

Brisbane's South Bank is another prime location for Christmas festivities. The South Bank Christmas Markets, part of the larger Christmas in Brisbane celebration, offer everything from fashion to homemade goods, and of course, plenty of food options. The area is also known for its Christmas Parade, which features colorful floats and costumed characters, typically occurring in mid-December.

We Recommend: Indulge in a serving of Christmas pudding ice cream, a local favorite that combines the traditional flavors of Christmas pudding with the cooling relief of ice cream, perfect for Australia's summer heat.

Hobart's Salamanca Place

In Tasmania, Hobart's Salamanca Place is picturesque at any time of year, but it becomes particularly magical during the Christmas season. The famous Salamanca Market takes on a festive twist, with vendors offering seasonal produce, crafts, and gifts. The Taste of Tasmania festival, which usually starts just after Christmas, is also a great place to enjoy the holiday spirit with a focus on local food and drinks.

We Recommend: Try the Tasmanian cherries, which are in season and make for a deliciously fresh Christmas treat, and don't miss out on the local seafood, which is a staple at the Taste of Tasmania festival.

Perth's Forrest Chase

Perth celebrates Christmas with style at Forrest Chase, where the city's Christmas Lights Trail comes alive. This self-guided trail takes you through a series of light installations and projections throughout the city, with Forrest Chase acting as a central point. The Christmas Nativity, which is usually held in early December, is a highlight for many visitors and locals.

We Recommend: Enjoy the spectacle of the Christmas Lights Trail, and make sure to grab a cup of hot chocolate from one of the nearby vendors to keep you warm as you explore the dazzling displays.

Canberra's City Centre

The nation's capital, Canberra, lights up during the holiday season with its Christmas in the City event. The city centre is adorned with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market offers a variety of goods, from arts and crafts to delicious food. The event usually features a large Christmas tree and sometimes an ice-skating rink, adding to the festive atmosphere.

We Recommend: Don't miss the chance to skate on the ice rink if it's available, and be sure to try some of the local jams and chutneys that make for perfect holiday gifts or additions to your Christmas feast.

Gold Coast's Surfers Paradise

For a beachside Christmas experience, head to the Gold Coast's Surfers Paradise. The Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets expand with festive cheer, offering everything from artisan gifts to delicious treats. The area is also known for its Carols on the Beach event, which is a unique way to enjoy traditional Christmas carols with your toes in the sand, typically held in the weekend before Christmas.

We Recommend: After browsing the market, join in the Carols on the Beach for a memorable Christmas experience, and try the local seafood, which is fresh and abundant during this time of year.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Centre Place in Melbourne

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