With the mercury heading south you might be thinking that the cold weather means an end to the exploring. Well take a break from the hibernation prep. Winter adventures have some massive benefits for explorers, you might just have to go easy on the wild swimming…
You’ll Sweat Less
Let’s face it. No one likes discovering their true, animalistic odour; or the sticky, salty embrace of lightweight polyester. Cold weather is just what you want for a steep climb to the summit that doesn’t leave you moister than an oyster. Walking isn’t just nicer when your face doesn’t have the microclimate of the Daintree, it’s easier. You won’t need to stop as often when the weather’s keeping you cool and while you still have to keep hydrated, you won’t need to hit your Camelbak like it’s an open bar.
There’s Less Chance of Bushfires
Jaunts into the Aussie bush can get sketchy when the needle on the fire danger signs spin past extreme. Even worse, summer here can see flames race up the sides of the gully you were planning on traversing. That’s kind of like nature playing its trump card on your hiking plans. Cooler weather brings with it a much lower risk of your hike becoming a blazing trail instead of the trailblazing you were planning. Always check your local fire service for current warnings just in case.
Insects Can’t Take a bit of Cold
You might be prepared to take on some frosty mornings but creepy crawlies are a bunch of sooks and aren’t the least bit interested if the conditions outside don’t resemble your least favourite underground nightclub. There’s something particularly beautiful about being able to take in a view without the stroboscopic effect of your hand swatting back and forth in front of your face. The bloodsuckers aren’t as interested either and you’ll relish the ability to fall asleep without a faint whine in your ears or the paranoia that sets in after a member of your party finds a leech. We’re lucky in Australia and New Zealand, Josh Stinton is going to be battling snow mosquitoes (!) when he takes on a 700km Arctic Mountain Bike Race in July for charity.
The Sun Has Less Bite
Now I’m not saying that you can’t get sunburnt in the cooler months. If you’re anything like me your computer screen can give you a touch of colour. I’d always recommend a squirt of suncream to keep your skin from taking on the same texture as your hiking boots but that being said: The UV index for Sydney sits at around 11 in December and January but between late April and Early September it doesn’t get past 5. 5 is still considered moderate and it’s going to take a lot more time out there to do any serious damage. Check out your local graph to get the lowdown, it gets a little more hairy up North.
You’ll Actually Want a Camp Fire
Nothing beats chilling out under the stars to the warm glow of a campfire you built yourself with nothing but a few pieces of wood, some matches and a healthy dose of ancestral caveperson skill. That’s if the outdoor temperature is actually lower than the burning point of a chunk of eucalyptus. Not only are summer fires pretty unnecessary, they’re also much more likely to be illegal and straight up dangerous when the surrounding bushland is resembling a tinderbox made of banksia leaves. As always, check the local information for regulations, warnings and bans, or make up a ban if you’re looking for someone to cuddle.
It Rains Less in Winter
An old bloke named Murphy might tell you that the best way to keep it from raining on your trip is to drop a few hundred dollars on a top level rain jacket. Or you could just go in Winter! On average the least rain falls in Australia between late April and September, mimicking that UV window mentioned earlier. If you clicked the link you’ll also have noticed that 2016 was particularly damp. As fun as “hot and wet” sounds, “cool and dry” is the best way to spend a few nights out bush and you’ll be loving it 2 weeks later when you finally get around to unpacking that soggy gear.