With the weather cooling down it’s tempting to stay indoors and hibernate with a good book or Netflix binge, waiting for the sun to come back in spring. There’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with a quiet night in, but staying inside for four months straight is a surefire way to develop a serious case of cabin fever. Just because summer’s gone doesn’t mean there’s no reason to go outside. Autumn and winter are a great time to go adventuring and see a different side to life in the city.
Go hunting for autumn leaves
The best thing about Autumn is undoubtedly the leaves. Get in before they all disappear completely, and find some flashes of red and orange foliage near you. If you’re in Melbourne, the Alfred Nicholas Gardens in Mount Dandenong or Tieve Tara in Mount Macedon are great options. Sydneysiders can drive up to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, or if you’re up for a longer trip, head to Tumut in the Snowy Mountains for the Festival of the Falling Leaf. If you’re in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, head to Toowoomba where you can go for a walk along the Autumn Leaf Trail or drive to Stanthorpe to see some golden-leafed apple orchards. In Canberra, you'll see the best autumn foliage on an amble through the streets of the inner north and inner south suburbs, like Manuka and Kingston.
Check out a festival
Summer may be known for music festivals, but the colder months put up some strong competition with a plethora of food-related festivals. If you’re in Sydney, you can check out the best food and wine the Mudgee region has to offer – right in the central Sydney at the Pyrmont Festival. Brisbane locals can try food from all the city’s favourite restaurants at the Fish Lane Festival, while Melbournians can ward off the chilly weather with some comfort food at the Italian Wine and Food Festival. If you're in Canberra, rug up and head to Enligten Festival for some stunning projections and the Night Noodle Markets.
Head out for a bracing walk or bike ride
If you can handle the chill, now is a wonderful time to explore the great outdoors. If you’re in Sydney, head to Royal National Park for the 26km Bundeena to Otford walk and some dizzying cliff views. Melbournians can explore the Victorian high country with the Pedal & Taste bicycle tour - it starts and ends in Beechworth and includes plenty of food and wine filled stops along the way. If you’re looking to escape Brisbane or the Gold Coast for a day, head to Mount Barney for a challenging hike that will reward you with views across the national park. Canberrans can head out to Stromlo Froest Park to take on some of the 50km of cross country trails.
Keep the romantic flame burning through the colder weather by surprising your love with a well-thought-out date. Pack a picnic and head to your local park or botanic gardens (don’t forget the thermos of hot tea or coffee) and wrap it up with a romantic wander along tree-lined paths. Or if the weather really won’t allow an outdoor activity, get a little more creative than the standard dinner and a movie: why not check out an indoor trampoline park or see what nearby galleries are open after dark?
Start an autumn/winter veggie patch
Whether you’ve got several acres or just a balcony planter box, you can try your hand at growing some seasonal produce this cold season. The cooler weather is a great to time to take up gardening as the veggies that thrive in autumn and winter tend to be hardier and more self-sufficient (in other words: harder to kill). Your local nursery or garden centre will be able to give you specific advice about what to plant for your climate, but in general things like carrots, broccoli, lettuce, radishes and a range of herbs do well in Australia during the cooler months.