Goodbye, cold weather: 4 warm destinations to escape to

man and woman watching a tropical island sunset

Zoe Macfarlane

Posted August 29, 2022

If Melbourne’s continued chills are making you feel like you’ll never get warm again, it’s time to say goodbye to cold weather, hello summer and escape to a tropical paradise.

Whether it’s relaxing in Rarotonga, blissing out in Bali or choosing chill time in the Cook Islands, the sun is waiting, the beaches are pristine, and the locals welcoming! Bespoke travel experts Designer Journeys have selected four of the best destinations for a quick getaway close to Australia that allow you to ditch the puffer jackets, beanies and gloves for swimmers, sunscreen, and shades. RACV Members can unlock exclusive travel experiences and discounts with Designer Journeys.

woman in a boat in a Vietnam canal

The Mekong River is a must-see in Vietnam.


The warmth received on a trip to Vietnam is not only received from the sun but the heart-warming hospitality of the Vietnamese people. Famed for their kindness and readiness to connect, the Vietnamese transform a good holiday into a great one. For a quick getaway, head to one of Vietnam’s three regions – North, Central, and South Vietnam.

Start your Northern Vietnam journey by exploring the centuries-old delights of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. From Hanoi, gain easy access to the UNESCO-protected Halong Bay. Peace ensues as you sail the towering limestone cliffs through one of the world’s finest natural landscapes. Also in the north, take a bespoke trip to the hill tribes of Sapa, where centuries-old cultures have thrived amid the vibrant rice paddy fields, or visit hill tribes of Muong Hoa Valley. For tea lovers, tea trees centuries old are just waiting to be discovered and admired. 

Central Vietnam is home to one of the country’s most popular destinations, the ancient town of Hoi An. This 16th-century haven offers a glimpse into old Vietnam whilst spoiling you with fabulous dining, shopping, and a range of private tours to connect to the history and culture of Hoi An. In nearby Hue, learn the history of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the centuries-old Imperial City.

In Southern Vietnam, compare the thriving metropolis of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) with the sleepy pace of life on the nearby Mekong River. You can also learn about Vietnam’s more recent history at the moving Cu Chi Tunnels.

Whether you’d like a bespoke package or would prefer a ready-made private tour, your Designer Journey’s Local Designer is on hand to craft the perfect Vietnamese itinerary.


man and woman holding hands and walking in Bali

Bali is a great affordable tropical destination.


Tropical, carefree, affordable, and fun, a holiday in Bali is as far removed from a Melbourne winter as you can imagine. From beachside sojourns and cultural gems to mesmerising landscapes, immerse yourself in the best of Bali.

Beaches are a must in Bali. Choose your favourite based on vibes and activities. From the laidback Canggu to the swanky Seminyak to the secluded Blue Lagoon, there’s a long sandy beach with your name on it. If you’re travelling with someone special, many of Bali’s beaches dial up the romance.

Aside from sunbathing and watersports, you can also explore the rambling pathways of the Ubud Monkey Forest, learn delectable Balinese dishes in a private cooking lesson, or watch a cultural fire dance at Uluwatu Temple. Heading inland affords a glimpse of the rich tapestries of the Balinese landscape, where lush rice paddy fields and tiny villages sit against the dramatic mountain backdrop. Hike scenic Mt Batur and enjoy a guided tour of a sacred Balinese temple.

If you’re travelling with your family, check out the  best family activities to do in Bali.


pier leading to a pristine island in Fiji

Fiji is synonymous with sunshine.


Fiji is as synonymous with sunshine as coffee is to Melbourne. While your flat white may warm you briefly, a dose of Fiji vibes thaws out your winter blues and resets your mind.

While many consider popular Denarau for their Fiji escape, there are countless other ways to enjoy the 333 islands within this tropical paradise. The Yasawas are idyllic for travellers who want to escape it all. Snorkelling with manta rays and visiting the Blue Lagoon beach is not to be missed. A day cruise to stunning Tivua Island is also a memorable way to experience the warm tropical waters of the Pacific.

To immerse yourself in Fiji’s warm and inviting culture, nothing beats a stay on Savusavu on the Coral Coast. Nicknamed ‘Fiji’s hidden paradise’, the island’s slow pace, nature-focused activities, and opportunities to connect with the beaming locals guarantee that you’re leaving Melbourne’s chilly climes (and emails and chores and schedules) far behind. For foodies, A Great Taste of Fiji Tour also allows you to experience authentic Fijian cooking techniques and local delicacies.

Are you travelling with your plus one? Fiji is a fabulous place to enjoy countless romantic activities and resorts. It’s also a spectacular place to pop the question or even get married! Designers Journeys can tailor a honeymoon itinerary, or their Local Designers can assist with any romantic arrangements, large or small.

For family holidays, Fiji is considered a top destination. Aside from having ample kids’ clubs, there are also fun water parks, child-friendly adventure activities, enriching natural playgrounds, and educational culture tours. Check out the top Fiji family-friendly things to do.


white beach bordered by green forest on one side and blue coral water on the other

The Cook Islands boast palm-fringed islands and a beautiful underwater world.

Cook Islands

If it feels more like fantasy than possibility to sip cocktails poolside, then it's time for a holiday! The Cook Islands have what you need, with sparkling lagoons, palm-fringed islands, and an underwater world that exceeds anything your imagination could conjure up.

A bicycle is a great way to explore the 32-km circuit around Rarotonga, allowing you to absorb more of the stunning scenery at your own pace. Pass rugged mountains and lush farmlands, say hello at tiny villages, and dip into the ocean whenever it takes your fancy. For the fit, rent a mountain bike; for the savvy, book an electric one! By night, take an enchanting kayak tour to Muri lagoon under the starry night sky, followed by a fire and dance performance. A guided progressive dinner through homes in Rarotonga is an authentic way to eat and drink - just like the locals do.

Some 40 minutes from Rarotonga by plane, Aitutaki opens you up to more of the traditions of the Cook Islands. Aside from snorkelling and swimming in Aitutaki’s impressive clear lagoon, you can visit the Punarei Cultural Village where you’ll learn to weave, cook your lunch in the umu (underground oven), and learn about the medicinal local plants.


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