• 2023.06.22
When do Australians take holidays? And where do they go?

Australian main holidays tend to be from December to January (Australian summer) thanks to a combination of Christmas holidays and summer school holidays - the longest of the year - which last six weeks. The off period of the year therefore runs from December 24th to January 26th, but, even in this period, offices, shops and restaurants are open everywhere. The only national bank holidays are Christmas day and Boxing day, January 1st and January 26th, which is Australia Day.
Many offices and businesses are closed from December 24th to January 1st but most are open throughout January.

During the year, schools close about two or three weeks every ten weeks of lessons, and therefore families tend to take mini-vacations throughout the year.
The two weeks of holiday in July are very popular among those who want to enjoy the summer in the northern hemisphere or expats who want to visit home abroad. The only problem is that the schools here - as I think in all Commonwealth countries - hardly allow students to miss school to take family holidays. Therefore, if you live in Australia and have school-age children – you can forget long holidays during the European summer.

If, on the other hand, you don't have children, you obviously have much more freedom to travel when you want. Normally in Australia you are entitled to twenty-one days of holidays a year and the nice thing is that here (for most jobs at least) holidays accumulate from year to year if they are not used and are not lost. Obviously many employers prefer that holidays be taken during the year, but they usually cannot force the employee to do so. For this reason (and also because traveling to/from Australia is expensive anyway) many people don't take long holidays for years, limiting themselves to just a few days here and there, and then take an extra long vacation, provided that their boss obviously allows it.

That said, one of the most positive aspects of living in Sydney (and other similar cities) is that we live in a great city, with dream beaches and a fabulous ocean: in short, spending the summer in the city and going to the beach every weekend is a valid alternative to vacationing elsewhere, isn’t it?
Due to great distances and short breaks, holidays in Australia tend to be local, done by car or domestic flights. There are only four airlines in Australia (obviously not counting the international ones) and of these only two can be considered low cost. And yet these are not that cheap! The railway network is practically non-existent and coach buses take forever to get from one city to another.
In short, it is not easy or cheap at all to organize weekend trips in Australia. Sure, there are plenty of locations around the cities and beautiful day-trip destinations, such as the Blue Mountains from Sydney but, here in Australia, it is certainly not possible to spend weekends in other international cities as it happens in Europe.

What if you want to take a trip abroad but close? Be prepared for a few hours by plane to get to nearby New Zealand or Southeast Asia.
Many Australians travel to Indonesia, Bali to be exact, as it’s one of the cheapest and closest exotic destinations.
Neighbouring Papua New Guinea is not considered a safe or desirable travel destination due to a very high criminality rate.
New Zealand is a great spot and most Australians have been there at least once in their lifetime. No visa is needed and Australians can enter New Zealand as they please (and viceversa).


  • Alberto Ferrando
  • Jobcivil engineer

Hello everyone! I’m originally from Italy and I moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2012 after getting a job as a civil engineer. I love walking my dog along the beach, surfing and taking photos. I used to have a travel blog because I’m passionate about traveling and I love writing about it too. Sydney is my home base now and I wish to share how amazing it is to live here. I love to spend time outdoors and I’m always well informed about local events because my girlfriend works in event management.

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