Top 5 unforgettable island getaways

Winter blues getting you down? Here are five fab last-minute tropical island escapes. Ready to go?

If the winter blues are getting you down, and the start of September still seems like an eternity away, why not indulge in a last-minute island escape? Here are the easiest, cheapest and most popular global destinations to visit in order to get some instant sunshine. August is one of the most popular months for Aussies to jet away for a mid-year holiday, so pack your bag and book yourself a spontaneous holiday filled with tropical beaches, exotic culture and glistening sunshine!

1. Canary Islands, Spain

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Average August temp: 23°C
Where: The Canary Islands are a tropical oasis located off the Spanish mainland. Behind its veneer of exotic oceanfront resorts lies a backdrop of lush pine forests with breathtaking waterfalls, dramatic volcanoes and lava fields. There are also a seemingly endless array of Sahara-style dunes. Spain is an idyllic mid-winter getaway due to the inviting climate and rich culture. The Canary Islands retain these positive aspects without being overrun by tourists, making it perfect for a sunny and spontaneous winter getaway.
Why go: Watch the sunset while sipping a cocktail at one of Tenerife’s myriad of oceanfront bars, scuba dive and discover hundreds of species of fish or hike up mountains and across volcanic fields. Other options are to explore the area on a unique camel ride or soak up a dose of Canarian culture by viewing the work of local sculptors and artists in Gran Canaria.

2. Sri Lanka

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Average August temp: 28°C
Where: Sri Lanka is a cultural paradise with an enticing array of options to suit all travellers. Its geographical proximity to Australia means that flights are affordable and short, making it highly suitable for last-minute vacation plans. Sri Lanka boasts of exquisite beaches, pristine rainforests, tea plantations, world-renowned train rides, legendary temples and phenomenal cuisine. The small island has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites packed into an area that is just over two-thirds the size of Tasmania!
Why go: Go on a scenic train ride from Kandy to Nuwera Eliya; visit the National Museum in the capital, Colombo; witness herds of elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards in Uda Walame National Park; and bike along coastlines and small villages along the National Cycling Trail.

3. Lombok, Indonesia

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Average August temp: 26°C
Where: Many people might think of a last-minute vacation just outside of Australia and immediately turn their attention to Bali. But Lombok, Bali’s less frantic neighbour, has just as many exotic tourist options and authentic Indonesian cultural offerings, all without the hordes of partying Westerners. Lombok forms part of the chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands and is the gateway to the magical Gili Islands.
Why go: Climb the breathtaking Mount Rinjani; take a bemo (converted mini-van) through the rice fields to visit Lombok’s holiest temple, Pura Lingsar; snorkel the warm tropical waters and travel by boat to the surrounding Gili Islands; barter for fresh produce at the local Pasar Mandalika markets.

4. New Caledonia

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Average August temp: 20°C
Where: Want to feel like you’re in France while travelling just over 1000km East of the Australian mainland? New Caledonia is a multi-ethnic tropical island that offers a range of relaxing activities as well as numerous cultural and natural experiences. Maintaining temperatures of around 23-24°C throughout Winter, it is a conveniently located escape for anyone restricted by time or a small budget. Although the water may not be toasty, these months are ideal for hikes through the Grand Randonnee (great hiking trail). New Caledonia is a nature lovers’ haven with opportunities a-plenty for sailing, diving, fishing, hiking, golfing, watersports and adventurous activities. Alternatively, you could simply visit the exotic island on a cruise, or spend time relaxing in the cultural hub and capital, Noumea.
Why go: Explore Noumea’s many districts, which have cultural influence from countries spanning five continents; discover the Melanesian customs, picturesque landscapes and coral reefs of Iles Loyaute (the Loyalty Islands); hike up to the gates of the City of Dumbéa; or immerse yourself in the magic of the largest lagoon in the world.

5. Montego Bay, Jamaica

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Average August temp: 29°C
Where: Located in Jamaica’s northwest corner, Montego Bay is a hub for flights and resorts and offers visitors fantastic weather. All-inclusive resorts are near their annual low at this time of year, justifying a spontaneous trip to the exotic Caribbean. Simply book a flight and a resort and then choose from the abundant R&R options or watersports activities upon your arrival.
Why go: Lounge around at Doctor’s Cave Beach; learn about the Rastafari movement at the Indigenous Rastafarian Village; take a zip-line tour through the canopy; or get the adrenaline pumping with a jungle river tubing safari.

Where are you dreaming about escaping to? Join our conversation below…