Thursday, 4 January 2018

[ I'm dreaming of a humidity-free January ]

Every year it insinuates itself quietly into our lives over the holiday season. It sneaks under our doorways, into our bedrooms, and under our sheets. It curls around our backs, sinking into our skin, until we're sticky and lightheaded, and desperate for a cool shower - domestic or divine, it matters not.

Oh yes, the humidity is back, and oh boy, is it a stinker.


There are those who love this weather. The days of bright sunshine and long evenings, tanning themselves on the beach and in parks with every spare moment they have. And to be fair, there are some lovely things about Summer in Sydney.

Mangoes and cherries. The former are always going to be cheaper than the latter, but worth a punnet at this time of the year (if you can find one under $10!). In direct contrast to their price, mangoes are at their best when they are lowest in price; if you can hold out until they hit the $2-$2.50 mark, you're sure a winner of the Kensington Pride variety.

Cocktails. Fruity concoctions full of berries and syrup, lime and mint, or even an indulgent margarita stuffed with cucumbers and green chilli. They taste fresher during the holidays because they are; all the best ingredients are in season and ready to be muddled to your delight.

Sunsets. Though not a fan of daylight savings, I always appreciate a beautiful sunset, and Sydney certainly puts on a show during the warmer months; hues of pink, lavender, peach, and violet grace our skies and linger over the landscape, burnishing everything in glimmering light. Lovely.


These wonderful things aside - January is steamy and close, and seems to go on for simply ages, much longer than the actual 31 days. All things being equal then, I thought I'd get together a shortlist of places to escape to, even briefly, where you can avoid the Summer entirely. Or at least pretend it's not the manky part. 


Never having been here myself, I can only suggest the wonders on offer and surmise the gloriousness from afar. This option is also only available to those with ridiculous amounts of disposable income, family to bunk with, or both. 

That being said, having those things, I'd recommend running for the snow-tipped hills as fast as your passport can carry you. Whether you know a little or a lot (or nothing at all!) about the UK, pick a spot and drop in for a week or so; York, Bath, Cornwall, Sheffield, Dorset, Pembrokeshire. 

The UK's hottest spot is along the Cornish coast, the Isles of Scilly, where the highest temperature recorded was 27.8 degrees. At this time of year, the northern hemisphere is in their Winter however, so even on a day with humidity levels at 81%, the temperature will only hover between 10 and 12 degrees. 

See how much the savings account has in reserve and book a year in advance!

New Zealand

Our cousins across the pond tend to get similar temperatures to us, but with a few major differences. The first, being that as a much smaller island and not crossing many latitudes, NZ temperatures don't vary too much. You'll still find things a touch cooler in the south than the north, but not much. Also, an occasional polar wind can cross through, which means relief from humidity is a lot more frequent. 

 After taking a long dip, as my tour guide once said, NZ popped up from beneath the ocean millions of years ago, while the greater part remains beneath the Pacific Ocean. What this means today is that there are no natural predators, and though certainly a decent variety of mosquitoes, very few bite humans. 

In terms of a break from the hot weather, New Zealand may not seem too different from Oz. But if you're a fan of Summer - just not humidity - a quick trip across the water, where you can enjoy the warmer climate without wanting to faint, might be in order. 

And the best part? A return ticket to NZ is still cheaper than flying to Perth. 


Ah, Tasmania. If you're not keen on leaving the homeland, but still desperate for some relief, look no further than south of the border.

Tassie is another island but gets even more benefits in terms of cooler weather than NZ. With common cold fronts from the Southern Ocean, even a Summer day is more comfortable than actually hot.

With wonderful heritage architecture and a foodie heaven (go here or here - trust me), Hobart offers a beautiful spot to drop into and doze through the stickier season, while a trip through to the Central Plateau will have you gazing on magnificent scenery, and enjoying temperatures barely rising above 25 degrees.

Flights to Tasmania are cheap and go often, as well as tours that will take you on air conditioned buses to a variety of stops.

Another one to book in advance, but still affordable if you forget how soggy Sydney gets in the new year.

Clareville, NSW

Can't afford the time or money to get out of the city for too long? No problem. Let me suggest the Northern Beaches of NSW.

Not much of a beach person since childhood, I've since discovered the occasional visit to see the great blue expanse a bit of a balm to a sweltering day. Even a mini break or a weekend jaunt seems to settle the simmering for a while.

Clareville sits on the inner coastline of the northern beaches, right after Newport and just before Palm Beach. A quiet little place, with a quirky suburbia of dips and hills, you can see the water from most places you go.

Pack a towel, sunscreen, swimmers, a good book, and you're sorted. The beaches are just over an hour north of Sydney, so you can drive if you like, but take transport; time for a quick nap in the air con.

Botanic Gardens, Sydney CBD

This is the option if you've left everything to the last minute, funds or no funds. You've suddenly got back to work in the first weeks of January and realised the only thing keeping you sane is 8 hours solid of arctic air con, and wishing - yet again - that you'd booked some leave, even just a few days.

Never fear, there is relief even for those of us who work through. Sydney's Botanic Gardens are the one of our proudest and one of the world's most important botanic institutions in the world. They are open every day and access is free.

Though a little crowded in the holidays, there are still spots you can curl up under a shady tree and watch the Harbour on your lunch break. Surrounded by lush vegetation, a salty breeze, and the background sounds of the city, you can pretend you're in another world. Even if it's only for a lunch break.


With these options in mind, hold strong my friends, we will yet make it through another sticky Sydney Summer, by the will of our ceiling fans and possibly a brief escape!


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