Winter Sun Destinations in the Southern Hemisphere

As we creep towards that Sunday when we set our clocks back an hour, it seems that we barely manage to utter three "trick-or-treats" before we're already checking items off our Thanksgiving dinner lists. Some people love this time of year. As the days get shorter, they revel in their prayers for snow.
But some of us don't.
Even though it's still technically fall everywhere in the United States, we may be forgetting that it's almost summertime in the Southern Hemisphere--so why not chase the sun down?
If you start planning your big trip now, come January or February you'll be jumping off rocks, filling your lungs with clean forest air, hiking, climbing, camping, splashing--and that tube of sunblock will once again see the light of day.
Here are a few rugged winter sun destinations to help you make it happen:
Arica, Chile
Sure, Patagonia is on every mountaineer's must-do list. But if you're on the hunt for a break from long winter days and looking for a less-traveled-to destination, Chile's most northern city, Arica (a hop-skip-and-jump from the Peruvian border) experiences summer air almost all year round (the water is cold, though, so pack your wetsuits if kayaking and surfing is on tap).
The Chilean port town is an entryway into Bolivia and Peru, with valleys of olive tree plantations, miles of beaches, a quite seaside town and a collection of mummified humans, dating to thousands of years before Egyptian mummies for the history buff to contemplate.
And if you're jonesing for high altitudes, Arica is also a jumping-off point for the Lauca National Park, with its volcanoes, mountain lakes (Lago Chungara is one of the highest lakes in the world) and hot springs.
Airlie Beach, QLD, Australia
There's truly no place like Oz. It would take about a month even to list all of the awesome things you can do in Australia. Between the vast West Oz's wide open, uncrowded frontier, the beach culture of the Gold Coast, coastal wilderness of New South Wales and Victoria, and the ultra-rugged South Australia and Tasmania--plus the so-desolate even-locals-don't-go-there outback--you'll be tempted to make a three-month vacation out of this one.
But Queensland's Airlie Beach, the continent's gateway into the Great Barrier Reef and its many Whitney Islands, may well be a paradise for those looking for a momentous, tropical, seaward adventure.
Especially if you think you might be into overnight sailing excursions through any number of the 74 Whitsunday islands, the most incredible scuba and free-diving you'll probably ever experience,? ATVing through the bush, skydiving and sea kayaking.?
You'll find plenty of camping in the general Whitsundays area.
Raglan, New Zealand
Known best for its world class surfing, the west coast of Waikato on New Zealand's North Island--namely Raglan--has managed to avoid, for the most part, tourist-trap status.
A sleepy, quaint town with a rugged atmosphere and volcanic black sands, Raglan provides water enthusiasts with three surf spots that are among the most perfect on the planet--and all are beginner- to experienced-friendly.
And though the area is best known for wave-riding, the landscape provides you adrenaline junkies and nature lovers alike with countless activities to get your blood pumping. Kiteboarding, fishing, kayaking or hiking up to the summit of Mount Karioi are only some options to fill the days.


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