The mind of a traveller often works one step ahead. Even as we enter summer, many of us are thinking about the best places to travel in March. With cooler weather and a change in the look of flowers and trees, Australia can look very different in autumn.
Although it’s difficult to know what the world will look like in March 2021, it’s important to check local restrictions and border closures before you travel. Many state and territory borders are currently closed, especially to residents of areas with known COVID-19 hotspots. You should keep this in mind as you read these suggestions for holidays in March and, if you do decide to travel, it’s best to go for a flexible booking.
Orange, New South Wales
One thing that many parts of Australia lack in autumn that other countries enjoy is a wide range of colour on trees as leaves begin to fall.
If you want to see a traditional autumn, the aptly named Orange is one of the best places to travel in March. The botanic gardens in Orange is a great place to see a wide range of colourful trees, but you can also see the transition in the parks and streets of the town. For an all-encompassing view, take a trip up Mount Lindsay.
Orange is an inland NSW town. It’s roughly a four-hour drive from Sydney or just under an hour west from Bathurst.
Hahndorf, South Australia
Another great place to see autumn leaves in Australia is Hahndorf. This SA town is around half an hour south-east of Adelaide by car. Hahndorf is a town very much inspired by Germany — in its architecture and its food — making it a great place to experience the autumnal changes in colour.
Exmouth, Western Australia
Ningaloo Reef is one of Australia’s most underrated features which, if not for the Great Barrier Reef, would take prominence front and centre.
The town of Exmouth gives great access to the reef and is one of the best places to travel in March for one reason: whale sharks. March tends to mark the start of whale shark season and dive companies will offer tours to swim with the majestic animals. Although dates vary, the whale sharks tend to appear in mid-March and stay until August.
Want to get away and forget about the world for a while? The Whitsundays is one of the best places to travel in March if your aim is to switch off and relax. Surround yourself with beaches, beautiful oceans and travellers with similar goals to make sure you return from your holiday in high spirits.
Port Arthur, Tasmania
If you want to get away from the summer heat, a holiday in March to Tasmania is one of the best options available. Average temperatures in Port Arthur during March hover around 17.5°C, making it ideal to get back onto the hiking trails without working up a ridiculous sweat.
As well as the natural beauty of Tasmania, Port Arthur is one of the best spots to go to learn about early European colonisation and how this impacted the Tasmanian Aboriginal population. Port Arthur was a penal colony for some of the toughest offenders and many of the buildings from those times still exist.
Katherine, Northern Territory
Many people want to enjoy summer year-round. If you want to extend the warmer months a little bit longer, the Northern Territory is one of the best places to travel in March. Aside from the well-known spots of Alice Springs, Darwin and Uluru, Katherine is a great place to go.
Best known for its stunning gorge, Katherine is close to national parks, thermal hot springs, historic landmarks and incredible Mimi Aboriginal art.
Gold Coast, Queensland
Like the Northern Territory, Queensland enjoys warm temperatures year-round. And where better to enjoy the March sunshine than on the beaches of the Gold Coast? Whether you want to work on your tan, swim in the ocean or go for a surf, the Gold Coast caters for all. Because it’s outside the school holidays, it’s also a lot less busy — especially if you want to go to the nearby theme parks.
Average temperatures in March vary from 19°C to 26°C and the sea temperature tends to be around 23°C. There are a handful of places to rent surfboards and try your hand at the sport around “Surfer’s Paradise”. Otherwise, paddle amongst the crowds at Snapper Rocks.
Adelaide, South Australia
In a normal year, March in Adelaide is festival season. How this will look in 2021 is yet to be seen, but organisers are moving ahead with the idea of putting on shows in a slightly different way. One of the highlights of the calendar for SA’s capital is the Adelaide Festival, scheduled for 26 February to 14 March in 2021.
Next year’s event is likely to feature a lot more local talent than most years, with international acts incredibly difficult to book. A lot more venues will be outside as well in an attempt to give audiences a Covid-safe experience.
Outside of the festival, a March holiday in Adelaide gives visitors a chance to visit the adult-friendly MegaAdventure Aerial Park, browse the botanic gardens, climb Mount Lofty or take a trip out to the Barossa Valley.
Rottnest Island, Western Australia
A short ferry trip from Perth, Rottnest Island is a must-see for all Australians. The small island is home to the quokka, a cute marsupial that is all but helpless — it exists only on a few small islands where there are no predators to threaten its existence.
As well as quokkas, Rottnest Island is a beautiful place to visit. Its roads are car-free, so bike hire is hugely recommended, and there are plenty of pristine beaches where you can spend a few lazy hours.
Lady Elliot Island, Queensland
Another option for wildlife lovers is Queensland’s Lady Elliot Island. This small destination, off the coast near Bundaberg, is best to visit in March because that marks the start of turtle breeding season.
Visitors can see baby turtles (hawksbill, loggerhead and green turtles) as they emerge from their shells and make the desperate crawl to the ocean to begin life. When you’re not at the beach watching the miracle of life, you have plenty of time to relax, swim or take a diving trip to see other marine creatures. Plus, this region is famous for its manta rays.
Port Stephens, New South Wales
Just north of Newcastle, Port Stephens is a sleepy seaside town that, outside school holidays, is a great place to go and relax. With beautiful beaches galore, it’s easy to find a beautiful spot to sit and read a book. In March, dolphin spotting season is in full swing, although the humpback whales don’t tend to make an appearance until May.
A short drive to the south you’ll find the impressive Stockton sand dunes. For something a bit different, why not book a sandboarding trip? Essentially snowboarding, except on a hot day.
With so much to see and do in Australia, picking one place as the best to visit in March is a tricky job. If you can, and you’re allowed, you may want to create a multi-city trip next autumn.
Discover where you can go
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Australia is a large country with lots of different micro-climates. If you want to head somewhere warm in March, you’re best off visiting Queensland, Northern Territory or the northern end of Western Australia.
There’s lots to see and do in Australia in March. Whether that’s hiking in Tasmania, swimming with whale sharks in Western Australia or basking in the heat of the Northern Territory.
Because it’s in the southern hemisphere, March marks the beginning of autumn in Australia.
Want to read more?
- Coronavirus travel advice: The latest COVID-19 travel information.
- 7 Staycation ideas near Sydney: There are scores of fantastic destinations you can visit near Sydney.
- The 7 best domestic destinations for family holidays: A holiday that keeps parents relaxed and kids entertained? Yes, it’s possible.