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Top 3 winter swimming getaways (you can still do this year)

Missing the blue skies and warm water of summer? We’ve got you covered with our favourite winter swimming locations not far from home.

While the cold water, dark mornings and chilly winds of winter swimming can be a nice reprieve from the hot Australian summer, many of us open water swimmers miss the blue skies and nice warm summer sun during the cold months.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with three of our favourite winter swimming getaways you can escape to that are not far from home.

It’s time to book a swimming holiday and live your best tropical swimming life!

1. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the perfect place for a winter swimming getaway close to home. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, it’s a destination you must visit at least once in your life and winter is the perfect time for a swimming getaway up north because it’s outside stinger season.

Made of multiple islands, there are plenty of places to enjoy open water swimming on the Great Barrier Reef, our favourites include the Whitsunday Islands, Heron Island, Lady Elliot Island and Great Keppel Island.

Great Barrier Reef Swim Series

All these locations are swarming with beautiful marine life, white sandy beaches, stunning coral and warm crystal clear waters to swim in.

If swimming by yourself isn’t your thing; don’t fear, there is an array of tours and events up on the Great Barrier Reef where you observe some of the most spectacular scenery while swimming:

2. Pacific Islands

The Pacific Islands are just waiting for you to visit and enjoy the tropical open water swimming lifestyle.

The best thing is, you get to leave the country, but it’s only a short flight to paradise.

Samoa, Fiji and Tonga are known for some of the best open water swimming locations in the Pacific with calm blue waters, bustling marine life, and the best part, warm weather.

Tonga is one of the very few places in the world where swimming with whales is allowed. Winter is the perfect time to enjoy the warm tropical waters of Tonga while swimming with whales who migrate to the islands to breed during winter. We’ve heard reports from some swimmers that whales can come within metres of you.

Ocean Swim Fiji

If you like to combine events with a holiday, Ocean Swim Fiji is for you, an exciting five-day ocean swimming festival, you won’t forget.

Ocean Swim Safaris also host swim tours in Tonga (with the whales) and Fiji. The Samoa Swim Series will be celebrating 10-years in 2023 with a range of events planned in July/August.

3. Hawaii

How does swimming in tropical waters with turtles sound? Pretty good we think. That’s exactly what you’ll find when you go open water swimming in Hawaii.

Warm all year round, Hawaii is the perfect place to escape when you’ve had enough of the cold weather.

The beaches at Waikiki are some of the most well-known beaches in the world and while they are beautiful for open water swimming, don’t forget to go exploring around the Islands to find some hidden gems that will top Waikiki’s beaches and gain the top spot on your open water swimming experiences.

Hawaii also has a range of open water swimming events throughout the year with the most popular being the famous ‘Waikiki Roughwater’ and the North Shore Swim Series held during the winter.

The North Shore Swim Series held during the Hawaiian winter gives swimmers the opportunity to swim at some of the most ferocious and dangerous surf breaks in the world, after they’ve turned calm and idyllic in the winter.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 2 August 2022
  • (Updated on 4 August 2023)

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