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Experience Oz:

The Best Places in Australia to Visit
in November

by Experience Oz staff

As November rolls around in Australia, springtime is typically wrapping up in most destinations as the warmth is just starting to kick in and bring along with it all its trademark signs throughout the country.

Increases in both temperature and humidity start to become more of a factor, opening up a wider range of potential travel destinations than the more restrictive colder months, while the month still retains all the inherent benefits of its status as an "off peak" season of the year.

Overall, November is a great, balanced month for travel in Australia as it falls outside the busy school holiday periods - meaning both flight and accommodation prices are typically still reasonable during this part of the year. Add in some still-colourful landscapes with floral blooms providing some extra splash for many sightseeing adventures, and you've got a solid all-around month for taking a trip.

But where are some of the best places in Australia to travel in November? Here's our list of five can't-miss getaway spots, as well as what each has to offer.

5. Fremantle, WA

Average Temperatures in November: 14.5C (58.1F) to 23C (73.4F)

Top experiences and things to do: Visit Fremantle Prison; go Whale Watching; the Army Museum of WA; Little Creatures Brewery; WA Maritime Museum; travel to Rottnest Island

Getting there: 30 minute drive from Perth

Fremantle Western Australia Best Places to visit in November

Far more than just Perth's little brother, Fremantle continues to establish itself as a worthy travel destination in its own right. Serving as the first port of call for many first-time visitors to Australia as a result of the increasingly booming cruise industry while offering a number of interesting historic attractions and a lovely coastal aspect. The area is teeming with various forms of old-world charm and an interesting cityscape that reflects a mixture of cultures and influences that one might expect from a port city.

Take a walk down Fremantle's streets and you'll encounter old-time British architecture, a mix of Euro-style cafes and dining establishments, and a number of heritage attractions that help make it stand out from other cities of its kind. As can be expected from this port city, maritime history has played a key role in both shaping Fremantle as well as providing educational entertainment for those visiting today.

The region's colonial origins are documented in fine fashion at the likes of the Fremantle Prison; the state's only World Heritage-listed building, the Western Australian Maritime Museum; detailing shipping, exploration and whaling, and Army Museum of Western Australia; documenting over a century's worth of conflicts.

Combine all of the above with Fremantle's quality beaches, and strong pub and coffee culture and it's a perfect Western Australian destination this coming November.

A positive of visiting in November is that you won't have to stay indoors as the month is known for having little rain and sunny, blue days. Add to this the comfortable temperatures throughout the day and evening, and your options for exploration around the town are endless.

Whale watching season is still in effect in November and Fremantle offers prime viewing opportunities for this annual migration. Vast quantity of these gentle ocean giants make their way up and down the west coast each year, to the point it's long been nicknamed the Humpback Highway.

More water-based experiences are available just a 25-minute boat ride from Fremantle Harbour at the popular and beautiful Rottnest Island. A past winner of our annual "Australia's Top 10 Destinations to Experience" poll, Rottnest is renowned for its mixture of natural beauty, wonderfully secluded coves, and interesting military.

Combine all of the above with Fremantle's quality beaches, and strong pub and coffee culture and it's a perfect Western Australian destination this coming November.

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4. Central Coast, NSW

Average Temperatures in November: 13.2C (55.7F) to 25.1C (77.2F)

Top experiences and things to do: Enjoy the quality beaches; Pelican feeding at The Entrance; visit the Australian Reptile Park; walk to Norah Head Lighthouse; family fun at Treetops Adventure Park; go fishing; take a cruise.

Getting there: 1 hour drive north of Sydney

Central Coast New South Wales Australia Best Places to visit in November

Not strictly a single destination, and instead of a cluster of lovely, picturesque coastal towns an hour-plus drive to the north of NSW capital Sydney, this region offers a mixture of elements ideal for those looking for reasonably-reachable getaways that they can share with a few other people as possible. Typically extending from around Umina Beach all the way up to the Northern Lakes area, the Central Coast of NSW offers flexibility in choices of places to unwind and enjoy the pleasant November weather.

While the region is based around the two main hubs of Gosford and Wyong (which still aren't "major cities" by any means), it’s the smaller towns that provide perhaps the greatest level of enchantment for visitors. The likes of Avoca Beach (a gorgeous resort area renowned for its sands and surf), Lake Macquarie (a lovely, developing hub centred around its namesake lake), The Entrance (pristine resort town renowned for its pelican feeding) and Woy Woy (a lovely little inlet that leads to both Ettalong and Umina beaches) – amongst others – all have their own individual character, attractions and natural charm, and it’s up to the traveller as to which becomes their own personal favourite.

Water plays a significant role in the region’s appeal, as it’s home to a number of truly gorgeous waterways that range from lakes to rivers, to the raw beauty of many slices of sun and sand that each township boasts. November's warmer temperatures make getting out on the water a joy here, as it’s perhaps NSW’s premier spot for the likes of boating, fishing, surfing and windsurfing, with even basic approaches such as swimming or taking a stroll along the beach serving as an excellent way to pass the time.

Stick to shore, meanwhile, and there’s no shortage of entertainment to be had, either; the Central Coast is home to a lush, green hinterland area with a number of excellent walking tracks and impressive lookout points available within, as well as plenty of national parks to explore.

It’s not just the natural appeal that has made the Central Coast such a hotspot for family getaways, either; spread throughout the region are a number of excellent and often family-friendly attractions ranging from Wyong's enjoyable Amazement Farm And Fun Park, the award-winning Australian Reptile Park near Gosford, TreeTops Central Coast in the Ourimbah State Forest, and more, many of which are enjoyable without being overly commercialised.

Sticking to visiting the region outside of school holidays only serves to enhance the enjoyment of a visit here (and avoiding the flocks of Sydneysiders and their kids filling the attractions and accommodation), and as it's a part of the country largely oriented around unwinding comes highly recommended. Despite its gradually increasing popularity, the Central Coast remains one of Australia’s true hidden gems for those seeking some pure coastal enjoyment.

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3. Geelong, VIC

Average Temperatures in November: 9.5C (49.1F) to 20.7C (69.2F)

Top experiences and things to do: Visit the National Wool Museum; food and drinks at Little Creatures Brewery; stroll through Geelong Botanical Gardens; see an AFL footy match; go swimming or surfing; drive to Queenscliff and swim with seals and dolphins

Getting there: 1 hour by car or train from Melbourne

Geelong Victoria Australia Best Places to visit in November

Melbourne's smaller neighbour continues to develop and rebrand itself from a traditional industrial centre into something of a rustic-contemporary heritage hub that adds in dashes of waterfront beauty and some lovely little day trip areas to the mix as well. In the present day, it's an interesting blend of working-class origins with increasing elements of indie influence added to make for what is becoming a thriving culinary scene of cafes, bars and various other eateries highlighted by the Victorian branch of the Little Creatures brand. Bypass the city for the Great Ocean Road, and you risk missing out on one of the more unique urban offerings Australia has to offer.

In many ways, Geelong shares similar characteristics with Fremantle above, in that it retains strong examples of historic architecture as part of the modern cityscape, yet has taken things a step further by reimagining many of them into places for both culture and revelry. Wool mills no more, these sites allow both locals and visitors alike to throw back a drink in quite unique environments that help add to the atmosphere of the experience and are teeming with character. The arts and cultural scenes are also prominent here, with galleries and museums such as the excellent National Wool Museum and Geelong Gallery particular standouts.

Geelong has also gained a strong reputation as one of Australia's more creative hubs for dining, and now serves as home to a number of restaurants backed by a range of big-name chefs, so those who put a priority on indulging their taste buds during their travels will be in their element here. Fans of a drop of the good stuff can likewise take advantage of the region's recovering wine production, with Geelong's greater Bellarine area home to some 40-odd cellar doors at which to indulge in speciality chardonnays and Shiraz.

The city also features a lovely waterfront area offering a blend of cafes with a maritime influence and wonderful botanic gardens that are a joy to walk through and relax in throughout the year. Beachgoing is likewise a possibility although water temperatures can remain chilly for those adverse to the cold, with a number of different quality stretches of sand from which to choose. Safe swimming conditions at the likes of Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove are ideal for families, while surfers can head further afield to Barwon Heads for some quality options for catching a wave.

Look outside the city and opportunities for other forms of enjoyable travel spots open up further; many of its regional towns and townships offer at least one of outstanding surfing, delectable seafood or wonderful wineries at which to indulge both the body and palate, with Port Phillip Bay serving as the aquatic backdrop for a handful of these. As a result, those who enjoy the water will especially appreciate the region, whether it’s tackling the waves of Ocean Grove, swimming alongside dolphins and seals at Queenscliff, or having a snorkel at Point Lonsdale.

A mere hour away from Melbourne, Geelong offers a slice the sunny side of Victorian living, and is a great destination for both couples and families that are easy to access.

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2. Margaret River, WA

Average Temperatures in November: 10.9C (51.6F) to 23.6C (74.5F)

Top experiences and things to do: Tour the region's wineries; explore the Cape to Cape coastal area; Amaze’n Maze; go whale watching; Eagles Heritage Wildlife Centre; visit Lake Cave; enjoy the many great restaurants

Getting there: 3 hour drive from Perth

Margaret River Western Australia Best Places to visit in November

The name given to both the town itself and the greater region, WA’s Margaret River has been a getaway spot for many residents of Perth, and November stands as one of the best months to make the trip down south. Featuring a diversity of nature intermingled with some excellent wine country and beautiful coastline, it’s a place where rocky shores, wondrous cave networks and quality culinary offerings all meet. November's weather grants it a lovely warmth while avoiding the flies that can often plague visitors during the hottest months of December and beyond.

This is most certainly a good thing, as much of your time spent in a trip to Margaret River will be based around enjoying the outdoors. Combine the weather, lack of flies, and extended daylight hours (sunset doesn't typically occur until around 7:00 pm), and you've got optimal conditions to taking in a number of its highlights in a single day. Margaret River provides a blend of natural environments that offers outstanding variety; lush vineyards contrast with rugged stretches of coast offering the chance to get out on the open water and experience the likes of surfing, fishing, and some great whale watching during these gentle giant’s annual migratory period which is still going strong in November.

Couple this with dense heartland forest on shore offering a dose of greenery, individual sub-regions such as Augusta, Busselton and Dunsborough each with their own distinct charm, and famously friendly locals always willing to lend a hand and provide advice on regional events, and you’ve got a wonderful balance to this part of Australia. Its natural beauty is further enhanced during springtime as well, as visitors willing to make the journey to its southernmost areas will still be able to catch the tail end of the annual wildflower season that adds yet more colour to what is already a largely beautiful landscape.

Margaret River's coastal areas also serve as the site of one of Australia’s most epic walks, the Cape to Cape coastal track. Travelling from Cape Naturaliste in the north to Cape Leeuwin in the south, the track showcases a 100km stretch of impressive rock features, pristine uncrowded beaches, and the lighthouses that bookend the journey themselves.

All things gourmet has also long been a staple drawcard of the Margaret River region, stemming from its beginnings as a minor dairy producer and expanding today into what is an area with numerous culinary delights to take part in and enjoy – its restaurants, cafes, breweries and wineries are of an almost universally high quality. The town of Margaret River itself plays host to a trendy and diverse dining scene, with restaurants that are many and varied covering the full spectrum from simple burger joints to multi-course degustation menus. The overall quality is almost universally high; reflective of the pride the locals take in their food and dining experiences, and of benefit to travellers in search of a quality bite to eat.

This culinary scene is particularly highlighted by wine, and what an array of offerings the region has. Both the climate and the soil conditions of the Margaret River region lend themselves to excellent grape-growing environments, and as a result, over 95 individual wineries call the area home today. Those who enjoy a good glass of wine will be in their element here as there are excellent wine trails available for sampling the various Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cab Sav and other wines that are a staple here.

The Margaret River region is an area where each of its highlights compliments the other nicely. You can enjoy some indulgent food and wine and then burn off the calories by taking any number of opportunities for outdoor exploration or you could stroll along the picturesque coastline, then get out on the water and see the migratory humpback whales up close. Flexibility is the name of the game here, and every visitor has the chance to make a Margaret River experience their very own.

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1. Lady Musgrave Island, QLD

Average Temperatures in November: 22.0C (71.6F) to 27.0C (80.6F)

Top experiences and things to do: Snorkel the island's natural lagoon; take a glass-bottom boat ride; dive the surrounding coral bommies; see the abundant bird life

Getting there: Boat transfers from Bundaberg or part of tour packages from Brisbane

Lady Musgrave Island Queensland Australia Best Places to visit in November

Image: Amber Toms

While numerous destinations on the Great Barrier Reef make for enjoyable enough ways to sample Australia's greatest natural wonder - pick one of a handful of such islands and it will be hard to be disappointed - Queensland's Lady Musgrave Island comes with several benefits make it a worthy choice. Situated within the southern portion of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the biggest factors that work in Lady Musgrave's favour for a November visit is its lack of stingers. Here visitors can enjoy all of its aquatic wonders without fear of encountering any of these ocean nasties.

Lady Musgrave Island also remains one of the best overall budget options for those looking to sample a quality reef environment. The island is via boat from Bundaberg Marina, with day cruises available and on-island camping an option for those wanting an extended stay. Multi-day tours from various locations on the mainland are also offered from more major destinations, albeit at a higher price. While it's still not exactly cheap, the sheer quality and gorgeous nature of Lady Musgrave's surrounding reef make this an investment that's hard to match.

Host to the Great Barrier Reef’s largest lagoon, the island offers an amazing, sheltered snorkelling and diving destination all at a relatively reasonable price. While its marine life is diverse and plentiful, it's the lagoon that helps set Lady Musgrave Island apart from its counterparts as the natural barrier offers a great combination of size and safety alongside impressive hard and soft coral cover. The lagoon is a hub of colourful reef fish, turtles and coral with a sand bottom and scattered bommies that are delightful to explore.

It's remarkably beginner-friendly, too, standing at an easily navigable depth of 6 to 8 metres, and given that the island’s waters offer an average visibility of around 20 metres at a minimum, it’s possible to take in a wonderful underwater panorama even for beginner snorkellers. Couple this with a lack of currents and you’ve got one of the reef’s best starter spots for the uninitiated. For those particularly timid in the water, local operator Lady Musgrave Experience offer glass-bottom boat rides, allowing you to admire the marine life while staying dry.

Divers are also catered for at Lady Musgrave Island, as there are 14 world-class dive sites available in the waters on the outer side of the lagoon’s wall, including an easy and relaxed drift dive that offers the chance to spot the likes of cod, wrasse, reef sharks and eels with the occasional manta sighting.

Lady Musgrave Island remains underdeveloped, which is part of its charm. There are no buildings or hotels and as a result both the island’s vegetation and its vast array of birdlife continue to flourish. It’s largely covered with plant life, however, this tends to be less dense than many of its sister islands, which makes walking around the island an easy and enjoyable prospect.

Lastly, visitors to the island in November have the rare opportunity to see female green and loggerhead turtles laying their eggs on the beaches which is a truly magical sight.

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In addition, if you're looking for more things to do in Australia and New Zealand during the month of Novemeber, or throughout the year, including tours and activities, be sure to check out our main region pages to browse and book online.

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