North of the equa­tor, the weath­er is warm and sum­mer is in full effect.  But in a few months, many of us will stow our surf, camp­ing, and hik­ing gear in favor of snow shoes, skis, or jackets.

Every sea­son offers its share of out­door oppor­tu­ni­ties, but if you’re pas­sion­ate about warm weath­er adven­tures and want to keep your end­less sum­mer flow­ing, check out some of these great south­ern hemi­sphere destinations.

Florianópolis - Brasil | ©istockphoto/danilocinacchi


Flo­ri­anópo­lis, South­ern Brazil
Boast­ing 42 gor­geous beach­es, Flo­ri­anópo­lis offers a mix of sandy spots that accom­mo­date a range of inter­ests. For fam­i­ly-friend­ly calm and pro­tect­ed waters, vis­it the peninsula’s west side. But if you’re look­ing to shred waves, make for the east­ern shore, where pow­er­ful Atlantic swells gen­er­ate excel­lent con­di­tions. Pra­ia Mole and Gal­heta, in par­tic­u­lar, are note­wor­thy surf spots. When you’re through sun­ning your­self, check out the fash­ion­able Beira-Mar Norte dis­trict, locat­ed on an island linked to the main­land by a bridge.

La Ser­e­na, Chile
Stargaz­ing on a sum­mery Decem­ber night is an expe­ri­ence you’ll cher­ish for­ev­er. And there’s good rea­son con­stel­la­tion hunters flock to North­ern Chile’s La Ser­e­na. Thanks to the clar­i­ty of these south­ern skies, La Ser­e­na hosts the largest col­lec­tion of astro­nom­i­cal obser­va­to­ries in the world. About a third of the sky you’ll see here isn’t even view­able from the hemi­sphere. Vis­it Cer­ro Tolo­lo Inter-Amer­i­can Obser­va­to­ry on a tour.

Abel Tas­man Nation­al Park, New Zealand
If hik­ing along a pris­tine and high­ly vari­able coastal route is your idea of par­adise, New Zealand has you cov­ered. Abel Tasman’s coast track is your per­fect escape. This 32-mile stretch will take you through lush veg­e­ta­tion, past waters that sparkle in trans­par­ent blues and greens, along some of the most beau­ti­ful views in the world. In the park, you’ll also find access to camp­ing, boat­ing, hunt­ing, and biking.


Byron Bay, Australia
Come surf, stroll, and loll in this gor­geous beach ham­let where San­ta Claus is more apt to appear on water skis than in a snow-dust­ed sleigh. There’s plen­ty of activ­i­ty for all, whether you seek water sports, hik­ing, bal­loon­ing adven­tures, or fam­i­ly-friend­ly fun. Byron Bay is famous for its nat­ur­al beau­ty as well as for its awe­some hotels.

Syd­ney, Australia
Syd­ney is an unsur­passed site for urban explo­ration. From the icon­ic Opera House with its stun­ning har­bor view to up-and-com­ing cui­sine, you can indulge in cul­ture and sophis­ti­ca­tion with an Aussie accent. And when you want to shed your city chic to hit the waves, vis­it world-famous Bon­di Beach and get some tan lines in that warm Jan­u­ary sunshine.

Table Moun­tain Nation­al Park, South Africa
The stun­ning com­po­si­tion of moun­tains that rise from a sparkling stretch of coast would make Table Moun­tain an ide­al loca­tion any time of year. To enjoy the full scope of the view, take a ride on the Moun­tain Cableway.

From climb­ing and hik­ing to seclud­ed for­est pic­nics, there is no short­age of mem­o­ries to be made. Per­haps best of all among the park’s most vis­it­ed loca­tions? A world-famous pen­guin colony where you can observe African pen­guins up close in their nat­ur­al environment.

When non-surfers ask surfers if they are afraid of sharks, the surfer will invari­ably say no. Most of the time, this is a per­fect­ly log­i­cal response. How­ev­er, there are some loca­tions – world class surf loca­tions – where a lack of shark wor­ry requires a con­gres­sion­al lev­el of cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance. Here are five great places to ignore statistics.

South­ern Africa
South Africa is a sharky place. Cape Town is full of great whites, Dur­ban is full of tiger sharks and zam­bezis (bull sharks), and the coast around Jeffrey’s Bay has a lit­tle bit of every­thing. South Africa’s East coast and Namib­ia aren’t much bet­ter. In fact in most places, you’re more like­ly to see a man­gled seal car­cass on the beach than anoth­er per­son. What about Mozam­bique? Moz’s emp­ty sand points are only home to one of the largest pop­u­la­tions of tiger sharks in the world. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for your brit­tle psy­che, South­ern Africa is home to Jeffrey’s Bay, Skele­ton Bay, New Pier, and a host of oth­er world-class spot. When these spots are fir­ing, no one is think­ing about fins. You prob­a­bly won’t get eat­en, right?

Recife, Brazil had so many shark attacks on surfers that the gov­ern­ment actu­al­ly banned surf­ing at that par­tic­u­lar beach. Even if you don’t surf Racife (why would you?) it’s pret­ty safe to say that sharks inhab­it oth­er stretch­es of Brazil’s beau­ti­ful coast­line. You’re still going to surf it though, con­sid­er­ing Brazil gets some of the world’s great­est waves.

Gold Coast Aus­tralia
This coast has more qual­i­ty surf per square mile and more surfers per capi­ta than almost any­where else on earth. It also has lots and lots of great whites and bull sharks. But hey, there is safe­ty in num­bers — you don’t have to be faster than the shark, you just have to be faster than the guy next to you.

The islands are beau­ti­ful. The surf is spec­tac­u­lar. The cul­ture is amaz­ing. The sharks are plen­ti­ful. Peo­ple don’t think of sharks when they think of Hawaii, but attacks do hap­pen. That said, get­ting punched in the face for being an a‑hole is more like­ly than get­ting chomped on by a tiger shark, but surfers should still be on the look­out for lurk­ing shadows.

Unless it’s hur­ri­cane sea­son you’re prob­a­bly not going to trav­el to Flori­da to surf. How­ev­er, if you live there, or you end up there, as a surfer, you’ll prob­a­bly be out on the water. Flori­da is warm and con­sis­tent and while it’s not a ter­ri­ble place to be a surfer, it is the shark attack capi­tol of the coun­try. Flori­da had 26 attacks in 2012 but real­ly, the sharks in the Sun­shine State prob­a­bly wont kill you. An attack is more like­ly to pro­duce a cool scar and a cool sto­ry than it is to take a limb. Still, you need to ask your­self, is that waist high close­out real­ly worth it?