8 Places to Escape the Heat of Summer in the Southern Hemisphere

a white-capped Mount Ruapehu with Whakapapa Village and Chateau Tongariro in the foreground with flat land covered by grass, green trees and bushes, and brown groundcover in Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand
Located within Tongariro National Park is Whakapapa Village, a ski area on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu.

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The sunshine and warm temperatures of summer can make being outdoors pleasant. But if you prefer the cool weather of fall and winter, you have an option: Head south—way south. The Southern Hemisphere's winter takes place at the same time steamy summer weather is dominating areas north of the equator. This means you can use this time to ski, ice-skate, play in the snow, or simply enjoy time outdoors in pleasantly cool weather.

Here are eight places to escape the heat of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Falls Creek, Australia

ski village at Falls Lake with midrise condominium building, ski lodge with a green sloped roof, and snow-covered ski slope below blue sky

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Australia is certainly not known for its ski scene, but Falls Creek, an Australian Alps resort in the northeastern corner of Victoria, is in full swing in June, July, and August. The 90 runs offer something for every ski level, from beginner to advanced. The snow line starts about 4,000 feet above sea level; the top of the highest run in the area stands at about 6,000 feet.

The ski village at Falls Creek is 220 miles from Melbourne, Australia's second-most populous city. Although conditions here are not comparable to the steep slopes of the New Zealand Alps or the deep powder of the Chilean Andes, Falls Creek is extremely easy to access, and adding a ski session to a July vacation in scenic and attraction-filled Victoria is possible. Visitors will find the wintertime weather pleasantly cool but hardly ever freezing in the state's lower elevations.

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Queenstown, New Zealand

Blue skies and fluffy what clouds above the turquoise water of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by green and brown hills, with the snow-covered mountains of The Remarkables mountain range in the foreground

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A small city on a scenic mountain lake in New Zealand's Otago region, Queenstown is known for its cosmopolitan vibe. During the summer, adventurers come here to try extreme sports of all varieties. In the winter, it’s all about skiing. Two major collections of runs, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables, are both a short distance from the city. The center of South Island's ski scene, Cardrona, is only about an hour's drive away.

The Queenstown Winter Festival takes place each June. In addition to fireworks, music, and parades, there are sporting events and interactive classes. However, the highlight for many visitors will be finding themselves in a quiet spot to enjoy the panoramas of Lake Wakatipu, the mountain lake on which Queenstown sits.

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San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

San Carlos de Bariloche ski resort after a dusting of snow, the picturesque village, evergreen trees, and mountain in the distance are all coated in snow beneath a blue sky filled with white clouds

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This town in the Patagonian region of Argentina sits near some of the country's best ski slopes. However, this is one place where you can enjoy yourself without even taking a chairlift. Bariloche has a unique atmosphere, which has been described as comparable to the most charming towns in the central European Alps. This is actually an apt comparison: Bariloche even has chocolate shops, breweries, and Saint Bernards. The Cerro Catedral ski area, one of the continent's biggest with more than 75 miles of runs, sits just outside the town.

Located at the foot of the Patagonian Andes, Bariloche is within Nahuel Huapi National Park. The region is covered with dense forests and lakes in addition to incredible mountains.

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Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Active volcanoes of Mt Ngaruhoe and Mt Tongariro covered in snow from base of Mt Ruapehu, covered in rocks, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Ngaire Lawson / Getty Images

Located in the interior of the North Island of New Zealand, Tongariro, one of the world's first national parks, is very remote. Three active volcanoes are in the park: Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, and Tongariro. The unique landscapes were used in several scenes of the "Lord of the Rings" movies, and the park is a popular stop for adventure-seeking Tolkien fans.

The Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas, on the slopes of the Ruapehu volcano, offer a high ratio of intermediate and advanced runs, with ideal conditions from June through September. Tubing is also available, as are other adventure activities. The scenery inside the park—designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for cultural and natural importance—is attractive year-round, with snowcapped mountains, pine forests, rivers, and waterfalls.

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 View of Maluti mountains lightly covered in snow, with portions of the brown grown below showing through, with a lake in the center during winter season in Lesotho.

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Lesotho is a mountain kingdom totally surrounded by South Africa. This tiny country has an altitude of more than 4,593 feet—the highest low point of any nation in the world. Because of the altitude, temperatures drop below freezing regularly during the winter, and snow is commonplace. From June through September, you can find plenty of action on one of the continent's only ski resorts.

The Afriski resort features an extensive snow-making system that accentuates what falls naturally during the Lesotho winter. This is certainly not the Swiss Alps or the Colorado Rockies, but the unique appeal of skiing in Africa draws both South African and overseas visitors. Lesotho also boasts a dry winter season with a nearly 100% chance of sunny weather. Lesotho's untouched scenery speaks to adventurous hikers and culture-minded explorers alike.

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Melbourne, Australia

View of the flat Yarra River surrounded by commercial buildings, one framed in red along the riverfront with a blue sky and white clouds above

Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Melbourne is Australia's second-largest city. Its nightlife, shopping, and restaurant scenes are truly world class, with many spots offering alfresco dining and drinking during the warmer months of the year. In the winter, the mercury usually sits in the 50s during the day and drops into the 40s at night. Freezing temperatures are uncommon but sometimes occur.

Winter events like the Melbourne International Film Festival highlight the city's penchant for culture and art. Melbourne is also the birthplace of Australian rules football. Many teams in the professional league (the AFL) are based in and around Melbourne, so multiple matches are held every weekend during the winter.

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Santiago, Chile

Skyscrapers of Santiago in the foreground with snow-capped mountains in the background under a blue sky

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With highs from the mid-50s to mid-60s and nightly lows dipping into the 40s, winter is pleasant and not overly chilly in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Because of the surrounding mountains, however, this metropolis is a great base for warm-weather visitors from the north who want to spend their summer vacation near both world-class ski slopes and one of South America's most cosmopolitan cities.

The ski resort at La Parva is only about 30 miles from the center of Santiago. There are other resorts in the area, which is known as Tres Valles (three valleys). Together, these places provide hundreds of runs within an hour of the city. More challenging skiing can be found about two hours from Santiago. The resort at Portillo offers powder skiing and challenging runs that have earned it a reputation among pros and ski enthusiasts all over the world.

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Curitiba, Brazil

a small stream with black birds, green, rolling hill, and brown tree in foreground with a larger, green tree in the background in Barigui park iin Curitiba

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Because of its altitude, more than 3,000 feet above sea level, Curitiba has a distinctly cool but rarely freezing winter season. In June and July, highs generally stretch into the low 60s, with lows in the 40s.

With its milder temperatures, winter sports aren’t on the menu, but there is plenty to do and see in Curitiba. The metropolis is known as a green city for its numerous parks and forests. Many of these green areas were converted from commercial and industrial uses. Winter visitors can enjoy exploring the city's many parks, including Tanguá Park, Parque Barigui, and Jardim Botânico de Curitiba.