Head for the Southern Hemisphere this Holiday Season and enjoy the hottest Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations on the planet; from Rio’s Ipanema Beach parties to Hobbits in New Zealand, the holidays are hotter than ever this year.
By Max Milano
The holidays are upon us, it’s the happiest time of the year and a perfect reason to visit friends and family. Another great way to celebrate the holiday season is to take your loved ones on a holiday they will never forget. How about the Southern Hemisphere?
The Southern Hemisphere offers world class destinations, breathtaking landscapes and amazing wildlife. Enjoy spring and summer (this fall and winter) in these hot Southern Hemisphere destinations.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is hot all year around, but nothing tops New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach (only the Rio Carnival matches it). The locals dress all in white; eat traditional New Year’s food (farofa), dance the samba and light floating candles on the beach. And just when you think nothing can top this amazing celebration, the skies above Copacabana Beach will light up with the biggest fireworks display of the year. So head down to Rio for the Holidays, it will surely be a holiday to remember.
Summer in Cape Town during the Holiday season means sunbathing with the penguins on Boulder Beach, hiking to the top of Table Mountain for one of the best views in the world, wine tasting in Stellenbosch (South Africa’s premier wine region), or going on a lion safari in a private game reserve. But nothing beats Cape Town’s ‘Kaapse Klopse’ carnival on New Year’s Day. The whole town pours into the streets to dance and sing in colorful costumes and painted faces. Join in the fun and find out why Cape Town is one of the top holiday destinations of the Holiday season.
Auckland is called ‘The City of Sails.’ It’s a beautiful port city of gorgeous bays, beaches and inlets, world class restaurants, a spectacular skyline, suburban wineries, and bungee jumping right downtown. The locals celebrate Christmas with a traditional ‘Santa Parade’ and New Year’s with a fireworks display above Sky Tower (the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest structure). But nothing can match spending the holidays in Middle Earth. Tolkien may have been inspired by Iceland and the British Midlands when he wrote his Hobbit sagas, but thanks to Kiwi director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit movies (all filmed entirely in New Zealand), you can now wonder through the streets of Hobbiton, and even drive to the top of Mount Doom. The town of Matamata, just a two hour drive from Auckland, has preserved the entire Hobbiton set used in all the movies. Tours are offered daily and the remoteness of the location (you can pan 360 degrees and never see a modern structure) will have you convinced that you’ve just landed in Middle Earth. A bit further south of Matamata rises Mount Ruapehu, a massive stratovolcano that stood in for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Ring movies and the highest point of the North Island. Doesn’t a holiday in Middle Earth sound perfect for the Holidays?
Max Milano is a world traveler, travel blogger and published author.