This is a beautiful time to visit Australia’s east coast, where it’s hot but not humid; snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, dip in and out of wine cellars in Hunter Valley or witness the unforgettable New Year celebrations in Sydney. It’s a popular time for exploring the diverse ecosystems of Costa Rica, from pristine rainforests and mist-shrouded cloud forests to coffee plantations and smouldering volcanoes. Or consider Ethiopia with its astonishing mountain scenery and rich Orthodox Christian heritage. In December it’s predominantly dry and temperatures are comfortably warm – ideal for discovering the rock-hewn churches of the northern circuit and for trekking in the Simien or Bale mountain ranges. We would also recommend the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where the weather is blissful and there are a host of exciting festivals taking place.
Ethiopia enjoys relatively mild climates and December is one of the more temperate, drier months, making it a great time to explore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. In higher regions like the Simien mountains, temperatures may be a little cooler at night. It is the ideal time to visit the north, especially Axum where the Hidar Tsion festival is celebrated. An annual pilgrimage, it attracts Ethiopians from all over the country to pay homage to St Mary, under the belief that the Ark of the Covenant is held in Axum. It’s a joyous occasion and provides an ethereal atmosphere both in the city and when visiting nearby holy sites.
While Australia can be visited all year round, it depends where you go. December is the best month for visiting Australia’s east coast, where temperatures can be high but not humid and there is almost always a beach in sight. Christmas brings traditional celebrations, but with an Australian twist. Expect to meet Santa wearing shorts and casual Christmas parties by the barbecue. However, the prime attraction of visiting Australia in December is to see the fireworks over Sydney harbour. One of the first time zones to celebrate New Year’s every year, Sydney goes off with a bang. Fireworks illuminate the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, and shimmer in the water’s reflection. Discover Australia
December sees the beginning of Costa Rica’s peak season and the rain starts to lessen, making it a great time to go in search of the vast wildlife. Temperatures are in the 20s and rain can be intermittent all year round, so there is no guarantee that it will be dry throughout. The Central Valley will be luscious after months of rainfall, offering beautiful, verdant views and looking picture-perfect. December is also a good time to visit the Cloud Forest biological reserve as it will be cooler and not so humid. Discover Costa Rica
With warm days and cool nights, complemented by low humidity ushered in by the end of the monsoon season, December is an idyllic month to explore the south of India. Characterised by its fertile verdant plains, glistening backwaters, tropical forests and splendid ancient relics, this region reaches its pulsating peak at this time of year. The states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in particular are at their most festive, with a number of exuberant carnivals showcasing folk performances, powerful dance rituals and colourful attires – to pilgrims and tourists alike. We recommended beginning your southern adventure in Chennai on the south-east coast before winding your way through the ancient land of Tamil Nadu and exploring the tranquillity and beauty of Kerala. Discover India
We have highlighted the standard of accommodation featured on a tour immediately above the tour itinerary.
In some cases, tours include some departures in one category and some in another: you can see and select the different tour types under ‘tour variations’. For these tours, the itinerary is generally the same and just the standard of accommodation varies. However, if there are any variations in the excursions included, these are shown within the itinerary.
Superior: Most Cox & Kings tours fall under this category and are based in 4- or 5-star accommodation, or the best available.
Luxury: These tours will usually feature 5-star de luxe accommodation throughout.
Standard: Simpler in emphasis, these itineraries typically feature 3- and 4-star accommodation throughout.
Discovery: This type of holiday is best suited to the hardier traveller, as it will typically include some quite basic accommodation, possibly longer and rougher road journeys and, in some cases, more arduous activities, such as trekking.