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By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on December 22, 2016 in Other

Jervis Bay is hard to beat.

Jervis Bay is hard to beat.

Every year it seems to be a dilemma – do I head out of town for Christmas and New Year’s Eve or do I stay put? Both options have their pros and cons, and inevitably I’m left with the feeling that the grass is greener on the other side. In fact, I’ve even returned early from the South Coast on occasion only to get back to Sydney and realise that I’ve made a big mistake.

This year, before making my final decision on whether to stay or go, I’ve decided to list some of the pros and cons of the conflicting options…

Staying Put

Generally speaking, Sydney is an absolute shit fight in summer, but during the Christmas week it isn’t so bad. A hell of a lot of people head out of town and very few outsiders can afford the exorbitant rents to visit the area during this period.

The city itself is like a ghost town on December 25. I strongly recommend a Christmas walk down George Street if you ever get the chance. It’s quite an eerie experience.

Of course, all of this changes on New Year’s Eve when the throngs return in their droves, but the days leading up to January 1 are often bliss.

The start of the Sydney to Hobart is another good reason to stay put. It is an absolute spectacle, especially if you’re on a big boat near the start line. The view from my harbourside abode isn’t too bad either.

The biggest downside of staying in Sydney is that everyone else seems to leave – friends, family, neighbours – it can actually feel quite lonely, particularly at a time of year went you’re meant to be surrounded by your loved ones.

Hitting The Road

If you’re travelling domestically, heading out of town is great once you’ve actually arrived at your destination, but the journey there and the thought of the journey home can spoil even the most relaxing escape.

Regardless of whether you’re heading north, south or west, you can guarantee that the traffic is going to be a nightmare. To overcome this I’ve taken to travelling in the middle of the night to avoid the inevitable logjam. Luckily I’m yet to fall asleep at the wheel.

It’s probably the worst time of year to be up or down the coast too, because everyone else has the same idea. You’ll have to book ahead at restaurants, circle the block for beach front car spaces, and probably end up in a traffic jam if you’re travelling any distance longer than a kilometre or two.

Another option for the Christmas break (if you’ve got the coin) is to jump on a plane and leave the country entirely. For many it’s low season Bali that beckons, but I prefer to dust off the ski gear and head over to Aspen or St Moritz.

Regardless of whether you plan to stay put in Sydney or hit the road, Rupert here would like to wish you all the merriest of Christmases. Have fun, stay safe, and I’ll see you all in the New Year.