We say it all the time – Australia is a lucky country. And when it comes to art, we certainly are! We’re blessed to be able to enjoy a huge array of artistic creations, from exhibitions of centuries-old pieces from international waters, to permanent showings of our own local artists.

As the winter chill sets in, give yourself a good reason to stay inside and stay warm by visiting some art galleries. Here are some of our favourites – they’re all over Australia, so even if you’re on the road you can drop by and enjoy some culture.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Melbournians are renowned for being pretty discerning when it comes to culture and coffee. It’s no wonder then that one of the most well-known Australian museums lies in the Victorian capital.

The National Gallery of Victoria (commonly referred to as the NGV) is located in the heart of the city and is an ever-popular spot to take a meandering stroll if you have a free afternoon (or day) in Melbourne.

Lying beyond the stunning water-feature entrance, you’ll find a plethora of old and new art exhibitions – the largest collection in Australia. The gallery regularly features exciting, well-known exhibits from foreign shores, and this winter it’s Van Gogh’s time. The Van Gogh and the Seasons exhibition contains works lent by leading international museums, including the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and is open until July 9th.

If you’re after something a bit different, NGV Friday Nights are a must-visit. Running until July 8th, you can take in exceptional art while you listen to a string quartet, hear speakers discuss the various exhibitions, or take in live performances from a range of musicians.

The gallery also has a myriad of dining spots, guided tour options (in a range of languages), as well as souvenirs to take a piece of your visit home with you.

The NGV truly is a brilliant destination to escape Melbourne’s winter chill, so why not make the visit a piece of cake by picking up a snazzy ride from our convenient Melbourne city location?

MONA, Hobart

Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has been drawing curious visitors to Tasmanian shores since its opening in 2011. Its founder, David Walsh, refers to it as a “subversive adult Disneyland”, and many have listed it as one of the best modern art galleries in the world.

A revolving door of incredible exhibitions, you’ll be amazed not only by the sheer size of the collections housed within its walls, but also by the diversity. From traditional paintings to unique new pieces, sculptures to live art and light installations, we’d be here all day listing all the eclectic artworks MONA features.

Be warned however! Much of the work is controversial and some may even find it shocking, so you may want to leave the kiddies at home for this one.

Extend your winter stay in the cosy Tasmanian capital beyond your visit to MONA and hire a car to zip around in from Thrifty’s convenient Hobart rental car location.

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Located in the hip North Terrace area of Adelaide, the Art Gallery of South Australia is a little-known national treasure. Though many people have never heard of it, it actually houses enough artworks (35,000 to be precise) to make it the second biggest collection in Australia.

Just like its Victorian counterpart, the NGV, it plays home to a mixture of both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The gallery has been an Adelaide institution since it opened its doors in 1881 – and, best of all, general admission is free.

Just walk through the doors and you can take in original Indigenous artworks, as well as European and British landscapes. You can even see portraiture and sculptures by the master of his craft, Rodin.

Open every day of the week, the Art Gallery of South Australia is the ideal spot to take shelter from the icy weather, absorb some historically significant art, then warm up with a coffee or a bite to eat at Art Gallery Food + Wine.

Heading to the City of Churches this winter? Thrifty can help you get around with ease. Our central Adelaide car rental location is your one-stop shop.

Australia is chock-full of potential to immerse yourself in our exceptional art scene, so head in from the cold this winter and make sure to pay one of our picks a visit.