As the chill of winter begins to descend upon some parts of the world, that group of travelers known as “snowbirds” are evaluating the possibilities of an escape to warmer climes.

Though Florida, the Caribbean, and the southern reaches of South America are all popular snowbird destinations, the recent decline in airfare to farther flung regions has made places like Australia attractive to sun-seeking travelers.

Before you book that ticket, though, take note: CBC News is reporting that Australia’s Simpson Desert Conservation Park–a vast 3.6 million hectare swath of the country– will be closed to visitors from December 2008 to mid-March 2009 because it is quite simply too hot.

A spokesperson for the park was quoted as saying

“There’s every possibility that [visitors] could find themselves in real strife, or even worse, perishing, and we’d like our visitors to our parks to have a positive experience.”

Indeed.

If you just can’t stay away and find yourself straying into the Australian desert, make sure you’ve got some cash on hand. Fines for those who violate the off-limits rule can be as high as $650.

Photo: kleinmatt66 (Flickr creative commons)