As the holiday season comes to an end, it’s time to start thinking about local weekend escapes. Though we may not all have the time or the means to take a long holiday overseas, there is still a large selection of wonderful weekend escapes right here in Australia to enjoy this season.
With the temperatures on the rise, we have handpicked some of the nation’s best destinations to not only escape the heat but also ones that make for enjoyable short escapes. And remember that travel plans can still go awry even on short trips, so it pays to always protect yourself with award winning travel insurance.
Escape to the many cool climate gardens of the Dandenong ranges this year. Lush colourful gardens like Cloudhill, Pirianda, George Tindale Memorial, and the National Rhododendron Gardens all await you. You’ll find a wide range of cosy cottages and retreats to choose from, as well as numerous day spas to get your body feeling refreshed for the new year.
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some of Victoria’s most incredible views at SkyHigh. The bistro is open all public holidays and offers lovely hikes through the cool fern glades to work off your meal. Another great hike to tackle is the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk or you may wish to simply relax on the Puffing Billy Railway.
Beat the heat this summer by taking a holiday to the Murray River. Set yourself up in Mildura to enjoy swimming and water skiing, or hire a houseboat and float down the river. The Mildura Riverfront is a perfect place to bike or walk and you can enjoy a lovely picnic with fresh produce sourced from the Sunraysia Farmers' Market held at Jaycee Park.
Kids will love splashing around the Mildura Water Play Park and adults can enjoy trying not to land tee shots in the water at one of several great golf courses. If you’re not afraid of the heat, there is always Mungo National Park and Murray Sunset National Park not too far away as well.
There’s no better time to visit Tasmania than the summer, so grab a flight to Hobart and drive to Bruny Island for a truly wild long weekend escape. Enjoy breathing some of the world’s freshest air and walk pristine beaches as you keep an eye out for fur seals, dolphins, and little penguins.
Gorge on fresh fruit, oysters, and fine cheese to replenish your energy spent hiking in search of albino wallabies. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse and be sure to check out the views from “The Neck”.
While ski resorts such as Thredbo and Perisher are generally thought of as winter holiday destinations, you will find that Mount Kosciuszko offers incredible hiking in the summer months with nice comfortable weather. Hike to the top of Australia’s highest point or check out the dramatic views along the knife-edge ridge of The Sentinel.
Nearby Lake Jindabyne offers a wealth of summer outdoor recreation such as water skiing, sailboarding, fishing, kayaking, and sailing. There is also white water rafting, numerous bike trails, and caves to explore.
Kangaroo Island is just a short drive and ferry ride away from Adelaide but a world away. A great destination for families, you’ll be surrounded by pristine nature that is rich in wildlife. The island has a large population of koalas as well as seals, penguins, echidnas, and several endemic species. Look for them in the wild or at several wildlife parks.
Witness natural wonders like Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch or try sand boarding at Little Sahara. Those looking to surf can catch waves at Pennington Bay and Stokes Bay.
Conveniently located halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne, Mount Gambier makes a great weekend getaway. See the famous Blue Lake or take a break from the sun in the shady gardens of Umpherston Sinkhole. Nearby are the Piccaninnie Ponds where you can grab a permit to snorkel and dive in the incredibly crystal clear freshwater springs.
You can also cool off in the many caves of Naracoorte which are just an hour away. Here you can choose from a number of cave tours including adventure caving and seeing the remains of prehistoric megafauna.