While border restrictions are constantly changing around Australia, it’s still possible to plan a local holiday. More than this, residents are actually being encouraged to support the economy by travelling when they can. So we’ve decided to map out some of the best weekend escapes you can start planning now.
From Sydney to Shoalhaven
Located only three short hours’ drive away from Sydney, Shoalhaven is home to the famously gorgeous white shoreline of Hyams Beach inside the Marine Park of Jervis Bay. Plus there are hundreds of other pristine beaches to enjoy, scenic coastal tracks to walk, and friendly little cafes to visit.
Shoalhaven also has plenty of other physical activities on offer too, such as horse riding, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, and yoga-ing, making it the perfect place to head after being couped up in lockdown for months. It’s also smack-bang in the middle of wine country, so there’s also plenty of vino, cheese, and even beer to taste.
From Melbourne to the Great Ocean Road
Also less than a three-hour drive out from a capital city, the awe-inspiring scenery on this spectacular journey from Melbourne is easily one of the most popular day trips for locals and tourists alike. The dramatically winding and water sculpted seascape of the 300 kilometre Great Ocean Road is the ideal weekend getaway, as it skirts the southern-most edge of this country from infamous Torquay to the seaside town of Allansford.
The National Park at Port Campbell is the biggest attraction though, as it’s where the Twelve Apostles stand up from the ocean and the London Arch rock formation are both located. There are plenty of outdoor activities available in this area from hiking trails to ziplines, as well as surfing the big waves down with the locals at Bells Beach.
From Brisbane to Toowoomba
Many people chasing weekend getaways from Brisbane end up at a beach an hour north or south, whereas others would rather head towards the fresh air further inland where the Darling Downs merges with the Great Dividing Range.
As the largest town in the Southern Queensland Country, Toowoomba is the most prominent area in the region for weekenders wanting to embrace a little bit of that country life. With its combination of award-winning dining and a growing arts scene, this elevated country town is also a sanctuary for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
From Adelaide to Kangaroo Island
Despite the devastation caused during black summer bushfires, the gorgeous and unique landscape of Kangaroo Island is well and truly on the path to recovery. As it’s just a kangaroo hop, skip, and jump away from Adelaide, the island is an ideal destination for anyone looking for a South Australian getaway.
Full of unique wildlife and other natural wonders, Kangaroo Island has all the elements you’d expect to find at an international getaway, making it feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke. So much so, in fact, that it’s almost impossible not to relax at this incomparable holiday destination.
From Darwin to Kakadu
The spectacular, enormous, and most famous national park in all of Australia, Kakadu is home to some amazing landscapes and Aboriginal artworks, as well as stunning swimming spots and saltwater crocodiles.
Located approximately 3 hours’ drive east of Darwin, the UNESCO world heritage listed Kakadu is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike. But campsites inside Kakadu are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, which means you should definitely contact the Visitor Centre at Bowali to check for vacancies before heading out there.
From Perth To Rottnest Island
After living through some of the strictest border restrictions anywhere in the world, West Australians certainly deserve to take a holiday from being stuck at home. Thankfully, Rottnest Island is only 19 km from the Perth coast and is blessed with not only some picturesque landscapes but also a large quokka habitat, the happiest little creatures in the world.
There’s also an abundance of vibrant marine life from tropical fish to colourful coral found in some of the world’s most pristine bays and finest beaches. Plus, there’s some popular spots for surfing and snorkelling, plenty of trails for hiking and walking, as well as seaplanes, spas, and a wide variety of quaint cafes and top-class restaurants.
From Hobart to Coles Bay
From Canberra to the Snowy Mountains
Despite not much of its namesake at this time of the year, the Snowy Mountains is always perfect for a picturesque weekend away from life in Canberra. Situated only two hours from the capital, the infamous Snowy Mountains have so many amazing possible destinations such as the stunning lakes of Jindabyne which are perfectly suited for fishing, swimming, and other water sports.
Otherwise, there’s the adventure-filled Kosciuszko National Park with its kayaking, rafting, camping, bushwalking, and mountain biking, or the limestone Yarrangobilly Caves located on the northern side. Not only is this cave system is over 400 million years old, but there’s also a naturally occurring thermal pool for people who like swimming in warmer water. No matter what you’re after, the Snowy Mountains are full of family fun all year round.
If nothing else, one positive about the pandemic is that travel restrictions have provided us all with the perfect excuse for exploring our own backyard. And with the epically diverse landscape of Australia, what a backyard we have.