Best weekend getaways – Australian escapes

Best weekend getaways – Australian escapes

best weekend getaways
Whitsundays

From the city to the outback, there are plenty of wonderful places to take a short break all around Australia. Why delay? Go ahead and treat yourself to that getaway you deserve.

best weekend getaways
Darwin
best weekend getaways
Whitsundays

Tobruk Sheep Station, Maroota, NSW

Sit around a campfire eating damper and drinking billy tea under the stars. Tobruk Sheep Station is only a 70-minute drive from Sydney but it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Relax among farm animals, tractors and haystacks. And enjoy hearty country cooking. Activities include mustering, whip cracking, bush walking and cycling. The little ones will love feeding the farm animals.

You can visit the station as a day trip from Sydney on Family Open Days each Sunday. But there’s also an option of bunking down in a Drovers Cabin or staying at Tobruk Station Homestead, which has a country cosy ambience with four bedrooms.

Best for: Families

More: Tobruk Sheep Station, tel: (02) 4566 8223.

Old Bank B&B, Cygnet, TAS

Only 45 minutes from Hobart, Cygnet is home to Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans, whose series on SBS has showcased local producers and the region’s delightful scenery. The Old Bank B&B is a charming 1909 bank building on the main street with open fireplaces, bay windows and romantic garden nooks. The three bedrooms have private bathrooms and luxurious little extras like handmade soaps, terry towelling robes, slippers and plush cotton towels. It’s a picture-perfect place for a relaxing weekend in the country.

Two doors down, Country Style’s “Country Chef of the Year” Steve Cumper’s restaurant, The Red Velvet Lounge, offers a menu prepared with fresh local Tasmanian produce. A festive time to visit is during the Cygnet Folk Festival (14 to 16 January) when the township hops with music and a bustling produce and craft market.

Best for: Couples, foodies

Salty Dog Kayaking, Whitsundays, QLD

Paddle with manta rays, turtles, dolphins and dugongs on a guided kayaking expedition around the idyllic Whitsundays. The World Heritage-listed tropical paradise of 74 islands is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Guided trips range from two- to six-day paddling expeditions in double or single kayaks where you camp under the stars. Salty Dog Kayaking takes all the hassle out of camping by supplying the essentials needed for an enjoyable expedition such as camping equipment, meals, snorkelling equipment and stinger suits.

Paddlers on the six-day expedition are rewarded with spectacular views of lagoons, beaches, rugged coastlines and discoveries of ancient Aboriginal campsites and cave paintings. Humpback whales can be spotted from July to September.

Best for: Adventure seekers, nature lovers

More: Salty Dog Sea Kayaking, tel: (07) 4946 1388.

Andre’s Mews, Richmond, VIC

Enjoy a touch of England in Victoria’s capital. Andre’s Mews was once a traditional double-fronted Edwardian house (with a cobbled courtyard, stables and hayloft) that has been converted into a fashionable English Mews-style complex with apartments facing a central courtyard.

The chic one- and two-bedroom luxury serviced inner city apartments are a stylish blend of classical and contemporary. Think French doors, zebra-print throw rugs, art-deco jet master fireplaces and 1920’s art.

Andre’s Mews is a short walk to the trendy boutiques, cafes, restaurants and bars on Bridge Road. You can stroll through Fitzroy Gardens to the Melbourne CBD or catch the tram right outside the door.

Best for: Luxury lovers.

More: Andre’s Mews, tel: (03) 9428 8859.

Moonshadow Villas, Darwin, NT

Does a tranquil tropical hideaway near a capital city sound like your ideal getaway? Only minutes from Darwin’s CBD, Moonshadow Villas is a secret sanctuary of luxurious garden and pool villas tucked among tall palms, bamboo groves and lush rainforest. The two-storey villas have access to stunning sandstone pools and are furnished with original art works and furnishings from around the world. Unique pieces include antique Chinese fortress gates, a beautifully painted acrylic privacy screen and hand-woven rugs.

October is a good month to enjoy Darwin’s languid outdoor lifestyle. Catch a movie at the Deckchair Cinema, which screens films in an outdoor harbour-side setting from April to November. Or watch the sunset at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets (open until the last Thursday in October).

Best for: Couples, families. Well-behaved furry friends are welcome.

More: Moonshadow Villas, tel: (08) 8981 8850.

Aria Hotel, Canberra, ACT

This Canberra luxury hotel is fresh and stylish. The 128 rooms, one- and two-bedroom apartments and spa suites are equipped with an Aria signature bed that has a deep mattress specially designed for a comfortable night’s sleep. The hotel’s location near the CBD makes it a convenient base from which to visit Canberra’s museums.

Best for: Culture vultures

More: Aria Hotel, tel: (02) 6279 7000.

Eco Beach Wilderness Resort, Broome, WA

Things to do in Australia Short breaks
best weekend getaways

Surrounded by bushland, pastoral land and the Indian Ocean, this eco resort is a secluded getaway for the environmentally conscious near Broome. You sleep in cyclone-proof Eco Villas, some with dramatic ocean views, or safari-style Eco Tents. Eco Villas are solar powered and equipped with monitoring systems so guests can monitor the energy consumption of each villa individually.

Relax with a cocktail at Jack’s Bar & Restaurant, which overlooks a wet-edge pool. Or book into the health retreat for a massage treatment or a yoga session. Other activities include fishing, hunting and whale-watching. Guided bush walks focus on the bush-tracking culture of the Yawuru people take you to cliffs, caves and bushland abundant with kangaroos, wallabies, goannas and birds.

Best for: Nature lovers, families

More: Eco Beach Wilderness Resort, tel: (08) 9193 8015.

Angorichina Station, Flinders Ranges, SA

best weekend getaways

best weekend getaways

Experience the life of an outback sheep farmer while staying at a remote 65,000ha working sheep station near Blinman. The vast property is roughly the size of Singapore. Fourth generation sheep farmer Ian Fargher will take you around the station while he checks on sheep, musters horses, feeds the working dogs or flies in his Cessna to the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna for a beer. Back at the homestead, Ian’s wife Di prepares hearty country meals for guests.

Accommodation in The Cottage, a renovated schoolroom, is cosy and has an ensuite bathroom. The original stone homestead also has two bedrooms and two bathrooms for guests.

Best for: Luxury travellers keen to experience life in the outback.

Want more: Angorichina Station, tel: (08) 8354 4405.

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