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Best weekend escapes in Australia

Moreton Island. Image: Supplied

Best weekend escapes in Australia

Best weekend escapes in Australia

From beaches to deserts and everything in between, Australians are spoilt for choice with the destinations available to them within arm’s reach. So when it comes to planning your next weekend away, rather than searching too far afield start by taking a look in your own backyard.

Whether you want to relish the panoramic views of the country, enjoy the breeze by the ocean, or a combination of both, we have put together a hit list of weekend escapes you cannot pass up in 2019.

Tangalooma, QLD

There are few destinations in the world that can fuse land and sea like Tangalooma. This idyllic island escape is only 75 minutes from Brisbane by ferry and is renowned for its pristine shores and tranquil waters. From exploring the intricate coral formations and marine life of the Tangalooma Wrecks with a snorkel, to speeding along Australia’s largest (and most beautiful) network of quad bike tracks – the adventure is only limited by your imagination. A must-do though is the trek to the summit of the Tangalooma Desert sand dunes. From there, you can take in the 360-degree views before embarking on a high-speed, heart racing descent aboard a sand toboggan. Twilight is something to really marvel at Tangalooma; as the sun sets over the water, watch as the resident pod of wild bottlenose dolphins make their way to shore. Resort guests have the opportunity to hand-feed these wild dolphins each evening at dusk. Whether you are a thrill-seeker, animal lover or a down-time enthusiast, this one-of-a-kind destination has something for everyone.

Barossa Valley, SA

Known as one of Australia’s finest wine regions, The Barossa Valley is a haven for wine connoisseurs and foodies in search of a country retreat; located just over an hour’s drive north of Adelaide. Unlike most Australian regions originating from British influences, the Barossa has a unique history as a German settlement. Here you will find stretches of rolling hillsides, picturesque villages, rich history and delicious food paying homage to its German roots. Explore the region by bicycle, motorbike, car, hot air balloon or helicopter. Whatever your mode of transport, make sure the recently opened Barossa Valley Chocolate Company is high up on your list of stop offs. After all, who doesn’t want to spend their weekend indulging in chocolate and wine? Once you’ve consumed about as much food and wine as possible, walk it off at one of the surrounding bushwalking trails at Hale Conservation Park, Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park or Sandy Creek Conservation Park.

Photo Credit: Budget Direct

Kakadu National Park, NT

Immerse yourself in the natural splendour of Australia’s largest terrestrial national park. Darwin locals are blessed to have Kakadu on their doorstep, only a short 80 minute drive from the city. Venture to this national park rich in natural beauty and marvel at the profound gorges, swim under the cascading waterfalls and trek the unique flood plains. While you’re there, grab some binoculars and observe the Park’s exotic birds and wild crocodiles in their natural environments. The park is home to an abundance of native wildlife and a diverse range of rare plants, which paint the landscapes and make this the perfect escape to cleanse your mind and strip back to your roots.

Photo Credit: Majorten

Mornington Peninsula, VIC

If you’re after a luxury escape filled with artisan food and scenic sights, then the Mornington Peninsula is the destination for you. Located just an hour South of Melbourne, here you can explore the fragrant lavender farms, gardens boasting lush greenery and billowing trees, all the while enjoying award-winning wine and fresh produce. The famed colourful bathing boxes that litter the foreshore between Mount Martha, Dromana, Rosebud and Portsea are an attraction in their own right and offer the perfect reason to head to the beach. Complete your weekend getaway by getting pampered at the Peninsula Hot Springs in natural thermal mineral waters.

Gerringong, NSW

Just over two hours south of Sydney, the picturesque township of Gerringong is truly postcard-worthy, with rolling hills, lush valleys and alluring views of the Pacific Ocean. Once a little sleepy seaside town and rural dairy farming village, Gerringong is now an emerging holiday destination sought after by travellers for its quiet beaches and relaxed ambience. Here you will find the perfect balance of country and coast, with copious lookouts, coastal walks and country drives – if you’re in the search for the region’s best views then make sure you give the Grand Pacific Drive a go. Back in Gerringong, a must visit sight is the Ourie Rock Pool at the southern end of Werri Beach. Picture this; an irregular-shaped pool constructed in the jagged rock shelf. The perfect place to unwind and take a swim, without having to worry about the surf breaking on top of you.

Finding an oasis doesn’t mean you have to look abroad or commit to a three-week stint, some of the greatest escapes are right on your doorstep.

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