Where To Escape The City This Long Weekend
Get outta town.
There’s a long weekend just around the corner, and whether you have plans or are still waiting for inspiration to strike, we strongly advocate for taking an adventure instead of kicking around at home and frequenting the same old haunts.
Follow our lead: pack a bag, turn off your phone and just go. Where, you ask? Read on.
Located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the cosy, artistic town of Kyneton is the perfect escape for those looking to retreat from the big city lights. Rife with adorable bed and breakfasts and country town charm, Kyneton is a top-notch place to shrug off the world and unwind.
Whether you’re interested in a romantic getaway or keen to get a group of friends out of the city, there are accommodation options for any number of people.
Camp Kulning, located just five minutes from the centre of town, features sleeping options like a cosy cottage, a ’50s caravan, and a refurbished ’20s tram. (Yes, that’s right: you can sleep inside a vintage tram. How very Melbourne of you.) Situated on the edge of the gorgeous Lauriston forest, it also features a Tiki bar, two indoor wood fires, an outdoor campfire and BBQ area, record players, hammocks, boardgames, books and heaps more.
Kyneton also has some of the best op shops in Victoria, as well as hiking trails galore. Hit up The Royal George Hotel for a great pub meal, and head to Little Swallow Cafe for a Melbourne-worthy coffee and delicious recovery breakfast.
The natural beauty of the Mornington Peninsula is its biggest drawcard, with sandy beaches and swollen surf on one side and the tranquil Port Phillip Bay on the other. You’ll find pine forests, quaint towns and rolling green hills dotted with wineries and fruit fields (where you can stop for a wine tasting – Paringa Estate is great – or to pick your own strawberries) cutting between them.
For a drink and a feed, Mornington Peninsula Brewery‘s large warehouse space is the perfect stop-in. For Instagrams galore, visit the colourful row of bathing boxes on Dromana Beach.
If you’re keen for an early morning detox, head to The Peninsula Hot Springs, which truly live up to the hype. With stunning views and a lot of pools, it’s best to arrive early to avoid the inevitable crowds.
For those who are campers at heart but want to unwind, give Happy Glamper a go. They’ll erect a luxurious set-up before you arrive, leave you to your own devices for the weekend, then pack it all down when you leave. Stoney Creek Cottages are a great option for those looking for some rustic charm.
Wherever you stay, and whatever activities you choose to partake in, rest assured you’ll leave revitalised.
Just 90 minutes outside of Sydney, you’ll find one of the most charming, true-blue towns in the country. Bowral, which is in NSW’s Southern Highlands, west of Sydney, is a great base for a long weekend away. Famed for its Tulip Festival, which takes place every spring, this small town used to serve as a getaway for Sydney’s elite but is much more affordable these days.
Using Bowral as your base, you can also venture to the beaches of Wollongong or to the Kiama Blowhole, which sprays water up to 25m in the air. To cap off the weekend, head to Raw & Wild Market Cafe for a nourishing feed.
The Hunter Valley
Welcome to wine country! The Hunter Valley is home to more than 150 wineries, and each and every one of them has a tasting spot with your name on it. We recommend starting at The Gartelmann Vineyard where you can take a tour then have lunch at their on-site cafe next to a lake. There’s also Pepper Tree Wines, which offers wine tastings, tours, and winemaker Q&As, and the excellent Usher Tinkler for fine drops with a side of charcuterie, salumi and cheese.
If hiking is your jam, heading to Kingaroy, around two hours from Brisbane, is the perfect long-weekend getaway. The town itself is small and quaint, with all the amenities you’ll need.
For food, head to Utopia Cafe, where the name speaks for itself. The Booie Range, home to several wineries and cellars, is just north of Kingaroy proper, and is the perfect place to journey for exceptional views of all the rolling hills this incredibly scenic part of the world has to offer.
The Carroll Nature Reserve and Kokoda Track are a great place to scope out some of Queensland’s most beautiful flora and fauna, as it’s home some of the most colourful birds in the world.
Crane Wines is the perfect place to unwind after all that walking around. The winery and onsite bed and breakfast are a little slice of heaven. And don’t forget to ask them about their vineyard bird list. Seriously, ask about the birds!
Sandwiched between pristine beaches and gorgeous wineries, Margaret River has to be one of the best places in Australia to give your Instagram account a workout.
Accommodation options are plentiful in and around the area, with options for all budgets. Margaret River Guesthouse, a tree-lined bed and breakfast, is particularly idyllic.
When you get to town, head to Prevally to watch the sunset over the Indian Ocean and let Powderfinger be your soundtrack. Once you’ve had a tipple at one of the hundreds of wineries (Palmers and Voyager Estate are highly recommended), head to Mammoth Caves for a look around under the ground.
If you’re after a delicious feed and nightcap, head to Cape Mentelle, another incredible winery that has an outdoor cinema where you can nibble on cheese and sip on delicious rosé as the sun sets.
A two-hour drive from the city of Adelaide is the Yorke Peninsula, a sprawling oasis that manages to entice adventure-seeking holidayers and those looking to unwind away from the city sprawl. You can choose between farm stays, camping, caravaning, or beach hotels for your western jaunt or, if you’re looking to switch off, try The Redwing Barn Farmstay.
There are over 500km of continuous shared walking and cycling trails that welcome those strolling with their four-legged friends and hardcore bike-riders alike. The coastline puts more known beachy offerings to shame, with great surf and whole range of places to get your snorkel, kayak or jet-ski on.
(Lead image: Visit Mornington Peninsula)