An antidote to the monotony of daily life lies within the borders of Australia — a vast natural playground begging to be explored.
There are ample destinations ready to alleviate the pressures of the working week, and fortunately, your sense of awe can be awakened in just a few days.
Below, we’ve gathered the best weekend getaways Australia has on its doorstep, whether you’re eager to traverse the vivid landscape or prefer to seek quiet respite for your body and mind.
1. Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland
Aptly known as the ‘Sunshine State’, QLD is renowned for its warm climate and stunning beaches — clearly the perfect place for a summer holiday.
Mild winters make it equally as enticing in the cooler months, offering the perfect opportunity to venture inland, where you can navigate the endless national parks and climb the state’s astounding mountains.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland region makes for an exceptional Queensland getaway and is only a 1.5-hour drive north of Brisbane.
Jump in the car and drive through the Glasshouse Mountains to introduce your senses to the hinterland’s scenic pleasures. A distinguishable landmark of the location, it boasts 11 ancient volcanic peaks towering over a myriad of tracks to explore on foot or bike. Ascend to the lookout in Beerburrum State Forest to truly appreciate the expansiveness and vivid hues of nature.
Get acquainted with Maleny and Montville, two of the endearing towns nearby that are home to plenty of cafes, antique stores, art galleries, and markets. Eager to indulge the palate? Don’t miss the Maleny Dairies, Brouhaha Craft Brewery, Chocolate Country Montville, and Flame Hill Vineyard.
If you’re looking for a few unforgettable activities, stroll through the Maleny Botanic Gardens, reach greater heights at the TreeTop Challenge, or head to Gardner Falls to enjoy a picnic and plunge in the natural swimming hole.
There’s ample accommodation to choose from to suit any budget or preferred experience, B&Bs, campgrounds, cabins, farm stays, glamping, resorts, and hotels.
2. Wilson Island, Queensland
Quite possibly one of the most impressive island getaways Australia has to offer, Wilson Island presents the ultimate opportunity to take a break from reality. Proudly positioned within the iconic Great Barrier Reef, it’s just off the coast of Gladstone, 25 minutes by boat from Heron Island.
This secluded adults-only destination is ideal for those seeking complete peace — the island only hosts a maximum of 18 guests at a time, making it the ultimate example of luxury getaways.
You’ll be staying in one of nine deluxe reef safari tents with a view that frames the incoming ocean waves. If you’re feeling extra exclusive, you can also reserve the entire island.
The intention of visiting Wilson Island is to completely immerse yourself in your surroundings. You’ll be swapping your phone and TV for lounging in a hammock, laying on the beach, navigating the island, and snorkelling with the beautiful creatures under the pristine water’s surface.
3. Girraween National Park, Queensland
For those seeking a sense of awe in a more rugged environment, Girraween’s striking, rocky terrain is the ideal place to explore. To get there, you’ll drive just over three hours from Brisbane, between Stanthorpe and Tenterfield.
In the local Indigenous language, Girraween means ‘place of flowers’ — perfectly fitting as this national park is home to over 750 plant types. It offers easy strolls and overnight hikes through iconic rock formations such as The Sphinx, Balancing Rock, Castle Rock, and The Pyramid, making it appealing to both novice adventurers and seasoned explorers alike.
Nearby accommodation options include traditional campgrounds, luxury glamping, cabins, and even a stay at a local winery or brewery.
4. Hunter Valley, New South Wales
One of the most popular weekend getaways NSW has to offer, the Hunter Valley is only a 2-hour drive north of the city and has something for everyone.
It’s one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions, with the annual Hunter Valley Wine and Food Festival an event not to miss. We also recommend taking a guided tour of the local cellar doors, or if you’re feeling active, hire a bike to venture along the rural roads between each incredible destination.
Gain an expansive view of the landscape in a hot air balloon, or revel in nature’s pleasures at the Hunter Valley Gardens, which also hosts its famous Christmas Lights Spectacular each festive season.
Indulge in some downtime at a local wellness retreat, whip up a delicious dish at one of the many cooking classes, and dive into some of the area’s history at the Historic Maitland Gaol.
5. Southern Highlands, New South Wales
Looking for a country escape in NSW? The Southern Highlands invites you to experience a quaint, characterful lifestyle approximately 1.5 hours southwest of Sydney.
Stroll through the local towns and their endless antique stores, boutiques, pubs, and cafes. A few essential spots include Berry’s famous doughnut van, the Berkelouw Book Barn in Berrima, and Robertson’s pie shop
For those who’d like to experience a glass of local flavour, treat yourself to visiting a vineyard or two, such as Bendooley Estate or Joadja Estate.
If you’d prefer to be amongst nature, Tulip Time is a must-see annual event held over September and October to showcase the area’s exceptional tulip gardens. There are also countless hiking trails to take you off the beaten track and through stunning scenery — check out the Bowral Lookout, Belmore Falls, and Flat Rock waterhole, or kayak down Kangaroo River.
6. The Tweed, New South Wales
The idyllic example of slow living, Tweed locals will attest to the area’s wonderful ability to readjust your pace. While it’s technically situated in NSW, this region is a common destination for Gold Coasters as it’s only a 40-minute drive from the heart of the city.
Kingscliff is a hub for market lovers, with regular beachside events, both day and night. Wander down the boardwalk from Cudgen Creek towards the main beach to appreciate the glimmering blue waters, and get even closer by hiring a paddleboard, surfboard, or kayak from the local watersports shop.
Head to the family-owned Farm & Co at Cudgen to eat local produce and stroll through their stunning sunflower fields. Discover an impressive vantage point at the Fingal Head lighthouse, and for creative minds, Murwillumbah’s art spaces will offer ample inspiration.
Wind down the day with a drink at Husk Distillers in North Tumbulgum, followed by an unforgettable night’s sleep at Cabarita Beach’s glamping temples.
7. Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, Victoria
Continue winding your way further south, and you’ll find Victoria offering a plethora of country getaways. It’s no surprise — the lively buzz of city life in Melbourne calls for an opportunity to seek respite in the state’s nearby locales.
The Daylesford area is notably known as a territory for wellness, featuring incredible mountain scenery, lakes, and mineral springs. Fortunately, it’s a short 1.5 hours drive northwest of the city, making it one of the most accessible getaways Victoria offers to Melbournites.
Relaxation is often the priority of the area’s visitors — in addition to its calming natural landscape, there are plenty of restorative treatments to be enjoyed. Massages, mud baths, and holistic therapies make it the ideal spa weekend getaway
For a unique experience, try one of many workshops where you can learn a ‘lost trade’, such as bread baking or guitar making. Indulge in the award-winning local eateries, discover quaint boutiques and galleries, and check out the weekly farmers’ markets.
If you’re eager to become enthralled in the environment, visit the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Lake Daylesford, or hike through Hepburn Regional Park.
8. Rottnest Island, Western Australia
When it comes to weekend getaways, WA has become one of Australia’s most desirable holiday destinations.
Wadjemup, or Rottnest Island, is a stone’s throw from Perth but feels as though you’ve been transported far away. This slice of paradise can be accessed by a 30-minute ferry ride from Fremantle, making it ideal for a day trip or weekend escape.
The island is home to a range of unique flora and fauna, including the adorably famous quokka, a tiny smiling marsupial. Preserving Wadjemup’s animal and plant population is a top priority, making the island predominantly car-free — instead, you can enjoy the refreshing journey of exploring by bike or foot.
Its perfect weather, 63 beaches, and 20 bays make Rottnest Island perfect for diving, snorkelling, swimming, whale watching, and surfing. You can also gain a wonderful insight into the local indigenous culture by visiting the Wadjemup Museum or on a walking tour with a Noongar Guide. Wind down the day at one of several waterfront restaurants, where you can appreciate the selection of fresh seafood that this location is well known for.
9. Adelaide Hills, South Australia
SA is one of the country’s most admirable gems, gleaming with unsurpassed scenery, cultural pleasures, and culinary experiences. Whether you’re searching for city or countryside weekend getaways, South Australia’s inviting, easygoing atmosphere will leave you reminiscing long after you’ve left.
Conveniently close to the state’s capital, you’ll simply need to drive 30 minutes to become mesmerised by the wonders of Adelaide Hills.
For a completely unique experience, be sure to visit Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement. Walking through the quaint village, you’ll find European-style eateries, shops, and galleries. A cheesemaker, leathersmith, and candlemaker truly set the scene for an old-time experience, alongside the Hahndorf Farm Barn and Beerenberg Farm for strawberry picking season.
The region also boasts over 50 cellar doors, craft breweries, and distilleries, with several food and wine festivals throughout the year. There are a number of inspiring cooking workshops on offer, making it the foodie’s ideal destination.
Leverage the landscape by trekking up to the Mount Lofty Summit, or speed down one of the many mountain bike trails. Learn more about the world-famous skincare brand Jurlique by visiting their farm, where you can see the herbs, flowers, and plants that are grown for their natural products.
10. Bruny Island, Tasmania
Tasmania has been gaining momentum as Australia’s most desirable holiday destination, with mainland folk eager to travel across the Bass Strait instead of overseas.
It offers many opportunities for quiet reflection and enjoyment of the little things. Disconnect to reconnect — you’ll swap constant distractions for being present in each moment, making it one of the most romantic getaways for couples who want to enhance their intimacy.
If Bruny Island isn’t on your Tassie to-do list, it’s time to include it. To get there, you’ll need to drive 30 minutes from Hobart to the ferry terminal in Kettering, where it’ll take you a quick 20-minute trip across the water to this unmissable destination.
It’s a food-lovers paradise, underpinned by the values of “handmade, hand-caught, and hand-crafted.” The Bruny Island Cheese & Beer Co, House of Whisky, and Get Shucked oyster farm are essential stops to taste the products of passionate artisans.
Take your time to explore Bruny and really absorb its natural wonders. There are countless walking tracks to navigate and private picnic spots to be found. Appreciate the fresh air at Truganini Lookout, or marvel at all from above in a scenic flight of the island. You’ll quickly learn why out of all weekend getaways, Tasmania will have you planning your next trip before you’ve even left.
11. Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is certain to offer you an experience like no other. While Uluru, the sandstone monolith at the heart of the ‘Red Centre’, is the territory’s most iconic landmark, there are countless other locations to explore.
Drive three hours from Darwin, and you’ll be embraced by Kakadu — Australia’s largest national park and also a World Heritage site renowned for its breathtaking nature and culture.
The Bininj/Mungguy people have walked this land for 65,000 years and extend their ancestral knowledge to those who are fortunate enough to visit. You can view some of the oldest Aboriginal rock art in the world at outdoor galleries such as Nourlangie and Ubirr, or take a tour with a local guide to hear creation stories and learn about traditional foods.
Cruise Yellow Water billabong to see crocodiles, wallabies, and buffalo on the water’s edge, or hike through Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge) to discover refreshing waterholes and waterfalls.
You’ll find several accommodation options on offer, including resorts, hotels, and campsites.
Regardless of your motivations for an escape or preferred travel style, each of Australia’s states proudly present an experience that will vastly differ from your day-to-day.
To gain inspiration for your next weekend away, join us on a house tour of Portum — a luxury stay located in the breathtaking Byron Bay, NSW.