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As the mercury climbs, so does the temptation to escape the city and hit the road. But what destination do you plug into your GPS? Luckily, when it comes to covetable summer holidays, you won’t have to look far.
Australia is blessed with a smattering of easy-to-reach breaks, and many are less than a two-hour drive from capital cities. Pencil in a day trip over the summer holidays – or perhaps even think about turning a one-day excursion into a weekend away; with stunning accommodation options in all regions, you will be hard-pressed saying no to checking in at a luxury getaway.
Escape from Melbourne to the Bellarine Peninsula
Melbourne is no stranger when it comes to neighbouring bayside playgrounds, and the Bellarine Peninsula to the city’s south-west is one of the best. Fit strolls around farmers’ markets and feasts at lauded restaurants in between walks along quiet beaches and afternoons gazing out across Port Phillip Bay.
What to Eat, See and Do on the Bellarine Peninsula
Wander along Geelong’s stunning waterfront, a stretch dotted with painted bollards, historic piers and thriving restaurants. Pause at Eastern Beach to dip your toes in the protected sea bath, or continue strolling along the Art Deco boardwalk.
Plan in advance and book a table at Igni, a degustation-only restaurant in one of the city’s unassuming back streets. For more casual dining, look to The Edge or Little Creatures Brewery. Move to sleepy Barwon Heads to walk the gentle beach and sip coffee at Annie’s Provedore, or hop between the cellar doors at Jack Rabbit, Flying Brick Cider Co, Terindah Estate and Bellarine Estate.
Where to Stay on the Bellarine Peninsula
Find boutique accommodation on the Bellarine Peninsula at Koorameet Luxury Retreat – a three-bedroom architectural beauty in Barwon Heads that also has eco-friendly credentials. Clydesville in Queenscliff is a beautifully restored home that can sleep up to 10 and is located within easy walking distance of the beach.
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1 hour 10-minute drive from Melbourne to Geelong.
Escape from Sydney to the Central Coast
Pristine bays and beaches, spectacular national parks and quaint villages await you on the Central Coast. Make the day trip from Sydney, or lock in a weekend—or longer—to truly appreciate the beauty of this region. Days may begin with river kayaking or lazy breakfasts on sun-blessed decks, before exploring local markets and plenty of cooling swims in the azure ocean.
What to Eat, See and Do on the Central Coast
It would be almost impossible to not have at least one dedicated beach trip during your journey on the Central Coast. Take the plunge in the ocean baths at The Entrance, catch a wave at Terrigal or pick through the protected rock pools near Avoca Beach. Slip on a wetsuit to deep-sea dive and marvel at the Ex-HMAS Adelaide Dive Site, or learn about the area’s convict past on the Old Great North Road in Dharug National Park. Bouddi National Park is criss-crossed with walking or cycling tracks, too.
Craving a caffeine fix? Seek out Like Minds for single origin blends, or Green Tangerine for an on-site bakery. Fit in a long lunch at Bombini, go local at The Sunken Monkey Hotel, sip spirits at Distillery Botanica, and feast on seafood at Woy Woy Fishermen’s Wharf.
Where to Stay on the Central Coast
Find luxury boutique accommodation on the Central Coast at Kims Beachside Retreats in Toowoon Bay, a luxurious beachside retreat boasting timber bungalows and spa villas. The Cabana at The Outlook is a stunning go-to for couples wanting to base themselves in Terrigal. The self-contained cabana even comes with its own pool. For families and small groups that love beach views, look no further than Hapa Hapa in Copacabana. The deck-perched hot tub is the star here, and is the perfect spot for watching the sunset.
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1 hour 12-minute drive from Sydney to Gosford.
Escape from Brisbane to North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island sits in Moreton Bay, and is the perfect island break when the idea of slowing down has you piquing an eyebrow in interest. Affectionately dubbed ‘Straddie’ by those long familiar with its appeal, the island is all quiet shoreline, beautiful coastal walks and marine life-spotting. The phone reception can be patchy; the ultimate excuse for switching off for a day or two.
What to Eat, See and Do on North Stradbroke Island
Begin your discovery of this sand island by pulling on your sneakers to traverse the North Gorge Walk, a stunningly scenic trail that winds past rocky outcrops, headland and crystal-clear water. The walk is an excellent vantage point for viewing marine life, including whales. Cool down post-walk with a dip in Brown Lake. Fret not about the lake’s hue however; the brown-tinge is courtesy of the tea trees on the lake’s shores. If it is ocean swimming you seek, head to Cylinder or Main Beaches.
A scoop or two from Oceanic Gelato Bar is the perfect post-swim treat, as is a serving of fish and chips enjoyed on the foreshore. Other bites can be had at The Whales Way Restaurant & Bar, Island Fruit Barn and Straddie Bakery.
Where to Stay on North Stradbroke Island
Find luxury boutique accommodation on North Stradbroke Island at Dolphins at Sunset. This three-bedroom house has been restored from one of the island’s original waterfront cabins, and it still retains much of its beach-chic charm. Those that cannot go past a quirky stay will want to make a beeline for Ben’s Lighthouse. Expect panoramic views and light-filled interiors.
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40 minutes’ drive from Brisbane, plus a ferry ride (up to 50 minutes).
Escape from Adelaide to the Fleurieu Peninsula
When you can’t toss up between a winery getaway or a beach escape; the Fleurieu Peninsula delivers both. Fringed with stunning shores and quiet coves, the Peninsula has inland lure by the bucketload too and it’s all thanks to a landscape criss-crossed with vineyards, undulating hills and towns brimming with historic charm.
What to Eat, See and Do on the Fleurieu Peninsula
Oenophiles rejoice! The Fleurieu Peninsula is home to four distinct wine regions; McLaren Vale being the showboat of the group. There are more than 100 cellar doors for you to sip and swill at, including Chapel Hill, Alpha Box and Dice, Coriole Vineyards and Penny’s Hill.
In true food-and-wine pairing style, the Peninsula has a bounty of top diners too. Think Au Pear for a rustic atmosphere, Leonards Mill for decadent degustation, incredible views at Maxwell Restaurant. Follow the crowds to Port Elliot Bakery for a quick lunch or afternoon treat.
Work off any over-indulgence by taking on a section of the Coast to Vines Trail, or hike a portion of the Heysen Trail. Strap on goggles to dive down to the wreck of the Star of Greece off Port Willunga, or keep your eyes peeled for whales migrating off shore. Creatives can wander the Fleurieu Art Trail between galleries, exhibitions and artist studios.
Where to Stay
Find luxury boutique accommodation on the Fleurieu Peninsula with a luxe suite at award-winning The Australasian Circa 1858 for a break in sleepy Goolwa, or move to McLaren Eye in Kangarilla. This striking villa has floor-to-ceiling windows and a deck with views for as far as the eye can see.
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1 hour 13-minute drive from Adelaide to Victor Harbor.
Escape from Perth to the South West
While some might associate the mention of WA’s South West with Margaret River, there’s more to this region than vines. Take the time to give the northern cities and towns—Busselton, Dunsborough, Eagle Bay—the attention they deserve. Expect cloudless skies, blonde-sand beaches, pristine national parks and seemingly endless ways to fill summer days.
What to Eat, See and Do in the South West
The Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the world, spans almost two kilometres out to sea. Meander along its wooden slats to the underwater observatory located at the end, or hop aboard the jetty train for a speedier journey. See more of Geographe Bay—and maybe some of the whales that often call it home—by scaling the stairs at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse, or from nearby Sugarloaf Rock and Castle Rock Beach. Head to Meelup Beach in the evening to watch the moon rise over the ocean. Keen walkers might take on a section of the Cape to Cape Track, too. Stop for a sip at Eagle Bay Brewing Co or Flametree Wines, or take a table at Wise, Piari & Co or Laundry 43.
Where to Stay in the South West
Find luxury boutique accommodation in the South West at Aqua Resort Busselton to choose from a comfortable studio or one of the luxurious five-bedroom beach houses. Bay Village Resort and Spa Dunsborough also has a variety of accommodation options, all located only a few minutes’ walk from the Dunsborough beach. To really up the glamorous stakes on your South West getaway, Inspiration on Wedgetail has you sorted. This seven-bedroom pad has a swimming pool, squash court, spa, two kitchens and a private bowling alley.
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2 hour 25-minute drive from Perth to Busselton.
This collection of must-take summer breaks have been handpicked by the travel editors at Beautiful Accommodation, a destination for luxury boutique accommodation across Australia.