Finally, the October long weekend is here! Forgotten to plan ahead? Don’t worry, just because you didn’t book a flying weekend getaway to Fiji or New Zealand doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the city for a few days. Here are a bunch of things you can do fairly close to home this weekend.
While most of Melbourne will be glued to the grand final this long weekend, if that’s not quite your thing there are plenty of places to escape to – one being Phillip Island. Under a two hour drive from Melbourne, Phillip Island is the perfect getaway, even for a day. Get your wildlife fix seeing a colony of Australian Fur Seals from Nobbies Rocks, and stay til sunset to watch the Little Penguins return home for the night. There are also a bunch of secluded beaches to explore, complete with shipwrecks and killer surf breaks.
It may only be a 25 minute drive from Hobart, but the Huon Valley feels days away. A cluster of river-and seaside villages, the area is dominated by fruit industries and fishing. The perfect place to stop to smell the flowers, here you can wander streets dotted with artists’ studios and galleries, visit local vineyards for a wine tasting or explore the fishing and boat building village of Franklin.
It’s not quite warm enough for a beach getaway yet, so why not head west this long weekend? 3 and a half hours drive from Sydney is Mudgee, a rich wine region of rolling hills, sheep farms and vineyards. The Mudgee Wine and Food Festival is on until Monday 3rd October, so it’s the perfect time to swan into the countryside for some local flavours and a fix of fresh air. Be sure to also take a trip to the former gold mining town of Hill End, where you can walk along the riverbed and explore old mine shafts at Golden Gully.
The south coast of NSW holds a treasure trove of weekend activities. Head to the heritage preserved twin towns of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba, in the heart of River Cottage country, for boutique shopping, delicious food and wine and of course spectacular scenery. Nature walks in nearby national parks and beaches provide a dose of fresh air and beautiful flora and fauna.
Head north for a long weekend of culture and coast time. The Sunshine Coast Art Prize is showcasing an exhibition of its 2016 finalists at the Caloundra Regional Gallery until Sunday 2nd October. When you’ve got your art fix, take the scenic walk around the headland to the cute beach town of Moffat Beach. Here you’ll find home wares stores and a gallery sat beside breweries, great cafes and traditional fish and chips for dinner by the sea.
While the rest of the city flocks across to Rottnest Island for the start of the warm weather, head an hour and a half south to the quaint little town of Harvey. Home to the Big Orange, a few vineyards and HaVe Harvey Cheese, the area is also great for camping with a decent network of 4WD tracks and fishing on the Harvey Dam. And of course if the heat gets too much, Myalup on the coast is a short drive away for fishing and swimming.
Explore more around Australia:
Any weekend outside of Darwin is bound to involve wilderness and wildlife. One of the best places to relax and cool off in this pre-summer heat is Berry Springs. Just an hour’s drive from Darwin, the refreshing swimming holes here are the perfect place to spend a day or weekend. Take the Monsoon Rainforest and Woodlands Walk for some birdlife spotting or go snorkelling with the abundant fish life in the ponds.
When better to do a wine tasting than in Spring? The vines are all in bloom and the weather is pleasant. From Adelaide you can head to the Adelaide Hills, the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale. Think wine tours, long lunches, charming cafes, galleries and tea rooms to while away your afternoon. Now just to decide what to wear!