Our Favourite Backyard Breaks

1 August 2014

Whether you're a young girl from Kansas or a Sydney city dweller, there's no place like home. While foreign shores and exotic cultures are hard to resist, many travellers are finding their own 'big backyard' is filled with unique travel experiences as easy on the eyes as they are on the purse strings.

With school holidays slowly creeping up once again and Christmas less than five months away (but who's counting?), the Flight Centre content team have decided to share their favourite Australian escapes, hoping to inspire your next close-to-home holiday.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Anna – Hobart

.........................................................................................................................................................

 The art of chill at MONA, Hobart

Without a doubt, this tiny city in the Tasman is my favourite backyard break. While it’s a little chilly for some, Hobart more than makes up for its weather with an exuberant arts scene, incredible culinary offerings, and local and regional wines, whiskeys and brews.

Hobart’s heart pulses along its waterfront, with Salamanca’s famous Saturday market and the charming Battery Point a must for first-time visitors.

My favourite spot in town would have to be MONA – the Museum of Old and New Art. Where else can you kick back on a beanbag while listening to some bands, treat yourself to a wickedly good meal and a tasting of wine or beer (or both!), all before descending into a one-of-a-kind art gallery? Oh, and did I mention the food?!

.........................................................................................................................................................

Ashton – Sunshine Coast

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Endless summer days in Noosa

What's in a name? Well, as far as the Sunshine Coast is concerned, a whole lot of blissful, sunshiny days! I love weekends away, even if it's just for a night or two – they give you a much needed refresher and break up the routine that can so easily take hold.

The 'Sunny Coast' is my favourite short break: you've got your pick of beaches, it's a pleasant road trip from Brisbane, and you can easily market-hop around the region.

While Noosa is the heart of this coastal region, the rolling pastures of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland are its soul. The Hinterlands are classic B&B country and a personal favourite of mine with their quaint towns like Montville, Maleny, Mapleton, and plenty of places to indulge on scones with jam and cream – locally produced, of course1

.........................................................................................................................................................

Mike – Byron Bay

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Look east to Byron Bay

Did you know Cape Byron is the most easterly point of mainland Australia? It's an interesting tidbit, but most visitors to Byron Bay are more interested in the beach! I'm certainly no different, and Byron is my favourite destination for a short break.

Its beaches are among the best in the world, its restaurants outstanding for a town of its size (especially if you enjoy dining of the 'clean eating' persuasion), and plenty of high-profile bands stop in at The Northern on their East Coast tours.

Add to that the lush surrounds of the Byron Bay Hinterland barely minutes from town, and Byron gets my nod as a fantastic backyard destination.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Radka – Whitsundays

.........................................................................................................................................................

 The soft sands of Whitehaven Beach

Road tripping along the east coast ' Little Miss Sunshine' style: that was me, my husband, our three- and five-year-old 'double trouble' boys, my dad, and my cousin with his girlfriend on their first visit to Australia last September.

An absolute treat on our journey was a three-night stop on the Whitsundays' Hamilton Island. We were welcomed to our holiday home by cheeky cockatoos and breathtaking ocean views.

We spent our days soaking up the sun on the pristine Whitehaven beach and exploring the colourful coral gardens and marine life of turquoise reef waters. I couldn't have wished for a better spot to introduce my family to Australia!

.........................................................................................................................................................

Rachel – The Barossa

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Indulge in the fruits of the Barossa

The Barossa’s greatest asset is dirt – this might seem strange, but what comes from the ground up is the region’s lifeblood. We’re talking seriously good wine and fresh produce!

If you appreciate your full-bodied Shiraz and Cabernet wines and enjoy sampling local produce including fruits, cheeses, pastries, breads, chocolates and even coffee and tea, then you’ll be consumed in the Barossa.

Stay in the region at a local bed and breakfast or take a day trip from Adelaide – the rolling hills of the Barossa do not disappoint.

Take the Barossa Butcher, Baker, Winemaker Trail and follow a preapproved journey to the best known makers and artisans in the 'Valley', or go rogue and let fate decide which cellar doors you stumble across – the locals are always happy to recommend where to head next.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Sophie – Darwin

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Take a taste of the Top End in Darwin
Darwin’s year-long summer weather is what first enticed me to visit the ‘Top End’ and escape the winter chill. The days in Darwin are long and warm and, during the dry season, the amount of outdoor events are endless – from food and music festivals, to sunset beach markets.
A trip to Darwin isn’t complete without meeting the resident crocodiles on a croc jumping cruise, while the beautiful Litchfield National Park with its (croc-free) swimming holes is like a tropical oasis amid the outback.
A stroll around the city’s picturesque waterfront is also a must, with the endless amount of restaurants and lively bars guaranteed to keep you entertained.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Jason – Rottnest Island

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Stroll the soft sandy beaches of 'Rotto'

Growing up in Perth, Rottnest Island was always a favourite weekend getaway for our family. The fresh sea air, soft white sandy beaches, unique wildlife and snorkeling amidst long forgotten shipwrecks are just some of the many attractions offered on 'Rotto'.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times spent here, clamoring over old World War II cannon, watching the adorable little quokkas, and endless days spent in the crystal blue waters snorkeling and surfing the Indian Ocean before watching the sunset over the water.

Just a 25-minute ferry ride from Fremantle or 90 minutes from Perth City, Rottnest is the perfect getaway for all. Whatever your outdoor activity of choice, whether it be swimming, boating, fishing, hiking or just relaxing on the beach, Rottnest will leave you enthralled.

There are holiday units and campgrounds available and the three quaint island villages offer convenient access to general stores and cafes.

.........................................................................................................................................................

Ben – Gold Coast

.........................................................................................................................................................

 Enjoy a 'swell' time at the Gold Coast

As a young boy living in Brisbane, there was something exotic about the Gold Coast's beach culture. My world was so small back then, so trading suburbia for salty waves and a sun-drenched coastline was synonymous with crossing the globe.

From that first trip wearing blue floaties to today, when I manage to find a rare morning to take my board out, the Gold Coast has steadily changed from a foreign world to being as familiar as my backyard.

My Gold Coast childhood centred on the theme parks, body surfing and chips drenched in chicken salt. These days, I'm there for the Big Day Out music festival, fish and chips on the esplanade, live music bars down Cavill Avenue, and a good break at Burleigh Heads or Coolangatta.

Flight Centre's Guest Bloggers

Flight Centre is proud to present blog posts written by our customers, affiliates or general travel enthusiasts who are as passionate about travel as we are. We're confident you'll find their insider advice and holiday highlights useful when it comes to arranging your own great getaway!