Sunrise at Kawana beach on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Holidays

City breaks: five ways to spend your next long weekend

If you need to escape the city and recharge your batteries, these five minibreaks from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide give you the perfect opportunity to explore a little further afield.

By Shell on Feb. 15, 2022

Do you love nothing more than jumping between farmers markets, wineries and bakeries? Crave downtime amid nature because, well, it makes you feel good? Perhaps you’re keen to unite good food with great outdoor adventure? Here are five destinations within 100 kilometres of major Australian cities that tick the long-weekend boxes.

Sydney: The Hawkesbury

80 kilometres north of Sydney

Rambling houseboats excursions, kayaking and paddleboarding – all reasons to visit the Hawkesbury region and its serpentine, eponymous river. But inland lies a tangle of verdant forest within the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains.

Road-trippers here discover some of Australia’s oldest colonial attractions – this was the third British settlement in Australia after Sydney and Parramatta. As far back as the 1790s, the area’s residents were growing fruit and vegetables to feed the whole colony, earning its lingering nickname: the ‘food bowl’ of Sydney.

Centuries-old churches and estates now offer food and sleeping quarters, and remote trails still follow in the footsteps of early settlers. All contrasted by New World wineries and distilleries, orchards and some of the state’s most famous pie makers.

Melbourne: Mornington Peninsula

80 kilometres south of Melbourne

The small towns dotting the Mornington Peninsula offer plenty of country swagger. But given their proximity to Melbourne, they also attract seriously savvy hospitality operators. Pick a base: Sorrento for its respective bay and ocean beaches; Rosebud, where you can pitch a tent at the foreshore campground and embark on the epic Bay Trail; or Cape Schanck, for its fairways and lighthouse views – the peninsula’s southern tip.

Then prepare to spend days indulging. This part of the state is dotted with olive groves, cheesemongers and vineyards, the latter producing stellar cool-climate wines on estates resembling art galleries. Also find coastal hiking trails, scenic golf courses, design-driven hotels and places for pampering, including geothermal springs to cure whatever ails you.

Brisbane: Sunshine Coast

100 kilometres north of Brisbane

Mention the Sunshine Coast, and most people picture Noosa Heads – for good reason. This dreamy village of palm-lined sand and resort-style boutiques has immense appeal. But it would be a shame not to explore all corners of the region, stretching from Caloundra in the south to the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park in the north.

In between lie vast sandy highways, wildlife-filled national parks, deserted beaches and multi-coloured dunes. It’s a little slice of heaven for outdoor enthusiasts, whether hiking and cycling through rainforest hinterland or finding a wave to ride – with dolphins in your wake.

Foodies are not forgotten either, with the coast demonstrating its culinary prowess at festivals throughout the year, not least the annual Noosa Eat & Drink every June.

Adelaide: McLaren Vale

40 kilometres south of Adelaide

A short drive from Adelaide you can find yourself surrounded by some of the world’s oldest vines. On the Fleurieu Peninsula, McLaren Vale is the birthplace of South Australian wine, home to 80-plus cellar doors, many with attached restaurants so you can fully appreciate the state’s flavours.     

Sample 190-plus producers at the Willunga Farmers Market, a raucous affair drawing growers, vintners and distillers from across the peninsula, where you can acquire organic vegetables and fruit, freshly baked breads, limited-edition spirits, free-range meats and artisan condiments.

Then jump into the gin-clear waters off the peninsula’s coast, magnets for marine life like bottlenose dolphins and Australian sea lions, fur seals and little penguins – the smallest of their species in the world.

Hobart: Huon Valley

40 kilometres south-west of Hobart

The Huon Valley is a patchwork of small farms, bushland and endless orchards. The first apple tree was planted here way back in 1843, and while the bucolic hills are still famous for their cider, all manner of culinary delights can be found in this southern corner of Tasmania. Charming guesthouses and farm stays serve as bases from which to explore postcard-ready countryside.     

Wander through the underground labyrinth of stalactites and stalagmites that make Hastings Caves so magical, and follow this with a splash in the spring-fed thermal pool. Then set your GPS for the surrounding distilleries, cideries, breweries and wineries. Pick a few samples to go and enjoy them back at your lodgings – you are driving, after all.

Disclaimer

Viva Energy Australia Pty Ltd (“Viva Energy”) has compiled the above article for your general information and to use as a general reference. Whilst all reasonable care has been taken by Viva Energy in compiling this article, Viva Energy does not warrant or represent that the information in the article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.