Don’t have enough time for a full blown holiday, but still need some well-deserved rest and relaxation? A weekend getaway is the perfect option! When people think ‘holiday’, they assume this means travelling overseas, but you don’t need to go far from home to find some amazing places.
1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, QLD
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is situated at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and is the perfect weekender from Brisbane. When Saturday morning comes around, jump on a plane from Redcliffe and cruise above crystal blue beaches for 80 minutes before you touch down in paradise. Spend all day snorkelling the pristine water ways surrounding the island and then stroll to the other side of the island for a few drinks and an unforgettable sunset.
Both beginner and advanced snorkellers will be treated to more turtles than you can count, baby reef sharks, manta rays, whales, dolphins, octopus and plenty of colourful fish! They’ve got an array of accommodation styles to suit each budget, so everyone can find their perfect way to wind down at the end of the day. Double up on Sunday with a reef walk, glass bottom boat or more snorkelling before your 4pm flight back to the real word.
Our Tip: try timing your visit with the Manta Ray season in June, hire a wetsuit on the island and enjoy the smaller group numbers and cheaper fares (just remember to book early as even the off-season can be sold-out months in advance).
2. Sip Your Way Through the Vineyards: Canungra Valley, QLD
Hidden in the picturesque Lamington National Park, O’Reilly’s Vineyard is the ultimate weekend destination. You’ll find this luxe wine cellar in Canungra Valley, a short stop from their top-of-the-mountain rainforest retreat. The extensive grounds stretch along the banks of the Canungra Creek and they provide everything down to the rug for a mid-afternoon picnic on the water. Drive 90 minutes up to the vineyard on Saturday morning and grab your pre-ordered gourmet picnic basket (and bottle of wine!) for an intimate creek-side lunch.
After a tasting or two at their Cellar Door, next stop is the Mountview Alpaca Farm. These lush gardens are home to their very own alpacas, and you can feed and walk them throughout the farm! Head up to the Rainforest Retreat for a magical sunset in one of their Mountain View Villas. In the morning, take advantage of a Sunday sleep-in then make your way out to one of their many walking tracks to discover the local flora & fauna. Sunday afternoon means heading back home, but don’t be afraid to duck back into Canungra Valley for another quick tasting!
Our tip: Make your way to the Vintage Restaurant at Killowen Homestead between 12pm-3pm on weekends to catch some live music from local talent while you enjoy lunch!
3. Immerse Yourself in Farm Life: Scenic Rim, QLD
Just down the road from Brisbane you’ll find Worendo Cottages nestled in the gorgeous Scenic Rim (it even has scenic in the name!). You’ll be hard pressed finding a better way to re-set after a big work week than by coming out here. Hit the road early on Saturday to miss any traffic and you’ll be enjoying country-life in no time (90 minutes to be exact). Kick off your weekend with a hands-on cooking class, three course lunch and local wine at their Wild Lime Cooking School.
If you’re more on the nature side, borrow their fishing and kayaking equipment and try your luck down at the nearby lakes and creeks. Afternoons in Scenic Rim mean animal feeding time, practise your farming skills or just watch the pros as they feed their resident sheep, baby kangaroo and dairy cows. Cap off your night with a stargazing session by your campfire and indulge on mountains of marshmallows!
Start your Sunday morning with some serious adventure by pre-booking a helicopter or hot air balloon flight. Next up take advantage of their many walking tracks, feed the local birds or arrange an Aussie wildlife encounter with crocs, snakes, possums and more. Finish your epic weekend with an in-house massage overlooking the green farmland and we promise you’ll be in total bliss!
Our Tip: Book a cottage that has an indoor fireplace, so you can cosy up near the flames on chilly winter nights!
Queensland is the Sunshine State and definitely lives up to that name. If you’ve been to these getaway locations before, or have any other suggestions of places to visit, let us know!