When I am planning a weekend getaway with my very favourite person, there are a few things that I always look for. Active options are a big requirement, but we also like to have plenty of opportunities to relax.… And we are lucky in Australia to have so many great options. The Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast, and Hamilton Island are all favourites for a lot of people. But we have so many other lesser known spots that are also worth a visit. So I have put together a couple of our favourite weekend spots to visit with the perfect mix of romantic setting, but with plenty of scope for adventure to go with it!
We visited Fraser Island for a weekend last year, and were absolutely blown away. It had always been one of those places that international visitors seemed to talk about but no one I really knew had been there, or if they had, didn’t seem to say much about it. But when we got there, wow.
For our first visit to the island, we opted to stay at Kingfisher Bay resort, which is the only resort/hotel on the island. The Seabelle Restaurant is a must do here – think indigenous bush tucker cuisine. Absolutely incredible, my mouth is watering just remembering how happy my tastebuds were that night. There are also cabin and camping options on the other side of the island but for our first trip we wanted to keep things simple. The hotel is based right on the beach, and watching the sunset at the aptly named Sunset Bar at the jetty is another must do. Truly magic!
We chose to take the Beauty Spots 4WD tour of the island which gave us a really good overview of the island, and got to see a lot of the absolutely stunning scenery without needing to do the hard driving ourselves. A great way to get a taste for the sights of Fraser Island, but it is definitely a bumpy trip!! Eli Creek was one of my favourites. Such a sweet peaceful little spot and if you go right upstream you feel like you never have to go back to the real world….
An added option at 75 Mile Beach (and worth every cent!!!) is the Air Fraser Island scenic flight. It was such an incredible way to see the island and we were lucky enough to see a whale from the air. The planes are quite small which means that every one has a window seat and is getting an amazing view at all times.
- Depending on where you are coming from, it may need 2 flights (connecting via Brisbane into Hervey Bay (which may mean it may be more of a long weekend…not necessarily a bad thing). Most people get across the island via ferry from River heads.
- Depending of the time of the year, you may need to watch out for dingos. Apparently, if you stay facing them, you will be ok. But if you show them your butt, they will eat it like toast. And your butt will be sore.
- Apart from that….nothing….unless you are a terrible person that hates nature and the wondrous beauty of the world 🙂
This one was a happy accident for us. On the back of a Darwin work trip, we decided to see what the NT had to offer. And boy, were we happy that we did. We had 2 days only so this was a super quick trip for us. I flew in at about 11pm on a Friday night, we stayed at an airport motel and got going first thing Saturday morning. We knew what we wanted to check out and had a drive plan to get there, and only tweaked this based on some local advice. FYI, the invaluable advice was to visit Maguk Gorge instead of the more popular and well known options. This place was heaven and we did not regret it! If you are after an adventure that is (literally) off the beaten track, and an amazing adventure that few people (even us Aussies) will actually do in their lifetime. For more info, check out my guest post over at Wood & Luxe 48 Hours in Kakadu for all the details.
- Yellow River cruise. We did this at sunrise (pictured above). There are no words. This is not an optional tour. if you come to Kakadu and do not see this area, you have not really been to Kakadu.
- Maguk Gorge
- Ubirr rock – a great spot to visit at sunset if you can manage it
- The Spectacular Jumping Crocodile river tour (fairly self explanatory! Further info at jumpingcrocodile.com.au
- Get ready to drop some dollars…. when a pad thai costs $25 you know shit is getting real. The reality is that this place is remote. So therefore it costs money to get resources there, and as the end consumer you will end up paying this price. Which, i should add, I consider for the most part to be worth it (although TBH the pad thai was only ok. Side note, it definitely feels odd to be in an outback restaurant in Kakadu where the only menu options are Thai. What, no kangaroo?) But in general, NT is not the cheapest place.
- You need to be prepared to hit the road. Too see the good stuff, you need to be happy driving. We rented a sweet FJ cruiser so we were all set and had an epic time – so much so that i wanted to take it home (this seems to be a common issue for me when renting large 4WD vehicles).
- A lot of roads can only be accessed by 4WD. So if you are self driving, keep this in mind.
- Consider Litchfield National Park if you aren’t keen to venture quite that far. By all accounts it is amazing.
Picture this…a stunning hinterland view cottage. Local markets, cute towns everywhere, beautiful hikes everywhere. See them, or stay in your cute house and don’t see anything else. Heaven either way.
There is something mystical and magical about this area. It is ethereal somehow, particularly in winter where you see the fog rise up through the rolling hills and somehow feel like you are in a fake land that isn’t really part of this world but somehow is only an hour or so outside of Brisbane.
- If going for option B (to stay in for the weekend), plan ahead visit a supermarket first as you would be unlikely to be in walking distance from a store unless you are right in town
I consider this a NSW version of Maleny, although being seaside makes the scenery quite different. A quieter pace than some the options above, but still enough to give you options if you feel like exploring the area.
I have included a few of my favourite things about the area in my previous post about Kiama so check it out if you haven’t already.
- Crooked River Winery – a truly spectacular view with beautiful food and wine to enjoy it with!
- Kiama Blowhole and the surrounding walks
- Approximately a 2 hour drive south of Sydney
Enjoy! And as always, feel free to contact me for any questions you might have!