Winter Wonderlands - ExplorIng Our Backyard

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The mornings are starting to become chilly and days are getting shorter, but that’s no excuse to go into holiday hibernation. Here’s some getaway ideas that will put a spring in your step for sure.  

Best of all Worlds - Lake Crackenback, New South Wales

Nestled in Thredbo Valley on the edge of Kosciuszko National Park, Lake Crackenback is a natural winter playground for couples with the spectacular Snowy Mountains as the backdrop. It’s a 15 minute drive to Thredbo skiing village if you want to indulge in snow sports, but the lake area itself is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, or you can opt to simply enjoy a log fire and maybe pamper yourself in one of Australia’s top spas at the Lake Crackenback Resort.

Where to stay: Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa has wide range of apartments from one to three bedrooms, and chalets from studios to three bedrooms set on a beautiful lake within easy striking distance of the best of this region (

Money No Object - Freycinet, Tasmania 

It’s billed as one of Australia’s “super lodges” and Saffire Freycinet on Tasmania’s east coast is a destination in itself with pure luxury and indulgence at the core of the experience. All accommodations are beautifully styled and overlook the Hazards Mountains, Freycinet Peninsula and the pristine waters of Oyster Bay. From Saffire Freycinet you’re also within easy striking distance of quaint historic villages, idyllic seaside towns, pristine national parks, fine food and wine.

Where to stay: Saffire Freycinet features a boutique collection of luxurious suites and lodges, and has an exclusive day spa, restaurant and guest lounge and bar (

Cultural City Break - Melbourne, Victoria 

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway with a little bit of everything on offer, then it’s hard to go past Melbourne as a quintessential city break. Set on the Yarra River with Victorian architecture and leafy boulevards, Melbourne is where you can enjoy a weekend of cultural pursuits, shopping, eating out, bar hopping or simply go sports-mad in a city that’s the stronghold of the AFL, along with an NRL team (Melbourne Storm) and a Super 15 rugby side (Melbourne Rebels).

Where to Stay: The Crown Casino Melbourne is right in the CBD, with great restaurants, an enviable entertainment lineup, and you can add a bit of gambling to your perfect weekend if it tickles your fancy ( 

Getting Away From It All - Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Located just 13km off South Australia’s Coast, Kangaroo Island is a real nature lover’s paradise with an abundance of native wildlife living among some of the country’s most amazing landscapes. It’s a dreamy kind of place which feels far removed from urban Australia. A lot of the best landscapes and animal life can be found in the Flinders Chase National Park, including Remarkable Rocks which are a cluster of granite boulders which have been shaped into all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes. Then there’s Admirals Arch which is home to New Zealand fur seals, and Seal Bay with its colony of sea lions. 

Where to stay: Southern Ocean Lodge has been dubbed “a sympathetic tribute to the wild beauty of Kangaroo Island”. A much celebrated retreat, perched on a rise above Hanson Bay, takes full advantage of the surrounding nature without disturbing it, featuring contemporary suites and a feeling of relaxed luxury (

Best for Chilling Out - Broome, Western Australia 

It’s a remote outpost with a relaxed atmosphere blessed with great year round weather, and Broome is the type of place that’s perfect for a winter break if you’re looking for natural wonders and wildlife. The town itself also has a colourful history and some interesting sights like the charming Pearl Lugger’s Museum; the Japanese Cemetery where hundreds of pearl divers’ graves are testament to the dangers of pearling; the Broome Historical Museum; and Chinatown and the Sun Picture House. But it’s the surrounding landscape that makes Broome unique. The 22 km-long Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point and Roebuck Bay are a short drive out of town and offer a good insight into why so many artists and photographers travel to this area for artistic inspiration. 

Where to stay:Pinctada McAlpine House in Broome is a century-old historical home which has been renovated into eight luxurious boutique rooms set among lush landscaped gardens and a swimming pool ( 

A Walk On The Wild Side - Darwin, Northern Territory

Forget images of a dusty, “last frontier” outpost, today Darwin is a cosmopolitan, multicultural city with a myriad of exotic, diverse and world class  experiences. Darwin is best known as the gateway to the ‘Top End’s’ national wildlife parks, and it has a bit of a reputation as a hard drinking town with a distinctly outback attitude to life. It’s still a knockabout type of place, but it’s a good destination for families as there’s plenty to see and do within striking distance of the city such as Crocodylus Park and Zoo, Territory Wildlife Park and Litchfield National Park. 

Where to stay: Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites offers one-to-three bedroom Luxury Apartment Suites in a “home away from home” experience, and is only minutes from the Wavepool, Waterfront and Smith Street Mall.

Rainforest and Reef - Daintree, Queensland 

It sounds like an impossible scenario: you step out of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, onto a pristine beach and you’re wading in warm water as colourful fish dart around your legs. This is the Daintree in far north Queensland: the only place in the world where two of the most complex ecosystems, World Heritage listed rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef, meet in grand style. The Daintree represents 0.1% of Australia’s land mass, yet contains 30% of the country’s frog, marsupial and reptile species along with 65% of our butterfly and bat species and 20% of bird species.

Where to stay: Cockatoo Hill Retreat is a beautiful boutique rainforest resort, and a secret paradise situated between Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas with four exclusive tree lodges to call home for your stay (



Ben Hall