I don’t think I would be alone in saying I need regular “mini” breaks to recharge my batteries and get inspired (even more so right now in the middle of winter in Australia). In fact, I think I would go a little insane without them.
As a traveller, I’ve learnt that life doesn’t have to always be filled with epic adventures. Three-day breaks should never be underestimated – whether we jump on a plane for a long weekend, or pack the car for a little driving getaway, there seems to be a rejuvenation that begins the moment we head out the door.
But the issue is, we are spoilt for choice in Australia and I’m always looking for inspiration, so figured you would be too.
My favourite three-day breaks can all be found within a 3.5 hour drive from a major city. It might seem like a fair drive I know, but if you leave on Friday morning, and cruise back on a Sunday afternoon you feel like you have really been away.
You will notice all of these places have a strong link with the outdoors. They are all places where you can pitch a tent, take your caravan or book a cabin, the choice is up to you.
We have been travelling across Australia extensively for the past five years filming for our TV series (and on our own personal adventures), including a 4-and-a-half month trip around the country when our daughter was 2. We have so many wonderful memories, so as you can imagine this list really is endless, but five destinations have always stood out to me.
Replenish in the wilderness: Halls Gap – The Grampians National Park, Victoria.
I just adore the Grampians National Park. The craggy peaks and rugged sandstone ranges have been calling adventure and nature lovers for thousands of years. Home to some of the richest Aboriginal rock art in Victoria, the landscape is simply mesmerising.
An easy 3.5 hour drive from Melbourne, whenever we pull into the town of Halls Gap it’s like we all take a breath. With the backdrop of the ranges, the overwhelming smell of the gumtrees and the sight of kangaroos hopping freely around you, forces you to leave your life behind, slow down and take it all in.
The expansive sandstone ranges are teeming with walking tracks, scenic lookouts, waterfalls, pristine bushland and wildlife.
We love to base ourselves at the foothills of the craggy peaks at the BIG4 Grampians Parkgate Holiday Park, and we always get up at sunrise to experience the magic of the light hitting the rocks and watch the kangaroos hop around in the morning sun.
There is so much to do you really are spoilt for choice, but I would highly recommend a visit to the Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre. Situated in Halls Gap, the site is the longest running Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Australia and houses art exhibitions, artefact displays, cultural talks, and many activities include didgeridoo music, traditional dance, basket weaving, boomerang throwing and painting.
The entire region is calling out to be explored, so make sure you go for a bushwalk, or even try abseiling! At the holiday park they even have an enormous rock where you can take an entry-level course to get your confidence if you haven’t been before.
Pristine paradise: the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
Just a 45-minute drive from the city of Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula is one of South Australia’s treasures. Blessed with good looks, charm and great character, not to mention incredible food and wine – it’s everything you need for a brilliant three day break!
With so much to do, we decided on a four-wheel drive tour of the region with a local to get a lay of the land, and were taken over hilltops with breathtaking views of McLaren Vale and its rolling vineyards. As the wine industry here was established in 1838, the wineries are filled with history, and the wine is superb.
And if you happen to be in the area for winter, make sure you go whale-watching off the southern coast – the southern right whales often come within 30-metres of the shoreline.
World class: Margaret River, Western Australia
There are just so many gems in Australia, and Margaret River is right up there at the top for me, with world-class waves and wineries (the list is endless – Leeuwin Estate; Cape Mentelle and Vasse Felix to name just a few!).
As soon as we arrived in town I remember thinking I could stay for much longer than a few days, but only a few hours drive from Perth it makes for a perfect long-weekender.
If you’re wanting a local guide for a days adventure, I couldn’t recommend Margaret River Discovery Tours more highly. Sean Blocksidge runs this local tour company, which specialises in taking visitors to the more unknown treasures of the region, and kicked off our day with a visit to the local café to stock up on fresh produce for a picnic. We spent the day walking, kayaking on Margaret River, touring local wineries and sitting on the cliff tops watching the shards of light hit the oceans like they’re straight from heaven.
Awe Inspiring: Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park, Tasmania
Gosh, I sat here wondering where in Tassie I would recommend. For in reality the entire state is a must visit. We just love this place. I was torn between recommending Hobart (love the Salamanca Markets) and Cradle Mountain.
But Cradle Mountain it is, and once again this is a place that takes you away from your every-day life and nourishes you with the gift of mother nature.
Just over a couple of hours from Launceston (or a few hours with a good coffee stop!) and you are welcomed with the awe-inspiring views of iconic Cradle Mountain that call you into the National Park.
Before you get to the entry of the incredible park, you will see the BIG4 Discover Holiday Parks Cradle Mountain on your left, be careful of kangaroos as you enter, for they may be waiting for you at your door of your cabin, or near your tent! (they were for us).
All you really have to do for your weekend is pack your trekking boots and sense of adventure for there are so many trails and walks to take on, the choice is really yours.
Where rolling farmland meets the ocean: Kiama
Just under two hours from Sydney, Kiama seems to have it all. Green rolling pastures, a thriving artisan food industry, spectacular beaches (with an incredible natural blowhole) and lovely wineries. It’s an escape that suits everyone and we loved touring the local producers with Foodscape Tours, a personal and boutique experience for all foodies where you get to meet so many of the passionate locals.
Just over an hour south is spectacular Jervis Bay. Home to some of the whitest sand in the country, the whole coastline is simply breathtaking, whether you are looking at it from on land, or from the water when you head out on a dolphin and whale watching cruise (and you absolutely must).
One of the highlights is the local BIG4 Kiama Easts Beach Holiday Park, owned and operated by the same family for 80 years. It literally has a beachfront location and our time here was spent drifting between the golden sand and the resort pools… It’s a place where family memories are made and you simply don’t want to leave