We love our home cities, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of town. We’ve handpicked 12 great escapes less than two-hours drive from Australia’s capital cities. Pack your overnight bag and hightail it to a relaxed weekend getaway. Engine already running? Here are the best places for a short break near you.
OUT OF TOWN FROM SYDNEY
A short drive along the coast from Sydney you’ll find the bungalows of Kim’s Beach Hideaway. With its absolute beach frontage, this is the perfect spot for some seaside relaxation. Surrounded by pines, these secluded retreats are all surf-shack cool with exotic style; some even have their own Jacuzzi and sauna. Think lounges on the deck, saltwater in your hair and hot tub soaks after sunset. Oh, and don’t worry about packing the esky – the onsite restaurant serves-up a buffet feast three times a day, all-inclusive.
1 ½ hours or 90km north of Sydney: Get directions here.
For a gourmet getaway within easy reach, look no further than Tizzana Winery B&B. Established in 1887 by an Italian migrant; this is an authentic taste of Mediterranean life near the Hawkesbury River. There are two rooms to choose from: one with views to the vineyard, the other with French doors that open to a rose garden. If you’re finding it hard to emerge for brekkie, have it delivered to bed. These guys create seriously good seasonal menus. We’d recommend going all out for a five-course dinner matched to the estates' wines.
1 ¼ hours or 70km northwest of Sydney: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM MELBOURNE
Spend an indulgent weekend in the luxe studios of Aquabelle Apartments, right in the heart of seaside town Rye. We love the designer details of these beachside suites: quirky wallpapers, vintage photos and prints line the walls, and deep egg baths beckon. Wide sun-soaked balconies are the ideal spot to hangout and take in the view of the bay. Regional markets, natural hot springs, award-winning wineries and incredible surf beaches are all part of a getaway to the Mornington Peninsula.
1 ¼ hours or 90km southeast from Melbourne: Get directions here.
In the rolling countryside of Kyneton lays The Tack Room, a stylish cottage with everything needed for a relaxed weekend away. A gorgeous space with high-ceilings and loads of light, its decoration is the work of designer Tonia Todman: fresh cut roses sit on table tops, plump cushions adorn lounges and the walls are hung with select artworks. Collapse into bed knowing you can keep your PJs on for a gourmet breakfast when you wake – the pantry here is full of delicious regional produce.
1 ¼ hours or 90km northwest from Melbourne: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM ADELAIDE
Overlooking the wharf precinct and the Murray River, it’s rare to find this style of luxury in a small-town setting. Owner of boutique hotel Australasian Circa 1858 is both chef and Japanophile – the result being five suites with tranquil decor, plus an award-winning restaurant. The three-course dinner menu is not to be missed. You’ll be digging into fresh seafood prepared with fragrant herbs and spices, before sinking into your ultra-plush bed ready to do it all again at brunch – when a buffet is delivered to your room.
1 ¼ hours or 86km southeast from Adelaide: Get directions here.
There are three stays on this two-acre riverside port: the boathouse on the water, and two nautical-styled retreats overlooking the historic Marina. The Boathouse at Birks Harbour has a huge deck that connects to the jetty. The retreats offer vistas of the river through a mass of fig trees. Plunge into the lap pool surrounded by terraced gardens and loungers for lazing. We’d advise treating yourself to a bottle of South Australian wine, taking your pick of the outdoor seats, and watching the wooden boats float on the bay.
1 ¼ hours or 86km southeast from Adelaide: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM PERTH
Clem and Tines Vintage Beach House is exactly that – antique styling, within walking distance to a classic Aussie beach. There is the house with its wide verandah overlooking the gardens, a studio available separately or alongside the house, and the cottage secluded at the bottom of the garden. The location of this abode gives you the opportunity to combine a seaside holiday with exploration of Perth's best-kept secret – The Ferguson Valley – where rolling hills join a string of charming towns and wineries.
1 ½ hours or 144km south from Perth: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM BRISBANE
Noosa Holiday House is a palace of a place, with massive windows capturing the blue waters of Castaways Beach. While only a few minutes drive from Noosa’s Hastings Street hub, the house’s position on the headland of a quiet stretch of beach makes for one private retreat. With an entertaining deck, pool and bedroom balcony, you won’t be short of spots to enjoy the great weather. We suggest grabbing a morning coffee from Costa Noosa Espresso; this local blend is found in cool city cafes, lucky for you, you get to sip yours beachside.
1 ½ hours or 135km north from Brisbane: Get directions here.
The Sunshine Coast hinterland winds right up into the hills, looking out through mountains and farmlands all the way to the shoreline. As the name would suggest, Glass on Glasshouse takes advantage of these views with glass walls that welcome in the surrounds. The three cottages each look out to the volcanic cores of the Glasshouse Mountains. Located near Montville and Maleny, you can visit their strips of quaint cafes, fudge and chocolate shops, and the farm-gates dotted between. Tucked behind these towns are trails through rainforest and around waterfalls to explore.
1 hour or 75km north from Brisbane: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM CANBERRA
The Old Stone House is a historic building in Bungendore, transformed into a family run B&B. This is good old-fashioned country hospitality at its best. You’ll settle in with a home-baked afternoon tea before being shown to one of four lavish suites. Wake up to a three-course breakfast served in a sitting room overlooking gardens filled with roses, pines and 120-year-old Elms: think fresh juice, creamy Bircher, local jams and farm-fresh eggs. In addition to the established grounds, there is a closed-off Japanese garden complete with pond, waterfall, teahouse and pagoda.
30 minutes or 40km east from Canberra: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM THE GOLD COAST
Only a few minutes out of town amongst lush hinterland, Sojourn at Byron really is just that. There are three self-contained guest rooms here; each with an entertaining deck overlooking the rolling hills and farmland, each with a spa-bath ensuite complete with organic spa products. Wake up with a dive into the aquamarine infinity pool, and pull yourself out in time for a breakfast of local produce served up by your hosts.
1 ¼ hours or 88km south from Goldcoast: Get directions here.
OUT OF TOWN FROM HOBART
This 1800s sandstone barn was once a grain store owned by the wealthy George Armytage, since converted into stylish accommodation in an idyllic rural setting. All heritage charm and orchards outside and spacious luxury inside, the original stone and brickwork remains, but contemporary comforts have been added. Armytage House is close to a cluster of historic towns, but there’s really no need to go out. Breakfast provisions including free-range eggs and homemade jams are delivered daily, and you can get creative with the wood-fire pizza oven in the outdoor terrazzo.