These Day Trips are Perfect for the Easter Long Weekend
Posted by Sarah Thomson on Monday, March 19, 2018
With a four-day weekend on the horizon, the opportunities for travel and exploration are more tempting than a giant caramel-filled chocolate egg.
If a getaway isn't on the cards this year, that is no reason as to why travellers still can't hit the road and discover destinations unknown. Pencilling in a day trip (or two) for your long weekend can be incredibly reward, giving you the chance to take off on a mini road-trip and finally visit the town, national park or landscape you've been wanting to see. Happily, when it comes to deciding just where to venture, Australia has no shortage of options. There are ample itinerary possibilities branching out from every capital city and to get you started, we have rounded up some of the best - one at a less than two-hour drive, and another that comes in at around a three-hour car journey. Just don't forget the hot cross buns.
Day Trips From Hobart, Tasmania
Image: Waterfall, Mount Field National Park. Sean Scott Photography.
Mount Field National Park – 1 hour 30 minutes' drive
Tasmania's first national park, Mount Field National Park, not only delivers incredibly beautiful scenery and walking opportunities; it is also within easy reach of Hobart's city limits so makes a convenient destination for travellers that don't want to be cooped up in the car for too long. Gaze at the array of natural water features, from the sanctuary of Russell Falls and further up to Horseshoe Falls. There is even more opportunity to stretch your legs on the skywalk to gain some height against some of the tallest trees in the world. Stop for a picnic, pick up your lunch supplies at the Waterfalls Café and Gallery or step next door to gather additional resources at the Visitor Information Centre.
Freycinet National Park – 2 hour 30 minutes' drive
From one natural wonder teeming with hiking opportunities to another; the Freycinet National Park, northeast of Hobart, is a must-see on the Apple Isle. Home to striking white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, the park is well-worth the mini road trip. Visitors have the choice of long and short walks at varying difficulty levels, or follow your feet in the parklands to be lead to secluded bays. Our tip is to head out at sunrise or sunset to the eastern cliffs of the conservation area, where you can look out towards the Tasman Sea and watch the azure waters be cast with vivid pink hues. Don't go home hungry though; sit down for a feast of a gourmet seafood at the lively Freycinet Marine Farm.
Day Trips From Melbourne, Victoria
Image: Exterior of the Convent Gallery. Robert Blackburn; Visit Victoria
Daylesford – 1 hour 30 minutes' drive
Daylesford has been a frequent getaway destination for Melburnians since the mid-1800s, as an idyllic restorative haven that is prized for tranquil mountain scenery, gardens and lakes. It’s the perfect day trip for those seeking a little R&R, perhaps at one of the mineral spas and wellness retreats scattered through the area. The quaint township is also brimming with a vibrant art and culture scene in-between nature’s beauty. Observe unrivalled views from the iconic Convent Gallery that once operated as a girls’ boarding school, but now displays an impressive collection of modern art. Once you've had your fill of artistic ventures, refuel at one of the great eateries in Daylesford - pick from relaxed cafes, gastropubs or hatted restaurants - and then take in another dose of fresh air with a wander around the banks of Lake Daylesford.
Bright – 3 hour 30 minutes' drive
Wander through historic Bright as the leaves transition, and it's easy to feel like you're walking through the streets of Europe, lined with golden deciduous trees. This hub in Victoria's High Country is an obvious destination for exercise junkies, with hiking, biking, kayaking and other active pursuits throughout the area. But Bright also makes the perfect getaway for anyone who appreciates breathtaking scenery and ascending landscapes. The drive to Bright is slightly longer than other picks in this list, so make sure to rest at one of the townships along the way. One tip is to make a pit stop at Euroa and visit the Mawson's Bakery Café to satisfy every caffeine and sweet craving before heading on to explore the peaks of the Bright region.
Day Trips From Adelaide, South Australia
Image: Hot air ballooning, Barossa Valley. South Australia Tourism Commission.
Victor Harbor – 1 hours' drive
Home to the largest coastal population on the Fleurieu Peninsula and only 80 kilometres south of Adelaide, Victor Harbor ticks the boxes for sun, sand and sea. For something new, jump on the horse-drawn tram - in operation since the late 1800s - for an unhurried journey from the sandy arc of the mainland to Granite Island. Spend the afternoon walking the loop of the little isle and sign up for a guided tour at the Visitor Information Centre for the chance to see the rare and endangered penguin colony. Splash in the gentle waves of Encounter Bay, or sign up to try one of the water activities offered by Fleurieu Adventures - a prospect made even better when temperatures soar. The cooler seasons are popular months for whale spotting or even having the chance to surf with these gentle giants. Plus there's always time to peruse the main street for a variety of shops and cafes year-round.
Barossa Valley – 1 hour 30 minutes' drive
There is little wonder culinary experiences are at the heart of the Barossa, when the region gives visitors the choice of more than 100 world-class wineries and renowned eateries. So naturally, the Barossa makes an appetising day trip for hungry Adelaideans, and can be reached by a short drive from the city. Deeply rooted in traditional German ancestry, the Barossa boasts heritage architecture in between the vines and delivers pure relaxation with the quiet hum of country living. Gourmet produce platters are a favourite lunch option that are offered at most cellar doors, but it's hard to go past Harvest Kitchen outside of Tanunda for some local bites or try the white port at Bethany Wines. Other watering-holes to swing by include Kalleske Wines, cocktails at Musque or change tactics and stop for ice-cream at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.
Day Trips From Sydney, New South Wales
Image: The Three Sisters from Echo Point, Blue Mountains. Tourism Australia.
Blue Mountains – 1 hours' drive
The Blue Mountains rest on the foothills of metropolitan life, only a brief drive west of the big smoke, spurring from the densely populated forestry of the Great Dividing Ranges. Listed as a World Heritage Area, one of the region’s best-known attractions is the Three Sisters sandstone rock formation. Other must-sees are the thrills at Katoomba Scenic World, and Wentworth Falls for a great walk and nature's three-tiered water display. Reach the lookouts of the Echo Point for panoramic views down the deep valley troughs and across the blue haze of the Jamison Valley. It is here where travellers will cotton-on to where the mountains draw their name. Those who enjoy outdoorsy pursuits can commit to tackling the bush walks or day hikes weaved throughout the mountains, or those looking to reach loftier vantage points can try their hand at rock climbing. Look to companies such as the Australian School of Mountaineering, who can facilitate climbers of every level.
Kangaroo Valley – 2 hour' drive
The charm of Kangaroo Valley, inland from the South Coast of New South Wales, sits just under Sydney’s nose and provides a fantastic family day trip for those wanting to explore rural lifestyle within the city’s grasp. The village is surrounded by a diversity of landscapes; combining forested mountains, vineyards and waterfalls, plus a selection of boutique shops and eateries dotted around the country town. Venture further into the great outdoors towards the lush escarpment of Fitzroy Falls for unforgettable views of the 80-metre water drop, plus your best chance to see platypus and other nomadic creatures native to the valley. The region is also home to wineries galore if you’d rather taste nature’s splendour, like from the sloping vineyards of Silos Estate or to the winding pathway at Yarrawa Estate’s cellar door.
Day Trips From Brisbane, Queensland
Image: Beach life. Tourism and Events Queensland.
Sunshine Coast – 1 hour 30 minutes' drive
Driving from Brisbane, it’s hard to overlook a visit to the Sunshine Coast when seeking further Vitamin D opportunities and ocean perks. Out of the water and into the metropolis, this beachy destination has something going at every turn, keeping day trippers both entertained and relaxed. If you’ve had enough of the salty beaches, head towards the hinterland and dip your feet in the fresh waters at Gardners Falls. Or for those feeling more adventurous, circumnavigate the rainforest on a round trip of Kondalilla Falls Circuit. For a unique evening experience, saddle up and venture where no vehicles are allowed with Rainbow Beach Horse Rides to watch the sunset and moon rise over the ocean. These rides head out on the night of a full moon only.
Granite Belt – 2 hour 45 minutes' drive
Travel away from city traffic and seek country soil to discover the Queensland’s premier wine region in the Granite Belt. The wine country is centred on the township of Stanthorpe, but there's a stop to be made along the way before reaching your prize destination. Warwick is a noteworthy pause along the day trip trail, where travellers not only fuel up but can also wander to the sandstone beauty of Abbey of the Roses, a former convent. When you cross into the Granite Belt, travellers will find a region laden with national reserves, such as the Girraween National Park, and with almost 50 wineries, you can sample Queensland’s largest producer of wines. The combination of cool weather and granite soils help cultivate some less-common grape varieties, including nebbiolo and petit verdot. If you’re not into fermented grape juice, the hillsides are also lined with olive groves and orchards for apples and stone fruits.
Hero image by Richard Nolan, Unsplash.