Easy trips for travel-loving Australians

Finally, travel is resuming in Australia. National borders are open again and some of us are even brave enough to venture into international waters. But with Easter only a few days away, you might be looking for a long weekend destination that doesn’t involve a long-haul flight or driving days.

We are here to help you. In fact, there are plenty of options you can see in the space of a long weekend (you can even combine your vacation with these weekends for a longer break). All you need is a car, some solid tunes, and some ideas.

I sorted out the ideas part for you by chatting with Tourism Australia. The tourist board has shared its thoughts on the best options for curious Australians hoping to plan a weekend getaway in 2022.

Obviously, with the ever-changing rules around travel and events, it’s important that you plan for any upcoming adventures with some extra flexibility. The rules can change, so be careful and be sure to keep the health advice in mind. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start working on your options for a beautiful, fun, and quirky weekend.

Long weekend destinations in New South Wales

Southern Highlands NSW (Image: iStock)

Bilpin:

Take a 90-minute drive up the mountains and you’ll land on a lovely little gem known as Bilpin. The “mountain apple country” is a paradise for cozy guesthouses, apple orchards, open gardens and organic produce”.

Artesian Baths, Lightning Ridge:

It’s a longer trek (about 8 hours from Sydney), but it can certainly be managed over a four-day weekend if you’re a fan of road tripping.

Lightning Ridge is best known for its opal mining, but if you’re heading to the original town, it’s worth checking out the artesian baths. They are said to hold water that is “about two million years old and have therapeutic qualities that relieve muscle pain. Take a dip with the locals and enjoy the balmy temperatures of 41.5 degrees Celsius all year round.”

Southern Highlands:

If you’re planning a trip over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, the Southern Highlands have a month-long pie festival called Pie Time. The celebration, which kicked off on June 1 for National Pie Day, includes activities such as Pie’s Bike Tours and a Pie Drive where you can tour the region and its best pies.

The area is about a 2 hour drive from Sydney and is also home to some beautiful natural sights like Fitzroy Falls.

Australian Capital Territory long weekend destinations

Canberra National Arboretum:

Just 6km from Canberra city center you will find the Canberra National Arboretum. Tourism Australia recommends “Start with brunch at Discovery Garden, followed by a walk in the park”. Just be sure to book your meals in advance or grab a blanket and pack a picnic.

Blue Range Cabin in Uriarra Forest:

“Centered around the heritage-listed remains of an Italian WWII internment camp, Blue Range Camp is a very popular camping spot for families and history buffs,” Tourism Australia shares. Settle here and hike along one of the northern alpine hiking trails of Namadgi National Park.

Canberra District Wine Region:

Within a 35-minute drive from Canberra, you’ll find over 30 cellar doors, ready to serve you a tasty pour.

According to Tourism Australia, “Sangiovese, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz, Tempranillo and rare varieties like Grüner Veltliner are all produced in this region.”

Long weekend destinations in Victoria

long weekend destinations victoria
Macedonia Channels (Image: iStock)

Macedonian channels:

A short drive from Melbourne will bring you to the charming villages of the Macedon Ranges. Tourism Australia suggests “Stop at the Wine Collective for a panoramic view and a glass of Chardonnay for which the region is known. Drive another 15 minutes and reach Kyneton’, where you can indulge in a bit of shopping.

Mira Mira, Crossover:

The “Mira Mira fantasy style retreat” is just 90 minutes from Melbourne. Its supernatural atmosphere will offer you a weekend like no other. From cottages comparable to fairy tales to rooms that mimic a “Hobbit-style underworld,” this is about as Instagram-worthy as it gets.

Queensland long weekend destinations

Australia
Aerial view of Moreton Island, Brisbane, Australia (Photo by Reinhard Dirscherlullstein bild via Getty Images)

Tropical North Queensland:

Take a driving tour through North Queensland and see places like the Cairns Waterfalls Circuit at the Atherton Tablelands. Lookouts, historic towns, waterfalls and dairy farms will fill your long weekend with options to keep you busy.

Moreton Island:

If you live near Brisbane, in particular, it’s an easy weekend getaway with just a ferry ride. Dive in to snorkel around the Tangalooma Wrecks man-made reef, where you might see green sea turtles, wobbegong sharks, hundreds of fish and maybe even a dugong. Tourism Australia shares that for food, you should “Call Suttons Beach Pavilion for a takeaway seafood feast and walk to the secluded beach for an iconic Aussie lunch.”

Noosa:

Noosa is a not-so-secret hotspot on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, about two hours north of Brisbane, and there’s a reason everyone loves to visit.

Noosa Beach has that crystal clear water that tourist adverts dream of and is backed by a huge range of beautiful waterfront properties, scenic walks and a strip of upscale restaurants and shops.

Long weekend destinations in South Australia

long weekend destinations SA
Yorke Peninsula (Image: iStock)

Ride along part of the Explorer’s Way:

This road trip can take you all the way to Darwin if you wish, but for a short weekend there is plenty to see within a short distance of Adelaide. From Adelaide to the Clare Valley it takes less than two hours, and the impressive Flinders Ranges are just over five hours from the city.

Yorke Peninsula:

Innes National Park is a 3.5 hour drive from Adelaide and offers amazing surfing sports. Set up camp at Cable Bay Campground and hike to the ‘Rusty Remains of the Ethel Wreck’.

Oodnadatta track:

This is another longer route (nearly 9 hours), suitable for road-trip enthusiasts. But the Oodnadatta Track, located in “some of the most important parts of the Australian Outback” is a truly unique experience. As Tourism Australia writes, it is “the largest art installation in the world. With countless exhibits along its rugged and ever-changing landscape, it truly is an open-air museum like no other in the world!”

Long weekend destinations in Tasmania

Lake St. Clair (Image: iStock)

Lake St. Clair:

2.5 hours from Hobart you will find the snow capped peaks of Lake St Clair. This destination, shared by Tourism Australia, is the perfect place to “grab a canoe and a thermos of hot chocolate and drift carefree”.

City of Murals, Sheffield:

Did you know that Tassie had a city of murals? Now you do. It is just 30 minutes from Devonport and contains “a collection of 100 murals painted on the walls of buildings, created by local artists which depict local history and its characters”.

Coles Bay:

Coles Bay is the idyllic getaway you crave when you get away from it all in Tasmania. It’s especially an experience for oyster lovers who can shuck and eat some of the local treats straight from the water.

The bay is also a short drive from Freycinet National Park, home to a plethora of wildlife and wildlife. Coles Bay is only a few hours drive from Hobart.

Long weekend destinations in Western Australia

WA long weekend destinations
Lake Cave, Augusta WA (Image: iStock)

Augustus:

This quaint town is around 3.5 hours from Perth – the perfect driving distance for a long weekend. Stop at Lake Cave “a stunning crystal chamber deep underground (reservations essential)” and prepare to be dizzy.

Urawa Nature Reserve:

According to Tourism Australia, “The historic location of Perkins Well #2 is an excellent vantage point” for people wishing to view the Milky Way. Spend a weekend stargazing here, staying in Mullewa and exploring the many astrotourism towns nearby.

Northern Territory long weekend destinations

TN long weekend destinations
Kakadu National Park, Northwest Territories (Image: iStock)

Kakadu National Park:

Spend a weekend at Cooinda Camping Ground near Yellow Water Billabong where you can embark on a cruise and spot crocodiles and birds.

Litchfield National Park:

Just under an hour and a half’s drive from Darwin is Litchfield National Park, where you can explore 4×4 tracks and “discover challenging terrain, big rivers and wildlife”. Be sure to check in and see which part of the parks are open when you hope to visit, though.

This article has been updated from its original publication date.