Great Weekend Getaways

Australia is a big country -- we all know that -- but where should you go if you want to get away from your day-to-day life for the weekend? Luckily for us (and courtesy of the GFC), it's become much more affordable to escape the daily grind.

We've polled our office and found some tasty weekend gems that offer something for every travel junkie.

Blueys Beach

Located 25 kilometers south of Forster in NSW's Great Lakes district, Blueys Beach is a sublime patch of rustic coastal living just a few hours north of Sydney. The area has no mobile phone coverage and is the ideal setting for a romantic weekend getaway, with everything from shacks to luxury apartments to beachfront villas available to rent.

{headlines}Byron Bay{/headlines}It's like the mini-me version of the Gold Coast, without the tourists, crowds or towering high-rises. The laidback, sunny, refreshed atmosphere of Byron Bay is the ultimate anecdote to city living -- and courtesy of the new freeway out of the Gold Coast, it's more accessible and cheaper to get to.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is an ideal location for a cheeky weekender, with more high-rise hotels on offer than you can poke a credit card at. Add that to the beaches, nightlife, shopping, restaurants and cheap airfares, and you couldn't ask for more!

Great Ocean Road

Get in the car and head out for the 240-kilometer drive along one of Australia's most famous roads. Take in the pristine landscapes of the Twelve Apostles, get out of the car for a walk around the rainforests or stop to eat at some of the country's finest seafood restaurants. Upgrade to a convertible for extra good times!

Hamilton Island

If blissing out alongside the beautiful blue waters of the Whitsunday Islands doesn't relax you, nothing will! Unwind by the pool with a cocktail or explore the island on a golf buggy while enjoying the warmth on tropical North Queensland ... it's truly a magical getaway.

Hawkesbury River

Hire a houseboat with some friends and head out onto the majestic Hawkesbury River for a weekend. This adventure is probably best executed in the warmer months, although you may be able to use the cool weather as an excuse to snuggle up!

Hunter Valley

Wine, cheese and chocolate. They're three of life's greatest pleasures, and they're all found in abundance at the Hunter Valley. Whether you're planning a day-trip or a long weekend, it's the perfect place to relax and unwind, and it's just a two-hour drive out of Sydney.

Magnetic Island

The north Queensland hub of Townsville is often overlooked for it's sunnier sister Cairns, but the city's warm climate, cosmopolitan atmosphere and friendly locals make it a top getaway location. Spend your weekend sipping drinks at The Watermark on The Strand, enjoying a meal on Palmer Street, and ferrying across to enjoy the pristine beaches at Magnetic Island. Affordable, warm, fun ... tick, tick, tick!

Melbourne

Shopping on Chapel Street, dinner at Southbank, a flutter at Crown ... there's no city like Melbourne, and a weekend spent exploring its many interesting side streets and alley ways makes it difficult to board your flight home!

Sydney

The stunning harbour, the city, the beaches, the shopping, the restaurants ... Sydney truly has it all, and it's going to take more than a weekend to explore it all. But if you don't need to sleep, it's worth giving it a crack!

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Tags: syndey weekend travel

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