Need a break from life? A time-out from reality? When your day-to-day responsibilities prove too much and your body and mind are craving some "you time," a winter weekend getaway is the only cure. Leave the washing in the basket and the kids with your husband, and head off on a therapeutic break with your closest friends. Consider some of these great Aussie destinations for a winter weekend away with the girls.
Berry, New South Wales
Berry is a charming country town full of quaint cafes, fantastic bakeries and a number of wineries. Just two hours' drive south of the Sydney CBD, it's the perfect weekend destination to head to after work on a Friday afternoon. With the gorgeous Camberwarra range as a backdrop, Berry is a sweet rural town with all the services and amenities you need. You'll find supermarkets, petrol stations and bottle shops in town, as well as many great boutiques, antique stores and bookshops for browsing. Pop into The Treat Factory just a few roads back from the main street, and stock up on chocolates, relishes and jams for the weekend, and be sure to stop by some of the local area's great wineries, such as Morrelli's on Bundewallah Road. And have we mentioned Berry's famous Donut Van? You read right: donut van.
Margaret River, Western Australia
If you're after a healthy dose of quality food and wine -- not to mention arts, crafts and gorgeous scenery -- then the Margaret River could be the ultimate ladies' weekend destination for you. This surfing haven has evolved into a place of fine dining and world-class wineries, making it a great place to unwind with the girls. If you're visiting in winter, admire the ocean from afar and take long walks along the ragged coastline and through spectacular forests and bushland. Enjoy a winery tour and sample some of the country's best drops as you learn about the processes and terrain -- and of course stock up for the rest of the weekend! With more than 60 wineries to choose from, you'd be wise to sign up for a guided tour and let someone else do the driving. You can also please your tastebuds with chocolate, fudge and ice-cream tastings. Enjoy evenings out at fantastic restaurants and a daytime browse in some of the area's great art galleries, craft stores and boutiques.
If you're umming and ahhing about this destination, we have two words for you: Spa. Capital. That's right! Daylesford is known as the nation's unofficial "spa capital." It's packed with health and spa retreats, and also boasts plenty of gorgeous cafes, boutiques and historic buildings. Pop by the Daylesford Farmer's Market or the Daylesford Sunday Market to pick up a few treasures, then admire the breath-taking natural scenery and mineral springs. Treat yourself to a pamper session at one of the area's many salons, and you'll return to reality feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated. Located just 108 kilometres northwest of Melbourne, the scenic one-and-a-half-hour drive from the CBD makes Daylesford ideal for a stress-free weekend getaway.