Kathryn Lee - 26 Mar, 2019

7 affordable Australian staycations to take this year

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There is no doubt that saving is stressful, and when money is on your mind it can be hard to unwind. When expendable income is in short supply, a holiday might feel like a wild fantasy, yet most savvy savers will attest that treating yourself every now and then is a key component to savings success – just don’t get too crazy!

Giving yourself the break you need is not difficult to achieve, you may just need to stay a bit closer to home. While a trip to Europe might cost you $10k, a week, or even a few weekends, away here in Oz can be a quarter of the cost and still push your reset button. There are hundreds of worthy staycations within this fair nation, and we’ve picked just a few to get the dream going.

Hobart, TAS

Craving a trip to the UK but can’t quite afford the expense? Hobart may be the answer! It’s not exactly London or Edinburgh but if whiskey distilleries, colonial architecture, and a good serve of fish and chips are up your alley, this city is your answer.

Australia’s emerging culture capital is home to the internationally acclaimed Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and boasts some of the nation’s finest fresh produce and acclaimed restaurants (Franklin, The Agrarian Kitchen). You can also make your own adventure in Hobart, whether you prefer a night at an eclectic wine bar, a relaxing B&B by the sea, or an action-packed outdoor holiday.

Dandenong Ranges, VIC

Only an hour outside of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges are a great option for anyone wanting a mountainside staycation. Have breakfast in Sassafras café before a day among the gum trees, with plenty of hiking trails to satisfy.

Pop into Sherbrooke for the phenomenal Burnham Beeches mansion, which will soon be a destination itself. Currently featuring a luxurious exhibition by street artist Rone, you can wander around ‘the grounds’ for hours before sitting down for afternoon tea.


Bowral, NSW

Every time we go to Bowral, we’re amazed by its close proximity to Sydney. Less than two hours south on the highway and you’re in a quaint, countryside haven of antique stores, wineries and trendy cafés.

If you arrive in the morning, your first stop should be to The Press Shop café or Green Lane for coffee and a tasty feed. (Keep Green Lane in your Google Maps too because you’ll want to return here for drinks at Harry’s or antique shopping at Dirty Jane’s.)

If you can wrangle a designated driver, head to Bendooley Estate and enjoy a wine tasting and lunch at their delicious restaurant. Just book ahead because you’ll be up against wedding parties on a weekend! If you’re a foodie, you’ll have Biota on your list of dinner spots, which is nice and close to our favourite accommodation option – the Berida Hotel – with rooms from $160 per night. If you’re going in a group, look into Arafel Park for a luxurious homestay.

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Picnics at The Park!

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Exmouth, WA

It’s sometimes easy to forget that Australians are blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. It’s easy to dream of a beach retreat in Mexico or the Greek islands but why not unwind on our very own shores?

You can basically take your pick from hundreds of fabulous beaches in every state, but we’ve chosen to highlight Exmouth in WA for its sheer beauty. Unless you live within a driveable distance, it can be a bit of a mission to get there (the easiest way is to fly to Learmonth airport from Perth), but the rewards make it all worthwhile. With Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park on your doorstep, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the phenomenal, clear turquoise waters.


Manly, NSW

Speaking of beach holidays, Manly was recently ranked in the top 20 best beaches in the entire world by TripAdvisor users, nabbing the top ranking in all of Oz. Now, we may hear a few scoffs and LOLs, but Manly certainly has its value for those from and far-from Sydney.

Firstly, Manly is close enough to the CBD that you can make your way in and out fairly easily, but it’s also far enough removed that it feels like a world of its own. Not beach weather? Go for a bushwalk or enjoy brunch at Hemingway’s Café and dinner at Maestro & Co.


Noosa, QLD

The Sunshine Coast is endless fun for all types of travellers. The problem with Noosa, however, is that you may need to compromise a few luxuries to enjoy a trip that won’t break the bank.

If you want to stay in a resort for under $300 a night, this may not be the place for you. Having said that, there are plenty of great options in motels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, and even upmarket backpacker accommodation (with private rooms) to keep you happy. You can also find nice hotels further from the beach for under $200 a night.

The second thing to consider is planning. Not only will you have time to source good deals, but Noosa is a popular spot so booking in advance is essential.

Barwon Heads, VIC

Almost anywhere surrounding Port Phillip Bay just south of Melbourne will provide a dreamy staycation, but the Bellarine Peninsula and Geelong has plenty of stunning sights and affordable accommodation options for an ideal, quick getaway.

Within the region, our top pick is Barwon Heads, thanks to its small-town vibe. Home to Thirteenth Beach and Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary, you’ll be plenty entertained in this seaside town.

Words by Rebecca Mitchell.

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