Act fast, before the secret’s out. No more over-crowded beaches where it’s too hard to put your towel down between the flags and accommodation is so overpriced it’s no longer worth it. Discover the underrated Aussie holiday-making spots ahead of the summer break (AKA annual uni hiatus, school holidays or sabbatical from your day job) where you can have the views, fun and bang for your buck. We enlisted Wotif.com travel expert Chris Milligan to spill the Pina Colada on where and why.
Images via @angourieresort @cathyhinzner
YAMBA, NEW SOUTH WALES
This Northern NSW destination is Byron Bay’s cousin twice removed, but cheaper ($221 average per night*) and picturesque in its own right. “Nothing says relaxing Aussie summer getaway like a sleepy coastal town. Yamba ticks all the boxes.” says Chris. It’s a 7.5 hour road trip from Sydney or 3.5 hour drive from Brisbane – so the choice is yours. Hop from beach to beach by day, all within walking distance, and be ready to work your way through the fuss-free bistro menu at The Pacific Hotel by sunset, with a side of ocean views. We can taste the fresh seafood from here. Explore Yamba, the lesser travelled getaway before everyone else does. P.S. yes, it’s family friendly!
Wotif accommodation pick: Angourie Resort
A weekend away without sand e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e? This is it. Victoria’s midwest region is unspoiled nature, as you’d expect 300kms from Melbourne. “There’s nothing like getting back to nature to recharge over summer, especially panoramic views and hiking trails that lead to waterfalls” says Chris. Insider tip? Base yourself in Halls Gap with a villa, lodge or Caravan-style stay for easy access to all the Grampians National Park has to offer. There’s something for every budget, at an average of $140 per night*. Don’t wait ‘til crowds arrive.
Wotif accommodation pick: Halls Gap Valley Lodges
Image with thanks to WOTIF
EYRE PENINSULA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Summer means a) road trips and b) seafood but this time, without crowds. Bring Eyre Peninsula, the seafood capital of Australia, top of mind with a few days exploring… and eating. “You haven’t had oysters this good,” Chris tells us. With accommodation at roughly $142 per night*, the value per oyster story you’ll tell everyone about is well worth it. “Plus explore the Peninsula’s crystal-clear waters and the Instagrammable Talia Caves by sunset.” Because if the moment isn’t captured on stories, did you even go? Sandy feet, foodie bliss… we’re in! Save time for your itinerary & pack these out-the-door-in-5 outfits.
Wotif accommodation pick: The Port Lincoln Hotel
Images via Wotif/ @bellastredwick
Holiday for arts sake at this Riverside city in Tassie’s north. Take it from Chris, it’s one of Australia’s premier wine regions thanks to the cool climate (pass the Pinot Noir), has a food scene featuring local produce worthy of writing home about (Try restaurants Stillwater or Mudbar) and has brand new accommodation options – a triple threat to your usual annual holiday. Insider tip: if you’re a festival fan, time your trip to coincide with 10-day festival MONA FOMA this January. Balance spending time inside at Victoria Museums and Art Gallery – the largest regional art gallery in Australia – with nature, at Cataract Gorge. Here you’ll enjoy the Tamar River by chairlift, swim in a pool atop picturesque bushland and watch native birds. That spells fun with a capital F for everyone, at only $166 per night*. Frankly, we don’t think Launceston gets the credit it deserves.
Wotif accommodation pick: Peppers Silo Hotel
Image with thanks to WOTIF
AGNES WATER, QUEENSLAND
Get off the beaten track with old fashioned hospitality at Agnes Water & 1770, approximately 90 minutes from Bundaberg. We’re talking small-town vibes with deep sea fishing and fresh-caught fish and chips that’ll have you wanting seconds. The reason for the name? 1770 was the second landing place of Captain James Cook in said year. Use this nugget of trivia as you please. At roughly $240 per night*, you’d be doing this history-rich destination a disservice if you didn’t visit. Chris gives the local produce and healthy wines at Drift & Wood the tick of approval. “Don’t forget to pick up a jar of the locally made jams and relishes on your way out!” Plus take to Agnes Beach for a leisurely dip or explore the ‘Discover Coast Markets'... in no particular order.
Wotif accommodation pick: 1770 Lagoons Central Apartment Resort
Find out what you’re missing out on in *quite possibly* your new favourite domestic destination.
*Predicted accomodation rates are based on the average daily rate for 3 – 5 star-rated and self-rated accommodation demand on Wotif.com for travel from 1 December 2018 to 31 January 2019 for the described destinations. Prices shown are in Australian dollars and are not the rates displayed on the site. Rates are subject to accommodation selections made.