Want to get away for a long weekend? Whether you fancy a bohemian escape at Byron Bay, a cultural weekend in Canberra or a retro inspired Gold Coast getaway, the following suggestions will inspire you to start packing your bags for a stylish Australia getaway.
Go hippy chic in Byron Bay
Colourful bohemians wander the streets, crystals decorate shop windows and fire twirlers light up the sky as the sun goes down. When you are more yuppie than hippy it is hard not to feel a little envious of their chilled-out happiness but anyone can experience the unique spirituality of Byron Bay. Slip on a pair of groovy sunnies and find your inner bliss during a yoga session, go for an early morning surf or kayak under the watchful glass eye of the Cape Byron lighthouse.
There is no need to join a commune if you want to embrace the local lifestyle. The Byron at Byron, a classy multi-award winning resort surrounded by 45 acres of lush rainforest, has winding timber boardwalks meandering through the bush and the guests are outnumbered by native birds. If you stay here, you can join an early morning yoga class for free.
Retro Gold Coast getaway
With its beautiful beaches and laid back vibe, the Gold Coast has long been a family favourite but this popular holiday destination once had a reputation as a hedonistic party town. In the sixties and seventies, pyjama parties were all the rage and bright colour schemes burned your retinas after a big night out. Sexy girls were called ‘sizzlers’, meter maids sauntered down Cavill Avenue wearing scandalous gold bikinis and you had to be 21 to buy a drink.
Times may have changed but it is still possible to experience the fun of the Gold Coast of old at QT Gold Coast, a funky hotel with a vintage Holden panel van stacked with longboards parked out the front. Help yourself to a complimentary lemonade from a stand stacked with fresh lemons and old-style paper straws before collecting your keys from the check-in staff, all of whom are resplendent in matching 70s-inspired turquoise jumpsuits.
Spot A-listers at Noosa
Noosa has a star quality all its own and just like a Hollywood A-lister, this stunning beachside town knows how to show off those natural good looks to full advantage. Chic couples stroll hand-in-hand along Noosa’s pristine beaches, stylish restaurants beckon and local markets and cute boutiques hold the promise of the perfect holiday memento. Not all the beautiful people wearing dark sunglasses at Noosa are movie stars but don’t be surprised if you spot one.
Canberra: the Capital of Cool
Mention Canberra and most people think of politics but the Australian capital offers visitors so much more. Whether you enjoy world-class historical attractions or prefer a little art and culture, this compact destination offers something for everyone. It’s a little bit arty and a little bit intellectual, with enough excellent drinking and dining options to satisfy even the most discerning diplomat.
Experience the drama of “Striking by Night”, a realistic recreation of a night bombing mission over Berlin at the Australian War Memorial, or head to the historic Hyatt Hotel for a genteel high tea. Art lovers can hang out with some famous faces at the National Portrait Gallery or create their own work of art at the Canberra Glassworks. Add a day exploring the Poacher’s Way food and wine trail and you’ll soon discover why visiting Canberra is a capital idea.
Designer cool at Palazzo Versace
It has been over ten years since the world’ s first fashion-branded hotel – Palazzo Versace – opened on the Gold Coast, capturing the attention of aspirational travellers from around the globe. Mega yachts filled the hotel’s private marina and a magnificent 750kg chandelier which once hung in the State Library of Milan graced the hotel foyer.
Palazzo Versace was the place to be seen and everyone dreamed of staying in one of its lavish rooms. Or – in my case – sneaking past the designer-clad security guards to take a look around. If you can’t afford to stay the night, the elegant Versace high tea will give you the taste of the high life for a fraction of the price.
Disclosure: The writer loves staying somewhere stylish whenever she gets the chance.
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