The Canberra Times

Top 10 regional destinations in Australia to experience on a weekend getaway

There are plenty of exciting places to explore all over Australia's many different regions, with minimal time commitments required. Picture Shutterstock
There are plenty of exciting places to explore all over Australia's many different regions, with minimal time commitments required. Picture Shutterstock

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Australia is a country of vibrant culture and immense natural beauty, which is precisely why we as a people tend to be so fond of taking weekend getaways. From the breathtaking beaches found on the Gold Coast to the stunning canyons of Capertee Valley, there are plenty of exciting places to explore all over Australia's many different regions, with minimal time commitments required.

Local produce makes for some really delicious culinary adventures, especially when sampled at roadside produce stands or farmers' markets throughout the country. Check out the wineries of the Barossa Valley in South Australia for some one-of-a-kind vino or get lost among nature and wander at Kakadu National Park in Northern Territory.

Whether you're looking for an adventure or just some relaxation, Australia's regional areas offer something for perfect weekend getaways. Here are 10 of the best places to duck off to for a weekend of fun and relaxation.

1. Lake Leake, Tasmania

The tranquil beauty of this serene location can be enjoyed all year round with comfortably mild temperatures. For those looking to get outside, there are plenty of wonderful hiking trails that lead to breathtaking views. Explore eucalyptus forests, crystal clear streams, and picturesque alpine meadows during your time at Lake Leake.

Anglers will find that the lake is also brimming with bass, trout, and other fish species - making it a fantastic fishing spot. After an active day in nature, enjoy one of the many local accommodations available, or dine at one of the delicious restaurants that offer fresh seafood dishes. That, or you could easily prepare your very own catch of the day for supper as well!

2. Echuca-Moama, Victoria

Located near the border of New South Wales and at the junction of two rivers, Echuca-Moama provides easy access to numerous natural attractions such as creeks and gorges, plus plenty of historical buildings. There are also a number of outdoor activities to take part in over the course of your weekend stay like fishing, canoeing and kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking along the region's many nature trails.

With its interesting mix of outdoor activities and culture, Echuca-Moama is a great place to relax, explore, learn something new or simply just have some fun.

3. Kangaroo Valley, NSW

Located just south of Fitzroy Falls and to the east of the Great Dividing Range, this picturesque valley will captivate you with its lush bushland and river views. With plenty of hiking trails to follow, hikes through the valley provide an opportunity to truly disconnect from your daily life and enjoy the fresh air, winding rivers, creeks and waterfalls.

In addition, Kangaroo Valley also offers kayaking, horse riding, fishing and mountain biking for any adventure lover seeking some variety during their weekend away. Its local townships are also rich with history, making Kangaroo Valley the perfect destination for any travellers looking to reconnect with bygone eras.

4. Airlie Beach, Queensland

Set in a tropical paradise with its pristine beaches, inviting azure waters and lush greenery, Airlie Beach is amongst the most ideal spots to take a break from everyday life. Boasting an array of activities suited to everyone - from those seeking more energetic travels on the Whitsundays or Whitehaven Beach to relaxing boat cruises with picturesque views - Airlie Beach caters to all sorts of travellers.

The town itself offers an abundance of fine dining options as well as unique shops and markets, along with many festivals and cultural events throughout the year. With the sheer amount of natural and cultural attractions on offer here, you'll be sure to enjoy a jam-packed weekend itinerary during your time at Airlie Beach.

5. Hahndorf, South Australia

A small town situated in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, Hahndorf provides the perfect weekend getaway experience for those looking to relax and take in the beauty of the Australian countryside. Like Kangaroo Valley, this area is full of historic sites, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants that make it ideal for a weekend away.

It plays host to festivals such as Oktoberfest and has a wide variety of outdoor pursuits such as hiking and mountain biking in some of South Australia's most magical natural areas. Hahndorf is also home to amazing wineries, producing some of Australia's finest wines and boasting the opportunity for visitors to participate in immersive tasting sessions, allowing wine lovers to truly experience the region's unique terroir.

6. Esperance, Western Australia

Located on the southern coast of the Australian mainland, Esperance is the gateway to the stunning natural beauty of this often forgotten part of the country. With its long stretches of white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and miles of coastline, this region provides an abundance of opportunities for activities such as swimming, fishing or just relaxing in the sun.

Nature lovers can explore its many parks and reserves which are home to diverse wildlife including log-tailed cockatoos and short-beaked echidnas. The vibrant town centre also offers an array of shops and restaurants where you'll find everything from local produce to handcrafted goods. There's also plenty to do after dark with lots of bars and clubs facilitating a warm and inviting local nightlife.

7. Albany, Western Australia

There are so many things to do in Albany - from exploring its great outdoors to discovering local wine and produce or visiting historical sites. You can explore rugged coastline with private beaches, tour a breathtaking Torndirrup National Park, or stroll through beautiful parks and gardens.

Hop onto a whale watching cruise from the unique platform of Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre or take advantage of all the water activities offered around the bay - all while experiencing some of Albany's renowned hospitality.

8. Apollo Bay, Victoria

Located on the beautiful Great Ocean Road and surrounded by lush Otway forests and beaches, this picturesque town makes for an ideal escape for Victorian locals and interstate travellers alike. Visitors can spend their days exploring the outdoor attractions such as the region's many walking trails through leafy national parks.

For those looking for some retail therapy, Main Street boasts unique shops housed in historic buildings from times gone by. To truly unwind, choose from a range of relaxing activities including yoga, massages or simply lounging on one of the many beachside spots.

9. Mission Beach, Queensland

Mission Beach is the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend getaway. Located in North Queensland, it is near enough to the city while at the same time offering a laid-back beachside atmosphere. Ideal for families and couples alike, Mission Beach offers a variety of activities and attractions to explore, such as its sandy beaches.

Visitors can also enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Mission Beach's surrounding coastline or, if looking for some adventure, go kayaking through mangrove-lined estuaries or take a guided tour of Dunk Island. With its plethora of hospitality options ranging from luxurious resorts and hotels to cosy self-contained units and camping sites, you'll be able to find something that suits your budget.

10. Kununurra, Western Australia

Set against the iconic beauty of the East Kimberley region, Kununurra is a fantastic spot for a weekend getaway featuring a host of sights and activities that are sure to make your time here truly memorable.

From world-class fishing in Lake Kununurra, to spotting incredible birdlife along the Ord River, adventure tours running through Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National Park, or simply taking advantage of some sun and relaxation by Lake Argyle - there is literally something for every type of getaway.

And with local restaurants and cafes, museums and galleries offering rich insights into Aboriginal history and stunning scenery at every turn - a weekend in Kununurra is undoubtedly one you won't soon forget.


Whether you're looking for a unique wildlife experience, spectacular views, or some rest and relaxation, Australia is sure to have a regional area or two that is perfect for you. From the outback to glorious beaches and historic towns, each region has something special to offer.

So get out there and start padding out your calendar with plenty of fun mini trips and weekend getaways.