Planning a holiday gives you something to look forward to. Even if you’ve been able to maintain a kind of normal during Coronavirus, most people have experienced additional stress from the uncertainty and isolation. This is especially true for Victorians who have had to endure a long and difficult lockdown period. No matter where you are in Australia, if you’ve been working from home, you may have loosened your work-home boundaries and lost that feeling of rest.
Regardless of your situations, it’s important to take the opportunity to restore and refresh – even if your preferred holiday destination isn’t available right now. Holidays are important for your physical and mental wellbeing. When you return, you may feel more productive, energetic, motivated and creative.
As you reinvent your holiday plans, and switch the long-haul flight for a leisurely drive, fresh local adventures await you. Here are three types of holidays to consider:
1. Take a city break
Australia’s cities are bursting with fascinating options: a cultural injection, a romantic getaway or family fun. Wherever you live, there’s always something different to discover. An escape to your own state capital offers an array of possibilities, just be sure to check ahead when booking for any conditions or restrictions related to your stay.
Canberra is a dazzling destination - named Lonely Planet's third best city in the world to visit in 2018. It’s famous for its popular museums such as Questacon and the National Portrait Gallery and its immersive outdoor actives such as hot air ballooning and mountain bike riding.
- Sydney offers undiscovered gems like the White Rabbit Gallery and iconic exhibits like the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes – available until January 2021. Glistening harbourside walks such as the Spit Bridge to Manly can be combined with a visit to the Quarantine Station Museum for an insight into how travellers to Australia experienced disease quarantine in the past.
- Melbourne always has something new and exciting to discover. With the city opening up again, it’s a great time to revisit favourite destinations or find new ones. Have a picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens, explore the Carnivores Trail at the Melbourne Zoo, or support local producers and makers at one of the many markets around the city – most of which are reopening from November.
- Adelaide has opened up a new attraction, the Centre of Democracy, with exhibits using cutting-edge interactive digital experiences. Adelaide’s Migration Museum shares moving stories of local people and communities – perhaps your family’s story is among them?
- Brisbane has it all - the City Markets, live Australian music in Fortitude Valley and vibrant outdoor restaurants. Consider taking in the Aboriginal cultural trail in the Boondall Wetlands and the burgeoning State Library of Queensland.
- Darwin is full of wild natural sights and a history of courage and sacrifice. Tour the Royal Flying Doctor Service museum and the Defence of Darwin experience at the Darwin Military Museum.
- Perth is the city of beautiful parks and pristine beaches. Enjoy a trip to Rottnest Island and a visit to historic Fremantle. Take in a tour of Fremantle harbour and its prison - searching the convict data base – perhaps your name is there?
- Hobart offers strolls through historic Battery Point, baked treats from quaint cafes topped off by kayaking or sailing on its vast waterways. Planning your trip, you’re likely to find a wider range of accommodation choice and bargains in cities versus regional areas. Plus, many CBD hotels are currently offering discounts.
2. Head for the country
Regional holidays are making a resurgence this year. Getting out into regional areas is an opportunity to discover local places, shop small and support regional communities.
Many bushfire-affected businesses are inviting holiday-makers to return. In NSW, recovering regions include Shoalhaven Heads, Berry, Bowral, the Blue Mountains, Snowy Mountains and the South Coast. Water lovers can enjoy the sea kayak tour near Bateman’s Bay; you can get up close to a koala and 80 other species of mammals, reptiles and birds near Port Macquarie and go white water rafting in the majestic Kosciusko National Park.
- In South Australia, Kangaroo Island is welcoming visitors back after the fires and offers a diversity of natural highlights such as the Raptor Domain Birds of Prey.
- Western Australia has a plethora of colossal-sized trees, vistas and colour-contrast coasts to be awed by. A highlight is the famous Margaret River region with its caves, beaches and farm produce markets.
- Queensland’s endless coastal, island and hinterland treasures ensure that a world-class holiday combined with glistening sunshine is never far away.
- Regional Victoria contains hidden secrets such as Mansfield Zoo’s White Lions in the North East. Or the charm of getting lost in one of Australia’s largest hedge maizes at Myrrhee. And relaxing at Mansfeild’s Armchair Cinema under the trees.
- For Tasmanians, the state is a perfect island escape offering pristine coastlines like Wineglass Bay; tall, silent forests plus a brooding history to uncover.
- And lastly, the Northern Territory provides some of our country’s most exquisite national parks - the lush pools of Litchfield National Park and the dramatic Nitmiluk National Park. Swap your desk for self-touring 4WD-ing tracks that open up a majestic red landscape for you to explore.
3. Enjoy a staycation
If you can’t get away right now, then try to find activities that help you find your flow – any task that helps you practice mindfulness. A little bit of mental focus that allows you to be in the moment can be relaxing – like gardening, renovating and spring cleaning. Exercise, reading or listening to music can also be refreshing.
If you have children, create special memories by building a vegetable garden, staying overnight in a tent in the garden or learning chess.
Bring the holiday to you by watching films from various countries matched with food - perhaps a different country each day. Or you could turn your home into a day spa and enjoy treatments from the comfort of your own home.