Our best short breaks
Back in the 1980s, a friend was trying to set up a magazine that would cover weekends away. Her bank manager told her that “Australians don’t do short breaks – they take a one-month holiday, normally in January”. Despite this dis-encouragement the magazine launched and did very well. I hope the bank manager has retired to endless 12-month holidays.
What’s not to like about a short break? Just about anywhere will give you a few days of exploration and even the locations that deserve much longer can be appreciated during a short visit. Even if you have time to holiday longer, it can be a quick recharge to fly away for a few days.
Of course, the traditional short break has been to simply jump in the car and drive. However, relatively cheap airfares and affordable package holidays make flying somewhere exotic tempting, too. That could be Bali, Singapore or Bangkok or somewhere in Australia such as Uluru, Kakadu, Tassie or just another capital city. Temperate destinations are tempting, too – Norfolk or Lord Howe Island anyone? Or consider Australia’s perennial favourite: New Zealand.
With regular flights, exciting Singapore is perfect for a quick getaway
New Year resolutions always have a good shot of travel in them. It’s a good time to check the calendar and work out where and when. Personally, I’d like it to be more spontaneous but if trips aren’t scheduled I find that other events come up and there’s no time left.
Also, a bit of pre-planning allows you to take advantage of sales and early-bird offers. AAT Kings, for example, is now offering 10 per cent off any of its short breaks booked from now until February 5.
The five breaks they list from the company’s total of 83 are a fair cross section. They range from three days in the Top End departing from Darwin to take in the delights of Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks, to seven days across the North Island of New Zealand ex Auckland from the Bay of Islands to Rotorua.
Other options are three days in the Red Centre exploring Uluru and Kata Tjuta (and bear in mind that Bruce Munro’s mesmerising “Field of Light” was recently extended until March 2018), four days experiencing Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road and six days out of Cairns seeing the best of the Reef, Cape Tribulation and the Daintree as well as the Atherton Tablelands.
There’s definitely something to be said in favour of taking a coach tour over driving yourself. It’s not just that you don’t have to worry about the car and the driving, but you’ll have local expertise travelling with you so you’re likely to be shown things you may not have found on your own. Over a longer holiday that may not be as relevant, but if you’re only taking a few days you’ll probably want to pack it all in.
New Zealand is the perfect oppurtunity to leave the stress behind for a couple of days
The itineraries themselves reveal both expertise and local knowledge. The Kakadu trip, for example not only shows you the rock art of Nourlangie and takes you on a cruise on Yellow Waters, but it also gives you the cultural immersion of a river trip into Arnhemland on the Guluyambi Cultural Cruise that I consider a highlight of Kakadu. Your return trip to Darwin is not just up the highway but through Litchfield with visits to Florence and Wangi Falls and the “magnetic” termite mounds.
How about Perth and Rottnest Island; food, wine and wilderness on Kangaroo Island or Margaret River; Sydney and the Blue Mountains or make it a real journey and take the Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs?
Perhaps the best thing about this AAT Kings offer is that it runs through January and into February. So, when the Christmas break is over, the barbecue is turned off and friends and family disappear back to work, you’ll have your next holiday to look forward to. It’s good to start the year with optimism. And having a holiday to look forward to provides a lot to be optimistic about.
Where’s your favourite destination for a short break?
Feature image: Facebook / Kakadu National Park