We are so lucky to live in our beautiful country. It has so much to offer in the form of nature and relaxation. Despite this, for some reason, we often forget to take advantage of our gorgeous surroundings. We get so tied up with our mundane lives that the thought of escaping into the natural wonders of our lovely country doesn't even cross our mind.
Well dear friends, this has to change. We have to start taking mini-breaks. We have to start going away. Depending on your budget (mine's pretty tight), this might be more challenging to plan. However, the end result is that you get a chance to truly relax. If you don't know where to start - that's okay, I was in that place too. I had no idea what to do and how to find a cheap getaway. Gosh, I can't even say I knew anything about New South Wales geographically.
When I was faced with this dilemma, but was determined to find a perfect getaway anyway, I took a few very important steps.
1. Look at a map of your state
This might sound a little bit silly, but really, this helped me connect the dots a lot better when searching for a getaway. In my experience, I found that places in the Central Coast are handy because they're not as far as others. I even managed to discover that certain places might be hotter than others by looking up the location's weather. Those who travel often might have a mild chuckle at Captain Obvious.
2. Pick a hotel website
Prior to the refurbishment, I really used to like Wotif. However, it's always a good idea to have a look at a few websites and compare their prices. Last Minute, wotif, and some other websites offer 'mystery' hotels in certain areas, where you can get a hotel of a certain star rating in an area at a discounted price.
3. Seriously, figure out how you're going to get there and how you'll get around.
If you're like me and don't actually own a car, you need to ensure that you can reach your destination in a reasonable manner and that you can get around there. Not everywhere has public transport and accidentally getting stuck could be a serious impediment to your weekend getaway. Rock on if you have a car, I'd just drive somewhere. If you feel like flying, I recommend a website like Webjet. Although I would typically suggest options such as coaches and trains, given that we are talking about short weekend getaways, I think that time is of the essence and they take too long (unless you're going somewhere really close).
4. Don't just sit there, hurry up and book it before it disappears
I've made the mistake of finding the perfect hotel at a discounted rate, that rare cheap flight and losing it all... Why? Well, I'll tell you why. I just sat there and wondered if it would be a good idea to go away after all. What if I was to find something cheaper in the next day or two? Who knows? Well, I didn't. I ended up missing out and not going anywhere that weekend.
5. Be careful with discount voucher sites, they can be tricksy
I'm not going to name any particular websites in case I get sued, but think of a word that rhymes with 'poo-pomme'. Not that I don't buy things from those types of websites, but I've noticed that some of their holiday packages are disguised as cheap holiday destinations. Often, they unfortunately lack the whole discount element and are just as expensive as booking it without a voucher. Group getaways are better than smaller romantic ones on those sites.
6. Get creative and put yourself into new situations
If you've never been camping (or glamping), definitely give it a go. If you wish to meet some new people, give a hostel a go. They're cheap, and you would definitely make friends, unless you're that guy.
So where's the best getaway in your experience? I can only tell you a few of my favourite locations, and they're mostly in New South Wales.
1. Copacabana Beach & Avoca Beach in the Central Coast
I took my boyfriend to Copacabana on very short notice for his birthday, and we got a beautiful hotel. Yes, that's my review, and I stand by it. The beaches in the area are gorgeous and there is a different atmosphere in the air compared to the city.
2. Katoomba in the Blue Mountains
I know, I know. So cliche, yet so beautiful - I cannot help it. From the adventurous Zig Zag railway to the odd little shops (and that Subway store, right there, in the damn mountains). The Blue Mountains just have so much life and breathtaking views that can relax anyone. You can also see so many stars there, it's amazing.
Those are my favourite two destinations in New South Wales, but I plan on going to Hunter Valley and the Hawkesbury region. How about you, what's your favourite little weekend getaway destination?
How about somewhere like Cooma, near the Snowy Mountains? Or perhaps you prefer a little bit of downtime in a country town like Alice Springs in the Northern Territory? Tasmania has a lot to offer in the form of nature, as does the amazing Great Barrier reef.
I know I've barely even touched on Australia's treasures, so what's your take on the best and cheapest weekend getaway destination?