Many bucks and milestone birthday (21, 30 etc.) are moving away from nights at the strippers and towards more active weekends away. Be it a camping trip, hiking expedition, casino weekend or fishing trip, boys weekends away have a tendency to be a little more grand than everyone planned on, a lot more expensive than budgeted and sometimes even a bit more shameful than anyone is willing to admit. It's easy for things to get out of hand when everyone gets up and cracks a beer for breakfast. The best way to prevent budget and friendship blow-outs is to plan a weekend away where everyone wants and is able to participate. Also by planning a weekend in a place that is not alcohol-fuelled by nature and where aggressive behaviour is not tolerated or encouraged you're already starting to shape the behaviour of your group.
Here are some suggestions for boys weekends away that will preserve friendships, avoid bankruptcy and ensure that the bride-to-be is not having second thoughts after seeing what your mats posted on Facebook at the bucks weekend away!
Skip the Gold Coast, with it's overpriced clichés and debaucherous temptations at every corner. Instead, head just south to Cabarita Beach / Hasting Point where the vibe is much more chilled, the waves better and the accommodation much cheaper. There is only one pub in town, plus the surf club on weekends, both of which are very family-friends so you can have a few brew without it ending up in an all out-brawl of nudie runs around the pub.
Cabarita Beach is surf heaven, everyone here surfs, skates and lives outdoors... all the time! The views are spectacular from the headland and no matter which way the wind is blowing there is a break to be surfed. Hastings Point is much smaller and only 2kms south of Cabarita Beach. Hastings Point is basically a great beach, a river, a camping ground and a general store.
So what is there to do in Caba / Hastings Point? When you're not surfing, you can hire a stand up paddle or kayak and race your mates down the river at Hastings Point, fish the river with the locals, walk the headland at Cabarita Beach and watch the whales or take a 4WD tour up Mt Warning.
Meals can be cooked at your accommodation, or hit up the cafes, pizza shop, kebab take out (which is excellent) in Cabarita Beach or pub for a dishes-free existence. There is also an excellent fish and chips shop/ general store in Hastings Point. To keep it super cheap there is a Woolworths in Cabarita with everything you need for a simple BBQ dinner.
Accommodation options include camping at Cabarita Beach or Hastings Point. There is no website for the Cabarita Beach campsite but it is a small camping grounds just of the beach at the end of town. It is super informal and the facilities are not that great, but the located is supurb. A powered site starts at $50 per night for 2 people. Hastings Point campground has much better facilities and powered sites start at $35 off peak and go up to $50 at peak times (school holidays etc).
For those not into camping, your best option is to rent a house like this beach-front beauty that sleeps 10, this amazing property in nearby Casuarina with it's own pool, or be right on the river in Hastings Point for a great price in this house that sleep 8.
Cabarita Beach is located 120kms from Brisbane and 280kms from Coffs Harbour
What if not every on your group is all that info surfing, but you want to keep it as an option as well as have other activities to hand to keep everyone occupied. Head to Agnes Water. This coastal town is home to the most northern surf beach on the East Coast of Australia and has access to the southernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef. You can surf the days away, take advantage of the surrounding national parks for hiking and 4WD-ing, or book in a day of sandboarding, cruise the Great Barrier Reef or take to the streets on two wheels on the Scooteroo Chopper Tours.
Agnes Water as a town is quite small, but has everything you need; a supermarket, a few shops, enough fish and chips shops to visit a different one each day, a pub and a servo. It is super laid back and very much a tourist destination. You can get about in boardies and no shirt and nobody with think twice about it.
Your accommodation options in Agnes Water include Camping at Workmans Beach (one of the best campsites in Qld as far as I'm concerned) from $7 per person per day, or the commercial campsite next to the main beach. Again, if camping is not your thing, hire a house like this one right on the beach that sleeps 8 or this brand new house between the beach and the shops.
Agnes Water is located 490kms from Brisbane and 225kms from Rockhampton
Girraween National Park is your wonderland of bushwalking, campsites, swimming in waterholes and relaxation. This is some serious male-bonding stuff right here. We're talking setting up a camp, no access to electricity, cooking over open fires and taking in amazing views during the day. This park is close to Stanthorpe in the Grantine Belt region of Brisbane and as such gets mighty cold at night in the winter. You will need to bring in everything you need as there are no shops for 30kms around the campsite, and be prepared to get up close and person with some of the local wildlife. Expect giant lizards, kangaroos and wallabies, snakes, frogs and birds of prey.
While this may all seem very wild and primitive, the campsites are actually very nicely set up, in true QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service) they are cleaned daily and well maintained. You will pay $6 per person per night to stay in the camping grounds and you can book campsites next to each other to make one big site for large groups, which commercial campsites do not usually allow.
There are a lot of walking tracks in the National Park, the highlight of which is the Sphinx which leads you up a steep granite cliff-face to the peak of this incredible lookout. Those with a fear of heights should certainly not attempt this one! If you want to venture out of the National Park for some action, you can hit up the Granite Belt Brewery for a feed visit Bald Rock National Park just across the NSW border or take your mountain bikes (you can also hire them in Stanthorpe) and hit the trails for a real adrenaline shot!
Girraween National Park is located 255kms from Brisbane and 300kms from Coffs Harbour
South West Rocks is a boating, fishing, camping and all round beach-lovers dream. It is a real boys town with a few pubs and simple food in the bakeries, cafes and take out joints, great fishing coves and short nature walks that are just enough to make you feel like you earned your beer, but not enough to make your legs scream at you the next day.
There is a boat ramp at the Trial Bay Goal that will launch you in the bay and also give you access to the Pacific Ocean. There are a lot of boats who launch here, but also a lot of water to fish, so you wont feel crowded. You can also launch off the beach from Trial Bay in designated areas. If you're interested in relaxing and not skippering your own boat, you can take up one of the many offerings for deep sea fishing or even book a full weekend package including all fishing, breakfast, lunch and accommodation. It doesn't get much simpler than that!
South West Rocks is also just a really nice place to be. The water is warm, even in July, and there are hidden beaches everywhere – be sure to check out Little Bay. The kangaroos outnumber the people and the fish catch as easily as the beers flow.
Accommodation options are many and varied, from camping at the Trial Bay Goal (very much recommended) from $34 per night for 2 people, to a relaxing bnb or hiring a house with it's own billiards table.
South West Rocks is located 495kms from Brisbane and 105kms from Coffs Harbour
So forget the strippers and party buses and head to the great outdoors. Make memories that you wont regret or need to hide from your fiancé. Ohh.. and if you want to book a house with airbnb, signing up with this link will give you $40 off your booking to help keep the budget in-check.