1) Bring the fam' - and be real Aussie about it. A long held favourite for many Victorian families (mine included) is renting a holiday house along the coastline. Phillip Island, Anglesea, Rye and Portarlington all offer a vast range of relaxing stays. For around 7 days minimum you can rent a basic (or deluxe) beach-side home or lodge and kick back over the holidays.
Great for all ages, you and your loved ones can spend Christmas and New Years barbecuing on the balcony, chilling out on the beach, day or night, or renting some bikes to cycle through that fresh beach air and beautiful views. The best place to find your perfect beach-side rental is at stayz.com.au
Martini House - one of the many accommodation options in Ventnor, Phillip Island.
2) Just the two of you - Have a romantic getaway in mind? Plenty of places cater for just that. Consider a drive up to BreakFree Eco Beach just off the shores of Byron Bay.
A shot of some guest facilities at BreakFree Eco Beach
Studio and one or two bedroom suites are available and come filled with modern facilities and a decor to match. With an open plan design and very private balconies attached to each room, I can't imagine passing this one up.
BreakFree's on-site facilities include an outdoor pool, heated spa, BBQ area, internet cafe, in-room massages and child minding services if you need them. Venturing out can get you to the beach in a short walk to take part in surf lessons by the bay, some great seaside shopping and even hang-gliding lessons. Suites rates are from about $140 per night.
For the more 'outdoorsy' types: check out Big Blue Backyard on the Mornington Peninsula. They offer 3 romantic beachside retreats each with a different theme: The African, Beach, and Bush hideaways. All are a short walk from the secluded St Andrews Beach and much more. Rates are $495 per couple, per night when you stay 2 nights or more, and you do get your money's worth.
Outdoor Spa at the Bush Hideaway
3) Go International - cruise through your holidays and really get away. For this one Princess Cruises has your answer. This year their Dawn Princess Cruise Ship will take you from Melbourne to New Zealand for a 13-day round-trip Christmas, passing by Tassie first, then onto some gorgeous Kiwi locations including:
Akaroa (Christchurch) - the only French settlement in NZ, with secluded beaches, French cafe's and eateries and opportunities to swim with the rare Hector Dolphins.
Napier - New Zealand's wine growing, golden beached, Mediterranean region.
Fiordland National Park - a magical looking place, surrounded by spectacular ice-carved valleys & waterfalls.
Movies, swimming, spas and more aboard the Dawn Princess Cruise Ship
As for your time on board, the Dawn Princess aims to create "paradise on the high seas". This paradise comes at a price though, around $1500 per person at the cheapest. To check out the ship & cruises inclusive facilities click here
4) Cruise Local - Like no.3 but think it's a tad pricey? There are two great options for shorter, less costly trips. Princess Cruises' 6-day Melbourne to Tassie trip on its Dawn Princess ship. Prices start around $390pp and stops include Hobart, Port Arthur, Oyster Bay and more you can check out here. Somewhere in between price-wise is P&O's 3-night Classic Cruise. With prices starting at $500pp and stopping by Port Lincoln and Adelaide, this cruise is perfect for a small holiday sea-break.
5) Do Something Different. Whether you're just not up for it this year or have another reason to not celebrate Christmas, here are a few ideas:
Underground Motel - White Cliffs, NSW.
Don't worry - you can go outside!
Rooms are known as 'dugouts' at the Underground Motel
A huge underground complex set amongst an 'oasis in the desert', this motel is a truly unique experience that has attracted guests from all over the world. Group packages are available and rates start from around $140 for a double/twin room. Guest facilities include a swimming pool, movie nights, licensed café & bar (underground), beer garden, art gallery and the best morning & night skies and star gazing you'll find in this country. This is one place where you really can leave behind the stresses of modern life - no phone coverage here!
Rottnest Island, WA.
Western Australia's very own island getaway is located just 19km off the coast of Fremantle (Perth's Port City). With its Mediterranean-style climate and beautiful beaches, Rottnest Island is a great location for an anti-Christmas holiday, and great for couples, families and kids. Once you're in Perth admission prices to the island are cheap with a Family Group Day Package only costing $38.50.
Running Creek Castle - Kancoona, VIC.
Enjoy the views of a mountainous backdrop and the expansive gardens and lake while relaxing** in a loft style bedroom fit for a king or queen. Facilities also include the balcony with BBQ overlooking the castle's grounds, solar heated salt water swimming pool, squash court and twin person sauna. Trout fishing and creek walks are also available. Rates are as cheap as they come at $185 per night for 1 couple and $20 - $35 per head for other guests. Suites sleep a maximum of seven people. For more info, see their website.
The majestic grounds of Running Creek Castle in Kancoona